Hakuchi (era)

Japanese era from March 650 to November 654

Hakuchi (白雉) was a Japanese era name (年号,, nengō,, lit. "year name") after the Taika era and before Shuchō in 686. This period started in February 650 and ended in December 654.[1] The reigning emperor was Kōtoku-tennō (孝徳天皇).[2]



In 650 (Taika 6,[3] The daimyo of Nagato Province brought a white pheasant to the court as a gift for the emperor. It was considered to be a good omen, and the emperor caused the nengō to be changed to Hakuchi (meaning "white pheasant").[4]

In Japan, this was the second nengō,[1] which was developed from the Chinese system of eras (nianhao).[5] It became an example of growth in political power.[6]


Timelines of early Japanese nengō and Imperial reign dates
Emperor MommuEmpress JitōEmperor TemmuEmperor KōbunEmperor TenjiEmpress SaimeiEmperor KōtokuKeiunTaihō (era)ShuchōHakuchi (era)Taika (era)Empress GemmeiEmpress Kōgyoku

The system of Japanese era names was not the same as Imperial reign dates.

Events of the Hakuchi era

  • 650 (Hakuchi 1): Kōtoku commanded that all prisoners were to be granted liberty throughout the country.[4]
  • 654 (Hakuchi 5, 1st month): A great number of rats moved into Yamato Province; and this was construed as a sign that the capital should be moved.[3]
  • 654 (Hakuchi 5): Kōtoku died at the age of 59 after a reign of 5 years during Taika and 5 years during Hakuchi.[7]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Hakuchi" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 280.
  2. Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du japon, pp. 47-50.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Brown, Delmer et al.. (1979). Gukanshō, p. 267.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Titsingh, p. 49.
  5. Nussbaum, "Taika" at p. 924.
  6. Bialock, David T. (2007). Eccentric Spaces, Hidden Histories: Narrative, Ritual, and Royal Authority from the Chronicles of Japan to the Tale of the Heike, pp. 56-57; excerpt at p. 57, "Whether the era name of Taika and Hakuchi are viewed as evidence of an actual precedent set by Kōtoku or as the work of chroniclers belonging to a later reign around the time of Nihon Shoki 's editing, the practice of assigning era names inaugurated a new phase in the consolidation of the court's expanding political power."
  7. Titsingh, p. 50; Varley, H. Paul. (1980). Jinnō Shōtōki, p. 133; Imperial Household Agency (Kunaichō), 孝徳天皇 (36); retrieved 2012-6-13.

Other websites


Hakuchi 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
Gregorian 650 651 652 653 654
Preceded by:
Era or nengō:
Succeeded by:
Preceded by:
Imperial reign:
Kōtoku period
Succeeded by:
Saimei period