Empress Genshō

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Empress Genshō (元正天皇 Genshō-tennō?, 683-May 22, 748) was the 44th emperor of Japan,[1] according to the traditional order of succession.[2]

Genshō's reign spanned the years 715 through 724.[3]

In the history of Japan, Genshō was the fifth of eight women to take on the role of empress regnant. The four female monarchs before Genshō were: (a) Suiko, (b) Kōgyoku/Saimei, (c) Jitō and (d) Gemmei. The three women sovereigns reigning after Genshō were (e) Kōken/Shōtoku, (f) Meishō, and (g) Go-Sakuramachi.


Traditional narrative

Before her ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne, her personal name (imina)[4] was Hidaka-hime.[5]

Empress Genshō was an elder sister of Emperor Mommu and daughter of Prince Kusakabe and his wife who later became Empress Gemmei. Therefore she was a granddaughter of Emperor Temmu and Empress Jitō by her father and a granddaughter of Emperor Tenji through her mother.[6]

Events of Genshō's life

Her succession was mainly for the purpose to hold the throne until Prince Obito, the son of her deceased younger brother Mommu, later Emperor Shōmu, would be mature enough ascend to the throne.

Obito was appointed to the crown prince in 714 by Empress Gemmei. In the next year, 715, Empress Gemmei, then in her fifties, abdicated in favor of her daughter Gensho because of her age and the youth of Obito who was then 14 years old.

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