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|Emperor of Japan|
|Enthronement||23 October 770|
|Born||18 November 709|
|Died||11 January 782 (aged 71)|
Tahara no higashi no misasagi (Nara)
|Mother||Ki no Tochihime|
The personal name of Emperor Kōnin (imina) was Shirakabe (白壁) As a son of Imperial Prince Shiki and a grandson of Emperor Tenji, his formal style was Prince Shirakabe. Initially, he was not in line for succession, as Emperor Tenmu and his branch held the throne.
He married Imperial Princess Ikami, a daughter of Emperor Shōmu, producing a daughter and a son. After his sister in law, Empress Shōtoku (also Empress Kōken), died, he was named her heir. The high courtiers claimed the empress had left her will in a letter in which she had appointed him as her successor. Prior to this, he had been considered a gentle man without political ambition.
Kōnin had five wives and seven Imperial sons and daughters.
Emperor Kōnin is traditionally venerated at his tomb; the Imperial Household Agency designates Tahara no Higashi no Misasagi (田原東陵, Tahara no Higashi Imperial Mausoleum), in Nara, Nara, as the location of Kōnin's mausoleum.
Kōnin attempted to reconstruct the state finance and administrative organizations, which had been corrupted under the reign of Empress Kōken.
Soon after his enthronement in 770 (Hōki 1), he promoted his wife Imperial Princess Ikami to the empress and appointed her son Imperial Prince Osabe to the crown prince in the next year. As a grandson of Emperor Shōmu by his mother, Osabe was one of few descendants of Emperor Tenmu, the line of Tenmu however didn't succeed to the throne finally. In 772 Osabe was deprived of his crown prince rank and Imperial Prince Yamabe, an issue by another woman, later Emperor Kanmu was named heir.
According to the Shoku Nihongi (続日本紀), the replacement happened as follows: in the third month of Hōki 3 (772), Ikami was accused of cursing her husband and Emperor Kōnin stripped her of the rank of Empress. In the fifth month of this year his son Osabe was deprived his crown prince status. In Hōki 4 (773), both were alleged to have murdered Imperial Princess Naniwa, a sister of Kōnin by cursing. This allegation made those two stripped of the rank of royals. Those two were together enclosed in a house in Yamato Province and died two years later in the same day, on the 27th day of the fourth month of Hōki 6 (on the Julian Calendar, on May 29, 775).
In 772, soon after Osabe's deprivation of heir right, Prince Yamabe was named heir. His mother Takano no Niigasa, née Yamato no Niigasa, was a descendant of King Muryeong of Baekje. Since her clan had then no political power, his appointment had not been likely to happen without the deprivation of Osabe, the noblest male issue of Konin as the son of an Imperial Princess and Empress.
Today it is pointed out the accusations to Ikami and Osada were likely to be plotted for depriving her son of the throne, and they were likely to be assassinated, by Fujiwara no Momokawa.
The late years of Kōnin's reign and the early years of Kanmu's reign suffered disasters. The people took those disasters as vengeance of noble victims of political conflicts, including late Ikami and Osada. In 800 during the reign of Kanmu, the late[clarification needed] Princess Ikami was restored to the rank of Empress. Several shrines and temples were also founded for redemption, including Kamigoryō Shrine (ja:上御霊神社).
In general, this elite group included only three to four men at a time. These were hereditary courtiers whose experience and background would have brought them to the pinnacle of a life's career. During Kōnin's reign, this apex of the Daijō-kan included:
Hi: Princess Owari (尾張女王, d.804), Prince Yuhara’s daughter (son of Prince Shiki)
Bunin: Takano no Niigasa (高野新笠), Yamato no Ototsugu’s daughter
Bunin: Fujiwara no Sōshi (藤原曹子), Fujiwara no Nagate’s daughter
Bunin: Ki no Miyako (紀宮子), Ki no Ineko’s daughter
Bunin: Fujiwara no Nariko (藤原産子), Fujiwara no Momokawa’s daughter
Court lady: Agatanushi no Shimahime (県主嶋姫), Agatanushi no Emishi’s daughter
Court lady (Nyoju): Agatainukai no Isamimi (Omimi) (県犬養勇耳/男耳)
|Ancestors of Emperor Kōnin|
| Emperor of Japan: