Emperor Go-Reizei

Emperor Go-Reizei
Emperor of Japan
Reign 1045–1068
Coronation 1045
Born August 28, 1023
Birthplace Heian Kyō (Kyōto)
Died May 22, 1068 (aged 44)
Place of death Kaya no In (高陽院), Heian Kyō (Kyōto)
Buried Enkyo-ji no misasagi (円教寺陵) (Kyoto)
Predecessor Go-Suzaku
Successor Go-Sanjō
Father Go-Suzaku
Mother Fujiwara no Kishi

Emperor Go-Reizei (後冷泉天皇 Go-Reizei-tennō?, August 28, 1023 – May 22, 1068) was the 70th emperor of Japan,[1] according to the traditional order of succession.[2]

Go-Reizei's reign spanned the years 1045–1068.[3]

This 11th century sovereign was named after the 10th century Emperor Reizei and go- (後), translates literally as "later;" and thus, he is sometimes called the "Later Emperor Reizei". The Japanese word "go" has also been translated to mean the "second one;" and in some older sources, this emperor may be identified as "Reizei, the second," or as "Reizei II."


Traditional narrative

Before his ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne, his personal name (imina)[4] was Chikahito-shinnō (親仁親王).[5]

He was the eldest son of Emperor Go-Suzaku. His mother was Fujiwara no Kishi (藤原嬉子), formerly Naishi-no kami, daughter of Fujiwara no Michinaga.

Go-Reizei has three Empresses and no Imperial sons or daughters.[6]

Events of Go-Reizei's life

  • February 5, 1045 (Kantoku 2, 16th day of the 1st month) : Emperor Go-Suzaku abdicated; and his eldest son receive the succession (‘‘senso’’) on the same day. Shortly thereafter, Emperor Go-Reizei formally accedes to the throne (‘‘sokui’’).[7] The following year, the era name is changed to mark the beginning of Go-Reizei's reign.[6]
  • February 7, 1045 (Kantoku 2, 18th day in the 1st month): Go-Suzaku died at the age of 37.[8]
  • 1051 (Eishō 6): In Michinoku, Abe no Sadatō and Munetō instigate a rebellion which becomes known as the Nine Years War (1051–1062) because, even though the period of strife lasts for 11 years, the actual fighting lasts for nine years. In response, Minamoto no Yoriyoshi is appointed governor of Mutsu and he is named chinjufu shōgun. He is given these titles and powers so that he will be able to restore peace in the north. Yoriyoshi would have been the first to receive this specific shogunal title, although his grandfather (Minamoto no Tsunemoto) had been seitō fuku-shōgun (assistant commander for pacification of the east).[9]
  • May 22, 1068 (Jiryaku 4, 19th day of the 4th month): The former-Emperor Go-Reizei died at the age of 44.[10] Go-Reizei had no direct heirs.
Decorative emblems (kiri) of the Hosokawa clan are found at Ryoan-ji. Go-Reizei is amongst six other emperors entombed near what had been the residence of Hosokawa Katsumoto before the Ōnin War.

The actual site of Go-Riezei'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 Go-Riezei's mausoleum. It is formally named Enkyo-ji no misasagi.[11]

Go-Riezei is buried amongst the "Seven Imperial Tombs" at Ryoan-ji Temple in Kyoto.[12]

The mound which commemorates the Hosokawa Emperor Go-Riezei is today named Shu-zan. The emperor's burial place would have been quite humble in the period after Go-Reizei died.[13]

These tombs reached their present state as a result of the 19th century restoration of imperial sepulchers (misasagi) which were ordered by Emperor Meiji.[13]


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

Eras of Go-Reizei's reign

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

Empresses and consorts

Empress (chūgū): Imperial Princess Akiko/Shōshi (章子内親王) (1026–1105), first daughter of Emperor Go-Ichijō, thus his first cousin

Empress (kōgō): Fujiwara no Hiroko/Kanshi (藤原寛子) (1036–1127), eldest daughter of Fujiwara no Yorimichi (藤原頼通)

Empress (kōgō): Fujiwara no Kanshi (藤原歓子) (1021–1102), second daughter of Fujiwara no Norimichi (藤原教通)


Japanese Imperial kamon — a stylized chrysanthemum blossom
  1. ^ a b Imperial Household Agency (Kunaichō): 後冷泉天皇 (70)
  2. ^ Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan, p. 76.
  3. ^ Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du japon, pp. 162-166; Brown, Delmer et al. (1979). Gukanshō, pp. 311-314; ; Varley, H. Paul. (1980). Jinnō Shōtōki. p. 197-198.
  4. ^ Brown, pp. 264; prior to Emperor Jomei, the personal names of the emperors were very long and people did not generally use them. The number of characters in each name diminished after Jomei's reign.
  5. ^ Titsingh, p. 162; Brown, p. 311, Varley, p. 197.
  6. ^ a b Brown, p. 311.
  7. ^ Brown, p. 311; Varley, H. Paul. (1980). Jinnō Shōtōki, 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. 160; Brown, p. 311.
  9. ^ Varley, pp. 197-198.
  10. ^ a b c Brown, p. 313; Varley, p. 198.
  11. ^ Ponsonby-Fane, p. 421.
  12. ^ The "Seven Imperial Tombs" at Ryoan-ji are the burial places of Uda, Kazan, Ichijō, Go-Suzaku, Go-Reizei, Go-Sanjō, and Horikawa.
  13. ^ a b Moscher, Gouveneur. (1978). Kyoto: A Contemplative Guide, pp. 277-278.
  14. ^ a b c d e f Brown, p. 312.
  15. ^ Titsingh, pp. 161-166; Brown, p. 313.


See also

Regnal titles
Preceded by
Emperor Go-Suzaku
Emperor of Japan:

Succeeded by
Emperor Go-Sanjō

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