Emperor Saga: Wikis


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Emperor Saga
52nd Emperor of Japan
Emperor Saga large.jpg
Emperor Saga
Reign The 1st Day of the 4th Month of Daido 4 (809) - The 16th Day of the 4th Month of Kōnin 14 (823)
Coronation The 13th Day of the 4th Month of Daido 4 (809)
Born Enryaku 5 (786)
Died The 15th Day of the 7th Month of Jowa 9 (842)
Buried Saga-no-yamanoe no Misasagi (Kyōto)
Predecessor Emperor Heizei
Successor Emperor Junna
Consort Tachibana no Kachiko (786-850), daughter of Tachibana no Kiyotomo
Father Emperor Kammu
Mother Fujiwara no Otomuro

Emperor Saga (嵯峨天皇, Saga-tennō) (786–842) was the 52nd emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession. His reign spanned the years from 809 through 823.[1]



Before his ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne, his personal name (his imina)[2] was Kamino-shinnō.[3]

He was the second son of Emperor Kammu, and younger brother of Emperor Heizei by the same mother.[4]

Saga had nine Empresses and consorts; and 47 Imperial sons and daughters.[5]

Events of Saga's life

Saga succeeded to the throne after the retirement of Heizei due to illness, and soon after his enthronement was himself ill.

  • Daidō 4, on the 1st day of the 4th month (809): In the 4th year of Emperor Heizei's reign (平城天皇4年), he fell ill and abdicated; and the succession (‘‘senso’’) was received by Kammu's second son, the eldest son having become a Buddhist priest. Shortly thereafter, Emperor Saga is said to have acceded to the throne (‘‘sokui’’).[6]

Emperor Saga's untimely health problems provided former-Emperor Heizei with a unique opportunity to foment a rebellion; and yet ultimately, the Heizei insurgents were defeated.

Forces loyal to Emperor Saga, led by taishōgun Sakanoue no Tamuramaro, quickly defeated the Heizei rebels which thus limited the adverse consequences which would have followed any broader conflict.[7] This same Tamuramaro is remembered in Aomori's annual nebuta or neputa matsuri which feature a number of gigantic, specially-constructed, illuminated paper floats. These great lantern-structures are colorfully painted with mythical figures; and teams of men carry them through the streets as crowds shout encouragement. This early ninth century military leader is commemorated in this way because he is said to have ordered huge illuminated lanterns to be placed at the top of hills; and when the curious Emishi approached these bright lights to investigate, they were captured and subdued by Tamuramaro's men.[8]

Cry for noble Saichō (哭最澄上人), which was written by Emperor Saga for Saichō's death. Chinese calligraphic influence had been weakened after the Heian period. This text was one of the example for such a transformation.

Saga was a scholar of the Chinese classics. He was also a renowned as a skillful calligrapher.

According to legend, he was the first Japanese emperor to drink tea.

Emperor Saga played an important role as a stalwart supporter of the Buddhist monk Kūkai. The emperor helped Kūkai to establish the Shingon School of Buddhism by granting him the Toji temple in the capital Heian-kyō (present day Kyoto).

Saga's grandson, Minamoto no Tōru, is thought to be an inspiration for the protagonist of the novel The Tale of Genji.

In ancient Japan, there were four noble clans, the Gempeitōkitsu (源平藤橘). One of these clans, the Minamoto clan are also known as Genji (源氏), and of these, the Saga Genji (嵯峨源氏) are descended from 52nd emperor Saga.

  • Jōwa 9, on the 15th day of the 7th month (842): Saga died at the age of 57.[9]


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.-- kugyō of Saga-tennō (in French)

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 Saga's reign (809-823), this kugyō included:

  • Sadaijin
  • Udaijin, Fujiwara no Uchimaro (藤原内麿), 806-812.[5]
  • Udaijin, Fujiwara no Sonohito (藤原園人), 812-818.[5]
  • Udaijin, Fujiwara no Fuyutsugu (藤原冬嗣), 821-825.[5]
  • Naidaijin
  • Dainagon

Eras of Saga's reign

The years of Saga's reign are more specifically identified by more than one era name or nengō.[10]

Consorts and Children

Saga had 49 children by at least 30 different women. Many of the children received the surname Minamoto, thereby removing them from royal succession.

Empress: Tachibana no Kachiko (橘嘉智子) (786-850), daughter of Tachibana no Kiyotomo (橘清友)

  • Imperial Prince Masara (正良親王) (810-850)[Emperor Ninmyo]
  • Imperial Princess Masako (正子内親王) (810-879), married to Emperor Junna
  • Imperial Princess Hideko (秀子内親王) (?-850)
  • Imperial Prince Hidera (秀良親王) (817-895)
  • Imperial Princess Toshiko (俊子内親王) (?-826)
  • Imperial Princess Yoshiko (芳子内親王) (?-839)
  • Imperial Princess Shigeko (繁子内親王) (?-851)

Hi(deposed): Princess Takatsu (高津内親王) (?-841), daughter of Emperor Kammu

  • Imperial Prince Nariyoshi (業良親王) (?-868)
  • Imperial Princess Nariko (業子内親王) (?-815)

Hi: Tajihi no Takako (多治比高子) (787-825), daughter of Tajihi no Ujimori (多治比氏守)

Bunin: Fujiwara no Onatsu (藤原緒夏) (?-855), daughter of Fujiwara no Uchimaro (藤原内麻呂)

Nyōgo: Ōhara no Kiyoko (大原浄子) (?-841), daughter of Ōhara no Yakatsugu (大原家継)

  • Imperial Princess Ninshi (仁子内親王) (?-889), 15th Saiō in Ise Shrine 809-823

Nyōgo: Princess Katano (交野女王), daughter of Prince Yamaguchi (山口王)

  • Imperial Princess Uchiko (有智子内親王) (807-847), 1st Saiin in Kamo Shrine 810-831

Nyōgo: Kudara no Kimyō (百済貴命) (?-851), daughter of Kudara no Shuntetsu (百済俊哲)

  • Imperial Prince Motora (基良親王) (?-831)
  • Imperial Prince Tadara (忠良親王) (819-876)
  • Imperial Princess Motoko (基子内親王) (?-831)

Koui: Iidaka no Yakatoji (飯高宅刀自)

  • Minamoto no Tokiwa (源常) (812-854)
  • Minamoto no Akira (源明) (814-852/853)

Koui: Akishino no Koko (秋篠高子/康子), daughter of Akishino no Yasuhito (秋篠安人)

  • Minamoto no Kiyoshi (源清)

Koui: Yamada no Chikako (山田近子)

  • Minamoto no Hiraku(?) (源啓) (829-869)
  • Minamoto no Mituhime (源密姫)

Court lady (Naishi-no-kami): Kudara no Kyomyō (百済慶命) (?-849), daughter of Kudara no Kyōshun (百済教俊)

  • Minamoto no Yoshihime (源善姫)(814-?)
  • Minamoto no Sadamu (源定) (815-863)
  • Minamoto no Wakahime (源若姫)
  • Minamoto no Shizumu(?) (源鎮) (824-881)

Court lady: Takashina no Kawako (高階河子), daughter of Takashina no Kiyoshina (高階浄階)

  • Imperial Princess Sōshi (宗子内親王) (?-854)

Court lady: Fun'ya no Fumiko (文屋文子), daughter of Fun'ya no Kugamaro (文屋久賀麻呂)

  • Imperial Princess Junshi (純子内親王) (?-863)
  • Imperial Princess Seishi (斉子内親王) (?-853), married to Prince Fujii(son of Emperor Kammu)
  • Prince Atsushi (淳王)

Court lady: A daughter of Hiroi no Otona (広井弟名の娘)

  • Minamoto no Makoto (源信) (810-869)

Court lady: Fuse no Musashiko (布勢武蔵子)

  • Minamoto no Sadahime (源貞姫) (810-880)
  • Minamoto no Hashihime (源端姫)

Court lady: A daughter of Kamitsukeno clan (上毛野氏の娘)

  • Minamoto no Hiromu (源弘) (812-863)

Court lady(Nyoju): A daughter of Taima no Osadamaro (当麻治田麻呂の娘)

  • Minamoto no Kiyohime (源潔姫) (810-856), married to Fujiwara no Yoshifusa (藤原良房)
  • Minamoto no Matahime (源全姫) (812-882), Naishi-no-kami (尚侍)

Court lady: A daughter of Abe no Yanatsu (安部楊津の娘)

  • Minamoto no Yutaka(?) (源寛) (813-876)

Court lady: Kasa no Tsugiko (笠継子), daughter of Kasa no Nakamori (笠仲守)

  • Minamoto no Ikeru (源生) (821-872)

Court lady: A daughter of Tanaka clan (田中氏の娘)

  • Minamoto no Sumu(?) (源澄)

Court lady: A daughter of Awata clan (粟田氏の娘)

  • Minamoto no Yasushi (源安) (822-853)

Court lady: Ōhara no Matako (大原全子), daughter of Ōhara no Mamuro (大原真室)

  • Minamoto no Tōru (源融) (822-895), Sadaijin
  • Minamoto no Tsutomu (源勤) (824-881)
  • Minamoto no Mitsuhime (源盈姫)

Court lady: A daughter of Koreyoshi no Sadamichi (惟良貞道の娘)

  • Minamoto no Masaru (源勝)

Court lady: A daughter of Nagaoka no Okanari (長岡岡成の娘)

  • Minamoto no Sakashi(?) (源賢)

Court lady: A daughter of Ki clan (紀氏の娘)

  • Minamoto no Sarahime (源更姫)

Court lady: Kura no Kageko (内蔵影子)

  • Minamoto no Kamihime (源神姫)
  • Minamoto no Katahime(?) (源容姫)
  • Minamoto no Agahime (源吾姫)

Court lady: Kannabi no Iseko (甘南備伊勢子)

  • Minamoto no Koehime (源声姫)

Court lady: Tacibana no Haruko (橘春子)

Court lady: Ōnakatomi no Mineko (大中臣峯子)

(from unknown women)

  • Minamoto no Tsugu (?) (源継)
  • Minamoto no Yoshihime (源良姫)
  • Minamoto no Toshihime (源年姫)


  1. ^ Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du Japon, pp. 97-102; Brown, Delmer et al. (1979). Gukanshō, pp. 280-282; Varley, H. Paul. (1980). Jinnō Shōtōki, p. 151-163.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ Titsingh, p. 96; Brown, p. 280.
  4. ^ Varley, p. 151.
  5. ^ a b c d Brown, p. 280.
  6. ^ Titsingh, p. 96; Brown, p. 280; 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.
  7. ^ Titsingh, p. 98; Varley, p. 151.
  8. ^ Boroff, Nicholas. National Geographic Traveler Japan, p. 156.
  9. ^ Brown, p. 282; Varley, p. 163.
  10. ^ Titsingh, p. 97.


See also


External links

Regnal titles
Preceded by
Emperor Heizei
Emperor of Japan:

Succeeded by
Emperor Junna

Simple English

[[File:|thumb|right|The chrysanthemum symbol of the Japanese emperor and his family.]]

File:Koku Saitcho
Cry for noble Saichō (哭最澄上人), which was written by Emperor Saga for Saichō's death.

Emperor Saga (嵯峨天皇, Saga-tennō) (786842) was the 52nd Emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession. He reigned from 809 to 823.[1]


  1. Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du Japon, p. 97.

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