Posthumous name

Posthumous name
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese 諡號/謚號
Simplified Chinese 谥号
Vietnamese name
Vietnamese alphabet thụy hiệu
Chữ Hán
Korean name
Hangul
Hanja 諡號
Japanese name
Kanji 諡号
Hiragana しごう / おくりな

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 during his life. The posthumous name is commonly used when naming royalty of China, Korea, Vietnam, and Japan.

Posthumous names in China and Vietnam were also given to honor lifetime accomplishments of many people who did not have hereditary titles, for example to successful courtiers.

A posthumous name should not be confused with the era name and temple name.

Use

The posthumous name consists of one or more adjectives inserted before the ruler's 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.