20190123 Japanese women on the chrysanthemum throne

The 9 Empresses of Japan

Japanese women on the chrysanthemum throne

What Japan could recollect if it wanted

Yes, you heard right! What people like to keep quiet about in present-day Japan has happened several times in history: some Japanese women were already sitting on the throne of the Japanese Empire. Another case is attributed to the realm of legends. We show the duration of the Regency, the name of the Empress, the lifetime and some facts about the Regent.
Japanese Empresses of History


201-269: Jingû Okinaga Tarashihime no Mikoto

– lived about 169-269

– Wife of the Chûai-Tennô

– After the death, her husband took the throne until her son, Ôjin-Tennô, took over the throne

– Their reign is doubted by most modern historians. Perhaps the reign of Jingû is an invention that should explain the long interregnum between 200-270.

– In 1881, Jingû was the first woman on a Japanese banknote)


592-628: Suiko Nukatabe / Toyomike Kashikiyahime

– lived 554-628

– handed the political reign to Prince Shōtoku

– first woman in the imperial office


642-645: Kōgyoku Takara (1st term) and 655-661: Saimei Takara (2nd term)

(Ame Toyotakaraikashi Hitarashi Hime no Sumera Mikoto)

– lived 594-661

– Descendant of Emperor Bidatsu

– married twice, her second husband was Emperor Jomei, the son of her grandfather

– had 3 children (including the later Emperor Tenji and the later Emperor Temmu)


686-697: Jitō Unonosarara (Takama no Harahiro no Hime no Sumera Mikoto)

– lived 645-703

– daughter of Tenji-Tennô

– Married the Crown Prince Temmu. After his death, she took over the regency


707-715: Gemmei Ahe (Yamatoneko Amatsu Mishiro Toyokuni Narihime no Sumera Mikoto)

– lived 661-721

– had a mint office built

– moved the capital to Nara, hence the name „Nara-Zeit“

– was mainly responsible for the completion of Kojiki (1st record of historical Japanese events)


715-724: Genshō Hidaka / Niinomi (Yamatoneko Takamizu Kiyotarashi Hime no Sumera Mikoto)

– 680-748

– sister of Tommy Mommu

– took over the throne to secure the succession for her nephew Crown Prince Obito, son of Mommu


749-758: Kôken Abe (Yamatoneko no Sumera Mikoto) (1st term) and 764-770: Shôtoku Abe (2nd term)

– lived 718-770

– also „Princess Abe“

– went to her first term in the Buddhist monastery

– remained unmarried


1629-1643 Meisho Okiko

– lived 1624-1696

– Great-granddaughter of Tokugawa Ieyasu

– remained childless

– Successor was her brother Go-Kômyô


1762-1771 Go-Sakuramachi Toshiko

– lived 1740-1813

– so far the last of the empresses of Japanese history

– Daughter of Emperor Sakuramachi (2 terms earlier)

– handed over the throne succession to her nephew Go-Momozono

– did not marry, remained childless


In general, it can be said that the Japanese rulers of history usually jumped in as placeholders or successors, when „distress prevailed“. 

Only because they were imperial relatives or members of the highest court nobility, they could occupy the throne. Two of them – No. 3 and No. 7 – succeeded even during two terms.

Terms of the Japanese Empresses

The individual regencies lasted between 3 and 68 years, with the longest term, as mentioned above, is still in doubt. 

All in all, the reigns of the Japanese regents make up a period of 175 years, or 105 years after the departure of the legendary No. 1. 

This time span can not be thought away from Japanese history.

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