|Emperor of Japan|
|Reign||672 (8 months)|
|Died||August 21, 672
|Burial||Nagara no Yamasaki no misasagi (Shiga)|
|Spouse||Princess Tōchi (c. 648 – 678), a daughter of Emperor Tenmu|
|Issue||Prince Kadono, Princess Ichishihime, Prince Yota|
|Mother||Yakako-no-iratsume, a lower court lady from Iga (Iga no Uneme)|
Kōbun's reign lasted only a few months in 671–672.
Contemporary historians now place the reign of Emperor Kōbun between the reigns of Emperor Tenji and Emperor Tenmu; but the Nihongi, the Gukanshō, and the Jinnō Shōtōki do not recognize this reign. Prince Ōtomo was only given his posthumous title and name in 1870.
- Post-Meiji chronology
- In the 10th year of Tenji, in the 11th month (671): Emperor Tenji, in the 10th year of his reign (天智天皇十年), designated his son as his heir; and modern scholars construe this as meaning that the son would have received the succession (senso) after his father's death. Shortly thereafter, Emperor Kōbun is said to have acceded to the throne (sokui). If this understanding were valid, then it would follow:
- Pre-Meiji chronology
- Prior to the 19th century, Ōtomo was understood to have been a mere interloper, a pretender, an anomaly; and therefore, if that commonly accepted understanding were to have been valid, then it would have followed:
- In the 10th year of Tenji, in the 11th month (671): Emperor Tenji, in the 10th year of his reign (天智天皇十年), died; and despite any military confrontations which ensued, the brother of the dead sovereign would have received the succession (senso); and after a time, it would have been understood that Emperor Tenmu rightfully acceded to the throne (sokui).
- Control of the throne was wrested by Emperor Tenchi's brother, Prince Ōama, during the Jinshin War, after which Emperor Kōbun committed seppuku. For centuries, the hapless Prince Ōtomo was not considered to have been a part of the traditional order of succession.
The years of Kōbun's reign are not linked by scholars to any era or nengō. The Taika era innovation of naming time periods – nengō – languished until Mommu reasserted an imperial right by proclaiming the commencement of Taihō in 701.
In this context, Brown and Ishida's translation of Gukanshō offers an explanation about the years of Empress Jitō's reign which muddies a sense of easy clarity in the pre-Taiho time-frame:
- "The eras that fell in this reign were: (1) the remaining seven years of Shuchō [(686+7=692?)]; and (2) Taika, which was four years long [695–698]. (The first year of this era was kinoto-hitsuji .) ... In the third year of the Taka era , Empress Jitō yielded the throne to the Crown Prince."
The top court officials (公卿 Kugyō?) during Emperor Kōbun's reign included:
- Sadaijin, Soga no Akae(蘇我赤兄) (?–?), 672 (7 months)
- Udaijin, Nakatomi no Kane(中臣金) (d. 672), 672 (7 months)
Consorts and Children
- Prince Kadono (葛野王) (669–706)
Empress: Fujiwara no Mimimotoji (藤原耳面刀自), a daughter of Fujiwara no Kamatari
- Princess Ichishi-hime (壱志姫王)
Emperor Kōbun had another son named Prince Yota (興多王), whose mother is unknown.
- Imperial Household Agency (Kunaichō): 弘文天皇 (39)
- Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan, p. 53.
- Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du japon, pp. 55–58., p. 55, at Google Books
- Brown, Delmer. (1979). Gukanshō, p. 268 n.39; Varley, H. Paul. (1980). Jinnō Shōtōki, p. 136.
- Brown, pp. 268–269; Varley, 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.
- Titsingh, pp. 55–58; Varley, p. 44.
- Ponsonby-Fane, p. 420.
- Titsingh, p. 56.
- Brown, p. 270.
- Aston, William George. (1896). Nihongi: Chronicles of Japan from the Earliest Times to A.D. 697. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner. OCLC 448337491
- Brown, Delmer M. and Ichirō Ishida, eds. (1979). Gukanshō: The Future and the Past. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-03460-0; OCLC 251325323
- Ponsonby-Fane, Richard Arthur Brabazon. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan. Kyoto: Ponsonby Memorial Society. OCLC 194887
- Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Nihon Ōdai Ichiran; ou, Annales des empereurs du Japon. Paris: Royal Asiatic Society, Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland. OCLC 5850691
- Varley, H. Paul. (1980). Jinnō Shōtōki: A Chronicle of Gods and Sovereigns. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-231-04940-5; OCLC 59145842
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