Higashifushimi Kunihide

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Higashifushimi Kunihide

HIH Prince Kuni Kunihide.jpg

HIH Prince Higashifushimi Kunihide circa 1920s
Native name東伏見慈洽
Born(1910-05-16)16 May 1910
Died 1 January 2014(2014-01-01) (aged 103)
Other names Kuni Kunihide
Higashifushimi Jigō
Citizenship Japan
Occupation Buddhist monk
Title Count (until 1947)
Spouse(s) Yasuko Kamei [1]
Children 4, including Jiko Higashifushimi
Parent(s) Kuni Kuniyoshi and his wife, Shimazu Chikako
Relatives Prince Higashifushimi Yorihito (great uncle)
Empress Kōjun (sister)
Emperor Shōwa (brother-in-law)
Emperor Akihito (nephew)

Count Higashifushimi Kunihide(東伏見 邦英, 16 May 1910 – 1 January 2014) was the titular head of the Higashifushimi-no-miya, an extinct branch of the Imperial House of Japan, and a Buddhist monk. He was the youngest brother of Empress Kōjun and was the maternal uncle of the present emperor, Akihito. If he had kept his imperial status, at the time of his death he would have been the oldest-ever member of the Japanese imperial family. His Dharma name was Jigō(慈洽). [2]

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 and so on.

Empress Kōjun 20th-century Japanese empress

Empress Kōjun, born Princess Nagako, was the wife of Emperor Shōwa of Japan. She was the mother of the present emperor, Akihito.

Akihito Emperor of Japan

Akihito is the current Emperor of Japan. He succeeded to the Chrysanthemum Throne upon the death of his father Emperor Shōwa (Hirohito) on 7 January 1989. According to Japan's traditional order of succession, he is the 125th member of the world's oldest reigning dynasty. The Japanese government announced in December 2017 that Akihito will abdicate on 30 April 2019 due to his age and declining health.



Count Higashifushimi Kunihide was born as Prince Kuni Kunihide(久邇宮邦英王,Kuni-no-miya Kunihide ō), the youngest child of Lieutenant Colonel Prince Kuniyoshi Kuni and his wife, the former Shimazu Chikako (19 October 1879 - 9 September 1956). Prince Kuni's uncle, Admiral Prince Higashifushimi Yorihito, the head of the Higashifushimi-no-miya line, had no heirs; consequently, following consultations with his father, Prince Kunihide was given to the custody of his great-uncle and his wife on 26 October 1919, though not formally adopted. [3] [ not in citation given ] Upon attaining his majority in 1930, he sat in the House of Peers as an imperial prince until the following year, when the Emperor, his cousin and brother-in-law, requested him to relinquish his imperial status to perpetuate the Higashifushimi name. [4] Upon leaving the imperial family, he was ennobled as Count Higashifushimi and appointed a Grand Cordon of the Order of the Paulownia Flowers. He held the title of count until October 1947, when the nobility and cadet branches of the imperial family lost their status. [5]

House of Peers (Japan) upper house of the Imperial Diet of Japan

The House of Peers was the upper house of the Imperial Diet as mandated under the Constitution of the Empire of Japan.

Order of the Paulownia Flowers award

The Order of the Paulownia Flowers is an order presented by the Japanese government. Established in 1888 during the Meiji Restoration as the highest award in the Order of the Rising Sun; however, since 2003 it has been an Order in its own right. The only grade of the order is Grand Cordon of the Order of the Paulownia Flowers, which ranks higher than the Order of the Rising Sun but lower than the Order of the Chrysanthemum.

After taking a degree in history from Kyoto Imperial University, he taught as a lecturer at the university until 1952, when he took his vows as a Buddhist priest in the Zenkō-ji daikanshin in Nagano, becoming the abbot of the Tendai Buddhist Shōren'in Temple in Kyoto the following year, taking the Buddhist name Jigō(慈洽). He took a PhD in Asuka period art from Kyoto University in 1956. He was appointed chairman of the Kyoto Association of Buddhist Temples in 1985, serving until his death. As chairman, he led the opposition to a ¥50 temple admission fee imposed by the city of Kyoto, denouncing it as "contrary to the principle of separation of church and state and freedom of religion." The fee was subsequently repealed. [2]

Kyoto University national university located in Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto University, or Kyodai is a national university in Kyoto, Japan. It is the second oldest Japanese university, one of Asia's highest ranked universities and one of Japan's National Seven Universities. One of Asia’s leading research-oriented institutions, Kyoto University is famed for producing world-class researchers, including 18 Nobel Prize laureates, 2 Fields medalists and one Gauss Prize winner. It has the most Nobel laureates of all universities in Asia.

Zenkō-ji Buddhist temple in Nagano, Nagano Prefecture, Japan

Zenkō-ji (善光寺) is a Buddhist temple located in Nagano, Japan. The temple was built in the 7th century. Nagano City, established in 1897, was originally a town built around the temple.


Kanjin is a Japanese term for the many and various methods of a Buddhist monk to solicit donations. It generally indicates the recommendation or encouragement through chanted sutras. Solicited donations are usually intended for the establishment of new temples or statues or their renovations. Since the medieval age, Kanjin has come to mean "fund raising".

In 2004, he passed the position of abbot of the Shōren'in to his second son, Jiko Higashifushimi, becoming its emeritus abbot. In poor health since 2009, he died on 1 January 2014, aged 103. [2]



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  1. "Genealogy of the House of Fushimi-no-miya In the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries" . Retrieved 7 December 2016.
  2. 1 2 3 東伏見慈洽さん死去 天皇陛下の叔父 [Emperor's uncle, Higashifumi Kunihide dies]. Asahi Shimbun Digital (in Japanese). The Asahi Shimbun Company. 1 January 2014. Retrieved 2014-01-01.
  3. Genealogy
  4. Genealogy
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  6. "Genealogy". Reichsarchiv. Retrieved 25 October 2017.(in Japanese)