Empress Gensho of Japan

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Empress Genshō (元正天皇) (680April 21, 748) was the 44th imperial ruler of Japan. Her given name was Princess Hidaka (氷高皇女). She was an elder sister of Mommu and daughter of Prince Kusakabe and his wife and later Empress Gemmei, therefore a granddauther of Temmu and Jitō by her father and a granddaughter of Tenji by her mother. She reigned from 715 to 724.

Her succession was mainly for the purpose to hold the throne until Prince Obito, the son of her younger and died brother Mommu, later Emperor Shomu, would be mature enough ascend to the throne. Obito was appointed to the crown prince in 714 by Empress Gemmei. In the next year, 715, Empress Gemmei, then in her fifties, abdicated in favor of her daughter Gensho because of her age and the youth of Obito who was then 14 years old. Obito remained as the crown prince of the new empress. Fujiwara no Fuhito, the most powerful courtier in Gemmei's court, remained so at her court until his death in 720. After his death, Prince Nagaya, a grandson of Emperor Temmu and her cousin, seized the power. This power shift was a background of later conflicts between Prince Nagaya and Fuhito's four sons in the reign of Shōmu.

Under her reign, the edition of Nihonshoki, the first Japanese history book was finished in 720. Organisation of law system was being continued under the initiatives of Fuhito until his death. Later those law and codes were edited and consumed by Fujiwara no Nakamaro, a grandson of Fuhito, and published as Yoro ritsuryo dated in 718 under the name of Fuhito. Taxation system which had been introduced by Empress Jitō in the late of the 7th century, began to malfunction in those days. For compensation of decrease of tax revenue, under the initiative of Prince Nagaya, "Act of possession in three generations" was edicted in 723. Under this act, people were allowed to possess the field they cultivated newly in three generations in maximum. In the forth generation, the right of possession would disappear and the field belong to the national government. This act was under the purpose to motivate new cultivation, but its effect continued about 20 years.

In 724 she abdicated in favor of Shōmu.

She did not marry during her life and left no child.


Preceded by:
Gemmei
Empress of Japan
715-724
Succeeded by:
Shōmu

Template:End boxde:Genshō it:Gensho imperatrice del Giappone ja:元正天皇 zh:元正天皇

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