Tenji period

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The Tenji period is a brief span of years during the Asuka period of Japanese history. The Tenji period describes a span of years which were considered to have begun in the 1322nd year of the Yamato dynasty.[1]

The timespan is the same as the reign of Emperor Tenji, which is traditionally considered to have been from 662 through 672.[2]


The adoption of the Sexagenary cycle calendar (Jikkan Jūnishi) in Japan is attributed to Empress Suiko in 604;[3] and this Chinese calendar continued in use throughout the Tenji period.

In 645, the system of Japanese era names (年号, nengō,?, lit. "year name") was introduced.[4] However, after the reign of Emperor Kotoku, this method of segmenting was temporarily abandoned or allowed to lapse. This interval continued during the Tenji period.

Neither the years of Emperor Tenji's reign nor the Tenji period are included in the list nengō for this explicit duration of time, which comes after Hakuchi and before Suchō.

In the post-Taika or pre-Taihō chronology, the first year of Emperor Tenji's reign (天智天皇元年 or 天智天皇1年) is also construed as the first year of the Tenji period (天智1年).[5]

Non-nengō period[edit]

Non-nengō periods in the pre-Taihō calendar were published in 1880 by William Bramsen.[1] These were refined in 1952 by Paul Tuschihashi in Japanese Chronological Tables from 601 to 1872.[5]

The pre-Tahiō calendar included two non-nengō gaps or intervals in the chronological series:

  • Taika, August 645–February 650.[6]
  • Hakuchi, February 650–December 654.[7]
    • Non-nengō dating systems
  • Shuchō, July–September 686.[8]
    • Non-nengō dating systems
  • Taihō, March 701–May 704.[9]

Nengō were not promulgated (or were allowed to lapse) during the gap years between Hakuchi and Shuchō, and in another gap between Shuchō and Taihō.

Concurrent Chronologies
Non-nengō periods Nengō eras Shinengō[10] Yamato dynasty duration Western calendar dates
Taika [6] 1305 645[11]
Hakuchi [7] 1310 650[12]
Saimei's reign[1] 1315 655[13]
Tenji's reign[1] 1322 662[14]
Kōbun's reign[15] Sujaku[16] 1332[1] 672[17]
Temmu's reign Hakuhō[18] 1333[1] 673[19]
Suchō [8] 1346 686[20]
Jitō's reign[1] 1347 687[21]
Taika[22] 1350 695[22]
Mommu's reign[1] 1357 697[23]
Taihō[9] 1361 701[24]

Events of the Tenji period[edit]

  • 662 (Tenji 1): Empress Saimei dies; and her nephew delays receiving the succession (senso). Only years later does Emperor Tenji formally accede to the throne (sokui).[25]
  • 662 (Tenji 1): A new chronological time frame is marked by the beginning of the reign of Emperor Tenji
  • 667 (Tenji 6): Six years after the death of Empress Saimei, her mausoleum was reconstructed. Naka no Ōe-shinnō had not yet been proclaimed as Emperor Tenji, which meant that he had not yet begun to create an official court around himself. In this year, he did at last establish his court at Ōtsu-no-Miya in the Ōmi Province, where his enthronement was belatedly scheduled for the springtime of the following year.[26]
  • 668 (Tenji 7): Emperor Tenji is formally enthroned.[26]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Murray, p. 402, p. 402, at Google Books, citing William Bramsen. (1880). Japanese Chronological Tables, pp. 54-55, p. 54, at Google Books; compare, the Japanese National Diet Library website explains that "Japan organized its first calendar in the 12th year of Suiko (604)", which was a pre-nengō time frame.
  2. ^ Murray, David. (1894). The Story of Japan, p. 402, p. 402, at Google Books; the system of counting from year-periods (nengō) do not ordinarily overlap with the reigns of the early monarchs; and generally, a new one was chosen whenever it was deemed necessary to commemorate an auspicious or ward off a malign event.
  3. ^ Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Jikkan Jūnishi" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 420, p. 420, at Google Books; n.b., Louis-Frédéric is pseudonym of Louis-Frédéric Nussbaum, see Deutsche Nationalbibliothek Authority File
  4. ^ Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du Japon, p. 30., p. 30, at Google Books.
  5. ^ a b Tsuchihashi, Paul. (1952). Japanese Chronological Tables from 601 to 1872, p. 16.
  6. ^ a b Nussbaum, "Taika" at p. 924, p. 924, at Google Books
  7. ^ a b Nussbaum, "Hakuchi" at p. 280, p. 280, at Google Books.
  8. ^ a b Nussbaum, "Shuchō" at p. 889, p. 889, at Google Books.
  9. ^ a b Nussbaum, "Taihō" at p. 924, p. 924, at Google Books.
  10. ^ Shinengō used prior to the reestablishment of the nengō system in 701 are usually called itsunengō (逸年号?). A list of shinengō and more information can be seen in the Japanese Wikipedia page ja:私年号.
  11. ^ NengoCalc (645) 大化 Taika, online conversion of Japanese dates into their Western equivalents; calculation is based on tables from Tsuchihashi and Zöllner.
  12. ^ NengoCalc (650) 白雉 Hakuchi
  13. ^ NengoCalc (655) 斉明 Saimei
  14. ^ NengoCalc (622) 天智 Tenji
  15. ^ Brown, Delmer M. et al. (1979). Gukanshō, p. 268 n39., p. 268, at Google Books; post-Meiji historians position the reign of Emperor Kōbun between the reigns of Emperor Tenji and Emperor Temmu, but pre-Meiji historians did not construe Prince Ōtomo in the traditional order of succession; compare Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan, p. 52; and see Imperial Household Agency (Kunaichō): 天智天皇 (38)
  16. ^ Murray, p. 402, p. 402, at Google Books; Sujaku is also known as an Itsunengō (逸年号?)
  17. ^ NengoCalc (672) 弘文 Kōbun
  18. ^ Murray, p. 402, p. 402, at Google Books; Hakuhō, also known as Itsunengō; compare Nussbaum, "Hakuhō" at p. 280, p. 280, at Google Books; Hakuhou jidai, JAANUS (Japanese Architecture and Art Net Users System), 2001; retrieved 16 September 2009.
  19. ^ NengoCalc (673) 弘文 Temmu
  20. ^ NengoCalc (686) 朱鳥 Suchō
  21. ^ NengoCalc (687) 持統 Jitō
  22. ^ a b Brown, p. 270, p. 270, at Google Books; excerpt, "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 [695].) ...In the third year of the Taka era [697], Empress Jitō yielded the throne to the Crown Prince."
  23. ^ NengoCalc (697) 文武 Mommu
  24. ^ NengoCalc (701) 大宝 Taihō
  25. ^ Varley, H. Paul. (1980). Jinnō Shōtōki, 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.
  26. ^ a b Titsingh, p. 54; Brown, p. 268.


External links[edit]

Preceded by

nengō in abeyance
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Saimei period
Tenji period
Reign of Emperor Tenji
Succeeded by
Kōbun period