Emperor Antoku

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Antoku
Emperor Antoku.jpg
Emperor of Japan
ReignMarch 18, 1180 – April 25, 1185
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]

Emperor of Japan Head of state of Japan

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 Country in East Asia

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.

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 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.

Imperial House of Japan Members of the extended family of the reigning Emperor of Japan

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.

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.

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).

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. [2]

Kamakura period period of Japanese history

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.

<i>The Tale of the Heike</i> book

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.

<i>Kanji</i> adopted logographic Chinese characters used in the modern Japanese writing system

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).

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]

Chrysanthemum Throne Throne of the Emperor of Japan

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 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.

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 Emperor of Japan

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.

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).

Crown prince heir to the throne

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. [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.

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References

Regnal titles
Preceded by
Emperor Takakura
Emperor or Tennō:
Antoku

1180–1185
Succeeded by
Emperor Go-Toba