Famous Japanese Emperors & Kings

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite Japanese Emperors & Kings

 1 
Hirohito
(Former Emperor of Japan)

Hirohito
31
Birthdate: April 29, 1901
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Aoyama, Tokyo, Japan
Died: January 7, 1989
Hirohito, or Emperor Showa, the longest-reigning Japanese emperor, reigned from 1926 to 1989 and supported the Axis Powers during World War II. He also served in the Japanese military. He was not prosecuted for war crimes by the U.S. and played a major role in the post-war reconstruction of Japan.

 2 
Akihito
(125th Emperor of Japan)

Akihito
22
Birthdate: December 23, 1933
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan

Akihito served as the 125th emperor of Japan after succeeding his father to the Chrysanthemum Throne. As emperor, he played a crucial role in inspiring people in 2011 when Japan was struck by two major disasters: Fukushima I nuclear crisis and Great East Japan Earthquake. Akihito abdicated the throne in 2019, becoming the first emperor to do so since 1817.

 3 
Emperor Meiji
(Emperor of Japan (1867-1912))

Emperor Meiji
12
Birthdate: November 3, 1852
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kyoto, Kyoto, Japan
Died: July 30, 1912

Emperor Meiji of Japan presided over the all-round revolutionary transformation of his empire which emerged as a strong force on the global scene during his reign. His policies and actions led to Japan’s rapid growth and ended its isolation from the rest of the world. One of the noted changes during rule was the abolition of special privileges of samurais.

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 4 
Naruhito
(Emperor of Japan)

Naruhito
16
Birthdate: February 23, 1960
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Tokyo Imperial Palace, Tokyo

Naruhito, the 126th emperor of Japan and the only living monarch to use the title “Emperor,” ascended the throne after his father Akihito’s abdication in 2019. Devoted to efforts of water conservation, Naruhito has also been part of the International Olympic Committee. He plays both the violin and the viola.

 5 
Oda Nobunaga
(16th Century Japanese Feudal Lord)

Oda Nobunaga
20
Birthdate: June 23, 1534
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Nagoya Castle, Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, Japan
Died: June 21, 1582
Oda Nobunaga was a 16th-century Japanese leader of the Sengoku period. Known as the “Great Unifier" of Japan, he overthrew Ashikaga Yoshiaki and dissolved the Ashikaga Shogunate. He also crushed the Ikkō-ikki rebels and conquered Honshu. He was later ambushed and forced to commit “seppuku,” a form of ritual suicide.

 6 
Emperor Taishō
(Emperor of Japan (1912-26))

Emperor Taishō
7
Birthdate: August 31, 1879
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Tokyo, Japann
Died: December 25, 1926

Emperor Taishō was the 123rd Emperor of Japan. He was the son of  Emperor Meiji and Yanagihara Naruko, a concubine. As the eldest living son of the emperor, he was formally named the crown prince in 1888. Upon the death of his father in 1912, he ascended the throne. A sickly man with disabilities, he died at 47.

 7 
Emperor Jimmu
(Emperor)

Emperor Jimmu
5
Birthdate: February 13, 0712
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Japan
Died: April 9, 0585
Legend has it that the founder of the Imperial dynasty in Japan, Jimmu Tennō, was a descendant of Japanese deity Ninigi, who was the grandson of sun goddess Amaterasu. Japan’s National Foundation Day, February 11, was earlier called Kigensetsu and  celebrated Jimmu's ascension to the throne.
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 8 
Emperor Komei
(Emperor)

Emperor Komei
3
Birthdate: July 22, 1831
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kyoto
Died: January 30, 1867

The 121st tennō, or emperor, of Japan, Emperor Kōmei, had a tumultuous reign, which witnessed Japan being pushed to open to the Western world. He was the last Japanese emperor with multiple nengō, or era names. He was known for imposing an order of killing and persecuting foreign traders and officials.

 9 
Koxinga
(Prince)

Koxinga
3
Birthdate: August 27, 1624
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Hirado, Hizen Province, Japan
Died: June 23, 1662

Koxinga was a Ming loyalist who opposed and resisted the Manchu invasion of China. In 1661, he established the House of Koxinga after defeating the Dutch military camp in Taiwan. He then ruled the Kingdom of Tungning from 1661 to 1662. Today, Koxinga is considered a deity in coastal China and is worshiped in places like Taiwan and Southeast Asia.

 10 

Toyotomi Hideyori
3
Birthdate: September 8, 1593
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Japan
Died: June 4, 1615

The son of Japanese samurai and the second Great Unifier of Japan, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Toyotomi Hideyori is remembered in Japanese history for his suicide at age 21 after being tricked by Ieyasu in the summer Siege of Osaka. Some even believe he had escaped, as his corpse was never found.  

 11 

Tokugawa Iemitsu
2
Birthdate: August 12, 1604
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan
Died: June 8, 1651

Tokugawa Iemitsu served as a shōgun from 1623 to 1651 in the Tokugawa dynasty. His reign as shōgun was marked by the crucifixion of Christians and the expulsion of Europeans from Japan. Although it may sound cruel, such actions were validated at that time as Japan was being subjected to Europeanization; Europeans were trying to convert Japanese people into Christians.

 12 

Emperor Suizei
2
Birthdate: 0632 BC
Died: 0549 BC

Son of Emperor Jimmu, Emperor Suizei is largely regarded as the second legendary Japanese emperor, and many historians debate his existence. He killed his half-brother, Tagishimimi, who had plotted his murder, to become the emperor. He later married his aunt and had a son with her.

 13 
Emperor Go-Momozono
(Emperor , Sovereign)

Emperor Go-Momozono
2
Birthdate: August 5, 1758
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Japan
Died: December 16, 1779

Emperor Go-Momozono was the Emperor of Japan who reigned from 1771 until his death in 1779 at the age of 21. His reign was marked by a series of natural disasters that resulted in the deaths of thousands of people and the destruction of several properties. Emperor Go-Momozono became ill and adopted a son named Morohito on his deathbed.

 14 

Emperor Go-Daigo
2
Birthdate: November 26, 1288
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Kyoto, Japan
Died: September 19, 1339

Emperor Go-Daigo reigned as the emperor of Japan from 1318 to 1339. He is best remembered for toppling the Kamakura shogunate and establishing the Kenmu Restoration to restore the Imperial House of Japan back into power. The subsequent fall of the Kenmu Restoration, which was overthrown by Ashikaga Takauji, gave rise to the two opposing factions within the imperial family. 

 15 
Emperor Ōjin
(Emperor of Japan)

Emperor Ōjin
2
Birthdate: 0201 AD
Birthplace: Umi, Fukuoka, Japan

Remembered for spearheading land reforms and promoting cultural exchanges with the neighboring countries, Ōjin Tennō is a semi-legendary Japanese emperor, deified as the divine spirit of Hachiman, the god of war. Believed to be the fifteenth emperor of Japan, he might have reigned sometime in third or-fourth century AD. His mausoleum at Habikino is the second largest in Japan.

 16 

Emperor Nintoku
2
Birthdate: 0290 AD
Birthplace: Japan
Died: February 7, 0399

Fourth-century Japanese emperor Nintoku, who ruled during the Kofun period, was one of the sons of Emperor Ōjin. Nihon Shoki, or The Chronicles of Japan, records many of his achievements, such as building a thorn field bank to prevent a flood. His tomb is one of the world’s three largest tombs.

 17 
Emperor Go-Mizunoo
(Emperor , Sovereign)

Emperor Go-Mizunoo
2
Birthdate: June 29, 1596
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
Died: September 11, 1680

Emperor Go-Mizunoo made history by being the first Japanese emperor to rule throughout the Edo period. Before he acquired the Chrysanthemum Throne, he was known as Kotohito or Masahito. He eventually abdicated the throne for his daughter, Okiko. The Imperial Mausoleum in Kyoto is dedicated to him.

 18 

Emperor Momozono
2
Birthdate: April 14, 1741
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan

The first son of Emperor Sakuramachi, Emperor Momozono was known as Toohito before he took over the Chrysanthemum Throne. He witnessed the Hōreki Scandal, in which a lot of young nobles were punished for supporting the restoration of direct Imperial rule. He died at the tender age of 22.

 19 
Emperor Sujin
(Emperor)

Emperor Sujin
2
Birthdate: 0148 BC
Birthplace: Japan
Died: 0029 BC

Emperor Sujin, according to the Nihon Shoki, or The Chronicles of Japan, was the 10th emperor of Japan. Remembered for establishing the Yamato Dynasty in central Kinki, he is also termed as a legendary emperor. His tomb in Tehri is the most-visited tombs in his country.

 20 

Emperor Sakuramachi
2
Birthdate: February 8, 1720
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
Died: May 28, 1750

The first son of Japanese emperor Nakamikado, Emperor Sakuramachi reigned during the Edo period. He was known as Teruhito before he took over the Chrysanthemum Throne. People also believed him to be the reincarnation of Prince Shōtoku, and he brought back imperial rites such as Daijōsai and Shinjōsai.

 21 
Emperor Kanmu
(Emperor)

Emperor Kanmu
4
Birthdate: 0737 AD
Birthplace: Nara, Nara, Japan
Died: April 9, 0806

 22 

Emperor Suinin
2
Birthdate: January 1, 0069
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Japan
Died: 0070 AD

 23 

Emperor Antoku
2
Birthdate: December 22, 1178
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Kyoto, Kyoto, Japan
Died: April 25, 1185

 24 
Emperor Tenji
(Emperor)

Emperor Tenji
2
Birthdate: 0626 AD
Birthplace: Japan
Died: January 7, 0672

 25 

Emperor Nakamikado
2
Birthdate: January 14, 1702
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
Died: May 10, 1737

 26 

Emperor Keitai
2
Birthdate: 0450 AD
Birthplace: Japan
Died: 0531 AD

Considered to be the twenty-sixth Emperor of Japan, Keitai, a fifth generation descendant of Emperor Ojin, was invited to the throne when Emperor Buretsu died without designating his heir.  Variously known as King Ohodo,  Odo no Mikoto, Odo no Okimi, Hikofuto no Mikoto, Odo no Sumeramikoto, Odo no Okimi, he is believed to have reigned from 507 to 531 AD

 27 
Emperor Annei
(emperor)

Emperor Annei
2
Birthdate: 0577 BC
Died: 0510 BC

Largely regarded as the third legendary emperor of Japan, Emperor Annei, also known as Shikitsu-hiko Tamatemi, appears in the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki. However, the lack of any credible information regarding his life has made historians doubt his existence. He is though to be the son of Emperor Suizei.

 28 

Emperor Go-Toba
2
Birthdate: August 6, 1180
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Heian-kyō, Japan
Died: March 28, 1239

 29 
Emperor Itoku
(Emperor)

Emperor Itoku
2
Birthdate: 0553 BC
Died: 0477 BC

Mentioned in the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki, Emperor Itoku is regarded as the fourth legendary Emperor of Japan and the son of Emperor Annei. Also known as Ōyamatohikosukitomo no Mikoto, he was named Itoku-tennō, meaning "benign virtue," posthumously. A shrine in Kashihara is dedicated to him.

 30 

Emperor Seinei
2
Birthdate: 0444 AD
Birthplace: Japan
Died: January 16, 0484

 31 

Emperor Sutoku
1
Birthdate: July 7, 1119
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
Died: September 14, 1164

 32 
Emperor Go-Sai
(Emperor , Sovereign)

Emperor Go-Sai
1
Birthdate: January 1, 1638
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
Died: March 22, 1685

 33 

Emperor Shōmu
1
Birthdate: 0701 AD
Birthplace: Yamato, Japan
Died: June 4, 0756

 34 

Emperor Go-Nara
1
Birthdate: January 26, 1495
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Japan
Died: September 27, 1557

 35 
Emperor Kaika
(Emperor)

Emperor Kaika
1
Birthdate: 0208 BC
Birthplace: Japan
Died: 0098 BC

 36 

Emperor Go-Shirakawa
1
Birthdate: October 18, 1127
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Kyoto, Japan
Died: April 26, 1192

 37 

Emperor Reigen
2
Birthdate: July 9, 1654
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Japan
Died: September 24, 1732

 38 
Emperor Seiwa
(Emperor)

Emperor Seiwa
1
Birthdate: May 10, 0850
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Heian-kyō, Japan
Died: January 7, 0881

 39 
Emperor Saga
(52nd emperor of Japan)

Emperor Saga
1
Birthdate: October 3, 0784
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Japan
Died: August 24, 0842

 40 
Emperor Seimu
(Emperor)

Emperor Seimu
1
Birthdate: 0083 AD
Birthplace: Japan
Died: June 11, 0190

 41 
Emperor Bidatsu
(Monarch, Emperor)

Emperor Bidatsu
1
Birthdate: 0538 AD
Birthplace: Japan
Died: September 14, 0585

 42 
Emperor Go-Komatsu
(Emperor , Sovereign)

Emperor Go-Komatsu
1
Birthdate: August 1, 1377
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Japan
Died: December 1, 1433

 43 
Emperor Jomei
(Emperor)

Emperor Jomei
1
Birthdate: April 17, 0593
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Japan
Died: November 17, 0641

 44 

Emperor Go-Kashiwabara
1
Birthdate: November 19, 1462
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Japan
Died: May 19, 1526

 45 
Emperor Go-Tsuchimikado
(Emperor ,Sovereign)

Emperor Go-Tsuchimikado
1
Birthdate: July 3, 1442
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Japan
Died: October 21, 1500

 46 
Emperor Go-Hanazono
(Emperor , Sovereign)

Emperor Go-Hanazono
1
Birthdate: July 10, 1419
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Japan
Died: January 18, 1471

 47 
Emperor Toba
(Emperor)

Emperor Toba
1
Birthdate: February 24, 1103
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Japan
Died: July 20, 1156

 48 
Emperor Senka
(Emperor)

Emperor Senka
1
Birthdate: 0467 AD
Birthplace: Japan
Died: March 15, 0539

 49 
Emperor Shirakawa
(Emperor of Japan)

Emperor Shirakawa
1
Birthdate: July 7, 1053
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kyoto, Kyoto, Japan
Died: July 24, 1129

 50 

Emperor Takakura
1
Birthdate: September 20, 1161
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Japan
Died: January 30, 1181