Princess Yoshiko (Kōkaku)

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Princess Yoshiko
Empress consort of Japan
Tenure 1780–1817
Born (1779-03-11)11 March 1779
Died 11 August 1846(1846-08-11) (aged 67)
Burial Senyū-ji
Spouse Emperor Kōkaku
Issue Prince Masuhito
Prince Toshihito
Full name
Yoshikō (欣子)
House Yamato
Father Emperor Go-Momozono
Mother Konoe Koreko
Religion Shinto
Buddhism (after 1816)
This image rendering suggests a type of formal crown (hokan) which would have been worn by a Japanese Imperial consort (published c. 1840).

Princess Yoshiko (欣子内親王, Yoshiko-naishinnō, 11 March 1779 – 11 August 1846) was the empress consort of Emperor Kōkaku of Japan. She enjoys the distinction of being the last daughter of an emperor who would herself rise to the position of empress.[1] When she was later given the title of Empress Dowager, she became the first person to be honored with that title while still living since 1168.[2]

Early life[edit]

Genealogical chart for Empress Yoshikō.

Princess Yoshiko (欣子内親王, Yoshiko naishinnō) was also known as Onna-Ichi-no-Miya (女一宮, Onna-ichi-no-Miya) in her infancy. She was the only child of Emperor Go-Momozono; and she became the wife of the Emperor's adopted heir, marrying her adoptive stepbrother who would later be known as Emperor Kōkaku. Although her own children died in infancy, she functioned as official mother to the heir who would become Emperor Ninkō.[1]

Family relationships[edit]

Empress consort[edit]

Yoshiko's father, Emperor Go-Momozono, died without a son when she was ten months old.[1] To avoid dynastic interregnum, Retired Empress Go-Sakuramachi and her chief adviser encouraged the dying emperor to adopt Prince Morohito, whose biological father was Prince Sukehito, the second Prince Kan'in. Morohito, who would be known as Emperor Kōkaku later, acceded to the throne at age eight.

Retired Empress Go-Sakuramachi engaged Yoshiko to the new Emperor. Yoshiko formally became Empress consort to Emperor Kōkaku at age 15. She bore two sons, both of whom died in infancy.

Empress dowager[edit]

In 1816, Emperor Ninkō granted Empress Yoshiko the title of Empress Dowager after Emperor Kōkaku abdicated.[2]

Buddhist nun[edit]

Shortly after Emperor Kōkaku's death, Dowager Empress Eishō became a Buddhist nun. In 1841, she changed her name to Shin-Seiwa-In (新清和院, Shin-seiwa-in).[2]

Yoshiko died at age 67 and was buried Senyū-ji, which is in Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto. Her memory is officially honored at her husband's mausoleum, which is known as Nochi-no-tsukinowa no misasagi.[3]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1859). The Imperial House of Japan, p. 333.
  2. ^ a b c Ponsonby-Fane, p. 334.
  3. ^ Ponsonby-Frane, p. 423.


Japanese royalty
Preceded by
Princess Yukiko
Empress consort of Japan
Succeeded by
Empress Eishō (Posthumously Fujiwara no Tsunako)
Preceded by
Empress Dowager of Japan
Succeeded by
Empress Eishō (Posthumously Fujiwara no Tsunako)