Emperor Kōan

Hear this tale on Episode B13 of our Podcast, the Japan Archives.

Emperor Kōan
Artistic renderring of Emperor Kōan.

Table of Contents

Emperor Kōan

Emperor Kōan (孝安 天皇) was the 6th Emperor of Japan also known as Oyamato Tarashihiko Kunioshihito (大倭帯日子国押人命)12 He ruled from 392-291BC.1


Emperor Kōan was one of two sons of Emperor Kōshō and Yosotarashi Hime12 with Kōan going on to marry Oshihime.123 Together they would have two sons, these being Ōkibi no Morosumi  and the future Emperor Kōrei.3


Emperor Kōan ascended to the throne in 392BC14 after having been made heir to the throne in the “68th year, Spring, 1st month, 14th day” of his fathers reign, he is said to have been 20 at the time.2

Ponsonby says he was 36 when he took the throne.1

Events from his reign detailed in the Nihongi are as follows:

    • 1st year, Spring, 1st month, 7th day Kōan takes the throne.
    • Autumn, 8th month, 1st day. He gives the Empress the title Kodaigo.
    • 2nd year, Winter, 10th month. Capital moved to Muro, residing in the palace of Akitsushima.
    • 26th year, Spring, 2nd month, 14th day, Oshihime is made Empress.
      • Two alternative versions say this was:
        • Nagahime, daughter of Haye, Agatanushi of Shiki.
        • Isakahime, daughter of Isahiko, Agatanushi of Tohochi.
      • The Empress gives birth to Emperor Kōrei.
    • 38th year, Autumn, 8th month, 146th day. He buries his father.
    • 76th year, Spring, 1st month, 5th day Kōrei is made heir.
    • 102nd year, Spring, 1st month, 9th day the Emperor dies.2

Kōan died aged 1371 though the Jinnō Shōtōki says he died aged 120.4 In total he is said to have ruled for 123 years in the Kojiki and not 101/102 as in other sources.3

His misasagi is located in Tamade.3

He was buried in his misasagi in Autumn, 9th month, 132nd the same year he died.2


1. Ponsonby, F. (1959) “The Imperial House of Japan.” Kyoto: Ponsonby Memorial Society.
2. Aston. W.G. (1896) “Nihongi Volume 1: Chronicles of Japan from the Earliest Times to AD697”. Tuttle Publishing.
3. Yasumaro. O, translated by Gustav Heldt. (2014) “Kojiki. An Account of Ancient Matters”. New York: Columbia University Press.
4. Varley, H.P (1980) “A Chronicle of Gods and Sovereigns: Jinnō Shōtōki of Kitabatake Chikafusa.” New York: Columbia University Press.

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