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Dōkyō (道鏡, 700 – May 13, 772) was a Japanese monk of the Hossō sect of Buddhism; and he was a political figure in the Nara period.[1]

Early life[edit]

Dōkyō was born in Kawachi Province[2]

Political career[edit]

When Dōkyō cured the illness of Empress Kōken in 761, his place in her court was made secure and influential. When she returned to the throne as Empress Shōtoku following the Fujiwara no Nakamaro Rebellion, Dokyo was given authority over religious and civil matters.[1]

In 766, an oracle from the Usa Shrine in Buzen Province was reported to predict peace in Japan if Dōkyō were named emperor. Soon after, a second oracle was brought to Kyoto by Wake no Kiyomaro.[3] It stated:

Since the establishment of our state, the distinction between lord and subject has been fixed. Never has there been an occasion when a subject was made lord. The throne of the Heavenly Sun Succession shall be given to one of the imperial lineage; wicked persons should immediately be swept away.[3]

In response to the second oracle, Dōkyō had Wake no Kiyomaro sent into exile in Ōsumi Province.[4]

When the empress died, Dōkyō was banished from Nara.[1]


  • 752 (Tenpyō-shōhō 4): Dōkyō was called to the court of Empress Kōken[5]
  • 761 (Tenpyō-hōji 5): Dōkyō cured empress of a serious illness[1]
  • 763 (Tenpyō-hōji 7): He was appointed Shōsōzu in the Buddhist hierarchy[5]
  • 765 (Tenpyō-jingo 1, 2nd month): Empress Shōtoku gave Dōkyō the newly created title of daijō-daijin zenji (Meditation Master who ranks as Chancellor)[6]
  • 766 (Tenpyō-jingo 2): Dokyo claimed that an Usa Hachiman oracle said that he should become Hō-ō (法王, literally, king of the dharma).[7] He was given the title.[1]
  • 770 (Jingo-keiun 4): In the 5th year of Empress Shōtoku's reign, she died; and Dōkyō was exiled to Shimotsuke Province.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Dōkyō" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 158.
  2. ^ Mulhern, Chieko Irie. (1991). Heroic With Grace: Legendary Women of Japan,p. 73.
  3. ^ a b Bender, Ross. "The Hachiman Cult and the Dōkyō Incident", Monumenta Nipponica, Vol. 34, Issue 2, p. 125; retrieved 2013-1-9.
  4. ^ Nussbaum, "Wake no Kiyomaro" at p. 1026.
  5. ^ a b Shively, Donald H. and William H. McCullough. (1999). The Cambridge History of Japan, p. 453.
  6. ^ Shively, p. 453; Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du japon, p. 78.
  7. ^ Shively, p. 558.