Japan Heads

Worldwide Guide to Women in Leadership
Japan Heads of State
The Japanese title for Emperor/Empress is Tennō which means Heavenly Sovereign (Empresses in their own right had the title Jotei (jyotei) but today it means female Tenno, and tenno is the title used for both male and female rulers).

Also see Japan Ministers

....Legendary Empress Jummu (Sanohiko)
She was the descendant of the Sun Goddess and was succeeded by grandson. 

Circa 188-248 Queen Himiko of Yamataikoku
卑弥呼 also referred to as Pimiko, she was ruler of an ancient state-like formation thought to have been located either in the Yamato region or in northern Kyushu of present-day Japan. Few records are available and little is known about her, and the location of Yamataikoku is the subject of a great, often emotionally charged, debate that has been raging since the late Edo period. According to an ancient Chinese history book, Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms she was a shaman who controlled people through her paranormal abilities. The Nihonshoki, an old Japanese history book, notes that Himiko was actually Empress Jingū Kogo, the mother of Emperor Ōjin, but historians disagree. Some speculate that she is conflated with Amaterasu, the Japanese sun goddess. The Chinese chronicles book from 297 refers to the inhabitants of the Japanese islands simply as the Wa, literally, "The Little People", and dscribes a fragmented political structure of more than a hundred or more separate tribes, nominally ruled by a female shaman. According to an ancient Korean history book, Samguk Sagi, she sent an embassy to King Adalla of Silla in May 172. However, Chinese history books record Silla as having been established on 356, which casts doubt on this claim. Himiko never married and it is recorded that her younger brother assisted her as a political advisor. She is said to have had one thousand female servants and to have never appeared in public. There are indications that a tribal king, posthumously now known as Emperor Shujin, raised military host against her or her successor - reportedly another shamaness, her niece or other relative, ultimately conquering their position and establishing male rule with headquarters in central Japan. Himiko may have been a chinese corruption of himemiko, princess-priestess, or lady shaman. The name is said to mean "Sun Daughter" and there are also assessments that she is the real person upon whom the myth of sun goddess Amaterasu is built. Also Known as Yamatohime no Mikoto (d. 248)

Circa 250-65 Queen Toyo 
Succeeded her relative Himiko

343-380 Jingű-Kōgō Tennō
She was the widow of Chuai Tennō, in the legendary period. She possily reigned 201-269. She was succeeded by Ojin (270-310)

484-85 Princess Regent Iitoyo Ao no Kōjo of Yamato
As Emperor Seinei (reigned 479-484) lay dying without having named a successor, serious conflict between the various factions at court seemed inevitable. To avoid this, the nobles chose her, the highest ranking shamaness as a consensus sovereign. A daughter of the 16th Emperor Richu and with a lineage that could be traced back to Ňjin, she lived within Takaki (Tall Stockade) tending to the spiritual needs of the Yamato people. She declined to assume the title of tenn§ but ruled until the children of her late brother could be brought back from exile. She lived (440-485).

592-628 Suiko Tennō
Daughter of Kinmei Tennō (539-71), married to her half-brother Bitatsu Tennō, who reigned 572-585). She succeeded two other brothers and was succeeded by her husband's grandson. Posthumous name Toyomike-Kashikiya-hime no Mikoto. She lived (544-628).

642-45  Kōgyoku Tennō (First reign)
655-61 Saimei Tennō (Second reign)
She was granddaughter of Crown Prince Shōtoku-Taislie (det der er ikke japansk, who was regent in 591. She succeeded uncle and husband  JōmeiTennō and succeeded by brother after her abdication, and lived (594-661)

686-90 Regent Empress Jitō
690-97 Jitō Tennō
Daughter of Tenchi Tennō who was regent 661-68 and Emperor 668-71 Her husband, Temmu Tennō, had withdrawn to temple-life and left the throne to their son in 886 with her as regent
, and lived (645-701).

707-15 Genmei Tennō
Daughter of Temmu Tennō (622-673-686) and  Jitō Tennō (See above). Mother of Mommu Tennō (683-697-707) and  Genshō Tennō (See below). Lived (661-722).

715-24 Genshō Tennō
Succeeded her mother, Gemmei Tennō. Also known as Yoro, she lived (679-748).

748-58  Kōken Tennō (First Reign)
767-70 Shōtoku Tennō (Second Reign)
Deposed after first reign, abdicated after the second. Daughter of Jōmu Tennō (699-724-749-756).  She lived (717-770).

806-10 Politically Influential Imperial Consort Fujiwara Kusuko
In 807 she accused some members of the other branches of the Fujiwara clan of conspiring against her husband, Emperor Heizei. Shortly after the plot, Emperor Heizei retired, citing health problems, and was succeeded by his younger brother, Emperor Saga. When Heizei recovered from his illness, she and others worked to get him reinstated to the throne. In response, Saga dismissed her from her very important administrative post as was Superior of the Ladies-in-Waiting (naishi-no kami), where her duty was to transfer of the emperor's decrets and she had very often formulated the emperor's decrets. The following day she and her husband left the capital and headed east to raise troops and retake the throne. But their uprising quickly failed. Ex-emperor Heizei became a priest, her brother Nakanari was executed and she committed suicide. The incident brought intense scrutiny to the political activities of women in the inner palace. and after this incident, women in the inner palace were unable to publicly engage in politics; men came to the fore, and women receded to the background.

884-97 Politically Influential Imperial Consort Shukushi
She was the adopted sister of the
Fujiwara-regent and de-facto ruler, Mototsunes. It was apparently her influnence that secured the succession of Emperor Kōkō (884-887). She was mother of the later Emperor Uda (887-897), whose succession to the throne she also made possible.

967-84 Politically Influential Dowager Empress Anshi of Japan
After the death of her husband, Emperor Murakami she was very influential during the reign of her sons, and was the mother of the Tennos Reizei (967-969) and En-yu (969-984).

980-1027 Politically Influential Empress Fujiwara Senshi
She was one of the most influential actors in court life, and favored her brother Michinaga over other contenders for the post, for the position of regent after her son, Ichijo, became Emperor.

1117-45 Politically Influential Second Empress Fujiwara Tamako
Also known as Empress /Taikenmon'in was influential during the reign of her husband Toba's reign. He abdicated in 1123, and in 1129 he began to rule as cloistered emperor. He continued to hold power through the reigns of three emperors, Sutoku, Konoe, and Go-Shirakawa. In 1142, he became a monk, entereing the Tōdaiji Temple. During his cloistered rulethe court was dominated by his three chief consorsts: Taikenmon'in, Bifukumon'in, and Kayanoin, who were his trusted allies, strategists, and friends during various factional disputes that shook the court throughout his lifetime. On one hand, the three women fiercely competed to secure favors for their own children at the expense of the others, but on the other hand they were partners, united by their common interest in advancing the interests of their husband.. She was eledest daughter of Fujiwara Kinzane, and lived (1101-45).

1117-55 Politically influential Empress Fujiwara Yasuko
藤原泰子 was also known as Empress Kayanoin, she wielded great influence in both politcal and cultural matters, and was a patron of arts and Buddhist learning like the two other consorts of Emperor Toba. She was the eldest daughter of Fujiwara no Tadazane, and lived (1095-1155).

1117-56 Politically Influential  Empress Fujiwara no Tokushi
Also known as Bifukumon'in, her status as an imperial favorite gave her access to Emperor Toba, and his devotion to her gave her a great deal of influence.  Through her wish to have her adopted son, Nij˘, placed on the throne, his father was named crown prince and acceded. He stepped down three years later, presumably at Bifukumon'in's request. Furthermore, friction between Bifukumon'in and Yorinaga eventually led to his exile and subsequent revolt at the side of Sutoku in the H˘gen disturbance. After Toba's death, she became known as Empress Dowager Yoshitomi, the daughter of Fujiwara no Nagami, she lived (until 1160).

1199-1202 Leader of the Council of Regency Hōjō Masa-Ko
1203-25 ShōgunShōgun-Regent
Initially leader of the 13 person Regency Council in a period without a Shōgun, afterwards regent for son, Shōgun Sanetomo until 1219 and finally regent together with a man in another period without a Shōgun.

1623-43 Politically Influential Kasugano-tsubone
In 1604, she was given the postion as nurse of Tokugawa Iemitsu. When Iemitsu became the third Tokugawa shogun in 1623, she became the power behind the shogunate, particularly in his isolationist and anti-Christian policies
. She was daughter of Saito Toshimitsu, a warlord who chose the wrong side in the fight between Hideyoshi and Akechi Mitsuhide, she was raised by her mother's relatives, and lived (1579-1643)

1629-44 Meishō Tennō
明正天皇 was born as Princess Okiko as the daughter of  Go-mizuo
Tennō (1595-1616-29-30), She succeeded older brother and was succeeded by two other brothers. She lived (1624-96).

1762-70 Go-Sakuramachi Tennō
1771-80 Titular Empress-Regent
1780-89 The Guardian of the Young Lord

後桜町天皇 was daughter of Sakuramachi Tennō (Akihito) (1735-47), she succeeded her brother and abdicated in favour of nephew. Lived (1740-1813).

1862-81 11th Head of the Katsura Imperial House Princess Sumiko-no-miya Katsura
Princess Sumiko was daughter of Emperor Ninko (1800-17-46) who had seven sons and eight daughters, among others her half-brother Emperor Komei (1831-46-67).  She was named as successor to the Headship of the Imperial House of Katsura after the death of Komei's infant son, Prince Misahiko. 1870 she was given an allowance of 1,015 koku, 1871 the property on which the Katsura Palace stands was granted to the house of Katsura.Two years later her allowance was terminated, and she was given a grant of 6.800 yen. Married to She was married to Prince Yamasina Akira (1816-98) and mother of Yamashina Kikumaro (1873-1908), who succeeded his father, but the Katsura-no-miya title remained remained vacant until Emperor Akihito appointed his cousin, Prince Katsura, to the title. The prince is unmarried. Princes Sumiko lived (1838-81).


Last update 14.07.09