Emperor Kobun (弘文天皇)

Emperor Kobun (648 - August 24, 672) was the 39th emperor (the period of reign: January 12, 672 -August 24, 672). His real name is Otomo or Iga.

Summary

He was the first Prince of Emperor Tenchi. His mother was IGA no Uneme Yakako no Iratsume.

His lawful wife was Tochi no Himemiko (also known as Toichi no Himemiko) (a daughter of Emperor Tenmu).
Kadono no Okimi
He was the ancestor of OUMI no Mahito Ason (Later known as OUMI no Mifune). Wife: Mimi Motoji (also known as Mimimono Toji) (a daughter of FUJIWARA no Kamatari).
Ichishihime no Okimi
Her mother is unknown. Yota no Okimi (a legendary person). It is said that he desired to build Enjo-ji temple.

His brothers and sisters by different mothers. His brothers and sisters are listed according to the description, such as the first Prince and the second Prince. However, since such descriptions sometimes imply their ranks, the lists might not be arranged exactly in order of their actual birth year.

His brothers: Prince Takeru, Prince Kawashima, and Prince Shiki. His sisters: Princess Ota, Princess UNO no Sarara (Later known as Empress Jito), Princess Nitabe, and Princess Oe (Their husband: Emperor Tenmu); Princess Asuka (her husband: Prince Osakabe); Princess Minabe (her husband: Prince Takechi); Princess Ahe (Later known as Empress Genmei, her husband: Prince Kusakabe); Princess Yamanobe (her husband: Prince Otsu); Princess Izumi; and Princess Minushi.

Theory on the enthronement of Emperor Kobun.

According to "Nihonshoki" (Chronicles of Japan), Emperor Tenchi nominated his own younger brother, Prince Oama, to Togu (the Crown Prince); however, having doted so much on his own son, Emperor Tenchi broke the promise with his brother and appointed his son, Prince Otomo, to the Crown Prince.
However, according to a collection of Chinese poetry "Kaifuso" (Fond Recollections of Poetry), and "Manyoshu" (Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves), 'his father, Emperor Tenchi, decided that Prince Otomo ought to be the formal Crown Prince.'
Some theories support this.

In 671, four years after his father, Emperor Tenchi, was enthroned in 668, Prince Otomo became the Grand Minister and supported the government affairs. According to the entry in the "Nihonshoki" in the Eleventh Month of the Tenth Year of Emperor Tenchi, "Prince Otomo promised to obey the 'Imperial Edict' in front of '織物仏' placed in the west edifice in the palace with five other high officials: SOGA no Akaeomi who was the Sadaijin (the Minister of the Left), NAKATOMI no Kanenomuraji who was the Udaijin (the Minister of Right), SOGA no Hatayasu, KOSE no Hitoomi, and KI no Ushinoomi."
Prince Otomo stood with an incense burner in his hand and vowed, saying 'Having the same spirit of faith, these six members promise to obey the imperial edict. If we break the promise, we'll be sure to be punished by heaven.'
After that, the five other members stood one by one with koro in their hands and promised to obey the imperial edict, following the prince.
If we break the promise, Shitenno (the Four Divas) will strike us.'"
The gods of heaven and earth will also punish us.'
Sanjusanten (the thirty-three inhabitants of heaven), be a witness of the following:'
Our descendants and family clans will be sure to die out and thus they vowed with tears in their eyes.'

According to the entry in the "Nihonshoki" in the Eleventh Month of the Tenth Year of Emperor Tenchi, "Prince Otomo promised to obey the 'Imperial Edict' in front of '織物仏' placed in the west edifice in the palace with five other high officials: SOGA no Akaeomi who was the Sadaijin (the Minister of the Left), NAKATOMI no Kanenomuraji who was the Udaijin (the Minister of Right), SOGA no Hatayasu, KOSE no Hitoomi, and KI no Ushinoomi." "Prince Otomo stood with an incense burner in his hand and vowed, saying 'Having the same spirit of faith, these six members promise to obey the imperial edict. If we break the promise, we'll be sure to be punished by heaven.' After that, the five other members stood one by one with koro in their hands and promised to obey the imperial edict, following the prince. They said, 'If we break the promise, Shitenno (the Four Divas) will strike us. The gods of heaven and earth will also punish us. Sanjusanten (the thirty-three inhabitants of heaven), be a witness of the following: our descendants and family clans will be sure to die out,' they thus vowed with tears in their eyes." It is not clearly known what was written in the "Imperial Edict" (Shochoku [imperial message]); however, it is thought that the edict appointed Prince Otomo to become the next emperor after the death of Emperor Tenchi.

Due to Prince Oama's rebellion (the Jinshin War), Prince Otomo's reign didn't last long. Until his posthumous title, Emperor Kobun, was given in 1870, he was not included in the list of Japanese emperors. Currently, there is another theory that states that although Emperor Kobun wasn't enthroned formally, he put Yamato hime no Okimi (The empress of Emperor Tenchi) on the throne and administered affairs of the nation as the Crown Prince.

As the examples of the emperors who governed the nation without holding an enthronement ceremony, there are Emperor Tenchi and Empress Jito. In the Nihonshoki, both Emperor Tenchi and Empress Jito are written as the real emperors during the period when they ruled the nation without holding an enthronement ceremony. It is considered that, Prince Otomo couldn't hold the ceremony related to the accession to the throne because he was defeated in the Jinshin War before the ceremony. We can guess that Prince Otomo was the "de facto emperor" during the period from the demise of Emperor Tenchi and the end of the Jinshin War.

Different theories and popular beliefs

There is a legend that after Prince Otomo was defeated in the Jinshin War, he secretly escaped to Togoku (the eastern part of Japan) with his princesses and children. Some historic sites related to Prince Otomo remain in Kanagawa Prefecture and Chiba Prefecture.