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Emperor Go-Reizei

Emperor Go-Reizei (後冷泉天皇 Go-Reizei-tennō) (August 28, 1025May 22, 1068) was the 70th emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession. His reign spanned the years 1045 – 1068.

This 11th century sovereign was named after the 10th century Emperor Reizei and go- (後), translates literally as "later;" and thus, he is sometimes called the "Later Emperor Reizei". The Japanese word "go" has also been translated to mean the "second one;" and in some older sources, this emperor may be identified as "Reizei, the second," or as "Reizei II."

Genealogy

Before his ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne, his personal name (his imina) was Chikahito-shinnō (親仁親王).

He was the eldest son of Emperor Go-Suzaku. His mother was Fujiwara no Kishi (藤原嬉子), formerly Naishi-no kami, daughter of Fujiwara no Michinaga.

Go-Reizei has three Empresses and no Imperial sons or daughters.

Empresses and consorts

Empress (chūgū): Imperial Princess Akiko/Shōshi (章子内親王) (1026-1105), first daughter of Emperor Go-Ichijō, thus his first cousin

Empress (kōgō): Fujiwara no Hiroko/Kanshi (藤原寛子) (1036-1127), eldest daughter of Fujiwara no Yorimichi (藤原頼通)

Empress (kōgō): Fujiwara no Kanshi (藤原歓子) (1021-1102), second daughter of Fujiwara no Norimichi (藤原教通)

Events of Go-Reizei's life

  • Kantoku 2, on the 16th day of the 1st month (1045): Emperor Go-Suzaku abdicated; and his eldest son receive the succession (‘‘senso’’) on the same day. Shortly thereafter, Emperor Go-Reizei formally accedes to the throne (‘‘sokui’’). The following year, the era name is changed to mark the beginning of Go-Reizei's reign.
  • Kantoku 2, on the 18th day in the 1st month (1045): Go-Suzaku died at the age of 37.
  • Eishō 6 (1051): In Michinoku, Abe no Sadatō and Munetō instigate a rebellion which becomes known as the Nine Years War (1051-1062) because, even though the period of strife lasts for 11 years, the actual fighting lasts for nine years. In response, Minamoto no Yoriyoshi is appointed governor of Mutsu and he is named chinjufu shōgun. He is given these titles and powers so that he will be able to restore peace in the north. Yoriyoshi would have been the first to receive this specific shogunal title, although his grandfather (Minamoto no Tsunemoto) had been seitō fuku-shōgun (assistant commander for pacification of the east).
  • Jiryaku 4, on the 19th day of the 4th month (1068): The former-Emperor Go-Reizei died at the age of 44.

Go-Riezei died at age 44 in 1068. He is buried amongst the "Seven Imperial Tombs" at Ryoan-ji Temple in Kyoto. The mound which commemorates the Hosokawa Emperor Go-Riezei is today named Shu-zan. The emperor's burial place would have been quite humble in the period after Go-Reizei died. These tombs reached their present state as a result of the 19th century restoration of imperial sepulchers (misasagi) which were ordered by Emperor Meiji.

Go-Reizei had no direct heirs.

Kugyō

Kugyō (公卿) is a collective term for the very few most powerful men attached to the court of the Emperor of Japan in pre-Meiji eras. Even during those years in which the court's actual influence outside the palace walls was minimal, the hierarchic organization persisted.

In general, this elite group included only three to four men at a time. These were hereditary courtiers whose experience and background would have brought them to the pinnacle of a life's career. During Go-Reizei's reign, this apex of the ''Daijō-kan included:

Eras of Go-Reizei's reign

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

References

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