Emperor Kōrei

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


Emperor Kōrei
Artistic renderring of Emperor Kōrei.

Table of Contents

Emperor Kōrei

Emperor Kōrei (孝霊 天皇) was the 7th Emperor of Japan also known as Ōyamatonekohikofutoni (大倭根子日子賦斗邇命)12 He ruled from 290-215BC.1

Family

Depending on the source consulted, different wives and children are recounted from his life.

Emperor Kōrei was the son of Emperor Kōan and Oshihime.12 His main wife and Empress was Kuwashi Hime with whom he had the future Emperor Kōgen.123 With his concubine Haeirodo he had two sons Wakatakehiko123 and Hikosajima.23 With Yamato no kunikahime he had two daughters Yamatototohimomosobime, Yamatototowakayabime and two sons Kibitsuhiko,23 Hikosashikatawake.3 And with an additional concubine called Chijihayamawaka he had a daughter by the name of Chijihayahime.3

Reign

Emperor Kōrei ascended the throne in 290BC14 after having been made heir to the throne in the “76th year, Spring, 1st month, 5th day” of his fathers reign. He is said to have been 26 at the time.2

Ponsonby says he was 53 when he took the throne.1

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

    • Winter, 2th month, 4th Day – Capital moved to Kuroda, residing in the palace of Ihodo.
    • 1st Year, Spring, 1st Month, 12th Day – Kōrei ascends throne. He gives the Empress the title Kodaigo.
    • 2nd year, Spring, 2nd month, 11th day. ‘Hosohime’ (Kuwashihime) made Empress.
      • Two alternative versions say this was:
        • Kasuga no Chichihayayamakahime.
        • Mashitahime, daughter of Toso, Agatanushi of Tohochi.
      • The Empress gives birth to Emperor Kōgen.
      • With concubine Yamato no kunikahime they have Yamatototohimomosobime, Kibitsuhiko and Yamatototowakayabime.
      • With concubine Hayeiroto they have Hikosajima and Wakatakehiko.
    • 36th year, Spring, 1st month, 1st day. Kōgen is made heir.
    • 76th year, Spring, 2nd month, 8th day – The Emperor dies.2

The Jinnō Shōtōki gives some additional information concerning his reign stating that the Chinese Emperor Ch’in sought out the The Elixir of Life in Japan during his reign. In response they asked for copies of the book of Five Kings and Three Emperors which were then sent to Japan.4

Kōrei died aged 1281 though the Jinnō Shōtōki says he died aged 110.4 In total he is said to have ruled for 106 years in the Kojiki3 and not 76 years as in other sources.124

His misasagi is located on Mumazaka in Kataoka.2

He was buried in his misasagi in the 6th year, Autumn, 9th month, 6th day of his sons reign.2

Footnotes

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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