Emperor Toba

Emperor Toba

Emperor Toba (鳥羽天皇 "Toba-tennō") (February 24, 1103 – July 20, 1156) was the 74th emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession. His reign spanned the years from 1107 through 1123. [Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). "Annales des empereurs du Japon," pp. 178-181; Brown, Delmer "et al." (1979). "Gukanshō," pp. 320-322; Varley, H. Paul. (1980). "Jinnō Shōtōki." pp. 203-204.]


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 Munehito"-shinnō" (宗仁親王). [Titsingh, p. 178; Brown, p. 320; Varley, p. 203.]

He was the son of Emperor Horikawa. His mother was Empress Dowager Fujiwara no Ishi (藤原苡子)

Toba had three Empresses, some consort ladys and 14 Imperial sons and daughters.Brown, p. 321.]

* 1101-1145 Second Empress ("chūgū"): Fujiwara no Shōshi/Tamako (藤原璋子), Empress Dowager Taiken (待賢門院), eldest daughter of Fujiwara no Kinzane (藤原公実)
** 1119-1164 Imperial Prince Akihito (顕仁親王), later Emperor Sutoku,
** 1122-1133 Imperial Princess Kishi/Yoshiko (禧子内親王) - Western Palace
** 1124-1129 Imperial Prince Michihito (通仁親王)
** 1125-1143 Imperial Prince Kimihito (君仁親王)
** 1126-1189 Imperial Princess Muneko (統子内親王) - Empress Dowager Zyōsai (上西門院)
** 1127-1192 Imperial Prince Masahito (雅仁親王) - later Emperor Go-Shirakawa
** 1129-1169 Imperial Prince Motohito? (本仁親王), later became a priest under the name Kakushō (覚性法親王)
* 1095-1155 Empress ("kōgō") Fujiwara no Taishi/Yasuko (藤原泰子), Kaya no In (高陽院), eldest daughter of Fujiwara no Tadazane (藤原忠実)
* 1117-1160 Empress ("kōgō") Fujiwara no Nariko (藤原得子), Empress Dowager Bifuku (美福門院), daughter of Fujiwara no Nagazane (藤原長実); mother of Emperor Konoe. [Kitagawa, Hiroshi. (1975). "The Tale of the Heike," p. 240.]
** 1135-1148 Imperial Princess Eishi/Toshiko (叡子内親王)
** 1137-1211 Imperial Princess Akiko (暲子内親王)
** 1139-1155 Imperial Prince Narihito (体仁親王), later Emperor Konoe
** 1141-1176 Imperial Princess Shushi/Yoshiko (姝子内親王), empress ("chūgū" to Emperor Nijō)
* Court Lady Ki no Ieko (紀家子), Lady of Mino (美濃局), daughter of Ki no Mitsukiyo? (紀光清)
** 1132-1168 Prince Dōkei (道恵法親王) - Buddhist Priest
** 1134-1181 Prince Kakukai (覚快法親王) - Buddhist Priest
** 11??-1195 Aya Gozen (阿夜御前)
* Lady of Sanjō (三条局), daughter of Fujiwara no Iemasa (藤原家政)
** 11??-1161 Imperial Princess Kenshi? (妍子内親王) - Yoshida "saigū" (Imperial Princess serving at Ise Shrine)
* Lady of Kasuga (春日局), daughter of Tokudaiji Saneyosi (徳大寺実能)
** 1145-1208 Imperial Princess Shōshi/Nobuko (頌子内親王)
* Lady of Fujitsubo (藤壺女御), daughter of Tachibana no Toshitsuna (橘俊綱)
** Shin-yo? (真誉) - Buddhist Priestess
* Lady of Tosa (土佐局), daughter of Minamoto no Mitsuyasu (源光保)
* Daughter of Fujiwara no Sanehira (藤原実衡)
** Takamatsunomiya (高松宮) (apparently no connection with Arisugawa-no-miya, which was originally named Takamatsu-no-miya)
* Unknown
** Prince Saichū? (最忠法親王) - Buddhist Priest
** Imperial Prince Dōka? (道果親王)

Events of Toba's life

When his mother died, his grandfather, former-Emperor Shirakawa, took him under his care and raised him.

* "Kajō 1", on the 19th day of the 7th month (1107): In the 21st year of Emperor Horikawa"-tennō"'s reign (堀河天皇21年), the emperor died at the age of 29; and the succession (‘‘senso’’) was received by his only son. Shortly thereafter, Emperor Toba is said to have acceded to the throne (‘‘sokui’’). [Titsingh, p. 178; Brown, pp. 320; 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 Go-Murakami.] ]

During the initial years of Toba's reign, the actual power was held by his grandfather, the "retired" Emperor Shirakawa, in a process known as cloistered rule.

* "Ten'ei", in the 6th month (1110): The Miidera-ji burned down. This was the second time the temple was destroyed by fire, the first time being in 1081.Brown, p. 322.]

* "Hōan 4", on the 28th day of the 1st month (1123): In the 17th year of Emperor Toba's reign (鳥羽天皇17年), Toba was forced to abdicate by his father, retired-Emperor Shirakawa. Toba gave up the throne in favor of his son Akihito, who would become Emperor Sutoku. Toba was only 21 years old when he renounced his title; and he had already reigned for 16 years: two in the "nengō" "Tennin", three in "Ten'ei", five in the "nengō" "Eikyū", two in "Gen'ei", and four in the "nengō" "Hōan." At this time, Toba took the title "Daijō-tennō." [Brown, pp. 320-321; Titsingh, p.181.] The succession (‘‘senso’’) was received by a his son. [Brown, p. 322; Varley, p. 44.]
* "Hōan 4", in the 2nd month (1123): Emperor Sutoku is said to have acceded to the throne (‘‘sokui’’). [Titsingh, p. 182; Varley, p. 44.]

In 1129, after the death of former-Emperor Shirakawa, Toba himself began to rule as cloistered emperor. He continued to hold power through the reigns of three emperors, Emperor Sutoku, Emperor Konoe, and Emperor Go-Shirakawa.

* "Chōshō 3" (1134): The former-Emperor Toba made a pilgrimage to the Kumano Shrines. He was accompanied by "sadaijin" Hanazono no Arahito and "udaijin" Naka-no-in Munetada. The excursion was enjoyed by all, and great quantities of sake were consumed. [Brown, p. 322 n56.] In 1142, he became a monk, entering Tōdai-ji.

* "Hōgen 1", on the 2nd day of the 7th month (1156): The former-Emperor Toba died at the age of 54. [ Brown, p. 321; Kitagawa, p.783.]


"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 Toba's reign, this apex of the "Daijō-kan included:
* "Sesshō", Fujiwara Tadazane, 1078-1162.
* "Kampaku", Fujiwara Tadazane.
* "Kampaku", Fujiwara Tadamichi, 1097-1164.
* "Daijō-daijin", Fujiwara Tadazane.
* "Sadaijin", Fujiwara Tadamichi. [see above] ]
* "Sadaijin", Hanazono no Arahito.
* "Udaijin", Naka-no-in Munetada. [see above] ]
* "Nadaijin"
* "Dainagon"

Eras of Toba's reign

The years of Toba's reign are more specifically identified by more than one era name or "nengō". [Titsingh, pp. 177-181; Brown, p.321.]
* "Kajō" (1106-1108)
* "Tennin" (1108-1110)
* "Ten'ei" (1110-1113)
* "Eikyū" (1113-1118)
* "Gen'ei" (1118-1120)
* "Hōan" (1120-1124)


* Brown, Delmer M. and Ichirō Ishida, eds. (1979). [ Jien, c. 1220] , "Gukanshō (The Future and the Past, a translation and study of the Gukanshō, an interpretative history of Japan written in 1219)." Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-03460-0
* Kitagawa, Hiroshi and Bruce T. Tsuchida, eds. (1975). "The Tale of the Heike." Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press. ISBN 086008-128-1
* Titsingh, Isaac, ed. (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)]
* Varley, H. Paul , ed. (1980). [ Kitabatake Chikafusa, 1359] , "Jinnō Shōtōki ("A Chronicle of Gods and Sovereigns: Jinnō Shōtōki of Kitabatake Chikafusa" translated by H. Paul Varley)." New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-04940-4

ee also

* Emperor Go-Toba

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