Retired emperor (Japan)

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Retired emperor 太上天皇 Daijo Tenno or 上皇 Joko.

origin

First Japanese emperor who abdicated in his/her life was Empress Kogyoku in 645, however this is the special case after the court coup. Empress Jito become the next retired emperor in 697, Empress Genmei and Empress Gensho followed, however they are all female reigning empress, regarded as interim.
First male emperor abdicated in his life was the Emperor Shomu in 749. He created new habit the emperor abdicates in life and received new title Retired emperor.

ruling monarch

At first, retired emperors did not have official power against the national policy, they could only produce unofficial influence among the imperial family.
From the medieval era, head of the imperial family got superior power in the court, who was usually one of retired emperors, and sometimes incumbent emperor. The head of imperial family was called Ruling monarch 治天之君 Jiten no kimi. Ruling monarch was necessarily to be direct ancestry of incumbent emperor, ie father or grandfather. For example, Emperor Shirakawa abdicated in 1086, then being ruling monarch while his son Emperor Horikawa and grandson Emperor Toba has been the incumbent emperor. This habit continued until reformation in 19th century.

modern abdication

The recent Emperor of Japan, Akihito has abdicated on 30 Apr 2019, and heir apparent Crown Prince Naruhito has succeeded his throne in the next day. After the abdication, he took title Joko 上皇 じょうこう.

list of retired emperors

regnum name birth reign
start
reign
end
death incumbent emperor(s)
while retired
ruling monarch
as retired emperor
note
Empress Kogyoku 594 642 645 661 Emperor Kotoku (645-654) 654 restored throne
Empress Jito 645 6690 697 702 Emperor Monmu (697-702)
Empress Genmei 661 707 715 721 Empress Gensho (715-721)
Empress Gensho 680 715 724 748 Emperor Shomu (724-748)
Emperor Shomu 701 724 749 756 Empress Koken (749-756)
Empress Koken 718 749 758 770 Emperor Junnin (758-764) 764 restored throne
Emperor Junnin 733 758 764 765 Empress Shotoku (764-765) deposed
Emperor Konin 709 770 781 781 Emperor Kanmu (781)
Emperor Heizei 774 806 809 824 Emperor Saga (809-823)
Emperor Junna (823-824)
Emperor Saga 786 809 823 842 Emperor Junna (823-833)
Emperor Ninmyo (833-842)
Emperor Junna 786 823 833 840 Emperor Ninmyo (833-840)
Emperor Seiwa 850 858 876 880 Emperor Yozei (876-880)
Emperor Yozei 868 876 884 949 Emperor Koko (884-887)
Emperor Uda (887-897)
Emperor Daigo (897-930)
Emperor Suzaku (930-946)
Emperor Murakami (946-949)
Emperor Uda 867 887 897 931 Emperor Daigo (897-930)
Emperor Suzaku (930-931)
Emperor Daigo 885 897 930 930 Emperor Suzaku (930)
Emperor Suzaku 923 930 946 952 Emperor Murakami (946-952)
Emperor Reizei 950 967 969 1011 Emperor Enyu (969-984)
Emperor Kazan (984-986)
Emperor Ichijo (986-1011)
Emperor Sanjo (1011)
Emperor Enyu 959 969 984 991 Emperor Kazan (984-986)
Emperor Ichijo (986-991)
Emperor Kazan 968 984 986 1008 Emperor Ichijo (986-1008)
Emperor Ichijo 980 986 1011 1011 Emperor Sanjo (1011)
Emperor Sanjo 976 1011 1016 1017 Emperor Goichijo (1016-1017)
Emperor Goichijo 1008 1016 1036 1036 Emperor Gosuzaku (1036)
Emperor Gosuzaku 1009 1036 1045 1045 Emperor Goreizei (1045)
Emperor Gosanjo 1034 1068 1072 1073 Emperor Shirakawa (1072-1073)
Emperor Shirakawa 1053 1072 1086 1129 Emperor Horikawa (1086-1107)
Emperor Toba (1107-1123)
Emperor Sutoku (1123-1129)
1086-1129
Emperor Toba 1103 1107 1123 1156 Emperor Sutoku (1123-1141)
Emperor Konoe (1141-1155)
Emperor Goshirakawa (1155-1156)
1129-1156
Emperor Sutoku 1119 1123 1141 1164 Emperor Konoe (1141-1155)
Emperor Goshirakawa (1155-1158)
Emperor Nijo (1158-1164)
1156 exile in Sanuki province
Emperor Goshirakawa 1127 1155 1158 1192 Emperor Nijo (1158-1165)
Emperor Rokujo (1165-1168)
Emperor Takakura (1168-1180)
Emperor Antoku (1180-1183)
Emperor Gotoba (1183-1192)
1158-1179
1181-1192
Emperor Nijo 1143 1158 1165 1165 Emperor Rokujo (1165)
Emperor Rokujo 1164 1165 1168 1176 Emperor Takakura (1168-1176)
Emperor Takakura 1161 1168 1180 1181 Emperor Antoku (1180-1181) 1180-1181
Emperor Gotoba 1180 1183 1198 1239 Emperor Tsuchimikado (1198-1210)
Emperor Juntoku (1210-1221)
Emperor Chukyo (1221)
Emperor Gohorikawa (1221-1232)
Emperor Shijo (1232-1239)
1198-1221 1221 exile in Oki province
Emperor Tsuchimikado 1195 1198 1210 1231 Emperor Juntoku (1210-1221)
Emperor Chukyo (1221)
Emperor Gohorikawa (1221-1231)
1221 exile in Tosa province
1223 moved to Awa province
Emperor Juntoku 1197 1210 1221 1242 Emperor Chukyo (1221)
Emperor Gohorikawa (1221-1232)
Emperor Shijo (1232-1242)
Emperor Gosaga (1242)
1221 exile in Sado province
Emperor Chukyo 1218 1221 1221 1234 Emperor Gohorikawa (1221-1232)
Emperor Shijo (1232-1234)
deposed
Emperor Gohorikawa 1212 1221 1232 1234 Emperor Shijo (1232-1234) 1232-1234
Emperor Gosaga 1220 1242 1246 1272 Emperor Gofukakusa (1246-1259)
Emperor Kameyama (1259-1272)
1246-1272
Emperor Gofukakusa 1243 1246 1259 1304 Emperor Kameyama (1259-1274)
Emperor Gouda (1274-1287)
Emperor Fushimi (1287-1298)
Emperor Gofushimi (1298-1301)
Emperor Gonijo (1301-1304)
1287-1290
Emperor Kameyama 1249 1259 1274 1305 Emperor Gouda (1274-1287)
Emperor Fushimi (1287-1298)
Emperor Gofushimi (1298-1301)
Emperor Gonijo (1301-1305)
1274-1287
Emperor Gouda 1267 1274 1287 1324 Emperor Fushimi (1287-1298)
Emperor Gofushimi (1298-1301)
Emperor Gonijo (1301-1308)
Emperor Hanazono (1308-1318)
Emperor Godaigo (1318-1324)
1301-1308
1318-1321
Emperor Fushimi 1265 1287 1298 1317 Emperor Gofushimi (1298-1301)
Emperor Gonijo (1301-1308)
Emperor Hanazono (1308-1317)
1298-1301
1308-1313
Emperor Gofushimi 1288 1298 1301 1336 Emperor Gonijo (1301-1308)
Emperor Hanazono (1308-1318)
Emperor Godaigo (1318-1331)
Emperor Kogon (1331-1333)
Emperor Godaigo (1333-1336)
1313-1318
1331-1333
Emperor Hanazono 1297 1308 1318 1348 Emperor Godaigo (1318-1331)
Emperor Kogon (1331-1333)
Emperor Godaigo (1333-1336)
Emperor Komyo (1336-1348)
Emperor Suko (1348)
Emperor Godaigo 1288 1318 1331 (1333) Emperor Kogon (1331-1333) 1332 exile in Oki province, 1333 restored
Emperor Kogon 1313 1331 1333 1364 Emperor Godaigo (1333-1336)
Emperor Komyo (1336-1348)
Emperor Suko (1348-1351)
Emperor Gokogon (1352-1364)
1336-1351 northern court
Emperor Godaigo 1333 1339 1339 Emperor Gomurakami (1339) southern court
Emperor Komyo 1321 1336 1348 1380 Emperor Suko (1348-1351)
Emperor Gokogon (1352-1371)
Emperor Goenyu (1371-1380)
northern court
Emperor Suko 1334 1348 1351 1398 Emperor Gokogon (1352-1371)
Emperor Goenyu (1371-1382)
Emperor Gokomatsu (1382-1398)
northern court
Emperor Gokogon 1338 1352 1371 1374 Emperor Goenyu (1371-1374) 1371-1374 northern court
Emperor Goenyu 1358 1371 1382 1393 Emperor Gokomatsu (1382-1393) 1382-1393 northern court
Emperor Chokei 1343 1368 1383 1394 Emperor Gokameyama (1383-1392)
Emperor Gokomatsu (1392-1394)
southern court
Emperor Gokameyama ? 1383 1392 1424 Emperor Gokomatsu (1392-1412)
Emperor Shoko (1312-1424)
southern court
Emperor Gokomatsu 1377 1382 1412 1433 Emperor Shoko (1412-1428)
Emperor Gohanazono (1428-1433)
1412-1433
Emperor Gohanazono 1419 1428 1464 1470 Emperor Gotsuchimikado (1464-1470) 1464-1470
Emperor Ogimachi 1517 1557 1586 1593 Emperor Goyozei (1586-1593)
Emperor Goyozei 1571 1586 1611 1617 Emperor Gomizunoo (1611-1617) 1611-1617
Emperor Gomizunoo 1596 1611 1629 1680 Empress Meisho (1629-1643)
Emperor Gokomyo (1643-1654)
Emperor Gosai (1654-1663)
Emperor Reigen (1663-1680)
1629-1649
1663-1669
Empress Meisho 1623 1629 1643 1696 Emperor Gokomyo (1643-1654)
Emperor Gosai (1654-1663)
Emperor Reigen (1663-1687)
Emperor Higashiyama (1687-1696)
Emperor Gosai 1637 1654 1663 1685 Emperor Reigen (1663-1685)
Emperor Reigen 1654 1663 1687 1732 Emperor Higashiyama (1687-1709)
Emperor Nakamikado (1709-1732)
1687-1693
1709-1717
Emperor Higashiyama 1675 1687 1709 1709 Emperor Nakamikado (1709) 1709
Emperor Nakamikado 1701 1709 1735 1737 Emperor Sakuramachi (1735-1737) 1735-1737
Emperor Sakuramachi 1720 1735 1747 1750 Emperor Momozono (1747-1750) 1747-1750
Empress Gosakuramachi 1740 1762 1770 1813 Emperor Gomomozono (1770-1779)
Emperor Kokaku (1779-1813)
Emperor Kokaku 1771 1779 1817 1840 Emperor Ninko (1817-1840) 1817-1840
Emperor Akihito 1933 1989 2019 Emperor Naruhito (2019-)

list of ruling monarchs

ruling monarch rule start rule end incumbent emperor relation note
Emperor Shirakawa 26 Nov 1086 7 Jul 1129 Emperor Horikawa (1086-1107) father
Emperor Toba (1107-1123) grandfather
Emperor Sutoku (1123-1141) great-grandfather
Emperor Toba 7 Jul 1129 2 Jul 1156 father
Emperor Konoe (1141-1155) father
Emperor Goshirakawa (1155-1158) father
Emperor Goshirakawa 2 Jul 1156 22 Nov 1179 incumbent
Emperor Nijo (1158-1165) father
Emperor Rokujo (1165-1168) grandfather
Emperor Takakura (1168-1180) father
Emperor Takakura 22 Nov 1179 14 Jan 1181 incumbent
Emperor Antoku (1180-1183) father
Emperor Goshirakawa 17 Jan 1181 13 Mar 1192 grandfather
Emperor Gotoba (1183-1198) grandfather
Emperor Gotoba 13 Mar 1192 9 Jul 1221 incumbent
Emperor Tsuchimikado (1198-1210) father
Emperor Juntoku (1210-1221) father
Emperor Chukyo (1221) grandfather
Prince Morisada 9 Jul 1221 14 May 1223 Emperor Gohorikawa (1221-1232) father titular retired emperor
Emperor Gohorikawa 14 May 1223 20 May 1234 incumbent
Emperor Shijo (1232-1242) father
Emperor Shijo 6 Aug 1234 9 Jan 1242 incumbent
Emperor Gosaga 20 Jan 1242 17 Feb 1272 Emperor Gosaga (1242-1246) incumbent
Emperor Gofukakusa (1246-1259) father
Emperor Kameyama (1259-1274) father
Emperor Kameyama 17 Feb 1272 21 Oct 1287 incumbent
Emperor Gouda (1274-1287) father
Emperor Gofukakusa 21 Oct 1287 11 Feb 1290 Emperor Fushimi (1287-1298) father
Emperor Fushimi 11 Feb 1290 21 Jan 1301 incumbent
Emperor Gofushimi (1298-1301) father
Emperor Gouda 21 Jan 1301 25 Aug 1308 Emperor Gonijo (1301-1308) father
Emperor Fushimi 26 Aug 1308 14 Oct 1313 Emperor Hanazono (1308-1318) father
Emperor Gofushimi 14 Oct 1313 26 Feb 1318 brother
Emperor Gouda 26 Feb 1318 9 Dec 1321 Emperor Godaigo (1318-1331) father
Emperor Godaigo 9 Dec 1321 20 Sept 1331 incumbent
Emperor Gofushimi 20 Sept 1331 25 May 1333 Emperor Kogon (1331-1333) father
Emperor Godaigo 25 May 1333 1336 Emperor Godaigo (1333-1336) incumbent
Emperor Kogon 15 Aug 1336 7 Nov 1351 Emperor Komyo (1336-1348) brother
Emperor Suko (1348-1351) father
Emperor Gokogon 17 Aug 1352 29 Jan 1374 Emperor Gokogon (1352-1371) incumbent
Emperor Goenyu (1371-1382) father
Emperor Goenyu 29 Jan 1374 26 Apr 1393 incumbent
Emperor Gokomatsu (1382-1412) father
Emperor Gokomatsu 26 Apr 1393 20 Oct 1433 incumbent
Emperor Shoko (1412-1428) father
Emperor Gohanazono (1428-1464) adopted father
Emperor Gohanazono 20 Oct 1433 27 Dec 1470 incumbent
Emperor Gotsuchimikado (1464-1500) father
Emperor Gotsuchimikado 27 Dec 1470 28 Sept 1500 incumbent
Emperor Gokashiwabara 25 Oct 1500 7 Apr 1526 Emperor Gokashiwabara (1500-1526) incumbent
Emperor Gonara 29 Apr 1526 5 Sept 1557 Emperor Gonara (1526-1557) incumbent
Emperor Ogimachi 27 Oct 1557 7 Nov 1586 Emperor Ogimachi (1557-1586) incumbent
Emperor Goyozei 7 Nov 1586 26 Aug 1617 Emperor Goyozei (1586-1611) incumbent
Emperor Gomizunoo (1611-1629) father
Emperor Gomizunoo 26 Aug 1617 1649 incumbent
Empress Meisho (1629-1643) father
Emperor Gokomyo (1643-1654) father
Emperor Gokomyo 1649 20 Sept 1654 incumbent
Emperor Gosai 28 Nov 1654 26 Jan 1663 Emperor Gosai (1654-1663) incumbent
Emperor Gomizunoo 26 Jan 1663 1669 Emperor Reigen (1663-1687) father
Emperor Reigen 1669 26 Nov 1693 incumbent
Emperor Higashiyama (1687-1709) father
Emperor Higashiyama 26 Nov 1693 17 Dec 1709 incumbent
Emperor Nakamikado (1709-1735) father
Emperor Reigen 17 Dec 1709 1717 grandfather
Emperor Nakamikado 1717 11 Apr 1737 incumbent
Emperor Sakuramachi (1735-1747) father
Emperor Sakuramachi 11 Apr 1737 23 Apr 1750 incumbent
Emperor Momozono (1747-1762) father
Emperor Momozono 23 Apr 1750 12 Jul 1762 incumbent
Empress Gosakuramachi 27 Jul 1762 24 Nov 1770 Empress Gosakuramachi (1762-1770) incumbent
Emperor Gomomozono 24 Nov 1770 29 Oct 1779 Emperor Gomomozono (1770-1779) incumbent
Emperor Kokaku 25 Nov 1779 19 Nov 1840 Emperor Kokaku (1779-1817) incumbent
Emperor Ninko (1817-1846) father
Emperor Ninko 19 Nov 1840 26 Jan 1846 incumbent
Emperor Komei 13 Feb 1846 25 Dec 1866 Emperor Komei (1846-1866) incumbent
Emperor Meiji 9 Jan 1867 9 Dec 1867 Emperor Meiji (1867) incumbent merged into incumbent emperor

reference