Empress Kōken (孝謙天皇) or Shōtoku (称徳天皇) (718-770) was the 46th imperial ruler of Japan. She first ruled as Kōken from 749 to 758. She abdicated in favor of her second cousin, Junnin, but six years later she took the crown from him and reascended the throne. Her posthumus name for her second reign (764-770) was Shōtoku.
Today, she is remembered chiefly for conducting an affair with a Buddhist monk named Dokyo, a man on whom she heaped titles and power. The affair illustrated the growing power of the Buddhist priesthood and was a prime factor in Emperor Kammu's decision to move the capital away from Nara in 784.
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