Emperor Kazan: Wikis


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Emperor Kazan
65th Emperor of Japan
Tennō Kazan detail.jpg
Emperor Kazan
Reign The 27th day of 8th month of Eikan 2 (984) - The 23rd day of 6th month of Kanna 2 (986)
Coronation The 10th day of 10th month of Eikan 2 (984)
Born The 26th day of 10th month of Anna (era) 1 (October 26, 968)
Birthplace Heian Kyō (Kyōto)
Died The 8th day of 2nd month of Kankō 5 (February 8, 1008)
Place of death Heian Kyō (Kyōto)
Buried Kamiya-no-Hotori no Misasagi (Kyōto)
Predecessor Emperor En'yū
Successor Emperor Ichijō
Father Emperor Reizei
Mother Fujiwara no Kaishi

Emperor Kazan (花山天皇 Kazan-tennō) (October 26, 968–February 8, 1008) was the 65th emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession. He ruled from 984 to 986.[1]



Before his ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne, his personal name (his imina) was Morosada-shinnō (師貞親王).[2]

Morasada was the eldest son of Emperor Reizei. The prince's mother was Fujiwara no Kaneko/Kaishi (藤原懐子), who was a daughter of sesshō Fujiwara no Koretada. Morasada was also was the brother of Emperor Sanjō.[3]


Consorts and Children

Nyōgo: Fujiwara no Shishi (藤原忯子) (969-985), daughter of Fujiwara no Tamemitsu (藤原為光)

Nyōgo: Fujiwara no Teishi (藤原諟子) (?-1035), daughter of Fujiwara no Yoritada (藤原頼忠)

Nyōgo: Fujiwara no Chōshi (藤原姚子) (971-989), daughter of Fujiwara no Asateru (藤原朝光)

Court lady: A daughter of Taira no Sukeyuki (平祐之の娘), Nakatsukasa (中務) - Nurse of Emperor Kazan

  • Imperial Prince Kiyohito (清仁親王) (ca.998-1030) - Ancestor of Shirakawa family (白川家)
  • princess (?-1008)
  • princess (?-1008)

Taira no Heishi (平平子), daughter of Taira no suketada (平祐忠) and Nakatsukasa (中務)

  • Imperial Prince Akinori (昭登親王) (998-1035)
  • princess (?-1008)
  • princess (?-1025), a lady-in-waiting to Fujiwara no Shoshi (Empress consort of Emperor Ichijō)

Fujiwara no Genshi (藤原厳子) (?-1016), daughter of Fujiwara no Tamemitsu (藤原為光); later, concubine of Fujiwara no Michinaga (藤原道長)

(from unknown women)

  • Kakugen (覚源) (1000-1065), a Buddhist monk (Gon-no-Sōjō, 権僧正)
  • Shinkan (深観) (1001-1050), a Buddhist monk (Gon-no-Daisōzu, 権大僧都)

Events of Kazan's life

Emperor Kazan, who was tricked into abdicating, on his way to the temple where he will become a Buddhist monk -- woodblock prin by Yoshitoshi Tsukioka (1839-1892).

Prince Morasada was seventeen years of age at the time of the succession.[4]

  • Eikan 1, on the 27th day of the 8th month (984): In the 15th year of Emperor En'yu's reign (円融天皇15年), he abdicated; and the succession (‘‘senso’’) was received by a nephew. Shortly thereafter, Emperor Kazan is said to have acceded to the throne (‘‘sokui’’).[5]

He commissioned the Shūi Wakashū.

  • Kanna 1, in the 4th month (985): Fujiwara no Tokiakira and his brother, Yasusuke, contended with Fujiwara no Sukitaka and Ōe-no Masahira in a swordfight in Kyoto. Masahira lost the fingers of his left hand. The two brothers fled; and after careful searching, Tokiakira was eventually located in Ōmi Province.[3]

He faced a tough political struggle from the Fujiwara family; and at the age of nineteen, he was manipulated into abandoning the throne by Fujiwara no Kaneie.

  • Kanna 2, in the 6th month (986): Kazan abdicated, and took up residence at Kazan-ji where he became a Buddhist monk; and his new priestly name was Nyūkaku.[6]
  • Kanna 2, on the 16th day of the 7th month (986): Iyasada-shinnō was appointed as heir and crown prince at age 11.[7] This followed the convention that two imperial lineages took the throne in turn, although Emperor Ichijō was in fact Iyasada's junior. He thus gained the nickname Sakasa-no moke-no kimi (the imperial heir in reverse). When Emperor Kanzan abandoned the world for holy orders, one grandson of Kaneie ascended to the throne as Emperor Ichijō (the 66th sovereign); and in due course, another grandson would follow on the throne as Emperor Sanjō (the 67th sovereign).[8]

Nyūkaku went on various pilgrimages and 're-founded' the Kannon pilgrimage, as a monk to the name of Tokudo Shonin (Some scholars doubt that Kazan, in his unstable mental health was not likely to have fonded it, thereby leaving all of the credit to Shonin) had supposedlly already created it. This pilgrimage involved travelling to 33 locations across the eight provinces of the Bando area.

He was told to visit these 33 sites, in order to bring release from suffering, by Kannon Bosatsu in a vision.

It is said that the first site of the pilgrimage was the Sugimoto-dera in Kamakura. This site is also the first site on the Kamakura pilgrimage.

It is suggested by many scholars that the mental health of Kazan, particularly in later life, was not stable; and therefore, living as a monk may have caused deteriorating behavior.

Decorative emblems (kiri) of the Hosokawa clan are found at Ryoan-ji. Kazan is amongst six other emperors entombed near what had been the residence of Hosokawa Katsumoto before the Ōnin War.

Daijō-tennō Kazan died at the age of 41 on the 8th day of the 2nd month of the fifth year of Kankō (1008).[9]

He is buried amongst the "Seven Imperial Tombs" at Ryoan-ji Temple in Kyoto. The mound which commemorates the Hosokawa Emperor Kazan is today named Kinugasa-yama. The emperor's burial place would have been quite humble in the period after Kazan died. These tombs reached their present state as a result of the 19th century restoration of imperial sepulchers (misasagi) which were ordered by Emperor Meiji.[10]


'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.

In general, this elite group included only three to four men at a time. These were hereditary courtiers whose experience and background have brought them to the pinnacle of a life's career. During Kazan's reign, this apex of the Daijō-kan included:

Eras of Kazan's reign

The years of Kazan's reign are more specifically identified by more than one era name or nengō.[3]


  1. ^ Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du japon, pp. 148-150; Brown, Delmer et al. (1979). Gukanshō, pp. 300-302; Varley, H. Paul. (1980). Jinnō Shōtōki,p. 192.
  2. ^ Titsingh, p. 148; Varley, p. 192; Brown, p. 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.]
  3. ^ a b c Titsingh, p. 148.
  4. ^ Titsingh, p. 148; Brown, p. 300.
  5. ^ Titsingh, p. 148; Brown, pp. 300; 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.]
  6. ^ Brown, p. 302.
  7. ^ Brown, p. 307.
  8. ^ Varley, p. 195.
  9. ^ Brown, p. 306.
  10. ^ Moscher, G. (1978). Kyoto: A Contemplative Guide, pp. 277-278.
  11. ^ a b c Brown, p. 301.


See also

Regnal titles
Preceded by
Emperor En'yū
Emperor of Japan:

Succeeded by
Emperor Ichijō


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