Emperor Go-Saga

Emperor Go-Saga (後嵯峨天皇 Go-Saga-tennō) (April 1, 1220March 17, 1272) was the 88th emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession. This reign spanned the years 1242 through 1246.

This 13th century sovereign was named after the 8th century Emperor Saga and go- (後), translates literally as "later;" and thus, he is sometimes called the "Later Emperor Saga". The Japanese word "go" has also been translated to mean the "second one;" and in some older sources, this emperor may be identified as "Saga, the second," or as "Saga II."


Before his ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne, his personal name (his iminia) was .

He was the second son of Emperor Tsuchimikado, and second cousin of his predecessor Emperor Shijō.

  • Empress: Saionji (Fujiwara) ?? (西園寺(藤原)姞子)
    • Fourth son: Imperial Prince Hisahito (久仁親王) (Emperor Go-Fukakusa)
    • First daughter: Imperial Princess ?? (綜子内親王)
    • Seventh son: Imperial Prince Tsunehito (恒仁親王) (Emperor Kameyama)
    • Eleventh son: Imperial Prince ?? (雅尊親王)
    • Thirteenth son: Imperial Prince ?? (貞良親王)
  • Lady-in-waiting: Taira ?? (平棟子)
  • Handmaid?: Fujiwara ?? (藤原博子)
    • Eighth son: Prince ?? (覚助法親王) (Buddhist Priest)
    • Second daughter: ??? (柳殿)
    • Sixth daughter: Imperial Princess ?? (懌子内親王)

Events of Go-Saga's life

He ruled from February 21, 1242 to February 16, 1246.

When Emperor Tsuchimikado moved to Tosa Province (on Shikoku), he was raised by his mother's side of the family.

Because of the sudden death of Emperor Shijō at the age of 10, the question of succession arose. Because the expectations of the court nobility and the Bakufu conflicted, the issue was bitterly contested. Kujō Michiie and the court nobility supported Prince Tadanari (忠成王), a son of Retired Emperor Juntoku, but the shikken Hōjō Yasutoki was opposed to the sons of Juntoku because of his involvement in the Jōkyū War. Michiie instead supported Tsuchimikado's son Prince Kunihito as a neutral figure for Emperor. During the pendency of these negotiations, there was a vacancy on the throne of 11 days.

  • Ninji 3, on the 10th day of the 1st month (1242): In the 10th year of Shijō-tennō's reign (四条天皇10年), the emperor died suddenly; and despite a dispute over who should follow him as sovereign, contemporary scholars then construed that the succession (‘‘senso’’) was received by the second son of former Emperor Tsuchimikado.
  • Ninji 3, in the 5th month (1242): Emperor Go-Saga is said to have acceded to the throne (‘‘sokui’’).

In 1242, Prince Kunihito became emperor. In 1246 he abdicated to his son, Emperor Go-Fukakusa, beginning his reign as cloistered emperor. In 1259, he compelled Emperor Go-Fukakusa to abdicate to his younger brother, Emperor Kameyama. Imperial Prince Munetaka became shōgun instead of the Hōjō regents. Henceforth, the shōguns of the Kamakura Bakufu came from the imperial house. Still, the Hōjō regents increased their control of the shogunate, setting up the system of rule by regents.

In 1272, Go-Saga died. The descendants of his two sons contested the throne between them, forming into two lines, the Jimyōin-tō (Go-Fukakusa's descendants) and the Daikakuji-tō (Kameyama's descendats).


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-Saga's reign, this apex of the ''Daijō-kan included:

Eras of Go-Saga's reign

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


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