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Shuchō (朱鳥), alternatively read as Suchō or Akamitori, was a Japanese era name (年号, nengō, "year name") after a gap following Hakuchi (650–654) and before another gap lasting until Taihō (701–704). This Shuchō period briefly spanned a period of mere months, June through September 686.[1] The reigning sovereigns were Tenmu-tennō (天武天皇) and Jitō-tennō (持統天皇).[2]


In 686, also known as Shuchō gannen (朱鳥元年), the new era name referred to the red bird of the south, which was one of the Chinese directional animals.[3] The nengō did not survive Emperor Tenmu's death. The era ended with the accession of Temmu's successor, Empress Jitō.


Timelines of early Japanese nengō and Imperial reign dates
Emperor Mommu Empress Jitō Emperor Temmu Emperor Kōbun Emperor Tenji Empress Saimei Emperor Kōtoku Keiun Taihō (era) Shuchō Hakuchi (era) Taika (era) Empress Gemmei Empress Kōgyoku

The system of Japanese era names was not the same as Imperial reign dates.

Events of the Shuchō era[edit]

  • 686 (Shuchō 1, 9th day of the 9th month): Emperor Tenmu dies[4]
  • 686 (Shuchō 1, 2nd day of the 10th month): rebellion of Prince Ōtsu discovered; he and conspirators are arrested[4]
  • 686 (Shuchō 1, 3rd day of the 10th month): Prince Ōtsu commits suicide[4]
  • 686 (Shuchō 1, 16th day of the 11th month): Princess Ōku, Prince Ōtsu's sister, is removed from position at Ise Shrine[5]
  • 686 (Shuchō 1, 17th day of the 11th month): earthquake[5]


  1. ^ Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Shuchō" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 889, p. 889, at Google Books; n.b., Louis-Frédéric is pseudonym of Louis-Frédéric Nussbaum, see Deutsche Nationalbibliothek Authority File.
  2. ^ Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du japon, pp. 58–59; Brown, Delmer et al. (1979). Gukanshō, pp. 268–269.
  3. ^ Bender, Ross. (2009). "The Suppression of the Tachibana Naramaro Conspiracy," Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 37/2:223–245; compare mirrored full-text; retrieved 2012-10-23.
  4. ^ a b c Hioki (2007:195)
  5. ^ a b Hioki (2007:196)


External links[edit]

Preceded by
Era or nengō

Succeeded by
Preceded by
Kōbun period
Imperial reign dates
Tenmu period

Succeeded by
Jitō period