Tachibana no Kachiko

Tachibana no Kachiko (橘 嘉智子, 786 – June 17, 850), also known as Empress Danrin (檀林皇后, Danrin-kōgō), was a Japanese empress, the chief consort of Emperor Saga[1] and the daughter of Tachibana no Kiyotomo (橘 清友).[2] She was de facto ruler of the empire between 833 and 850.

Tachibana no Kachiko
Nine Stages of Decomposition of the Heian Period Empress Danrin, Honolulu Museum of Art II.JPG
Empress consort of Japan
TenureAugust 21, 815 – June 5, 823
Empress dowager of Japan
TenureApril 23, 823 – March 2, 833 
Grand empress dowager of Japan
TenureMarch 26, 833 – June 17, 850
DiedJune 17, 850(850-06-17) (aged 63–64)
Heian Kyō (Kyōto)
SpouseEmperor Saga
IssueEmperor Ninmyō
Princess Seishi
Princess Hideko
Prince Hidera
Princess Toshiko
Princess Yoshiko
Princess Shigeko
HouseYamato (by marriage)
Tachibana clan (by birth)
FatherTachibana no Kiyotomo
MotherTaguchi Michihime

The empress was a devout Buddhist. She founded the Buddhist Danrin-ji temple complex, and for this reason, she came to be called Danrin-kōgō.[2]

She died in the 4th day of the 5th month of 850.[3]


Lady Kachiko was born to Tachibana no Kiyotomo and his wife, Taguchi Michihime.

In June 809, Tachibana no Kachiko married the new emperor. The marriage produced seven children: two sons and five daughters. Her eldest son would succeed his father as Emperor of Japan and her eldest daughter married Prince Otomo, who later became Emperor Junna.

  • Husband: Emperor Saga (嵯峨天皇, Saga-tennō, October 3, 786 – August 24, 842)
    • Son: Imperial Prince Masara (正良親王) later Emperor Ninmyō
    • Daughter: Imperial Princess Seishi (正子内親王; 810–879), married to Emperor Junna
    • Daughter: Imperial Princess Hideko (秀子内親王; d. 850)
    • Son: Imperial Prince Hidera (秀良親王; 817–895)
    • Daughter: Imperial Princess Toshiko (俊子内親王; d. 826)
    • Daughter: Imperial Princess Yoshiko (芳子内親王; d. 836)
    • Daughter: Imperial Princess Shigeko (繁子内親王; d. 865)

In popular cultureEdit

In the acclaimed 2013 movie Avalokitesvara, a loose adaptation of the Putuoshan genesis story, Ryoko Nakano starred as the Empress Dowager Tachibana Kachiko.


  1. ^ Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan, pp. 318-319.
  2. ^ a b Ponsonby-Fane, p. 319.
  3. ^ Adolphson, Mikael et al. (2006). Heian Japan, Centers and Peripheries, p. 23., p. 23, at Google Books


  • Adolphson, Mikael S., Edward Kamens and Stacie Matsumoto. (2006). Heian Japan, Centers and Peripheries. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 9780824830137; OCLC 71542885
  • Kōjien, 6th edition
  • Ponsonby-Fane, Richard Arthur Brabazon. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan. Kyoto: Ponsonby Memorial Society. OCLC 194887
Japanese royalty
Preceded by
Fujiwara no Taishi
(granted title posthumously)
Empress consort of Japan
Succeeded by
Princess Koshi
(granted title posthumously)
Preceded by
Fujiwara no Ryoshi
(granted title posthumously)
Empress dowager of Japan
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Takano no Niigasa
(granted title posthumously)
Grand empress dowager of Japan
Succeeded by