Before Empress Genshō succeeded as Empress regnant of Japan, she was known as Hidaka-hime. She was born in 683 as the daughter of Prince Kusakabe and Empress Genmei – who also reigned in her own right. She succeeded her mother upon her mother’s abdication in 715.
Her reign was intended to be a regency until her younger brother’s son Prince Obito was old enough to reign. She continued her mother’s work and supported the arts, letters, science and agriculture.
In 724, when her nephew was 25 years old, she indeed abdicated in favour of her nephew and he became the Emperor Shōmu. She never married and had no children.
She died on 22 May 748 and was buried at the Nahoyama no nishi no misasagi mausoleum in Nara.