Empress Kōgyoku

Empress of Japan

Empress Kōgyoku, also known as Empress Saimei, was a monarch of Japan who ruled twice and is considered the 35th[1] and 37th ruler[1] according to traditional succession.[2]

Empress Kōgyoku / Empress Saimei
皇極天皇 / 斉明天皇
Empress regnant of Japan
(Kōgyoku, first reign)
Reign19 February 642 – 12 July 645
BornTakara ()
7 August 594
Died24 August 661 (aged 66–67)
Asakura no Miya
SpouseEmperor Jomei
Posthumous name
Chinese-style shigō:
Empress Kōgyoku (皇極天皇)
Empress Saimei (斉明天皇)

Japanese-style shigō:
Ametoyotakaraikashihitarashi-hime no Sumeramikoto (天豊財重日足姫天皇)
FatherPrince Chinu
MotherPrincess Kibitsu-hime

Empress Kōgyoku reigned twice, first as Kōgyoku from 642 to 645, and then again as Saimei from 655 to 661.

  • 642: Kōgyoku became empress but stepped down after Soga no Iruka's assassination. 645: Kōgyoku abdicated to her brother, Emperor Kōtoku. 654: Emperor Kōtoku died and the throne was empty. 655: Kōgyoku became empress again, now known as Saimei. 661: Saimei died and the throne was vacant again.

This one woman ruled twice from 642 to 645 and from 655 to 661..[3]

Kōgyoku was a Japanese empress who ruled twice in the 7th century. She was the second woman to rule as empress, after Suiko-tennō. Six more women became empresses after her.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Imperial Household Agency (Kunaichō): 皇極(こうぎょく)天皇 (35) and 齊明(さいめい)天皇 (37)
  2. bPonsonby-Fane, Richard. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan, pp. 49, 51.
  3. Brown, Delmer et al. (1979). Gokanshō, p. 265–267; Varley, H. Paul. (1980). Jinnō Shōtōki. p. 130–134; Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du Japon, pp. 43–54., p. 43, at Google Books