Emperor Go-Daigo: Wikis


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Emperor Go-Daigo
96th Emperor of Japan
Emperor Godaigo.jpg
Emeperor Go-Daigo
Reign 29 March 1318–18 September 1339 (Bunpō 2, 26th day of 2nd monthRyakuō 2, 15th day of the 8th month)
Born 26 November 1288 (Kōan 11, 2nd day of 11th month)
Birthplace Heian Kyō (Kyōto)
Died 19 September 1339[aged 50] (Ryakuō 2, 16th day of the 8th month)
Place of death Yoshino no Angū (吉野行宮) (Nara)
Buried Tō-no-o no Misasagi (塔尾陵) (Nara)
Predecessor Emperor Hanazono
Successor Emperor Go-Murakami
Consort Empress Fujiwara no Kishi
Imperial Princess Junshi
Father Emperor Go-Uda
Mother Fujiwara no Chūshi

Emperor Go-Daigo (後醍醐天皇 Go-Daigo-tennō) (November 26, 1288 – September 19, 1339) was the 96th emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession. Post-Meiji historians construe the years of his reign spanning 1318 through 1339; however, pre-Meiji accounts of his reign considered the years of his reign to last only between 1318 and 1332, when he was said to have been deposed by the shogun. Pre-Meiji scholars also considered Go-Daigō a pretender Emperor in the years from 1336 through 1339.[1]

This 14th century sovereign was named after the 9th century Emperor Daigo and go- (後), translates literally as "later;" and thus, he is sometimes called the 'Later Emperor Daigo'. The Japanese word 'go' has also been translated to mean the "second one;" and in some older sources, this emperor may be identified as 'Daigo, the second,' or as 'Daigo II.'



Before his ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne, his personal name (his imina) was Takeharu-shinnō (尊治親王).[2]

He was the second son of the Daikakuji-tō emperor, Emperor Go-Uda. His mother was Fujiwara no Chūshi/Tadako (藤原忠子), daughter of Fujiwara no Tadatsugu (Itsutsuji Tadatsugu) (藤原忠継/五辻忠継). She became Nyoin called Dantenmon-in (談天門院).

Emperor Go-Daigo's ideal was the Engi era (901-923) during the reign of Emperor Daigo, a period of direct imperial rule. An emperor's posthumous name was normally chosen after his death, but Emperor Go-Daigo chose his personally during his lifetime, to share it with Emperor Daigo.


Consorts and children

Empress (Chūgū) : Saionji Kishi (西園寺禧子) (Go-Kyōgoku-in, 後京極院) (1303-1333), daughter of Saionji Sanekane (西園寺実兼)

  • princess (1314-?), died young
  • Imperial Princess Kanshi (懽子内親王) (Senseimon-in, 宣政門院) (1315-1362), Saiō at Ise Shrine; later, married to Emperor Kōgon

Empress (Chūgū) : Imperial Princess Junshi (珣子内親王) (Shin-Muromachi-in, 新室町院) (1311-1337), daughter of Emperor Go-Fushimi

  • Imperial Princess Yukiko (幸子内親王) (1335-?)

Nyōgo: Fujiwara no Eishi (藤原栄子), daughter of Nijō Michihira

Court lady: Minamoto no Chikako (源親子), daughter of Kitabatake Morochika (北畠師親)

  • Imperial Prince Moriyoshi (or Morinaga) (護良親王) (1308-1335) - Head Priest of Enryakuji (Tendai-zasu, 天台座主) (Buddhist name: Prince Son'un, 尊雲法親王)
  • Imperial Princess Hishi (妣子内親王) - nun in Imabayashi

Court lady: Fujiwara no Ishi/Tameko (藤原為子) (?-1311/2), daughter of Nijō Tameyo (二条為世)

  • Imperial Prince Takayoshi (also Takanaga) (尊良親王) (1306/8-1337)
  • Imperial Prince Munenaga (also Muneyoshi) (宗良親王) (1311-1385?) - Head Priest of Enryakuji (Tendai-zasu, 天台座主) (Buddhist name: Prince Sonchō, 尊澄法親王)
  • Imperial Princess Tamako (瓊子内親王) (1316-1339) - nun
  • Imperial Princess Kinshi (欣子内親王) - nun in Imabayashi

Court lady: Ichijō no Tsubone (一条局), daughter of Saionji Sanetoshi (西園寺実俊)

  • Imperial Prince Tokiyoshi (also Yoyoshi) (世良親王) (1306/8-1330)
  • Imperial Prince Jōson (静尊法親王) (Imperial Prince Keison, 恵尊法親王) - priest in Shōgoin (聖護院)
  • princess - nun in Imabayashi

Court lady: Fujiwara no Renshi (Ano Renshi) (藤原廉子/阿野廉子) (Shin-Taikenmon-in, 新待賢門院) (1301-1359), daughter of Ano Kinkado (阿野公廉)

Court lady: Gon-no-Dainagon no Sammi no Tsubone (権大納言三位局) (?-1351), daughter of Nijō Tamemichi (二条為道)

  • Imperial Prince Hōnin (法仁法親王) (1325-1352) - priest in Ninna-ji
  • Imperial Prince Kaneyoshi (also Kanenaga) (懐良親王) (1326-1383) - Seisei Taishōgun (征西大将軍) 1336-?
  • princess

Princess: a daughter of Emperor Kameyama

  • Kōshō (恒性) (1319-1333) - priest

Court lady: Shōshō no Naishi (少将内侍), daughter of Sugawara no Arinaka (菅原在仲)

  • Imperial Prince Seijo (聖助法親王) (?-?) - Head Priest of Onjō-ji

Court lady: Fujiwara no Chikako (藤原親子), daughter of Kazan'in Munechika (花山院宗親)

  • Imperial Prince Mitsuyoshi (満良親王)

Court lady: Fujiwara no Shushi/Moriko (藤原守子), daughter of Tōin Saneyasu (洞院実泰)

  • Imperial Prince Gen'en (玄円法親王) - Head Priest of Kōfuku-ji

Court lady: Konoe no Tsubone (近衛局)

  • Prince Tomoyoshi (知良王)

Court lady: Shōnagon no Naishi (少納言内侍), daughter of Shijō Takasuke (四条隆資)

  • Sonshin (尊真) - priest

Court lady: Gon-no-Chūnagon no Tsubone (権中納言局), daughter of Sanjō Kinyasu (三条公泰)

  • Imperial Princess Sadako (貞子内親王)

Court lady: Mimbu-kyō no Tsubone (民部卿局)

(unknown women)

  • Imperial Prince Saikei (最恵法親王) - priest in Myōhō-in
  • Mumon Gensen (無文元選) (1323-1390) - founder of Hōkō-ji (Shizuoka)
  • Yōdō (?-1398) - 5th Head Nun of Tōkei-ji

Go-Daigo had some other princesses from some court ladies.

Events of Go-Daigo's life

Woodblock print triptych by Gekko Ogata. Emperor Go-Daigo dreams of ghosts at his palace in Kasagiyama.

Emperor Go-Daigo became emperor at the age of 31, in the prime of his life.

  • March 29, 1318' (Bunpō 2, 26th day of 2nd month): In the 11th year of Hanazono-tennōs reign (花園天皇11年), the emperor abdicated; and the succession (‘‘senso’’) was received by his cousin, the second son of former-Emperor Go-Uda. Shortly thereafter, Emperor Go-Daigo is said to have acceded to the throne (‘‘sokui’’).[3]
  • 1319 (Bunpō 3, 4th month): Emperor Go-Daigo caused the nengō to be changed to Gen'ō to mark the beginning of his reign.[4]

In 1324, with the discovery of Emperor Go-Daigo's plans to overthrow the Kamakura Shogunate, the Rokuhara Tandai disposed of his close associate Hino Suketomo in the Shōchū Incident.

In the Genkō Incident of 1331, Emperor Go-Daigo's plans were again discovered, this time by a betrayal by his close associate Yoshida Sadafusa. He quickly hid the Sacred Treasures in a secluded castle in Kasagiyama (the modern town of Kasagi, Sōraku district, Kyōto Prefecture) and raised an army, but the castle fell to the Bakufu's army the following year, and they enthroned Emperor Kōgon, exiling Emperor Go-Daigo to Oki Province (the Oki Islands in modern-day Shimane Prefecture), the same place to which Emperor Go-Toba was exiled in 1198.

In 1333, Emperor Go-Daigo escaped from Oki with the help of Nawa Nagatoshi and his family, raising an army at Funagami Mountain in Hōki Province (the modern town of Kotoura in Tōhaku District, Tottori Prefecture). Ashikaga Takauji, who had been sent by the Bakufu to find and destroy this army, sided with the Emperor and captured the Rokuhara Tandai. Immediately following this, Nitta Yoshisada, who had raised an army in the East, destroyed the Hōjō clan and captured the Bakufu.

Returning to Kyōto, Emperor Go-Daigo took the throne from Emperor Kōgon and began the Kemmu Restoration. The Restoration was ostensibly a revival of the older ways, but, in fact, the emperor had his eye set on an imperial dictatorship like that of the emperor of China. He wanted to imitate the Chinese in all their ways and become the most powerful ruler in the East. Impatient reforms, litigation over land rights, rewards, and the exclusion of the samurai from the political order caused much complaining, and his political order began to fall apart. In 1335, Ashikaga Takauji, who had travelled to eastern Japan without obtaining an imperial edict in order to suppress the Nakasendai Rebellion, became disaffected with the Restoration. Emperor Go-Daigo ordered Nitta Yoshisada to track down and destroy Ashikaga. Ashikaga defeated Nitta Yoshisada at the Battle of Takenoshita, Hakone. Kusunoki Masashige and Kitabatake Akiie, in communication with Kyoto, smashed the Ashikaga army. Takauji fled to Kyūshū, but the following year, after restructuring his army in Kyūshū, he again approached Kyōto. Kusunoki Masashige proposed a reconciliation with Ashikaga Takauji to the emperor, but Go-Daigo rejected this. He ordered Masashige and Yoshisada to destroy Takauji. Kusunoki's army was defeated at the Battle of Minatogawa (湊川の戦い).

When Ashikaga's army entered Kyōto, Emperor Go-Daigo resisted, fleeing to Mount Hiei, but seeking reconciliation, he sent the Sacred Treasures to the Ashikaga side. Takauji enthroned the Jimyōin-tō emperor, Kōmyō, and officially began his shogunate with the enactment of the Kemmu Law Code.

Go-Daigo escaped from the capital, the Sacred Treasures that he had handed over to the Ashikaga being counterfeit, and set up the Southern Court among the mountains of Yoshino, beginning the Period of Northern and Southern Courts in which the Northern Dynasty in Kyōto and the Southern Dynasty in Yoshino faced off against each other.

Emperor Go-Daigo ordered Imperial Prince Kaneyoshi to Kyūshū and Nitta Yoshisada and Imperial Prince Tsuneyoshi to Hokuriku, and so forth, dispatching his sons all over, so that they could oppose the Northern Court.

  • September 18, 1339 (Ryakuō 2, 15th day of the 8th month): In the 21st year of Go-Daigo's reign, the emperor abdicated at Yoshino in favor of his son, Noriyoshi-shinnō, who would become Emperor Go-Murakami.[5]
  • September 19, 1339 (Ryakuō 2, 16th day of the 8th month): Go-Daigo died;[6] and his Imperial Tomb (misasagi) is at Nara.[7]


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

Eras of Go-Daigo's reign

The years of Go-Diago's reign are more specifically identified by more than one era name or nengō. Emperor Go-Daigo's eight era name changes are mirrored in number only in the reign of Emperor Go-Hanazono, who also reigned through eight era name changes.[8]

Pre-Nanboku-chō court
Nanboku-chō southern court
  • Eras as reckoned by legitimate sovereign's Court (as determined by Meiji rescript)
Nanboku-chō northern Court
  • Eras as reckoned by pretender sovereign's Court (as determined by Meiji rescript)

In popular culture

Emperor Go-Daigo appears in the alternate history novel Romanitas by Sophia McDougall.

See also


  1. ^ Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du Japon, pp. 281-294; Varley, H. Paul. (1980). Jinnō Shōtōki. pp. 241-269.
  2. ^ Titsingh, p. 281; Varley, p. 241.
  3. ^ Titsingh, p. 281; Varley, p. 44; n.b, 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.
  4. ^ Varley, p. 243.
  5. ^ Varley, p. 270.
  6. ^ Titsingh, p. 295.
  7. ^ Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan, p. 422.
  8. ^ Titsingh, p. 281-294.


External links

Regnal titles
Preceded by
Emperor Hanazono
Emperor of Japan:

Succeeded by
Emperor Go-Murakami
Emperor Kōgon


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