Emperor Go-Kōgon

Emperor Go-Kōgon (後光厳天皇 Go-Kōgon-tennō) (April 14, 1336March 12, 1374) was the fourth of the Ashikaga Pretenders during the Period of the Northern and Southern Courts. According to pre-Meiji scholars, his reign spanned the years from 1352 through 1371.

This Nanboku-chō "sovereign" was named after his father Emperor Kogon and go- (後), translates literally as "later;" and thus, he may be called the "Later Emperor Kōgon". The Japanese word "go" has also been translated to mean the "second one;" and in some older sources, this would-be emperor may be identified as "Kōgon, the second," or as "Kōgon II."


His personal name was Iyahito (弥仁).

He was the second son of the Northern Pretender Emperor Kōgon, and brother of his predecessor, Emperor Sukō. His mother was ?? (秀子), daughter of Sanjō ?? (三条公秀)

  • Lady-in-waiting: Nakako (仲子), daughter of Hirohashi (Fujiwara) Kanetsuna (広橋(藤原)兼綱)
    • Second son: Imperial Prince Ohito (緒仁親王) (Emperor Go-En'yū)
    • Fifth son: Imperial Prince ?? (熈永親王)
    • Twelfth son: Prince ?? (尭仁法親王) (Buddhist Priest)
  • Consort: ?? (右衛門佐局)
    • First son: Imperial Prince Akihito? (亮仁入道親王) (Buddhist Lay Priest)
    • Seventh son: Prince ?? (覚増法親王) (Buddhist Priest)
  • Consort: Adopted daughter of Ōgimachi ?? (正親町実継)
    • Fourth son: Prince ?? (覚叡法親王) (Buddhist Priest)
    • Eighth son: Prince Dōen (道円入道親王) ()
  • Consort: Daughter of ?? (橘知繁)
    • Tenth son: Prince ?? (明承法親王) (Buddhist Priest)
  • Consort: Unknown
    • Third son: Prince ?? (行助入道親王) (Buddhist Lay Priest)
    • Fifth son: Prince ?? (寛守法親王) (Buddhist Priest)
    • Eleventh son: Prince ?? (聖助法親王) (Buddhist Priest)
    • Thirteenth son: Prince ?? (寛教入道親王) (Buddhist Lay Priest)
    • First daughter: Imperial Princess ?? (治子内親王)
    • Second daughter: Imperial Princess ?? (見子内親王)

Events of Emperor Go-Kōgon's life

In 1351, Ashikaga Takauji briefly returned to the allegiance of the Southern Dynasty, causing the Southern Court to briefly consolidate control of the Imperial Line. However, this peace fell apart in 1352. On this occasion, the Southern Court abducted Retired (Northern) Emperors Emperor Kōgon and Emperor Kōmyō as well as Emperor Sukō and the Crown Prince, Imperial Prince Naohito, the son of Emperor Kōgon, from Kyoto to Yoshino, producing a state of affairs in which there was no Emperor in Kyoto.

Because of this, Imperial Prince Iyahito became emperor in 1352 with the support of Ashikaga Yoshiakira.

He claimed the throne from September 25, 1352 to April 9, 1371. During this period, the Era of the Northern and Southern Courts, because of the antagonism between the two competing dynasties, public order in Kyoto was disturbed. The Southern Court repeatedly recaptured Kyoto. Emperor Go-Kōgon was forced to repeatedly flee from Kyoto to Ōmi Province and other places. Around the time that Ashikaga Yoshimitsu was named Shōgun (1368), the Southern Courts power weakened, and order was restored to Kyoto. Also around this time, the Emperor's authority began to show its weakness.

On April 9, 1371, he abdicated in favor of his son, who became the Northern Pretender Emperor Go-En'yū. He continued to rule as Cloistered Emperor until he died of illness on March 12, 1374.

Eras of Emperor Go-Kōgon's reign

The years of Go-Kōgon's reign are more specifically identified by more than one era name or nengō.

Nanboku-chō Southern court

  • Eras as reckoned by legitimate Court (as determined by Meiji rescript)
  • Shōhei (1346-1370)
  • Kentoku (1370-1372)

Nanboku-chō Northern court

  • Eras as reckoned by pretender Court (as determined by Meiji rescript)
  • Kan'ō (1350-1352)
  • Bunna (1352-1356)
  • Embun (1356-1361)
  • Kōan (1361-1362)
  • Jōji (1362-1368)
  • Ōan (1368-1375)

Southern Court Rivals


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