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A posthumous name is an honorary name given to royalty, nobles, and sometimes others, in East Asia after the person's death, and is used almost exclusively instead of one's personal name or other official titles which had been used during the person's life. The posthumous name is commonly used when naming royalty of China, Korea, Vietnam, Japan, and Thailand.
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Posthumous names in China and Vietnam were also given to honor the lifetime accomplishments of many people who did not have hereditary titles – for example, to courtiers and military generals.
The posthumous name consists of one or more adjectives inserted before the ruler's current title. As rulers from different states might share the same posthumous name, but rulers within a state would usually not repeat an already used name, the name of the state or domain is usually also given to avoid ambiguity. In Chinese the whole construct is therefore "[state][adjective][title]", which in English is typically translated as "[title][adjective] of [state]", such as King Wen of Zhou, Duke Mu of Qin, and King Cheng of Chu. The literal meaning of the adjective is normally not translated.
While the names of living Chinese can be just about any combination of characters, the posthumous name was chosen from a rather small pool of stock characters; the literal meaning of which eroded as a result.
Archaeological discoveries have shown that early kings of the Zhou dynasty, such as King Wen and King Wu, used "posthumous names" during their lifetime, but later they became chosen by successors after the ruler's death. As a result, final rulers of states and rulers seen as illegitimate (such as usurpers) often do not have posthumous names and are referred to by their personal names, e.g. Jian, King of Qi; Min, Marquis of Jin; and Chen Tuo.
The use of posthumous names was stopped in the Qin Dynasty, because Qin Shi Huang proclaimed that it is disrespectful for the descendants, or "later emperors" to judge their elders, or the "prior emperors" (先帝). The practice was revived in the Han Dynasty after the demise of Qin.
Decline in useEdit
Posthumous names are the conventional way of referring to rulers from the Zhou dynasty to the Sui dynasty. In the Zhou dynasty the posthumous name was usually only one character, such as "Wen" (cultured) or "Wu" (martial). However, as time went on rulers began to add more and more characters to the posthumous names of their ancestors. By the time of the first emperor of Tang the length had grown to 7 characters, which was taxing to pronounce or write. Therefore, emperors from Tang on are commonly referred to by either their temple name (Tang through Yuan dynasties) or era name (Ming and Qing dynasties), both of which are always just two characters long and therefore easy to remember and use.
Posthumous names commonly made tracing linear genealogies simpler and kept a bloodline apparent. The rule was also followed by non-Han Chinese rulers of Sixteen Kingdoms, Silla, Japan, Kingdom of Nanzhao, Liao dynasty, Vietnam, Western Xia, Jin dynasty, Yuan dynasty and Qing dynasty. King names of Hồng Bàng dynasty and Mahan also followed the rule but they are thought to be later work.
Most monarchs inherited the throne and did not give bad posthumous names to the previous monarch. Some names were lengthened or changed by later monarchs. Emperor Aizong of Jin and Chongzhen Emperor had different names from different people. Qin Hui, of the Song dynasty, had a good name, was given a bad one, and had the good name later restored. After the Song dynasty few received bad names. Bad monarchs of the Joseon dynasty did not receive posthumous names.
Emperors of China continued to receive posthumous names of increasing length as a matter of ritual long after the naming convention had been abandoned in casual speech and writing. The Guangxu Emperor, who died in 1908 and was the last emperor to receive a posthumous name, sports the impressive 21-character title of "Emperor Tongtian Chongyun Dazhong Zhizheng Jingwen Weiwu Renxiao Ruizhi Duanjian Kuanqin Jing of Qing".
Use of posthumous names ceased in China with the aforementioned Guangxu Emperor, in Vietnam with the Khải Định Emperor (died 1925) and in Korea with the Yunghui Emperor (died 1926). However, in Korea unofficial posthumous names were given to Crown Prince Euimin and Gu, Prince Imperial Hoeun.
Contemporary Japanese useEdit
Posthumous names are in use to this day in Japan. A deceased emperor is given a posthumous name, which beginning with Emperor Meiji (d.1912) is identical to his era name and therefore always two characters long. The most recently conferred posthumous name is that of Emperor Shōwa (d.1989).
A non-royal deceased person may be given a posthumous Buddhist name known as kaimyō, but is in practice still referred to by the living name.
Posthumous names can be praises (褒字) or deprecations (貶字). There are more praises than deprecations, so posthumous names are also commonly called respectful names (尊號 zūnhào) in Chinese. Sima Qian's Records of the Grand Historian outlines extensively the rules behind choosing the names. Some of those guidelines:
- Praises (上谥; shang shi)
- Those having persistent and reasonable governance (剛強直理) are called "Martial" (武 wǔ). (This is one of the most honourable names.)
- Those who sympathize with the people and recognize their needs (愍民惠禮) are called "Civil" (文 wén). (This is one of the most honourable names.)
- Those who respect the talented and value righteousness (尊賢貴義) are called "Reverent" (恭 gòng).
- Those who are kind and benevolent in nature (溫柔賢善) are called "Benign" (懿 yì).
- Those who aid the people out of righteousness (由義而濟) are called "Admirable" (景 jǐng).
- Those who treat the people compassionately with a gentle quality (柔質慈民) are called "Kind" (惠 huì).
- Those who eliminate destructions and purge cruelty (除殘去虐) are called "Tang" (湯 tāng). Possibly named after the revered ruler Cheng Tang (成湯), the founder of the Shang Dynasty.
- Those who make the people feel satisfied with their policies (安民立政) are called "Constructive" (成 chéng). Again, possibly named after Cheng Tang.
- Those who are considerate and far-sighted (果慮果遠) are called "Brilliant" (明 míng).
- Those who preach their virtue and righteousness to the people (布德執義) are called "Majestic" (穆 mù).
- Those who are aggressive to expand their realm (辟土服遠) are called "Exploratory" (桓 huán).
- Those who are harmonious and don't stir up conflicts (好和不争) are called "Calm" (安 ān).
- Those who choose what is good (择善而从) are called "Collaborative" (比 bǐ).
- Those who are veritable and disperse kindness (实心施惠) are called "Sincere" (诚 chéng).
- Those who can nurture subordinates (能修其官) are called "Sublime" (崇 chóng).
- Those who are upright and concise (中正精粹) are called "Pure" (纯 chún).
- Those who treat people as own children (视民如子) are called "Merciful" (慈 cí).
- Those who understand the sense of words (声入心通) are called "Intelligent" (聪 cōng).
- Those who are truthful and righteous (质直好义) are called "Influential" (达 dá).
- Those who enforce law following heavenly principles (则天法尧) are called "Great" (大 dā).
- Those who base their good governance on support and love of the people (爱民好治) are called "Supportive" (戴 dài).
- Those who bring prosperity to people because of morality (以德化民) are called "Following" (道 dào).
- Those whose accomplishments are useful to people (功成民用) are called "Virtuous" (德 dé).
- Those who largely contributed to country's stability (以劳国定) are called "Stable" (定 dìng).
- Those who make long-lasting and firm law (创制垂法) are called "Open-minded" (度 dù).
- Those who insist in righteousness in observing rites (守礼执义) are called "Upright" (端 duān).
- Those who are kind, loyal and generous (温仁忠厚) are called "Earnest" (敦 dūn).
- Those who have determination to achieve success (强毅果敢) are called "Firm" (刚 gāng).
- Those who display their intelligence in the progress (献敏成行) are called "Developing" (革 gé).
- Those who are acknowledged with needs of people (立志及众) are called "Fair" (公 gōng).
- Those who set merits as standard (功格上下) are called "Glorious" (光 guāng).
- Those who preserve culture for the future (美化及远) are called "Extensive" (广 guǎng).
- Those who are brave and strong (好力致勇) are called "Productive" (果 guǒ).
- Those who assemble kindness in their rule (综善典法) are called "Bright" (皜 hào).
- Those who are neither strict nor pliant (不刚不柔) are called "Harmonious" (和 hé).
- Those who are considerate, not indecisive (思虑不爽) are called "Generous" (厚 hòu).
- Those who died in full vigour (弥年寿考) are called “Senior" (胡 hú).
- Those who uphold high moral standarts (元德充美) are called ”Fine" (徽 huī).
- Those who are kind and reverent (德性温恭) are called "Founding" (基 jī).
- Those who cultivate character without slacking off (一德不懈) are called "Moderate" (简 jiǎn).
- Those who are ingenious and open-minded (巧尔好度) are called "Ambitious" (节 jié).
- Those who are careful and reverent (小心恭事) are called "Respectful" (敬 jìng).
- Those who consolidate the people (柔德安众) are called "Tranquil" (靖 jìng).
- Those who trust the supreme principle (信道轻仕) are called "Opening" (开 kāi).
- Those who are peaceful and identify themselves with the people (合民安乐) are called "Wealthy" (康 kāng).
- Those who are thoughtful and ambitious (大虑行节) are called "Considerate" (考 kǎo).
- Those who treat people with kindness during interrogation (爱民在刑) are called "Competent" (克 kè).
- Those who wield and authority due to the propriety and strictiness (威仪端俨) are called "Scurpulous" (恪 kè).
- Those who equally treat people (御众不近) are called "Lenient" (宽 kuān).
- Those who are chaste and open-minded (贞心大度) are called "Upright" (匡 kuāng).
- Those who keep their word (审音知化) are called "Broad-minded" (旷 kuàng).
- Those who rule in a diligent way and put aside private interest (勤政无私) are called "Distinguished" (类 lèi).
- Those who are reverent, moderate and open-minded (恭俭合度) are called "Well-mannered" (礼 lǐ).
- Those who are talented managers and interrogators (才理审谛) are called "Reasonable" (理 lǐ).
- Those who govern in a merciful way and cultivate virtue (理顺习善) are called "Kind-hearted" (良 liáng).
- Those whose merits satisfy people (有功安民) are called "Ardent" (烈 liè).
- Those who are considerate and act prudently (思虑详审) are called "Intimate" (密 mì).
- Those who set a merit in one case (应事有功) are called "Intelligent" (敏 mǐn).
- Those whose prosperity benefits people (裕以安民) are called "Compassionate" (宁 níng).
- Those who can put down the turmoil (克定祸乱) are called "Peaceful" (平 píng).
- Those who pursue uprightness and keep dignity (执正克庄) are called "Deferential" (齐 qí).
- Those who rule without murdering people (治典不杀) are called "Ample" (祁 qí).
- Those who admire works of art (博物多爱) are called "Ascending" (迁 qiān). Named after Sima Qian
- Those who keep the sovereignty without relying on anybody else (中立不倚) are called "Extensive" (强 qiáng).
- Those who are competent, prudent and shrewd (克慎成宪) are called "Admirable" (钦 qīn).
- Those who work until the deep night (夙夜匪懈) are called "Dilligent" (勤 qín).
- Those who forgo egoism (洁己自爱) are called "Impeccable" (清 qīng).
- Those who are clever and prudent (敏以敬慎) are called "Adorable" (顷 qǐng).
- Those who are sincere and impartial (诚心中孚) are called "Honest" (悫 què).
- Those who pursue virtue and restrain themselves from resentment (执德不惑) are called "Truthful" (确 què).
- Those who are tolerant by temperament (德性宽柔) are called "Yielding" (让 ràng).
- Those who prioritize charity (慈心为质) are called "Benevolent" (仁 rén).
- Those who are favoured and recognisable (宠禄光大) are called "Honourable" (荣 róng).
- Those who are plentiful and kind (宽裕温柔) are called "Tolerant" (容 róng).
- Those who are obedient, virtuous and chaste (顺德丽贞) are called "Conciliatory" (柔 róu).
- Those who have deep thought and are far-sighted (深思远虑) are called "Perspicacious" (睿 ruì).
- Those whose merits bring peace to people (昭功宁民) are called "Consulting" (商 shāng).
- Those who neglect the future in order to ascend to the throne (疏远继位) are called "Continuous" (绍 shào).
- Those who are profoundly sincere by nature (秉心塞渊) are called "Deep" (深 shēn).
- Those who rule in a peaceful and benevolent way (安仁立政) are called "Divine" (神 shén). (This is one of the highest praises.)
- Those who are careful and competent (小心克勤) are called "Prudent" (慎 shèn).
- Those who follow the Way so as to bring prosperity to people (行道化民) are called "Sage" (圣 shèng). (This is one of the highest praises).
- Those who are tolerant, righteous and respect the beauty (容仪恭美) are called "Capable" (胜 shèng).
- Those who issue decrees without changing them (承命不迁) are called "Perpetual" (世 shì).
- Those who are benevolent and embrace uprighness (温仁咸仰) are called "Charming" (淑 shū).
- Those who are merciful and unite people (慈仁和民) are called "Obedient" (顺 shùn).
- Those who are benevolent, sagacious and rise consciousness (仁圣盛明) are called "Instant" (舜 shùn). Named after the legendary Emperor Shun.
- Those who uphold high moral standards and are pure (道德纯一) are called "Thoughtful" (思 sī).
- Those who are firm and competent (刚德克就) are called ”Serious" (肃 sù).
- Those who make the rites more common and conceal the joy (达礼蔽乐) are called "Modest" (素 sù).
- Those who are able to begin the new era (克启行禩) are called "Highest" (太 tài). This praise was exclusively reserved for the founders of dynasties and their first successors.
- Those who observe the etiquette and soothe people's fears (循礼安舒) are called "Exalted" (泰 tài).
- Those who raise issues and are distinguished (事起而辨) are called "Understanding" (通 tōng).
- Those who trust the righteous and have resolute character (强毅信正) are called "Powerful" (威 wēi).
- Those who are benevolent and well-mannered (德性宽柔) are called "Tender" (温 wēn).
- Those who respect the virtuous and are intelligent (敬德光明) are called "Splendid" (熙 xī).
- Those who are reverent and prudent (恭慎无过) are called "Precarious" (僖 xī).
- Those who are benevolent and unite with the Way (仁义合道) are called "Worthy" (贤 xián).
- Those who are admired due to virtue and proclaim the clarity (德美宣昭) are called "Conspicious" (显 xiǎn).
- Those who reward the kind and punish the evil (赏善罚恶) are called "Fair" (宪 xiàn).
- Those who are intelligent and perspicatious (聪明睿智) are called "Wise" (献 xiàn).
- Those who set the merit during the war (甲胄有劳) are called "Helpful" (襄 xiāng).
- Those whose frugality is widely known (简易多闻) are called "Thorough" (向 xiàng).
- Those who are kind and love their relatives (慈惠爱亲) are called "Filial" (孝 xiào).
- Those who make decisions in a meticulous and benevolent way (周仁承命) are called "Veritable" (信 xìn).
- Those who are diligent in lifelong learning (勤其世业) are called "Nurtured" (修 xiū).
- Those who can preach impeccable virtues (能布令德) are called "Proclaiming" (宣 xuān).
- Those who are amiable and kind (谦和善让) are called "Humble" (逊 xùn).
- Those who assist the kind in manifesting the wisdom (翼善传圣) are called “Lofty" (尧 yáo). Named after the legendary ruler of ancient China, Emperor Yao.
- Those who are kind and obey the law (善行足法) are called "Suitable" (仪 yí).
- Those who are benevolent and able to issue the orders (仁能制命) are called "Righteous" (义 yì).
- Those who are kind-hearted, loyal and generous (温仁忠厚) are called "Resolute" (毅 yì).
- Those whose thought is profound (思虑深渊) are called "Supporting" (翼 yì).
- Those who promote the kindness so as to reverse the past mistakes (迁善改过) are called "Beneficial" (益 yì).
- Those whose virtues are brilliant and have talents (德华茂著) are called "Excellent" (英 yīng).
- Those who are reverent and well-mannered (恭俭好礼) are called "Exerting" (婴 yīng).
- Those who live reverently and follow modesty (居敬行简) are called "Harmonious" (雍 yōng).
- Those who die for the country out of virtue (率义死国) are called "Brave" (勇 yǒng).
- Those who maintain good relationship with brothers (睦于兄弟) are called "Sociable" (友 yǒu).
- Those who appear foolish but possess a knowledge and try to reach it (愚智适时) are called “Approving" (俞 yú).
- Those who accomplish a success during transition of power (受禅成功) are called "Perfect" (禹 yǔ). Named after the legendary founder of the Xia dynasty, Yu the Great.
- Those who wield an authority due to their virtue and are firm in a fight (威德刚武) are called "Well-governing" (圉 yǔ).
- Those who broaden their horizons and are acknowledged (强学好问) are called "Abundant" (裕 yù).
- Those who write the country's history and expound the excellence (状古述令) are called "Famous" (誉 yù).
- Those who are trustworthy by nature and profoundly tranquil (德信静深) are called "Profound" (渊 yuān).
- Those who are respected for benevolence and value the virtues (遵仁贵德) are called "Primary" (元 yuán).
- Those who are kind and able to exceed (温克令仪) are called "Manifesting" (章 zhāng).
- Those who are famous because of their virtues and have merits (昭德有功) are called "Illustrious" (昭 zhāo).
- Those whose knowledge is vast (明知深渊) are called "Wise" (哲 zhé).
- Those who are innocent and guard the integrity (清白守节) are called "Chaste" (贞 zhēn).
- Those who neither have any aspirations nor hide anything (不隐无藏) are called "Real" (真 zhēn).
- Those who receive submissions from entire land and abroad (内外宾服) are called "Right" (正 zhèng).
- Those who keep their word without deprivation (言行不邪) are called "Erect" (直 zhí).
- Those who are loyal and upright without being deprived (忠正不邪) are called "Qualified" (质 zhì).
- Those who enlighten the people (察言知人) are called "Knowledgeable" (智 zhì).
- Those who are not partial to both sights (刚柔不偏) are called "Middle" (中 zhōng).
- Those who place the interest of state above the family (虑国家忘) are called "Loyal" (忠 zhōng).
- Those who are wise and competent governors (睿圉克服) are called "Dignified" (庄 zhuāng).
- Those who are resolute in fight (武德刚毅) are called "Strong" (壮 zhuàng).
- "Highly (respected)" (高 gāo) is particularly reserved for the founders of dynasties.
- Deprecations (中号; zhong hao) or (下号; xia hao)
- Those who lived short lives without much accomplishment (短折不成) are called "Passed Away Prematurely" (殤 shāng).
- Those who have a constant twinge of depression (often due to political plights) during their governance (在國遭憂) are called "Pitiful" (愍 mǐn).
- Those who lose their spouses and pass away at their early age (蚤孤短折) are called "Lamentable" (哀 āi).
- Those who are obliged to make sacrifices to their ancestors (肆行勞祀) are called "Mournful" (悼 dào).
However, most of these qualifications are subjective, repetitive, and highly stereotypical; hence the names are chosen somewhat arbitrarily. Such names are usually given by court historians, according to their good deeds or the bad ones.
When combining an emperor's temple name and posthumous name, the temple name is placed first. For example, the Shunzhi Emperor whose full posthumous title would be "Shizu, the Emperor Zhang" (世祖章皇帝), combining his temple name and the last 3 of his posthumous name, which is the form most commonly seen in traditional documents. A fuller description of this naming convention for royalty appears in the Chinese sovereign entry. The posthumous names of some monarchs and royal members were long, for example Hongwu Emperor, Nurhaci, Crown Prince Hyomyeong, Sunjo of Joseon and Empress Dowager Cixi.
Some monarchs did not follow these guidelines. Some monarchs of Ju, Chu, and Qi used place names. Some monarchs of Yue (state) had Chinese transliterated posthumous names. Some monarchs of Goguryeo, Silla and Baekje had different style posthumous names. Some early Japanese monarchs also had Japanese-style posthumous names (和風諡号).
Monarchs and consortsEdit
All Chinese posthumous names for rulers end in one or two of the characters for "emperor", Huángdì (皇帝, i.e. Emperor), which can be shortened to Dì; except about a dozen or so less recognized ones who have had only Dì and no Huáng.
Starting with Emperor Xiaowen of Han (more commonly "Emperor Wen"), every single Han emperor, except the first one of the Eastern Han Dynasty, has the character of "filial" (孝 xiào) at the beginning of his posthumous names. "Filial" is also used in the full posthumous names of virtually all emperors and empresses of the Tang, Song, Ming and Qing Dynasties. For Qing emperors, 孝 xiào is placed in various position in the string of characters, while those Qing empresses who were given posthumous names, 孝 xiào is always initial.
The number of characters in posthumous names was increasing. The emperors of the Tang Dynasty have names in between seven and eighteen characters. Those in the Qing Dynasty have twenty-one characters. For instance, that of the Shunzhi Emperor was "The Emperor of Order who Observes the Heavenly Rituals with a Solemn Fate, Destined to Unify, Establishes with Extreme Talented Insights, Admires the Arts, Manifests the Might, with Great Virtue and Vast Achievement, Reaches Humanity, Purely Filial" (體天隆運定統建極英睿欽文顯武大德弘功至仁純孝章皇帝, Listen to pronunciation (help·info): tǐ tiān lóng yùn dìng tǒng jiàn jí yīng ruì qīn wén xiǎn wǔ dà dé hóng gōng zhì rén chún xiào zhāng huáng dì).
The woman with the longest posthumous name is Empress Dowager Cixi, who is "The Empress who is Admirably Filial, Initiates Kindness, with Blessed Health, Manifests Much Contentment, Solemn Sincerity, with Longevity, Provides Admiration Prosperously, Reveal Adoration, Prosperous with a Merry Heaven, with a Holy Appearance" (孝欽慈禧端佑康頤昭豫莊誠壽恭欽獻崇熙配天興聖顯皇后 xiào qīn cí xǐ duān yòu kāng yí zhāo yù zhuāng chéng shòu gōng qīn xiàn chóng xī pèi tiān xīng shèng xiǎn huáng hòu), or 孝欽顯皇后 for short.
Members of the ruling familyEdit
According to the noble system since the Zhou Dynasty, the immediate family members of the Emperor were given the titles of Kings (or Princes), Dukes, Earls, etc., with or without actual control over a region of land. After their death, they would be referred to by the same title, with the posthumous name (usually one character) inserted in the middle. The characters used are mostly the same ones used for emperors, with the same denotations as described above. For example, Prince Gong of the Qing Dynasty was posthumously named Zhong (忠), and thus is referred to as Prince Gongzhong (恭忠親王 Gongzhong qīnwáng); Prince Chun was posthumous named Xian (賢), hence is referred Prince Chunxian (醇賢親王 Chunxian qīnwáng). As for exception, the posthumous name could consist of more than one character. For example, Prince Shuncheng Lekdehun was posthumously honoured as "Prince Shuncheng Gonghui" (多罗顺承恭惠郡王). Prince Yi of the First Rank Yinxiang was granted a posthumous name consisting of 9 characters "Zhongjing chengzhi qinshen lianming xian" (忠敬诚直勤慎廉明贤).
It was also common for persons with no hereditary titles, especially accomplished scholar-officials or ministers, to be given posthumous names by the imperial court. The characters used are mostly the same ones used for emperors, with the same denotations as described above. The length, however, was restricted to one or two characters. The posthumous name is sometimes rendered canonization in English, for the scholar-official to Confucianism is analogous to the saint in the Catholic Church, though the process is not nearly as long. See List of Posthumous Names for some examples.
Confucius has been given long posthumous names in almost every major dynasty. One of the most commonly used was Zhìshèngxiānshī (至聖先師).
Sometimes a person is given a posthumous name not by the court, but by his own family or disciples. Such names are private posthumous names (Sīshì, 私諡). For example, Tao Qian was given Sishi Jìngjié (靖節).
In Korea, Goguryeo kings were mostly given posthumous names after their burial places, or in the case of Gwanggaeto, the name described his life. In Silla, every monarch was given the title of wang (왕, 王, "king") with two characters in posthumous names from Jijeung of Silla. On the other hand, all posthumous names for kings of Balhae were restricted to one character.
Most of the kings of Goryeo and Joseon were more often given temple names than posthumous names, unlike in the dynasties of ancient Korea. All posthumous names for the rulers of Goryeo and Joseon end in two of the characters for Daewang (대왕, 大王, "great king"). This is a longer name, made up of adjectives characteristic of the king's rule. For example, Gwangjong of Goryeo's posthumous name was Hongdoseon Yeolpyeongse Sukheonui Hyoganghye Daeseong Daewang (홍도선열평세숙헌의효강혜대성대왕, 弘道宣烈平世肅憲懿孝康惠大成大王), while his temple name was Gwangjong. Details of the system of the posthumous names were made during the Joseon Dynasty. The deposed king's names were made up of three parts: the temple name (묘호), eulogistic names (존호) and posthumous names (시호). During the Joseon Dynasty, officials discussed and decided the king's posthumous name five days after the king's funeral. The deceased king, who before his temple and posthumous names was decided, was called Daehaeng daewang (대행대왕, 大行大王). The Ministry of Culture and Education (예조, 禮曹) was in charge of the naming. When officials of the ministry of culture and education selected three candidates and reported them to the next king, the next king chose one of those names that he liked best. Also, Shorn of his power, the deposed king has not been given any posthumous names with temple names unless reinstated. They were degraded to the rank of gun (군, 君, "prince"). Yeonsan-gun and Gwanghae-gun were are notable examples. And there are some men who didn't ascend the throne in their lifetime but proclaimed as kings after they died by their descendants who became king. There are nine men who proclaimed as kings in the Joseon Dynasty. In Joseon, there are nine men who raised to the status of emeritus kings.
Gojong of Joseon proclaimed Korea an empire in 1897, receiving the title of emperor, thus the posthumous names of Gojong and Sunjong end in two of the characters for Hwangje (황제, 皇帝, "emperor"). For example, the full posthumous name of Emperor Gojong of Korea is Tongcheonyung-un Jogeukdonyun Jeongseonggwang-ui Myeonggongdaedeok Yojunsunhwi Umotanggyeong Eungmyeongripgi Jihwasinryeol Oehunhong-eop Gyegiseonryeok Geonhaenggonjeong Yeong-uihonghyu Sugangmunheon Mujanginik Jeonghyo Taehwangje (통천융운조극돈윤정성광의명공대덕요준순휘우모탕경응명립기지화신렬외훈홍업계기선력건행곤정영의홍휴수강문헌무장인익정효태황제, 統天隆運 肇極敦倫 正聖光義 明功大德 堯峻舜徽 禹謨湯敬 應命立紀 至化神烈 巍勳洪業 啓基宣曆 乾行坤定 英毅弘休 壽康文憲 武章仁翼 貞孝太皇帝), or Taehwangje for short.
Crown Prince Hyomyeong has been given the longest posthumous name in Korea. He was posthumously elevated in status and given the title Emperor Munjo with 117 characters in posthumous names in 1899.
In Japan, posthumous names are called shigō (諡号), okuri-na (諡), or tsuigo (追号). Those of Japanese emperors are also sometimes called teigō (帝号, "emperor name[s]").
There are two styles in emperors' posthumous names, namely Chinese style, and Japanese style. In addition to the appellation Tennō (天皇, "heavenly sovereign", usually translated as Emperor) that is a part of all Japanese emperors' posthumous name, most of them consist of two kanji characters, although a few consist of three. Some names are given several generations later—this is the case for Emperor Jimmu and Emperor Antoku, for example. Others are given immediately after death, like that of Emperor Monmu.
Many have Chinese-style names, for example:
- Emperor Jimmu (神武天皇 Jinmu Tennō, lit. Divine Might)
- Emperor Nintoku (仁徳天皇 Nintoku Tennō, lit. Humane Virtue)
- Emperor Ōjin (応神天皇 Ōjin Tennō, lit. Answering the Gods)
Some have Japanese-style names. For example:
- those who were named after the place where the emperor was born, lived or frequented:
- those who were named after an emperor whose admirable characteristics resemble those of an earlier one by adding Go (後, lit. latter) as a prefix to the earlier emperor's name:
- those who were named by combining the characters from two previous emperors' names:
Since the death of Emperor Meiji (明治天皇 Meiji Tennō) in 1912, the posthumous name of an emperor has always been the name of his era. For example, after his death, Hirohito (by which he is usually called outside Japan) was formally renamed Emperor Shōwa (昭和天皇 Shōwa Tennō) after his era; Japanese now refer to him by only that name. Hirohito was his given name; most Japanese never refer to their emperors by their given names, as it is considered disrespectful.
Since the death of king Chulalongkorn in 1910, the reign name of an king has always been the name of his era, formally used in Gazette. Some also have petty change as posthumous name such as king Ananda's add title Phra Athamaramathibodin as posthumous name. Only king Ananda and Bhumibol don't have specific reign name but another king such as Chulalongkorn which are personal name; most of Thais never refer to their king by their personal name and colloquially Chula Chom Klao, as it is considered disrespectful, the personal name of the current King Vajiralongkorn will continue to be colloquially until his death and replaced as reign name Vajilaklao.
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