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Emperor Go-Komatsu
100th Emperor of Japan
6th Northern Pretender
Reign October 21,1392 –October 5, 1412:
1382 – 1392 (Nanboku-chō)
Born August 1,1377
Died December 1,1433[aged 56]
Place of death Fukakusa no kita no Misasagi (Kyoto)
Predecessor Emperor Go-En'yū (Nanboku-chō)
Emperor Go-Kameyama
Successor Emperor Shōkō

Emperor Go-Komatsu (後小松天皇 Go-Komatsu-tennō) (August 1, 1377 - December 1, 1433) was the 100th emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession. He is officially considered a pretender from May 24, 1382 to October 21, 1392, when Emperor Go-Kameyama abdicated. He is understood to have been a legitimate emperor (the 100th sovereign) from that date until October 5, 1412. According to pre-Meiji scholars, his reign spanned the years from 1392 through 1412.[1]

This Nanboku-chō "sovereign" was named after the 9th century Emperor Kōkō and go- (後), translates literally as "later." Jien's Gukanshō explains that Kōkō was called "the Emperor of Komatsu;"[2] and thus, this 14th century pretender and emperor may be called the "Later Emperor Kōkō". The Japanese word "go" has also been translated to mean the "second one;" and in some older sources, this would-be emperor may be identified as "Kōkō, the second," or as "Kōkō II."



Before his ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne, his personal name (his imina)[3] was Motohito-shinnō (幹仁親王 ?).[4]

Go-Komatsu was the first son of the Northern Pretender Emperor Go-En'yū. His mother was Tsūyōmonin no Itsuko (通陽門院厳子), daughter of the Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal Sanjō Kimitada (三条公忠).

  • Consort: Motoko (資子) Daughter of Hino Sukekuni (日野資国)
  • Consort: Unknown (the daughter of a retainer from the Southern Court)

He was named after Emperor Kōkō, who had the alternate name Komatsu, because they both returned the throne to their families, in the case of Emperor Go-Komatsu, by defeating his Southern Court rivals, and in the case of Emperor Kōkō, by succeeding his elder brother's grandson, Emperor Yōzei.

Events of Go-Komatsu's life

In his own lifetime, Go-Komatsu and those around him believed that he occupied the Chrysanthemum Throne from May 24, 1382 through 1412.

He was raised in the turbulent Nanboku-chō period of rival northern and southern courts in the mansion of Hino Sukenori (日野西資教). He succeeded as Northern Emperor upon the abdication of his father, the Northern Pretender Emperor Go-En'yū. With the help of Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, his father ruled as Cloistered Emperor. In 1392, following the post-Nanboku-chō unification of the two formerly contending courts, the Southern Emperor Emperor Go-Kameyama turned over the three sacred treasures, which officially signaled the end of the southern court's claims to sovereignty. Thus, Emperor Go-Komatsu became the acknowledged, undisputed and legitimate emperor of Japan on October 21, 1392.

  • 1392: Emperor Go-Kameyama conveyed the Imperial Regalia to Go-Komatsu, which meant that he ceded the Chrysanthemum throne to his former rival. Go-Komatsu received the succession (senso); and he is understood to have formally acceded to the legitimate Imperial power and position (sokui).[5]

In the peace at that time, it was agreed that the northern and southern courts would alternate. However, in 1412, when Emperor Go-Komatsu abdicated, the agreement was thrown away, and, instead, he was succeeded by his son, Emperor Shōkō, and all subsequent Emperors were descended from the Northern Court. Until 1911, the Northern Court Emperors were considered the legitimate ones, and the Southern Court to be illegitimate. However, now the Southern Court is considered to have been legitimate, primarily because they retained the three sacred treasures, and thus, Emperor Go-Komatsu is not considered to have been legitimate for the first 10 years of his reign.

He is enshrined with other emperors at the imperial tomb called Fukakusa no kita no misasagi (深草北陵) in Fushimi-ku, Kyoto.[6]


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

Eras of Go-Komatsu's reign

The years of Go-Komatsu's Nanboku-chō and post-Nanboku-chō reign are more specifically identified by more than one era name or nengō.

Nanboku-chō northern court
  • Eras as reckoned by legitimate Court (as determined by Meiji rescript)
Nanboku-chō southern court
  • Eras as reckoned by pretender Court (as determined by Meiji rescript)
Post-Nanboku-chō court
  • Eras merged as Meitoku 3 replaced Genchū 9 as Go-Kameyama abdicated.

Southern Court rivals


  1. ^ Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du japon, pp. 317-327.
  2. ^ Brown, p. 289.
  3. ^ Brown, pp. 264; n.b., 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.
  4. ^ Titsingh, p. 317.
  5. ^ Titsingh, p. 317; Varley, H. Paul. (1980). A Chronicle of Gods and Sovereigns: Jinnō Shōtōki, 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.
  6. ^ Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan, p. 423.


See also

Regnal titles
Preceded by
Emperor Go-En'yū
Northern Pretender
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Emperor Go-Kameyama
Emperor of Japan:

Succeeded by
Emperor Shōkō


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