Imperial Titles

Imperial Titles

This pages serves to list the various Imperial Titles used in the past and up to this day.

No doubt this page will continue to be updated as we continue our research.


    • Dajō-Hōō – (Priestly-Retired Emperor) Title used for retired Emperors who then became Buddhist Monks.1 First usage of this title is used by Emperor Uda in 889 with the Emperor Reigen in 1686.12
    • Dajō-kō – Title given to Emperor after abdication.1
    • Daijō Tennō – (Retired Emperor) A formal title given after the Emperor abdicates. It was first used Empress Jitō after her abdication. From the mid-Heian Period the title was more commonly In (cloistered sovereigns). Between the years 1087-1192, often several retired emperors at one time held this title.2
    • Hōō – Abbreivated term for Dajō-Hō-ō.2
    • In – Term for a retired Emperor and by extension his court, his court becoming known as In-no-cho. There could be several ‘retired courts’ if there were several retired Emperors at once.1
    • Jōkō – (Retired Emperor) An abbreviated term for Daijō Tennō.12


    • Chūgū – This title finds it’s origins in 1000AD with the Emperor Ichijo. He began the practise of having two Empresses, with the second wife bearing this title.2
    • Kōhi – This title we see given to Empress’ who was not of Imperial birth. One of note being Ohotakara no Iratsume.5
    • Kōgō – The term for a non-reigning Empress which was reserved purely for the consort of the Emperor who gave birth to the heir. The title could be seen equal to the Emperor and at times would find itself bestowed to deceased wives of the Crown Prince or a princess of Imperial Blood who had given birth to the heir.12 Traditionally, this title could only be attained by women of Imperial Blood, under the Ritsuryō System, but this was changed in 729 after the daughter of Fujiwara no Fuhito (Asukabehime) was granted the title. This then saw several other Fujiwara women also later attaining the title. This title is still used, with the wife of the Crown Prince automatically assuming the title upon the death of the Emperor.2
    • Kodaigō – Great Empress. A title bestowed during the reign of Emperor Suizei.4
    • Kōtaigō – A title meaning ‘Great Retired Empress,’ given after the husband of the Empress retires. Fujiwara no Asukabehime was given this title after her husband (Emperor Shōmu) retired.3
    • Ōkisaki – An old title for the Emperors wife, it was replaced in 702 by the title Kōgō.1


    • Hō-Shinnō – This title was given to Imperial Princes who became Buddhist Monks.


1. Louis Frederic, translated by Kathe Roth (2002) “Japan Encyclopedia”. London: Harvard University Press.
2. Kodansha. (1993) ”Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia”. Tokyo: Kodansha Ltd.
3. Tsurumi, P. (1981) “Early Female Emperors” Historical Reflections Vol.8 No.1 pp.41-49.
4. Aston. W.G. (1896) “Nihongi Volume 1: Chronicles of Japan from the Earliest Times to AD697”. Tuttle Publishing.
5. Ponsonby, F. (1959) “The Imperial House of Japan.” Kyoto: Ponsonby Memorial Society.

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Imperial Titles