Taika (era)

Japanese era from July 645 to March 650

Taika (大化) was a Japanese era name (年号,, nengō,, lit. "year name"). It was the first nengō and the Hakuchi was the second. This period started in August 645 and ended in February 650.[1] During this time, the emperor was Kōtoku-tennō (孝徳天皇).[2]



The system of nengō mirrored the Chinese system of eras (nianhao).[1] The use of nengō marked a new phase in the history of the Imperial court. It became an example of growth in political power.[3]


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 Taika era

  • 645 (Taika 1): Empress Kōgyoku abdicated; and her brother received the succession (senso). Soon after, Emperor Kōtoku's new role as monarch was confirmed by ceremonies (sokui).[4]
  • 645 (Taika 1): Kōtoku introduces reforms of government called Taika reform (大化の改新, Taika no kaishin).[5] The ideas and goals of this systemic reform (律令, ritsuryō) were written. For example, Kōtoku divided Japan into eight provinces. Government officials who were ranked in a hierarchy.[6]
  • 646 (Taika 2, 1st day of the 1st month): Kōtoku established a regular calendar for the court, with major audiences scheduled only on certain days. The emperor also ordered the creation of storehouses of goods and arsenals to serve the needs of a national army or militia.[6] The rules of etiquette and customs of the court were established.[8]
  • 649 (Taika 5): A new system of government which was composed of eight ministries and 100 bureaus (hasshō hyakkan).[9]
  • 650 (Taika 6): The daimyo of Nagato Province brought a white pheasant to the court as a gift for the emperor. This white pheasant was then construed as a good omen. The emperor caused the nengō to be changed to Hakuchi (meaning "white pheasant").[10]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Taika" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 924.
  2. Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du Japon, pp. 47-49; Brown, Delmer et al. (1979). Gukanshō, p. 266-267; Varley, H. Paul. (1980). Jinnō Shōtōki. p. 132-33.
  3. 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."
  4. Varley, H. Paul. (1980). Jinnō Shōtōki, p. 44; a distinct act of senso is unrecognized prior to Emperor Tenji; and all sovereigns except Jitō, Yōzei, Go-Toba, and Fushimi have senso and sokui in the same year until the reign of Emperor Go-Murakami. Compare Imperial Household Agency (Kunaichō), Ceremony of Accession (Sokui-no-Rei). Retrieved 2012-5-22.
  5. Nussbaum, "Taika no kaishin" at p. 924.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Titsingh, 48.
  7. Brown, p. 266; Osaka City website: Archived 2009-03-06 at the Wayback Machine Osaka, history Archived 2007-11-06 at the Wayback Machine
  8. Titsingh, p. 49; Brown, p. 266.
  9. Titsingh, 49; Varley, p. 133;
  10. Titsingh, 49.

Other websites


Taika 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
Gregorian 645 646 647 648 649 650
Preceded by:
Era or nengō:
Succeeded by:
Preceded by:
Kōgyoku period
Imperial reign:
Kōtoku period
Succeeded by: