) (December 22
– April 24
) was the 81st emperor
, according to the traditional order of succession. His reign spanned the years from 1180 through 1185.
Before his ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne
, his personal name (his imina
) was Tokohito-shinnō
(言仁親王). He was also known as Kotohito-shinnō
His father was Emperor Takakura. His mother, Taira no Tokuko (平徳子), second daughter of Taira no Kiyomori (平清盛), was later referred to as Empress Dowager Kenrei (建礼門院, Kenrei-mon In).
Events of Antoku's life
Antoku was named crown prince at around one month of age. He ascended the throne at one year of age. Naturally, he held no actual power, but rather his grandfather Taira no Kiyomori ruled in his name, though not officially, as sesshō
- Jishō 4, on the 21st day of the 4th month (1180): In the 12th year of Takakura-tennō's reign (高倉天皇12年), the emperor was forced to abdicate; and the succession (‘‘senso’’) was received by his infant son, the grandson of Taira Kiyomori. Shortly thereafter, Emperor Antoku is said to have acceded to the throne (‘‘sokui’’).
In the year of his enthronement, the capital was moved to modern-day Kōbe, Hyōgo, but it was soon moved back to Heian-kyō.
- Juei 2, on the 20th day of the 8th month (1183): Go-Toba is proclaimed emperor by the Genji; and consequently, there were two proclaimed emperors, one living in Heian-kyō and another in flight towards the south.
In 1183, when Minamoto no Yoshinaka entered the capital, the Taira clan fled with the young emperor and the sacred treasures to Yashima (the name of a place inside modern-day Takamatsu, Kagawa). Being defeated in the Battle of Yashima, they fled westward.
The Taira were defeated. Antoku's grandmother, Taira no Tokiko, the widow of Taira no Kiyomori, drowned herself along with the young emperor. His mother also drowned herself, but apparently, according to the The Tale of the Heike (Heike Monogatari), she was pulled out with a rake by her long hair. According to legend, the sacred jewels and the sacred sword (two of the three sacred treasures) sunk to the bottom of the sea, and although the sacred jewels were recovered, the sword was lost.
The story of Emperor Antoku and his mother's family became the subject of the Kamakura period epic poem The Tale of the Heike (Heike is an alternate reading of the Japanese characters for "House of the Taira").
(公卿) is a collective term for the very few most powerful men attached to the court of the Emperor of Japan
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 Antoku's reign, this apex of the Daijō-kan included:
After his drowning, in order to mourn the Bodhi
, the Amidaji
Goeidō was built. Later, Antoku was enshrined at the Kurume-Suitengū in Kurume
, and he came to be worshipped as Mizu-no-kami (水の神, lit. "water-god" or "god of water"), the god of easy delivery at Suitengū
(水天宮, lit. "water-heaven/emperor-shrine") everywhere.
With the establishment of Shintō as the state religion of Japan, the Amida was abandoned and the Akama Shrine was established in Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi to celebrate Antoku.
Eras of Antoku's reign
The years of Antoku's reign are more specifically identified by more than one era name
- Brown, Delmer M. and Ichirō Ishida, eds. (1979). [Jien, 1221], Gukanshō (The Future and the Past, a translation and study of the Gukanshō, an interpretative history of Japan written in 1219). Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-03460-0
- Kitagawa, Hiroshi and Burce T. Tsuchida, ed. (1975). The Tale of the Heike. Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press. ISBN 0-86008-128-1
- Titsingh, Isaac, ed. (1834). [Siyun-sai Rin-siyo/Hayashi Gahō, 1652], Nipon o daï itsi ran; ou, Annales des empereurs du Japon, tr. par M. Isaac Titsingh avec l'aide de plusieurs interprètes attachés au comptoir hollandais de Nangasaki; ouvrage re., complété et cor. sur l'original japonais-chinois, accompagné de notes et précédé d'un Aperçu d'histoire mythologique du Japon, par M. J. Klaproth. Paris: Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland. ...Click link for digitized, full-text copy of this book (in French)
- Varley, H. Paul , ed. (1980). [Kitabatake Chikafusa, 1359], Jinnō Shōtōki ("A Chronicle of Gods and Sovereigns: Jinnō Shōtōki of Kitabatake Chikafusa" translated by H. Paul Varley). New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-04940-4