Fujiwara no Asukabehime

Fujiwara no Asukabehime

Fujiwara no Asukabehime

Fujiwara no Asukabehime (藤原 安宿媛), later known as Empress Kōmyō (光明皇后) was a part of the Fujiwara Clan. Wife to Emperor Shōmu, she was the daughter of Fujiwara no Fubito.

She bore a son for the Emperor, however the child died before reaching one years of age. Later she was bestowed the title of Kōgō (Empress-Consort),’ and given the name Kōmyō. This was the first time someone not of Imperial Blood had been given the honor and occurred in AD729 after all opposition was mowed down.

Shōmu made their daughter Kōken, Princess-Regent, this also being the first time this occurred. When her husband abdicated for her daughter she received the title Kōtaigō, ‘Great Retired Empress-Consort. This honorary titles helped the Fujiwara Clan to gain many high ranking positions at court.

She is also noted to have helped her nephew Fujiwara no Nakamarō by moving him from position to position, leading eventually to him being admitted into the highest councils of state. 1

Footnotes

1. Tsurumi, P. (1981) “Early Female Emperors” Historical Reflections Vol.8 No.1 pp.41-49.

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