Emperor Antoku

Last updated
Antoku
Emperor Antoku.jpg
Emperor of Japan
ReignMarch 18, 1180 – April 25, 1185
Coronation May 18, 1180
Predecessor Takakura
Successor Go-Toba
BornDecember 22, 1178
DiedApril 25, 1185(1185-04-25) (aged 6)
Dan-no-ura, Shimonoseki Strait, Japan
Burial
Amida-ji no Misasagi (Shimonoseki)
House Yamato
Father Emperor Takakura
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. [1]

Contents

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 climactic 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 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 alternative 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. [2]

Genealogy

Before his ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne, his personal name (his imina) [3] was Tokohito-shinnō (言仁親王). [4] He was also known as Kotohito-shinnō. [5]

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 ).

Events of Antoku's life

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).

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. [9]

Kugyō

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:

Memorial site

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. [11]

Eras of Antoku's reign

The years of Antoku's reign are more specifically identified by more than one era name or nengō . [12]

Ancestry

[13]

See also

Notes

Japanese Imperial kamon -- a stylized chrysanthemum blossom Imperial Seal of Japan.svg
Japanese Imperial kamon — a stylized chrysanthemum blossom
  1. Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du Japon, pp. 200–207; Brown, Delmer et al. (1979). Gukanshō, pp. 333–334; Varley, H. Paul. (1980). Jinnō Shōtōki. pp. 214–215.
  2. Jeremy Roberts: Japanese Mythology A to Z, 2nd edition, 2010. ISBN   978-1-60413-435-3.
  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. Brown, p. 333; Varley, p. 214.
  5. Titsingh, p. 200.
  6. Titsingh, p. 200; Brown, p. 333; 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. 207.
  8. Kitagawa, Hiroshi et al. (1975). The Tale of the Heike, p. 787; Titsingh, pp. 211–212.
  9. Sansom, George (1958). A History of Japan to 1334. Stanford University Press. pp. 303–305. ISBN   0804705232.
  10. 1 2 Brown, p. 333.
  11. Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan, p. 422; n.b., although Ponsonby-Fane indicates that the official shrine was in Kyoto in the 1930s, the credible, but unsourced text at the bottom of this article explains that the current location of the shrine is in Shimonoseki.
  12. Titsingh, pp. 200–207; Brown, pp. 333–334.
  13. "Genealogy". Reichsarchiv (in Japanese). Retrieved 31 December 2018.

Related Research Articles

Emperor Montoku Emperor of Japan

Emperor Montoku was the 55th emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession.

Emperor Kōkō Former Emperor of Japan

Emperor Kōkō was the 58th emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession.

Emperor Sutoku Emperor of Japan

Emperor Sutoku was the 75th emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession.

Minamoto no Yoritomo 1st shogun of the Kamakura shogunate

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).

Hōgen rebellion conflict

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.

Heiji rebellion short civil war between rival subjects of the cloistered Emperor Go-Shirakawa of Japan in 1159

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 Major Japanese clan of samurai

The Taira was one of the four most important samurai clans that dominated Japanese politics during the Heian Period of Japanese history - the others were the Fujiwara, the Tachibana in addition to the Minamoto. The clan is commonly referred to as Heishi or Heike, using the character's Chinese reading hei (平) for Taira, while shi (氏) means "clan", and ke (家) is used as a suffix for "extended family".

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 Go-Shirakawa Emperor of Japan

Emperor Go-Shirakawa was the 77th emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession. His de jure reign spanned the years from 1155 through 1158, though arguably he effectively maintained imperial power for almost thirty-seven years through the insei system - scholars differ as to whether his rule can be truly considered part of the insei system, given that the Hōgen Rebellion undermined the imperial position. However, it is broadly acknowledged that by politically outmaneuvering his opponents, he attained greater influence and power than the diminished authority of the emperor's position during this period would otherwise allow.

Emperor Konoe was the 76th emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession.

Emperor Reizei was the 63rd emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession.

Emperor Takakura Emperor of Japan

Emperor Takakura was the 80th emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession. His reign spanned the years from 1168 through 1180.

Genpei War conflict during late-Heian period of Japan

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.

Battle of Dan-no-ura Sea battle of the Genpei War

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.

Bunji (era) Japanese era

Bunji (文治) was a Japanese era name after Genryaku and before Kenkyū. This period spanned the years from August 1185 through April 1190. The reigning emperor was Go-Toba-tennō (後鳥羽天皇).

Genryaku Japanese era

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).

Taira no Munemori One of the Taira clans chief commanders in the Genpei War

Taira no Munemori was heir to Taira no Kiyomori, and one of the Taira clan's chief commanders in the Genpei War.

Jishō period of Japanese history

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 Empress consort of Japan

Taira no Tokuko, later known as Kenreimon-in (建礼門院), was the daughter of the Chancellor Taira no Kiyomori and Taira no Tokiko. She was empress-consort of Emperor Takakura.

Akama Shrine Shinto shrine in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan

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.

References

Regnal titles
Preceded by
Emperor Takakura
Emperor or Tennō:
Antoku

1180–1185
Succeeded by
Emperor Go-Toba