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Shuchō (朱鳥), alternatively read as Suchō or Akamitori, was a Japanese era name (年号, nengō, "year name") after a gap following Hakuchi (650–654) and before another gap lasting until Taihō (701–704). This Shuchō period briefly spanned a period of mere months, June through September 686.[1] The reigning sovereigns were Tenmu-tennō (天武天皇) and Jitō-tennō (持統天皇).[2]


In 686, also known as Shuchō gannen (朱鳥元年), the new era name referred to the red bird of the south, which was one of the Chinese directional animals.[3] The nengō did not survive Emperor Tenmu's death. The era ended with the accession of Temmu's successor, Empress Jitō.


Timelines of early Japanese nengō and Imperial reign dates
Emperor MommuEmpress JitōEmperor TemmuEmperor KōbunEmperor TenjiEmpress SaimeiEmperor KōtokuKeiunTaihō (era)ShuchōHakuchi (era)Taika (era)Empress GemmeiEmpress Kōgyoku

The system of Japanese era names was not the same as Imperial reign dates.

Events of the Shuchō era[edit]

  • 686 (Shuchō 1, 9th day of the 9th month): Emperor Tenmu dies[4]
  • 686 (Shuchō 1, 2nd day of the 10th month): rebellion of Prince Ōtsu discovered; he and conspirators are arrested[4]
  • 686 (Shuchō 1, 3rd day of the 10th month): Prince Ōtsu commits suicide[4]
  • 686 (Shuchō 1, 16th day of the 11th month): Princess Ōku, Prince Ōtsu's sister, is removed from position at Ise Shrine[5]
  • 686 (Shuchō 1, 17th day of the 11th month): earthquake[5]


  1. ^ Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Shuchō" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 889, p. 889, at Google Books; n.b., Louis-Frédéric is pseudonym of Louis-Frédéric Nussbaum, see Deutsche Nationalbibliothek Authority File Archived 2012-05-24 at
  2. ^ Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du japon, pp. 58–59; Brown, Delmer et al. (1979). Gukanshō, pp. 268–269.
  3. ^ Bender, Ross. (2009). "The Suppression of the Tachibana Naramaro Conspiracy," Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 37/2:223–245; compare mirrored full-text; retrieved 2012-10-23.
  4. ^ a b c Hioki (2007:195)
  5. ^ a b Hioki (2007:196)


  • Brown, Delmer M. and Ichirō Ishida, eds. (1979). Gukanshō: The Future and the Past. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-03460-0; OCLC 251325323
  • Hioki, Eigō. (2007). Chronology of New National History, Vol. 1 (新・国史大年表. 第1卷, Shin kokushi dainenpyō. dai 1 kan). Tōkyō: Kokusho Kankōkai. ISBN 9784336048264 ISBN 4336048266; OCLC 676118585
  • Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric and Käthe Roth. (2005). Japan encyclopedia. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-01753-5; OCLC 58053128
  • Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Nihon Ōdai Ichiran; ou, Annales des empereurs du Japon. Paris: Royal Asiatic Society, Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland. OCLC 5850691
  • Varley, H. Paul. (1980). A Chronicle of Gods and Sovereigns: Jinnō Shōtōki of Kitabatake Chikafusa. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 9780231049405; OCLC 6042764

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Era or nengō

Succeeded by
Preceded by
Kōbun period
Imperial reign dates
Tenmu period

Succeeded by
Jitō period