Tenmei gannen (天明元年) or Tenmei 1 (1781): The new era name of Tenmei (meaning "Dawn") was created to mark the enthronement of Emperor Kōkaku. The previous era ended and the new one commenced in An'ei 11, on the 2nd day of the 4th month. According to Nihon Ōdai Ichiran, Ieharu was appointed Udaijin (Minister of the Right) of the Emperor's Kugyō, which was quite rare and considered a great favour.
Tenmei 2 (1782): Great Tenmei Famine begins.
Tenmei 2 (1782): An analysis of silver currency in China and Japan "Sin sen sen pou (Sin tchuan phou)" was presented to the emperor by Kutsuki Masatsuna (1750–1802), also known as Kutsuki Oki-no kami Minamoto-no Masatsuna, hereditary daimyo of Oki and Ōmi with holdings in Tamba and Fukuchiyama -- related note at Tenmei 7 below.
Tenmei 3 (1783): Mount Asama (浅間山, Asama-yama) erupted in Shinano, one of the old provinces of Japan. Japanologist Isaac Titsingh's published account of the of Asama-yama eruption was the first of its kind in the West (1820). The volcano's devastation makes the Great Tenmei Famine even worse.
Tenmei 4 (1784): Country-wide celebrations in honor of Kūkai (also known as Kōbō-Daishi, founder of ShingonBuddhism) who died 950 years earlier.
Tenmei 4 (1784): The son of the Shogun's chief counselor was assassinated inside Edo Castle. The comparatively young wakadoshiyori, Tanuma Yamashiro-no-kami Okitomo, was the son of the senior wakadoshiyoriTanuma Tonomo-no-kami Okitsugu. The younger Tanuma was killed in front of his father as both were returning to their norimono after a meeting of the Counselors of State had broken up. The involvement of senior figures in the bakufu was suspected; however, none but the lone assassin himself was punished. The result was that Tanuma-initiated, liberalizing reforms within the bakufu and relaxation the strictures of sakoku were blocked.
Tenmei 6, on the 8th day of the 9th month (September 17, 1786): Death of Tokugawa Ieharu. He is buried in Edo.