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.
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.
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.
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.
Queen Himiko was a shamaness-queen who reigned over Yamataikoku from 189 AD until her death in 248 AD. Over the years, Queen Himiko has been depicted in several graphic novels, anime, and video games across Japan. She is also depicted in video games as a tyrant or sorceress with sexually revealing clothing.
Empress Kōjun was an Empress consort of Japan. As the wife of Emperor Shōwa, Kōjun was one of the most important members of the Imperial House of Japan. She reigned as empress consort from 1926 to 1989, becoming the longest-serving empress consort in the history of Japan. Kōjun performed her ceremonial duties and accompanied Emperor Shōwa on his foreign tours.
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.
Empress Suiko reigned as the 33rd monarch of Japan from 593 to 628. Suiko is often recognized as the first of eight women to assume the role of empress regnant in Japan. Empress Suiko reigned until her death and she is venerated even today at a memorial Shinto shrine in Osaka.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Ashikaga Yoshiaki is remembered as the last shogun of the Ashikaga shogunate. He deposed his cousin, Ashikaga Yoshihide, the fourteenth shogun, to take over the as the next shogun. However, Yoshiaki was deposed by Oda Nobunaga and banished from Kyoto. He later became a Buddhist monk.