Emperor Monmu

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  • Born: 683
  • Died: 707
  • Japanese: 文武天皇 (Monmu tennô)

Emperor Monmu was the 42nd emperor of Japan by the traditional reckoning, reigning from 697 to 707.

A son of Prince Kusakabe, in his youth Fujiwara no Fuhito served as his official guardian. Monmu took the throne in 697, after his grandmother Empress Jitô abdicated in his favor; the following year, Fuhito's daughter Fujiwara Miyako and two other women were given to him as consorts.

During his reign, Monmu oversaw a number of significant reforms, including a reform of the system of court costume and caps in 701, and the establishment that same year of a "Faculty of gagaku," establishing gagaku as the official style of formal ritual music of the court and providing structures for members of the court to be trained in its performance.[1]

Roughly two months prior to his death, Emperor Monmu formally praised Fujiwara no Fuhito and granted him an estate of 5,000 households; after Fuhito demurred, this was reduced to 2,000.

Upon his death in 707, Monmu was succeeded by Empress Genmei.

Preceded by
Empress Jitô
Emperor of Japan
Succeeded by
Empress Genmei


  1. Chia-Ying Yeh, "The Revival and Restoration of Ryukyuan Court Music, Uzagaku: Classification and Performance Techniques, Language Usage, and Transmission," PhD thesis, University of Sheffield (2018), 14.