Emperor Go-Komatsu

Emperor Go-Komatsu

Emperor Go-Komatsu (後小松天皇 "Go-Komatsu-tennō") (August 1, 1377 - December 1, 1433) was the 100th emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession. He is officially considered a pretender from May 24, 1382 to October 21, 1392, when Emperor Go-Kameyama abdicated, and a legitimate emperor (the 100th sovereign) from that date until October 5, 1412. According to pre-Meiji scholars, his reign spanned the years from 1382 through 1412. [Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). "Annales des empereurs du japon," pp. 317-327.]

This Nanboku-chō "sovereign" was named after the 9th century Emperor Kōkō and "go-" (後), translates literally as "later." Jien's "Gukanshō" explains that Kōkō was called "the Emperor of Komatsu;" [Brown, p. 289.] and thus, this 14th century pretender and emperor may be called the "Later Emperor Kōkō". 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 "Kōkō, the second," or as "Kōkō II."


Before his ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne, his personal name (his "imina") [Brown, pp. 264. [Up until the time of Emperor Jomei, the personal names of the emperors (their "imina") were very long and people did not generally use them. The number of characters in each name diminished after Jomei's reign.] ] was nihongo|Motohito"-shinnō"|幹仁親王. [Titsingh, p. 317.]

Go-Komatsu was the first son of the Northern Pretender Emperor Go-En'yū. His mother was Tsūyōmonin no Itsuko (通陽門院厳子), daughter of the Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal Sanjō Kimitada (三条公忠).
* Consort: Motoko (資子) Daughter of Hino Sukekuni (日野資国)
** First son: Imperial Prince Mihito (実仁親王) (Emperor Shōkō)
** Second son: Ogawa-no-miya (小川宮) (Emperor Shōkō's crown prince)
** First daughter: Princess Riei
** Adopted son: Prince Hikohito (彦仁王), son of Imperial Prince Sadafusa, Prince Fushimi (伏見宮貞成親王), grandson of the Northern Pretender Emperor Sukō, became Emperor Go-Hanazono
* Consort: Unknown (the daughter of a retainer from the Southern Court)
** Ikkyū Sōjun

He was named after Emperor Kōkō, who had the alternate name Komatsu, because they both returned the throne to their families, in the case of Emperor Go-Komatsu, by defeating his Southern Court rivals, and in the case of Emperor Kōkō, by succeeding his elder brother's grandson, Emperor Yōzei.

Events of Go-Komatsu's life

He was raised in the turbulent "Nanboku-chō" period of rival northern and southern courts in the mansion of Hino Sukenori (日野西資教). He succeeded as Northern Emperor upon the abdication of his father, the Northern Pretender Emperor Go-En'yū. With the help of Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, his father ruled as Cloistered Emperor. In 1392, following the post"-Nanboku-chō" unification of the two formerly contending courts, the Southern Emperor Emperor Go-Kameyama turned over the three sacred treasures, which officially signaled the end of the southern court's claims to sovereignty. Thus, Emperor Go-Komatsu became the acknowledged, undisputed and legitimate emperor of Japan on October 21, 1392.

In the peace at that time, it was agreed that the northern and southern courts would alternate. However, in 1412, when Emperor Go-Komatsu abdicated, the agreement was thrown away, and, instead, he was succeeded by his son, Emperor Shōkō, and all subsequent Emperors were descended from the Northern Court. Until 1911, the Northern Court Emperors were considered the legitimate ones, and the Southern Court to be illegitimate. However, now the Southern Court is considered to have been legitimate, primarily because they retained the three sacred treasures, and thus, Emperor Go-Komatsu is not considered to have been legitimate for the first 10 years of his reign.


"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-Komatsu's reign, this apex of the "Daijō-kan included:
* "Sadaijin"
* "Udaijin"
* "Nadaijin"
* "Dainagon"

Eras of Go-Komatsu's reign

The years of Go-Komatsu's "Nanboku-chō" and post"-Nanboku-chō" reign are more specifically identified by more than one era name or "nengō".

:"Nanboku-chō" northern court
*Eras as reckoned by legitimate Court (as determined by Meiji rescript)
** "Eitoku" (1381-1384)
** "Shitoku" (1384-1387)
** "Kakei" (1387-1389)
** "Kōō" (1389-1393]

:"Nanboku-chō" southern court
*Eras as reckoned by pretender Court (as determined by Meiji rescript)
** "Kōwa" (1381-1384)
** "Genchū" (1384-1390)
** "Meitoku" (1390-1393)‡

:Post"-Nanboku-chō" court
*Eras merged as "Meitoku" 3 replaced "Genchū" 9 as Go-Kameyama abdicated.
** "Meitoku" (1393-1394)‡
** "Ōei" (1394-1428)

outhern Court rivals

* Chōkei
* Go-Kameyama


* Titsingh, Isaac. (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. [http://books.google.com/books?id=18oNAAAAIAAJ&dq=nipon+o+dai+itsi+ran ...Click link for digitized, full-text copy of this book (in French)]

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