This Nanboku-chō "sovereign" was named after the 10th century Emperor En'yū and go- (後), translates literally as "later;" and thus, he may be called the "Later Emperor En'yū". 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 "En'yū, the second," or as "En'yū II."
He was the second son of the fourth Northern Pretender Emperor Go-Kōgon. His mother was Fujiwara Nakako (藤原仲子), daughter of Hirohashi Kanetsuna (広橋兼綱).
In 1371, by Imperial Proclamation, he received the rank of shinnō (親王), or Imperial Prince (and potential heir). Immediately afterwards, he became emperor upon the abdication of his father, Emperor Go-Kōgon. There was said to be a disagreement between Go-Kōgon and the retired Northern Emperor Emperor Sukō over the Crown Prince. With the support of Hosokawa Yoriyuki, who controlled the Bakufu, Go-Kōgon's son became the Northern Emperor.
Until 1374, Go-Kōgon ruled as cloistered emperor. In 1368, Ashikaga Yoshimitsu was named Shōgun, and with his guardianship, the Imperial Court was stabilized. In 1382, upon abdicating to Emperor Go-Komatsu, his cloistered rule began. Having no actual power, he rebelled, attempting suicide and accusing Ashikaga Yoshimitsu and his consort Itsuko of adultery.
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