Emperor Go-Sai

Emperor Go-Sai

Emperor Go-Sai (後西天皇 "Go-Sai-tennō"), also called Emperor Go-Saiin (後西院天皇 "Go-Saiin-tennō") (January 1, 1638 – March 22, 1685) was the 111th emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession. He reigned from January 5 1655 to March 5, 1663. His personal name was Nagahito (良仁); and his pre-accession title was "Hide-no-miya" (秀宮).Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). "Annales des empereurs du japon," p. 413.] This 17th century sovereign was named after the 9th century Emperor Junna and "go-" (後), translates literally as "later;" and thus, he could have been called the "Later Emperor Junna". Emperor Go-Sai could not pass the throne onto his descendants. For this reason, he was known as the Go-Saiin Emperor, after an alternate name of Emperor Junna, who had confronted and reached an accommodation with similar issues. This emperor was also called Saiin no mikado (西院の帝), or "Emperor of the Western Palace." The Japanese word "go" has also been translated to mean the "second one;" and thus, this emperor might be identified as "Junna II". During the Meiji Era, the name became just Go-Sai.


He was the eighth son of Emperor Go-Mizunoo. He had at least 27 children
*Court lady: Princess Akiko (明子女王) - first daughter of Imperial Prince Takamatsu-no-miya Yoshihito (高松宮好仁親王)
**First daughter: Imperial Princess Tomoko (誠子内親王)
**First son: Imperial Prince Hachijō-no-miya Osahito (八条宮長仁親王) - fourth Hachijō-no-miya
*Lady-in-waiting Seikanji Tomoko (清閑寺共子)
**Second son: Imperial Prince Arisugawa-no-miya Yukihito (有栖川宮幸仁親王) - 3rd Arisugawa-no-miya
**Second daughter: Ni-no-miya (女二宮)
**Third daughter: Princess Sōei (宗栄女王)
**Fourth daughter: Princess Sonsyū (尊秀女王)
**Fourth son: Prince Yoshinobu (義延法親王) (Buddhist Priest)
**Sixth daughter: Enkōin-no-miya (円光院宮)
**Fifth son: Prince Tenshin (天真法親王) (Buddhist Priest)
**Seventh daughter: Kaya-no-miya (賀陽宮)
**Tenth daughter: Imperial Princess Mashiko (益子内親王)
**Eleventh daughter: Princess Rihō (理豊女王)
**Thirteenth daughter: Princess Zuikō (瑞光女王)
*Consort: Daughter of Iwakura ?? (岩倉具起)
**Third son: Prince ?? (永悟法親王) (Buddhist Priest)
*Consort: Daughter of Tominokōji Yorinao (富小路頼直)
**Fifth daughter: Tsune-no-miya (常宮)
*Consort: Umenokōji Sadako (梅小路定子)
**Eighth daughter: Kaku-no-miya (香久宮)
**Ninth daughter: Princess Syō'an (聖安女王)
**Sixth son: Prince Gōben (公弁法親王) (Buddhist Priest)
**Seventh son: Imperial Prince Dōyū (道祐法親王)
**Eighth son: Imperial Prince Hachijō-no-miya Naohito (八条宮尚仁親王) - fifth Hachijō-no-miya
**Eleventh daughter: Princess Rihō (理豊女王)
**Twelfth daughter: Mitsu-no-miya (満宮)
**Fourteenth daughter: Princess Sonkō (尊杲女王)
**Fifteenth daughter: Princess Sonsyō (尊勝女王)
**Eleventh son: Prince Ryō'ou (良応法親王) (Buddhist Priest)
*Consort: Daughter of Takatsuji Toyonaga
**Ninth son: ?? (道尊法親王) (Buddhist Priest)
*Consort: Daughter of Matsuki ?? (松木宗条)
**Tenth son
*Consort: Unknown
**Sixteenth daughter: ?? (涼月院)

Events of Go-Sai's life

Initially marrying the daughter of the first Takamatsu-no-miya Yoshihito (高松宮好仁親王), he succeeded as second Takamatsu-no-miya. When his elder brother, Emperor Go-Kōmyō died on January 5 1655, Prince Nagahito became the Go-Sai Emperor as a temporary measure, until his younger brother, Imperial Prince Satohito (識仁親王), who had been adopted by his elder brother, Go-Kōmyō, could grow old enough.

* "Meireki gannen" or "Meireki 1" (1655): The new ambassador of Korea, arrived in Japan. [see above] ]
* "Meireki 3", on the 18th-19th days of the 1st month (1657): The city of Edo was devastated by a violent fire.
* "Manji 5" (1659): In Edo, construction begins on the Ryogoku Bridge ("ryogokubashi"). [see above] ]

* "Kanbun 2", on the 1st day of the 2nd month (1662): There was a violent earthquake in Miyako which destroyed the tomb of the Taiko. [see above] ]
* "Kanbun 2" (1662): Emperor Gosai ordered Tosa Hiromichi 土佐広通 (1561-1633), a Tosa school disciple, to adopt the name Sumiyoshi (probably in reference to a 13th century painter, Sumiyoshi Keinin 住吉慶忍), upon assuming a position as official painter for the Sumiyoshi Taisha 住吉大社). [ [http://www.aisf.or.jp/~jaanus/deta/s/sumiyoshiha.htm "Sumiyoshi" in Japanese Architecture and Art Net Users System (JAANUS} Internet article (in English)] ]
* "Kanbun 3", on the 26th day of the 1st month (1663): Go-sai abdicated in favor of his younger brother, Satohito, aged 10; and then he lived in complete retirement until his death. [Titsingh, p. 413; Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1959). "The Imperial House of Japan," p. 284.]

After abdicating, Go-sai put his heart into scholarship and he left behind many books, including the "Water and Sun Collection" ("Suinichishū", 水日集). He was talented in "waka"; and he had a profound understanding of the classics.

During his reign, because of great fires at the Grand Ise Shrine, Osaka Castle, and the Imperial Palace, among others, the Great "Meireki" Fire, earthquakes in the region, and because of repeated floods, many people blamed the Emperor, saying he lacked moral virtue.

In 1685, he died.

At the at Kitano Shrine, a tablet over the "Chu-mon" entryway reads "tenmangu" in the calligraphy of Emperor Go-sai. [Martin, John. (2002). "Kyoto: A Cultural Guide to Japan's Ancient Imperial City," pp. 287-288.]


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

Eras of Go-Sai-tennō's reign

The years of Go-Sai's reign are more specifically identified by more than one era name or "nengō". [see above] ]
* "Jōō" (1652-1655)
* "Meireki" (1655-1658)
* "Manji" (1658-1661)
* "Kanbun" (1661-1673)


* Martin, John H. and Phyllis G. Martin. (2002). "Kyoto: A Cultural Guide to Japan's Ancient Imperial City." Tokyo:Tuttle Publishing. ISBN 0-8048-3341-9
* Ponsonby-Fane, Richard A.B. (1959). "The Imperial House of Japan." Kyoto: Ponsonby Memorial Society.
* Screech, Timon. (2006). "Secret Memoirs of the Shoguns: Isaac Titsingh and Japan, 1779-1822." London: RoutledgeCurzon. ISBN 0-700-71720-X
* Titisngh, 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 --"Two copies of this rare book have now been made available online: (1) from the library of the University of Michigan, digitized January 30, 2007; and (2) from the library of Stanford University, digitized June 23, 2006." Click here to read the original text in French.]

External links

* National Museum of Japanese History [http://www.rekihaku.ac.jp/e-rekihaku/132/rekishi.html -- see example of Emperor Go-sai's calligraphy]

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