Emperor Kotoku

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  • Japanese: 孝徳天皇 (Kôtoku tennô)

Emperor Kôtoku was the 36th emperor of Japan according to the traditional counting. His reign, lasting from 645-654, saw the implementation of the Taika Reforms, which adapted myriad aspects of Tang dynasty political philosophy, governmental structures and systems, and rituals and practices into that of the Japanese court.

Prince Karu, as he was known before taking the throne, became emperor in 645 when his sister Empress Kôgyoku abdicated in his favor. It is said that her abdication came at the suggestion of her son, Prince Naka no Oe (who would later rule, himself, as Emperor Tenji).

In addition to or as part of the Taika Reforms, Kôtoku instituted a revision of the system of court caps and costume (corresponding to official court ranks) in 647, as well as declaring an imperial monopoly over mined iron ore, something which had previously been the domain of the Wakebe clan.

Upon his death in 654, Kôtoku's sister returned to the throne, this time under the name Empress Saimei.

Preceded by
Empress Kôgyoku
Emperor of Japan
Succeeded by
Empress Saimei