Emperor Murakami

Emperor Murakami
Emperor of Japan

Reign 946–967
Coronation 31 May 946
Born 2 June 926(926-06-02)
Birthplace Heian Kyō (Kyōto)
Died 5 January 967(967-01-05) (aged 41)
Place of death Seiryōden of the Heian Kyō (Kyōto)
Buried Murakami no misasagi (Kyōto)
Predecessor Suzaku
Successor Reizei
Consort Fujiwara no Anshi
Father Daigo
Mother Fujiwara no Onshi

Emperor Murakami (村上天皇 Murakami-tennō?, June 2, 926 – May 25, 967) was the 62nd emperor of Japan,[1] according to the traditional order of succession.[2]

Murakami's reign spanned the years from 946 to his death in 967.[3]


Traditional narrative

Before he ascended to the Chrysanthemum Throne, his personal name (imina) was Nariakira-shinnō (成明親王).[4]

Nariakira-shinnō was the 14th son of Emperor Daigo, and the younger brother of Emperor Suzaku by another mother.[5]

Murakami had ten Empresses and Imperial consorts and 19 Imperial sons and daughters.[6] He had a very nice biwa called Kenjō.

Events of Murakami's reign

In 944, he was appointed crown prince and ascended the throne two years later.

  • May 16, 946 (Tengyō 9, 13th day of the 4th month): In the 16th year of the reign of Suzaku-tennō (朱雀天皇16年), the emperor abdicated; and the succession (the senso) was received by his younger brother, Nariakira-shinnō.[7]
  • May 31, 946 (Tengyō 9, 28th day of the 4th month): Shortly thereafter, Emperor Murakami, who was 21 years old, acceded to the throne (the sokui).[8]

Murakami's maternal uncle Fujiwara no Tadahira remained as the Sessho regent until 949. After the death of Tadahira, there was no regent and although contemporaries praised Murakami as the emperor who governed the state directly, in reality the Fujiwara clan seized power and ruled Japan. The brothers Fujiwara no Saneyori and Fujiwara no Morosuke became the de facto rulers of Japan.

  • October 23, 949 (Tenryaku 3, 29th day of the 9th month): The former-Emperor Yōzei died at the age of 82.[9]
  • 951 (Tenryaku 5): The emperor ordered the compilation of Gosen Wakashū; this work was undertaken by the Five Men of the Pear Chamber under his patronage.
  • September 6, 952 (Tenryaku 6, 15th day of the 8th month): The former-Emperor Suzaku died at the age of 30.[10]
  • October 16, 960 (Tentoku 4, 23rd day of the 9th month): The Imperial palace burned down, the first time it had been ravaged by fire since the capital was removed from Nara to Heian-kyo in 794.[11]

Murakami was a central figure in Heian period culture. He was also a skilled flute and koto (Japanese harp) player.

  • July 5, 967 (Kōhō 4, 25th day of the 5th month): The former-Emperor Murakami died at the age of 42.[11]

The actual site of Murakami's grave is known.[1] This emperor is traditionally venerated at a memorial Shinto shrine (misasagi) at Kyoto.

The Imperial Household Agency designates this location as Murakami's mausoleum. It is formally named Murakami no misasagi[12]


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.[13]

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

Eras of Murakami's reign

The years of murakami's reign are more specifically identified by more than one era name or nengō.[15]

Consorts and Children

Empress: Fujiwara no Anshi/Yasuko (藤原安子) (927-964), daughter of Fujiwara no Morosuke (藤原師輔)

  • Imperial Princess Shōshi (承子内親王) (948-951)
  • Imperial Prince Norihira (憲平親王) (950-1011) (2nd son) (Emperor Reizei)
  • Imperial Prince Tamehira (為平親王) (952-1010)
  • Imperial Princess Sukeko (輔子内親王) (953-992) (7th daughter), 32nd Saiō in Ise Shrine 968-969
  • Imperial Princess Shishi (資子内親王) (955-1015) (9th daughter)
  • Imperial Prince Morihira (守平親王) (959-991) (Emperor En'yu)
  • Imperial Princess Senshi (選子内親王) (964-1035) (10th daughter), 16th Saiin in Kamo Shrine 975-1031

Nyōgo: Fujiwara no Jutsushi/Nobuko (藤原述子) (933-947), daughter of Fujiwara no Saneyori (藤原実頼)

Nyōgo: Princess Kishi (徽子女王) (929-985), daughter of Imperial Prince Shigeakira (重明親王)

  • Imperial Princess Kishi/Noriko (規子内親王) (949-986) (4th daughter), 34th Saiō in Ise Shrine 975-984

Nyōgo: Princess Sōshi/Takako (荘子女王) (930-1008), daughter of Imperial Prince Yoakira (代明親王)

  • Imperial Princess Rakushi (楽子内親王) (952-998) (6th daughter), 31st Saiō in Ise Shrine 955-967
  • Imperial Prince Tomohira (具平親王) (964-1009), called Nochi no Chūshoō (後中書王)

Nyōgo: Fujiwara no Hōshi (藤原芳子) (?-967), daughter of Fujiwara no Morotada (藤原師尹)

  • Imperial Prince Masahira (昌平親王) (956-961)
  • Imperial Prince Nagahira (永平親王) (965-988)

Koui: Minamoto no Kazuko (源計子) (?-?), daughter of Minamoto no Moroakira (源庶明)

  • Imperial Princess Rishi (理子内親王) (948-960)
  • Imperial Princess Seishi (盛子内親王) (?-998), married to Fujwiara no Akimitsu (藤原顕光) in 965

Koui: Fujiwara no Masahime (藤原正妃) (?-967), daughter of Fujiwara no Arihira (藤原在衡)

  • Imperial Princess Hoshi (保子内親王) (949-987) (3rd daughter), married to Fujiwara no Kaneie (藤原兼家)
  • Imperial Prince Munehira (致平親王) (951-1041)
  • Imperial Prince Akihira (昭平親王) (954-1013)

Koui: Fujiwara no Sukehime (藤原祐姫) (?-?), daughter of Fujiwara no Motokata (藤原元方)

  • Imperial Prince Hirohira (広平親王) (950-971) (1st son)
  • Imperial Princess Shūshi (緝子内親王) (?-970) (8th daughter)

Koui: Fujiwara no Shūshi (藤原脩子) (?-?), daughter of Fujiwara no Asahira (藤原朝成)

Koui: Fujiwara no Yūjo (藤原有序) (?-?), daughter of Fujiwara no Arisuke (藤原有相)


Japanese Imperial kamon — a stylized chrysanthemum blossom
  1. ^ a b Imperial Household Agency (Kunaichō): 村上天皇 (62)
  2. ^ Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan, pp. 70-71.
  3. ^ Brown, Delmer et al. (1979). Gukanshō, pp. 295-298; Varley, H. Paul. (1980). Jinnō Shōtōki, pp. 183-190; Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du japon, pp. 139-142. at Google Books
  4. ^ Titsingh, p. 139; Varley, p. 183; Brown, p. 264; prior to 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.
  5. ^ Varley, p. 183.
  6. ^ Brown, p. 28.
  7. ^ Brown, p. 295; Varley, p. 44; a distinct act of senso is unrecognized prior to Emperor Tenji; and all sovereigns except Jitō, Yōzei, Go-Toba, and Fushimi have senso and sokui in the same year until the reign of Emperor Go-Murakami.
  8. ^ Titsingh, p. 139; Varley, p. 44.
  9. ^ a b c d Brown, p. 296.
  10. ^ Brown, pp. 296-297.
  11. ^ a b Brown, p. 297.
  12. ^ Ponsonby-Fane, p. 420.
  13. ^ kugyō of Murakami-tennō
  14. ^ Brown, pp. 296-298.
  15. ^ Titsingh, p. 139.


See also

Regnal titles
Preceded by
Emperor Suzaku
Emperor of Japan:

Succeeded by
Emperor Reizei

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