660 BC – current times
Japan’s imperial family traces its descendants from Jimmu, circa 660 BC. The list shows Japan’s ruling Emperors, eight ruling Empresses, as well as the six Emperors of the Northern Court (北朝 hokuchō, also known as the “Ashikaga Pretenders” or “Northern Pretenders”, pretending to the throne of Japan during the Nanboku-chō period from 1336 through 1392; the present Japanese imperial family is a descendant of the Northern Court Emperors) from Jimmu 660 BC to Emperor Akihito in 2012.

In Japan, the emperor is never referred to by his given name, but instead is referred to as “His Imperial Majesty the Emperor”, shortened to “His Imperial Majesty” (陛下 Heika).

In the history of Japan, Empress Go-Sakuramachi (1740-1813) was the last of eight women to take on the role of empress regnant. The seven female monarchs who reigned before Go-Sakuramachi were Suiko, Kōgyoku/Saimei, Jitō, Gemmei, Genshō, Kōken/Shōtoku, and Meishō. They are indicated in the list below by the abbreviation “Empr”.

List of Emperors Past and Present:

Japanese emperors were, and are known by the name, or names of their reigns. If the name of the Emperor in column one of the list is known, it is given. In the case of the present Emperor Akihito and his predecessor, Hirohito, the names of their reigns are given. In the list below, the dates are first the date or year assumed duties of Emperor, second is the date of coronation if different from the first date (shown in parentheses), and third is the date or year of the end of the reign.

The Emperor Today
The reigning Emperor Akihito (明仁) is the 125th emperor of his line according to Japan’s traditional order of succession. His reign is called Heisei (平成), meaning “the achievement of complete peace on earth and in the heavens”.



NAME (Reign) REIGN BEGAN (coronation) REIGN ENDED

Emperor Akihito (明仁)(Heisei 平成) 1989 - (1990) present
Shōwa (昭和天皇 Shōwa tennō) 1926 - (1928) 1989
Taishō (大正天皇 Taishō-tennō) 1912 - (1915) 1926
Meiji (明治天皇 Meiji-tennō) 1866 - (1868) 1912
------------ Edo Period 江戸時代 Edo jidai (1603–1868) --------------
Meiji (明治天皇 Meiji-tennō) 1866 - (1868) 1912
Kōmei (孝明天皇 Kōmei-tennō) 1847 1866
Ninkō (仁孝天皇 Ninkō-tennō) 1817 1846
Kōkaku (光格天皇 Kōkaku-tennō) 1780 1817
Go-Momozono (後桃園天皇 Go-Momozono-tennō) 1771 1779
Empr. Go-Sakuramachi (後桜町天皇 Go-Sakuramachi-tennō) 1763 1770
Momozono (桃園天皇 Momozono-tennō) 1747 1762
Sakuramachi (桜町天皇 Sakuramachi-tennō) 1735 1747
Nakamikado (中御門天皇 Nakamikado-tennō) 1710 1735
Higashiyama (東山天皇 Higashiyama-tennō) 1687 1709
Reigen (霊元天皇 Reigen-tennō) 1663 1687
Go-Sai (後西天皇 Go-Sai-tennō) 1656 1663
Go-Kōmyō (後光明天皇 Go-Kōmyō-tennō) 1643 1654
Empr. Meishō (明正天皇 Meishō-tennō) 1630 1643
Go-Mizunoo (後水尾天皇 Go-Mizunoo-tennō) 1611 1629
Go-Yōzei (後陽成天皇 Go-Yōzei-tennō) 1586 1611
- Azuchi-Momoyama period 安土桃山時代 Azuchi-Momoyama jidai (1573–1603)-
Go-Yōzei (後陽成天皇 Go-Yōzei-tennō) 1586 1611
Ōgimachi (正親町天皇 Ōgimachi-tennō) 1557 1586
-------- Muromachi period 室町時代 Muromachi jidai (1336–1571) -------
Ōgimachi (正親町天皇 Ōgimachi-tennō) 1557 1586
Go-Nara (後奈良天皇 Go-Nara-tennō) 1526 1557
Go-Kashiwabara (後柏原天皇 Go-Kashiwabara-tennō) 1500 1526
Go-Tsuchimikado (後土御門天皇 Go-tsuchimikado-tennō) 1465 1500
Go-Hanazono (後花園天皇 Go-Hanazono-tennō) 1428 1464
Shōkō (称光天皇 Shōkō-tennō) 1412 (1414) 1428
Go-Komatsu (後小松天皇 Go-Komatsu-tennō) 1392 1412
Go-Kameyama (後亀山天皇 Go-Kameyama Tennō) 1383 1392
Chōkei (長慶天皇 Chōkei-tennō) 1368 (?) 1383
Go-Murakami (後村上天皇 Go-Murakami-tennō) 1339 (?) 1368
----------- Northern Court 北朝 Hokuchō (1333–1392) -----------------
Go-Komatsu (後小松天皇 Go-Komatsu-tennō) 1382 1392
Go-En'yū (後円融天皇 Go-En'yū-tennō) 1371 1382
Go-Kōgon (後光厳天皇 Go-Kōgon-tennō) 1352 1371
Sukō (崇光天皇 Sukō Tennō) 1348 1351
Kōmyō (光明天皇 Kōmyō Tennō) 1336 1348
Kōgon (光厳天皇 Kōgon-tennō) 1332 1334
----------- Kamakura Period 平安時代 Heian jidai (1185–1333) ---------
Go-Daigo (後醍醐天皇 Go-Daigo-tennō) 1318 1339
Hanazono (花園天皇 Hanazono-tennō) 1308 1318
Go-Nijō (後二条天皇 Go-Nijō-tennō) 1301 1308
Go-Fushimi (後伏見天皇 Go-Fushimi-tennō) 1298 1301
Fushimi (伏見天皇 Fushimi-tennō) ~1288 1298
Go-Uda (後宇多天皇 Go-Uda-tennō) 1274 1287
Kameyama (亀山天皇 Kameyama-tennō) 1259 1274
Go-Fukakusa (後深草天皇 Go-Fukakusa-tennō) 1246 1259
Go-Saga (後嵯峨天皇 Go-Saga-tennō) 1242 1246
Shijō (四条天皇 Shijō-tennō) 1232 1242
Go-Horikawa (後堀河天皇 Go-Horikawa-tennō) 1221 1232
Chūkyō (仲恭天皇 Chūkyō-tennō) 1221 1221
Juntoku (順徳天皇 Juntoku-tennō) 1210 1221
Tsuchimikado (土御門天皇 Tsuchimikado-tennō) 1198 1210
Go-Toba (後鳥羽天皇 Go-Toba-tennō) 1183 (1184) 1198
--------- Heian Period 鎌倉時代 Kamakura jidai (794–1185) -----------
Antoku (安徳天皇 Antoku-tennō) 1180 1183
Takakura (高倉天皇 Takakura-tennō) 1168 1180
Rokujō (六条天皇 Rokujō-tennō) 1165 1168
Nijō (二条天皇 Nijō-tennō) 1158 1165
Go-Shirakawa (後白河天皇 Go-Shirakawa-tennō) 1155 1158
Konoe (近衛天皇 Konoe-tennō) 1141 1155
Sutoku (崇徳天皇 Sutoku-tennō) 1123 1141
Toba (鳥羽天皇 Toba-tennō) 1107 1123
Horikawa (堀河天皇 Horikawa-tennō) 1086 1107
Shirakawa (白河天皇 Shirakawa-tennō) 1072 1086
Go-Sanjō (後三条天皇 Go-Sanjō-tennō) 1068 1072
Go-Reizei (後冷泉天皇 Go-Reizei-tennō) 1045 1068
Go-Suzaku (後朱雀天皇 Go-Suzaku-tennō) 1036 1045
Go-Ichijō (後一条天皇 Go-Ichijō-tennō) 1016 1036
Sanjō (三条天皇 Sanjō-tennō) 1011 1016
Ichijō (一条天皇 Ichijō-tennō) 986 1011
Kazan (花山天皇 Kazan-tennō) 984 986
En'yū (円融天皇 En'yū-tennō) 969 984
Reizei (冷泉天皇 Reizei-tennō) 967 969
Murakami (村上天皇 Murakami-tennō) 946 967
Suzaku (朱雀天皇 Suzaku-tennō) 930 946
Daigo (醍醐天皇 Daigo-tennō) 897 930
Uda (宇多天皇 Uda-tennō) 887 897
Kōkō (光孝天皇 Kōkō-tennō) 884 887
Yōzei (陽成天皇 Yōzei-tennō) 876 (877) 884
Seiwa (清和天皇 Seiwa-tennō) 858 876
Montoku (文徳天皇 Montoku-tennō) 850 858
Ninmyō (仁明天皇 Ninmyō-tennō) 833 850
Junna (淳和天皇 Junna-tennō) 823 833
Saga (嵯峨天皇 Saga-tennō) 809 823
Heizei (平城天皇 Heizei-tennō) 806 809
----------- Nara Period 奈良時代 Nara jidai 710–794) -------------
Kammu (桓武天皇 Kanmu-tennō) 781 806
Kōnin (光仁天皇 Kōnin-tennō) 770 781
Empr. Shōtoku (称徳天皇 Shōtoku-tennō) 764 770
Junnin (淳仁天皇 Junnin-tennō) 758 764
Empr. Kōken (孝謙天皇 Kōken-tennō) 749 758
Shōmu (聖武天皇 (Shōmu-tennō) 724 749
Empr. Genshō (元正天皇 Genshō-tennō) 715 724
----------- Asuka Period 飛鳥時代 Asuka jidai (592–710)-------------
Empr. Gemmei (元明天皇 Gemmei-tennō) 707 715
Mommu (文武天皇 Monmu-tennō) 697 707
Empr. Jitō (持統天皇 Jitō-tennō) ~690 697
Temmu (天武天皇 Tenmu-tennō) ~673 686
Kōbun (弘文天皇 Kōbun-tennō) 671 672
Tenji (天智天皇 Tenji-tennō) ~662 671
Empr. Saimei (斉明天皇 Saimei-tennō) ~655 661
Kōtoku (孝徳天皇 Kōtoku-tennō) 645 654
Empr. Kōgyoku (皇極天皇 Kōgyoku-tennō) ~642 645
Jomei (舒明天皇 Jomei-tennō) ~629 641
Empr. Suiko (推古天皇 Suiko-tennō) 592 628
Sushun (崇峻天皇 Sushun-tennō) 587 592
Yōmei (用明天皇 Yōmei-tennō) 585 587
Bidatsu (敏達天皇 Bidatsu-tennō) ~572 585
Kimmei (欽明天皇 Kinmei-tennō) 539 571
---------------- Kofun Period 古墳時代 Kofun jidai) -----------------
Senka (宣化天皇 Senka-tennō) 535 539
Ankan (安閑天皇 Ankan-tennō) 531 535
Keitai (継体天皇 Keitai-tennō) ~507 531
Buretsu (武烈天皇 Buretsu-tennō) 498 506
Ninken (仁賢天皇 Ninken-tennō) ~488 498
Kenzō (顕宗天皇 Kenzō-tennō) ~485 487
Seinei (清寧天皇 Seinei-tennō) ~480 484
Yūryaku (雄略天皇 Yūryaku-tennō) 456 479
Ankō (安康天皇 Ankō-tennō) 453 456
Ingyō (允恭天皇 Ingyō-tennō) ~412 453
Hanzei (反正天皇 Hanzei-tennō) ~406 410
Richū (履中天皇 Richū-tennō) ~400 405
Nintoku (仁徳天皇 Nintoku-tennō) ~313 399
Ōjin (応神天皇 Ōjin-tennō) ~270 310
----------------------- Legendary Emperors ------------------------
Chūai (仲哀天皇 Chūai-tennō) ~192 210
---- Empr. Jingu Kogo Jingū (神功天皇 Jingū tennō) 201 - 269 (regent)
Seimu (成務天皇 Seimu-tennō) ~130 190
Keikō (景行天皇, Keikō-tennō) ~71 130
Suinin (垂仁天皇 Suinin-tennō) 29 BC 70 AD
Sujin (崇神天皇 Sujin-tennō) ~97 30
Kaika (開化天皇 Kaika-tennō) 158 98
Kōgen (孝元天皇 Kōgen-tennō) 214 158
Kōrei (孝霊天皇 Kōrei-tennō) 290 215
Kōan (孝安天皇 Kōan-tennō) 392 291
Kōshō (孝昭天皇, Kōshō-tennō) 475 393
Itoku (懿徳天皇 Itoku-tennō) 510 477
Annei (安寧天皇 Annei-tennō) 549 511
Suizei(綏靖天皇 Suizei-tennō) 581 549
Jimmu (神武天皇 Jinmu-tennō) ~660 585 BC


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