|Emperor of Japan|
|Reign||March 18, 1180 – April 25, 1185|
|Born||December 22, 1178|
|Died||April 25, 1185 6) (aged|
Dan-no-ura, Shimonoseki Strait, Japan
Amida-ji no Misasagi (Shimonoseki)
|Mother||Taira no Tokuko|
Emperor Antoku (安徳天皇 Antoku-tennō) (December 22, 1178 – April 25, 1185) was the 81st emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession. His reign spanned the years from 1180 through 1185.
The Emperor of Japan is the head of the Imperial Family and the head of state of Japan. Under the 1947 constitution, he is defined as "the symbol of the State and of the unity of the people." Historically, he is also the highest authority of the Shinto religion. In Japanese, the emperor is called Tennō (天皇), literally "heavenly sovereign". In English, the use of the term Mikado for the emperor was once common, but is now considered obsolete.
Japan is an island country in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies off the eastern coast of the Asian continent and stretches from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and the Philippine Sea in the south.
During this time, the Imperial family was involved in a bitter struggle between warring clans. Minamoto no Yoritomo with his cousin Minamoto no Yoshinaka, led a force from the Minamoto clan against the Taira, who controlled the emperor. During the climatic sea Battle of Dan-no-ura in April 1185, Antoku's grandmother Taira no Tokiko took him and plunged with him into the water in the Shimonoseki Straits, drowning the child emperor rather than allowing him to be captured by the opposing forces.
The Imperial House of Japan, also referred to as the Imperial Family or the Yamato Dynasty, comprises those members of the extended family of the reigning Emperor of Japan who undertake official and public duties. Under the present Constitution of Japan, the Emperor is "the symbol of the State and of the unity of the people". Other members of the Imperial Family perform ceremonial and social duties, but have no role in the affairs of government. The duties as an Emperor are passed down the line to their children.
The Genpei War (1180–1185) was a national civil war between the Taira and Minamoto clans during the late-Heian period of Japan. It resulted in the downfall of the Taira and the establishment of the Kamakura shogunate under Minamoto no Yoritomo in 1192.
Minamoto no Yoritomo was the founder and the first shōgun of the Kamakura shogunate of Japan. He ruled from 1192 until 1199. His Buddhist name was Bukōshōgendaizenmon (武皇嘯原大禅門).
The conflict between the clans led to numerous legends and tales. The story of Emperor Antoku and his mother's family became the subject of the Kamakura period epic poem The Tale of the Heike (Heike is an alternate reading of the Japanese characters for "House of the Taira"). Antoku's tomb is said to be located in a number of places around western Japan, including the island of Iwo Jima, a result of the spreading of legends about the emperor and the battle.
The Kamakura period is a period of Japanese history that marks the governance by the Kamakura shogunate, officially established in 1192 in Kamakura by the first shōgun, Minamoto no Yoritomo. The period is known for the emergence of the samurai, the warrior caste, and for the establishment of feudalism in Japan.
The Tale of the Heike is an epic account compiled prior to 1330 of the struggle between the Taira clan and Minamoto clan for control of Japan at the end of the 12th century in the Genpei War (1180–1185). Heike (平家) refers to the Taira (平), hei being an alternate reading of the first kanji. Note that in the title of the Genpei War, "hei" is in this combination read as "pei" and the "gen" (源) is the first kanji used in the Minamoto clan's name. The Tale of the Heike is often likened to a Japanese Iliad.
Kanji are the adopted logographic Chinese characters that are used in the Japanese writing system. They are used alongside the Japanese syllabic scripts hiragana and katakana. The Japanese term kanji for the Chinese characters literally means "Han characters". It is written with the same characters in the Chinese language to refer to the character writing system, hanzi (漢字).
Before his ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne, his personal name (his imina)was Tokohito-shinnō (言仁親王). He was also known as Kotohito-shinnō.
The Chrysanthemum Throne is the throne of the Emperor of Japan. While the term is often used as a metonym for the monarchy of Japan, the term also can refer to very specific seating, such as the Takamikura (高御座) throne in the Shishin-den at Kyoto Imperial Palace.
His father was Emperor Takakura, and thus a grandson of retired Emperor Go-Shirakawa. His mother, Taira no Tokuko (平徳子), second daughter of Taira no Kiyomori (平清盛), was later referred to as Empress Dowager Kenrei (建礼門院, Kenrei-mon In ).
Emperor Takakura was the 80th emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession. His reign spanned the years from 1168 through 1180.
Daijō Tennō or Dajō Tennō (太上天皇) is a title for an Emperor of Japan who abdicates the Chrysanthemum Throne in favour of a successor.
Emperor Go-Shirakawa was the 77th emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession. His reign spanned the years from 1155 through 1158, while he remained effectively in power for almost 37 years.
Antoku was named crown prince at around one month of age. He ascended the throne at the age of two. Naturally, he held no actual power, but rather his grandfather Taira no Kiyomori ruled in his name, though not officially, as sesshō (regent).
A crown prince is the male heir apparent to the throne in a royal or imperial monarchy. Its female form is crown princess, which may refer either to an heir apparent or, especially in earlier times, the wife of the person styled crown prince.
In the year of his enthronement, the capital was moved to modern-day Kōbe, Hyōgo, but it was soon moved back to Heian-kyō.
In 1183, when Minamoto no Yoshinaka entered the capital, the Taira clan fled with the young emperor and the sacred treasures to Yashima (the name of a place inside modern-day Takamatsu, Kagawa). Being defeated in ensuing battle, they fled westward.
The Taira were defeated. Antoku's grandmother, Taira no Tokiko, Kiyomori's widow, drowned herself along with the young emperor. His mother also drowned herself, but apparently, according to The Tale of the Heike (Heike Monogatari), she was pulled out with a rake by her long hair.
According to Yoshitsune's dispatch, the sacred seal was found, but the sacred sword was lost. The sword was one of the three sacred treasures.
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 would have brought them to the pinnacle of a life's career. During Antoku's reign, this apex of the Daijō-kan included:
After his drowning, in order to mourn the body and placate any restless spirits, the Amidaji Goeidō was built. Later, Antoku was enshrined at the Kurume-Suitengū in Kurume, Fukuoka, and he came to be worshipped as Mizu-no-kami (水の神, lit. "water-god" or "god of water"), the god of easy delivery at Suitengū (水天宮, lit. "water-heaven/emperor-shrine") everywhere.
With the establishment of Shintō as the state religion of Japan, the Amidaji Temple was abandoned and the Akama Shrine was established in Shimonoseki in Yamaguchi prefecture to celebrate Antoku.
The Imperial Household Agency designates Amida-ji no misasagi (阿彌陀寺陵) near Akama Shrine in Shimonoseki as Antoku's tomb.
The years of Antoku's reign are more specifically identified by more than one era name or nengō .
|Ancestors of Emperor Antoku|
Emperor Kōkō was the 58th emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession.
The Hōgen rebellion was a short civil war fought in order to resolve a dispute about Japanese Imperial succession. The dispute was also about the degree of control exercised by the Fujiwara clan who had become hereditary Imperial regents during the Heian period.
The Heiji rebellion was a short civil war between rival subjects of the cloistered Emperor Go-Shirakawa of Japan in 1160 fought in order to resolve a dispute about political power. It was preceded by the Hōgen Rebellion in 1156. Heiji no ran is seen as a direct outcome of the earlier armed dispute; but unlike Hōgen no ran, which was a dispute between members of the same clan, this was rather a struggle for power between two rival clans. It is also seen as a precursor of a broader civil war.
Taira clan was a major Japanese clan of samurai.
Emperor Rokujō was the 79th emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession. His reign spanned the years from 1165 through 1168.
Emperor Konoe was the 76th emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession.
The battle of Dan-no-ura was a major sea battle of the Genpei War, occurring at Dan-no-ura, in the Shimonoseki Strait off the southern tip of Honshū. On April 25, 1185, the fleet of the Minamoto clan (Genji), led by Minamoto no Yoshitsune, defeated the fleet of the Taira clan (Heike). The morning rip tide was an advantage to the Taira in the morning but turned to their disadvantage in the afternoon. The young Emperor Antoku was one of those who perished amongst the Taira nobles.
Heikegani is a species of crab native to Japan, with a shell that bears a pattern resembling a human face which many believed to be the face of an angry samurai hence the nickname Samurai Crab. It is locally believed that these crabs are reincarnations of the Heike warriors defeated at the Battle of Dan-no-ura as told in The Tale of the Heike.
Kenkyū (建久) was a Japanese era name after Bunji and before Shōji. This period spanned the years from April 1190 through April 1199. The reigning emperor was Go-Toba-tennō (後鳥羽天皇).
Genryaku (元暦) was a Japanese era name after Juei and before Bunji. This period spanned the years from April 1184 through August 1185. The reigning emperors were Antoku-tennō (安徳天皇) and Go-Toba-tennō (後鳥羽天皇).
Juei (寿永) was a Japanese era name after Yōwa and before Genryaku. This period spanned the years from May 1182 through March 1184. The reigning emperors were Antoku-tennō (安徳天皇) and Go-Toba-tennō (後鳥羽天皇).
Taira no Munemori was heir to Taira no Kiyomori, and one of the Taira clan's chief commanders in the Genpei War.
Jishō (治承) was a Japanese era name after Angen and before Yōwa. This period spanned the years from August 1177 through July 1181. The reigning emperors were Takakura-tennō (高倉天皇) and Antoku-tennō (安徳天皇).
Taira no Tokuko, later known as Kenreimon-in (建礼門院), was the daughter of the Chancellor Taira no Kiyomori, and empress-consort of Emperor Takakura.
Akama Shrine is a Shinto shrine in Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan. It is dedicated to Antoku, a Japanese emperor who died as a child in the Battle of Dan-no-ura, which occurred nearby in 1185. This battle was important in the history of Japan because it brought an end to Genpei War in which the Minamoto clan defeated the rival Taira clan, and ended the Taira bid for control of Japan.
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