Emperor Kōgen

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

Emperor Kōgen
Artistic renderring of Emperor Kōgen.

Table of Contents

Emperor Kōgen

Emperor Kōgen (孝元 天皇) was the 8th Emperor of Japan also known as Oyamatonekohikokunikuru (大倭根子日子国玖琉命)12 He ruled from 214-158BC.1


Emperor Kōgen was the son of Emperor Kōrei and Kuwashi Hime.12

Both the nihongi and the kojiki agree on the family of Emperor Kōgen. Though the kojiki does go into much more detail for the decendants of his children.

He marred and made his Empress Uchishikome and together they had four childen Ohobiko, Emperor Kaika, Sukunabikookokoro and Yamatotohime.

With a concubine called Ikagashikome he had a son by the name of Hikofutooshimakoto. And with an additional concubine called Haniyasuhime he had another son by the name of Takehaniyasuhiko.234


Emperor Kōgen ascended the throne in 214BC15 after having been made heir to the throne in the “36th year, Spring, 1st month, 1st day” of his fathers reign. He is said to have been 19 at the time.2

Ponsonby says he was 60 when he took the throne.1

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

    • 1st year, Spring, 1st month, 14th day – Kōgen ascends the throne. He gives the Empress the title Kodaigo.
    • 4th year, Spring, 3rd month, 11th day – Capital moved to Karu, residing in the Palace of Sakahibara.
    • 6th year, Autumn, 9th month, 6th day – Emperor Kōrei is buried in his misasagi on Mumazaka in Kataoka.
    • 7th year, Spring, 2nd month, 2nd day – Uchishikome is made Empress.
      • The Empress gives birth to Ohobiko, Emperor Kwaika and Yamatototohime.
      • With concubine Ikashikome they have Hikofutooshimakoto.
      • With concubine Haniyasuhime they have Takehaniyasuhiko.
    • 22nd year, Spring, 1st month, 14th day – Kwaika is made heir.
    • 57th year, Autumn, 9th month, 2nd day – The Emperor dies.

Kōgen died aged 1161 though the Jinnō Shōtōki says he died aged 1175 and the kojiki says he died aged 57.34 In total he is said to have ruled for 57 years.125

His misasagi is located on Tsurugi Lake.234

He was buried in his misasagi on the “5th year, Spring, 2nd month, 6th day” of his sons reign.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. Chamberlain, B. H. (1932) “Translation of the Kojiki.” Kobe: J.L. Thompson & Co.
5. Varley, H.P (1980) “A Chronicle of Gods and Sovereigns: Jinnō Shōtōki of Kitabatake Chikafusa.” New York: Columbia University Press.

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