Northern Court

Last updated
Northern Court

北朝
Hokuchō
1331/1336–1392
Capital Heian-kyō
Common languages Late Middle Japanese
Religion
Shinbutsu shūgō
GovernmentHereditary monarchy
Emperor  
 1331–1333
Kōgon
 1336–1348
Kōmyō
 1348–1351
Sukō
 1352–1371
Go-Kōgon
 1371–1382
Go-En'yū
 1382–1392/1412
Go-Komatsu
History 
 Established
1331/1336
 Re-unification of Imperial courts
August 11 1392
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Imperial Seal of Japan.svg Kenmu Restoration
Imperial House of Japan Imperial Seal of Japan.svg
Ashikaga shogunate Ashikaga mon.svg

The Northern Court (北朝, hokuchō), also known as the Ashikaga Pretenders or Northern Pretenders, were a set of six pretenders to the throne of Japan during the Nanboku-chō period from 1336 through 1392. [1] The present Imperial House of Japan is descended from the Northern Court emperors.

Contents

The Northern dynasty is also referred to as the "senior line" or the Jimyōin line (持明院統, Jimyōin-tō); Jimyō-in was a temple and retirement residence of this line's emperors Go-Fukakusa and Fushimi. [2]

Nanboku-chō overview

The Imperial seats during the Nanboku-cho period were in relatively close proximity, but geographically distinct. They were conventionally identified as:
Northern capital: Kyoto
Southern capital: Yoshino. Nanbokucho-capitals.svg
The Imperial seats during the Nanboku-chō period were in relatively close proximity, but geographically distinct. They were conventionally identified as:

The origins of the Northern Court go back to Emperor Go-Saga, who reigned from 1242 through 1246. [3] Go-Saga was succeeded in turn by two of his sons, Emperor Go-Fukakusa [4] and Emperor Kameyama. [5] On his death bed in 1272, Go-Saga insisted that his sons adopt a plan in which future emperors from the two fraternal lines would ascend the throne in alternating succession. [6] This plan proved to be unworkable, resulting in rival factions and rival claimants to the throne.

In 1333, when the Southern Emperor Go-Daigo staged the Kenmu Restoration and revolted against the Hōjō Kamakura shogunate, the newly minted shōgun Ashikaga Takauji (ironically, by Emperor Go-Daigo himself) responded by declaring Emperor Kōgon, Go-Daigo's second cousin once removed and the son of an earlier emperor, Emperor Go-Fushimi of the Jimyōin-tō, as the new emperor. After the destruction of the Kamakura shogunate in 1333, Kōgon lost his claim, but his brother, Emperor Kōmyō, and two of his sons were supported by the new Ashikaga shōguns as the rightful claimants to the throne. Kōgon's family thus formed an alternate Imperial Court in Kyoto, which came to be called the Northern Court because its seat was in a location north of its rival. Cloistered Emperor Go-Daigo failed to control succession to the Imperial throne, whereby the Ashikaga shōguns were able to wrestle any remaining power away from position of Emperor. Shōguns ruled Japan until 1867.

Southern Court

The Imperial Court supported by the Ashikaga shoguns was rivaled by the Southern Court of Go-Daigo and his descendants. This came to be called the Southern Court because its seat was in a location south of its rival. Although the precise location of the emperors' seat did change, it was often identified as simply Yoshino. In 1392, Emperor Go-Kameyama of the Southern Court was defeated and abdicated in favor of Kōgon's great-grandson, Emperor Go-Komatsu, thus ending the divide.

The Northern Court was under the power of the Ashikaga shoguns and had little real independence. Partly because of this, since the 19th century, the Emperors of the Southern Imperial Court have been considered the legitimate Emperors of Japan. Moreover, the Southern Court controlled the Japanese imperial regalia. The Northern Court members are not considered legitimate Japanese emperors. They are called "Northern Court Emperors" now.

One Southern Court descendant, Kumazawa Hiromichi, declared himself to be Japan's rightful emperor in the days after the end of the Pacific War. He claimed that Emperor Hirohito was a fraud, arguing that Hirohito's entire line is descended from the Northern Court. Despite this, he was not arrested for lèse majesté, even when donning the Imperial Crest. He could and did produce a koseki detailing his bloodline back to Emperor Go-Daigo in Yoshino, but his claims and rhetoric failed to inspire anything other than sympathy. [7]

Re-unification of Imperial courts

Go-Kameyama reached an agreement with Go-Komatsu to return to the old alternations on a ten-year plan. However, Go-Komatsu broke this promise, not only ruling for 20 years, but being succeeded by his own son, rather than by one from the former Southern Court.

During the Meiji period, an Imperial decree dated March 3, 1911, established that the legitimate reigning monarchs of this period were the direct descendants of Emperor Go-Daigo through Emperor Go-Murakami, whose Southern Court had been established in exile in Yoshino, near Nara. [8]

Northern Court emperors

These are the Hokuchō or Northern Court emperors:

Southern Court emperors

These are the Nanchō or Southern Court emperors:

Notes

  1. Nussbaum, Louis Frédéric and Käthe Roth. (2005). Japan Encyclopedia, p. 251; n.b., Louis-Frédéric is the pseudonym of Louis-Frédéric Nussbaum, see Deutsche Nationalbibliothek Authority File Archived 2012-05-24 at Archive.today .
  2. Kanai, Madoka; Nitta, Hideharu; Yamagiwa, Joseph Koshimi (1966). A Topical History of Japan. UM Libraries. p. 42. UOM:39015005373116.
  3. Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du japon, pp. 245–247.
  4. Titsingh, pp. 248–255.
  5. Titsingh, pp. 255–261.
  6. Titsingh, p. 261.
  7. Dower, John W. (1999). Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II, pp. 306-307.
  8. Thomas, Julia Adeney. (2001). Reconfiguring modernity: concepts of nature in Japanese political ideology, p. 199 n57, citing Mehl, Margaret. (1997). History and the State in Nineteenth-Century Japan. pp. 140–147.
  9. "コトバンク 「光厳天皇」" . Retrieved 2017-07-23.
  10. Titsingh, pp. 294–298.
  11. Titsingh, pp. 298–301.
  12. Titsingh, pp. 302–309.
  13. Titsingh, pp. 310–316, 320.
  14. Titsingh, pp. 317–327.
  15. Titsingh, pp. 281–295; Varley, H. Paul. (1980). Jinnō Shōtōki, pp. 241–269.
  16. Titsingh, pp. 295–308; Varley, pp. 269–270.
  17. Titsingh, p. 308; Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan, p. 158.
  18. Titsingh, p. 320.

Related Research Articles

Emperor Go-Daigo Emperor of Japan

Emperor Go-Daigo was the 96th emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession. He successfully overthrew the Kamakura shogunate in 1333 and established the short lived Kenmu Restoration to bring the Imperial House back into power. This was to be the last time the emperor had any power until the Meiji Restoration in 1868. The Kenmu restoration was in turn overthrown by Ashikaga Takauji in 1336, ushering in the Ashikaga shogunate, and split the imperial family into two opposing factions between the Ashikaga backed Northern Court situated in Kyoto and the Southern Court based in Yoshino led by Go-Daigo and his later successors.

Emperor Go-Komatsu Emperor of Japan

Emperor Go-Komatsu was the 100th emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession, and the sixth and final Emperor of the Northern Court.

Ōei era in Japanese History

Ōei (応永) was a Japanese era name after Meitoku and before Shōchō. This period spanned the years from July 1394 through April 1428. Reigning emperors were Go-Komatsu-tennō (後小松天皇,) and Shōkō-tennō (称光天皇).

Meitoku Japanese era

Meitoku (明徳) was a Japanese era name of the Northern Court during the Era of Northern and Southern Courts after Kōō and before Ōei. This period spanned the years from March 1390 to July 1394. After October 1392, Meitoku replaced the Southern Court's nengō (Genchū).

Genchū Japanese era

Genchū (元中) was a Japanese era of the Southern Court during the Era of Northern and Southern Courts lasting from April 1384 to October 1392. Reigning Emperors were Go-Kameyama in the south and Go-Komatsu in the north.

Kōwa (Muromachi period)

Kōwa (弘和) was a Japanese era name of the Southern Court during the Era of Northern and Southern Courts after Tenju and before Genchū. This period spanned the years from February 1381 to April 1384. The Southern Court emperors in Yoshino during this time-frame were Emperor Chōkei and Emperor Go-Kameyama. The Northern court emperors in Kyoto were Emperor Go-En'yū and Emperor Go-Komatsu

Bunchū Japanese era

Bunchū (文中) was a Japanese era name of the Southern Court during the Era of Northern and Southern Courts after Kentoku and before Tenju. This period spanned the years from October 1372 to May 1375. The Southern Court emperor in Yoshino during this time-frame was Emperor Chōkei. The Northern court emperor in Kyoto was Emperor Go-En'yū.

Shōhei Japanese era

Shōhei (正平) was a Japanese era of the Southern Court during the Era of Northern and Southern Courts after Kōkoku and before Kentoku. This period spanned the years from December 1346 to July 1370. The Southern Court emperors in Yoshino were Emperor Go-Murakami and Emperor Chōkei. The emperors in Kyoto were Emperor Kōmyō, Emperor Sukō and Emperor Go-Kōgon in the north.

Kōkoku Japanese era

Kōkoku (興国) was a Japanese era of the Southern Court during the Era of Northern and Southern Courts after Engen and before Shōhei, lasting from April 1340 to December 1346. The emperor in Kyoto was Emperor Kōmyō. Go-Kōgon's Southern Court rival in Yoshino during this time-frame was Emperor Go-Murakami.

Kenmu Japanese era

Kenmu (建武) was a Japanese era name of the Northern Court during the Era of Northern and Southern Courts after Shōkei and before Ryakuō. Although Kemmu is understood by the Southern Court as having begun at the same time, the era was construed to have begun after Genkō and before Engen.

Kōō Japanese era

Kōō (康応), also romanized as Kō-ō, was a Japanese era name of the Northern Court during the Era of Northern and Southern Courts after Kakei and before Meitoku. This period spanned the years from February 1389 to March 1390. The emperor in Kyoto was Emperor Go-Komatsu The Southern Court rival in Yoshino during this time-frame was Emperor Go-Kameyama.

Kakei Japanese era

Kakei (嘉慶) was a Japanese era name of the Northern Court during the Era of Northern and Southern Courts after Shitoku and before Kōō. This period spanned the years from August 1387 to February 1389. The emperor in Kyoto was Emperor Go-Komatsu The Southern Court rival in Yoshino during this time-frame was Emperor Go-Kameyama.

Shitoku Japanese era

Shitoku (至徳) was a Japanese era name of the Northern Court during the Era of Northern and Southern Courts after Eitoku and before Kakei. This period spanned the years from February 1384 to August 1387. The emperor in Kyoto was Emperor Go-Komatsu The Southern Court rival in Yoshino during this time-frame was Emperor Go-Kameyama.

Eitoku Japanese era

Eitoku (永徳) was a Japanese era name of the Northern Court during the Era of Northern and Southern Courts after Kōryaku and before Shitoku. This period spanned the years from February 1381 to February 1384. The emperors in Kyoto were Emperor Go-En'yū and Emperor Go-Komatsu The Southern Court rivals in Yoshino during this time-frame were Emperor Chōkei and Emperor Go-Kameyama.

Jōji Japanese era

Jōji (貞治) was a Japanese era name of the Northern Court during the Era of Northern and Southern Courts after Kōan and before Ōan. This period spanned the years from September 1362 through February 1368. The emperor in Kyoto was Emperor Go-Kōgon. Go-Kōgon's Southern Court rival in Yoshino during this time-frame was Emperor Go-Murakami.

Ryakuō Japanese era

Ryakuō (暦応) was a Japanese era of the Northern Court during the Era of Northern and Southern Courts, lasting from August 1338 to April 1342. The emperor in Kyoto was Emperor Kōmyō. Go-Kōgon's Southern Court rival in Yoshino during this time-frame was Emperor Go-Murakami.

Enbun Japanese era

Enbun (延文), also transcribed Embun, was a Japanese era name of the Northern Court during the Era of Northern and Southern Courts after Bunna and before Kōan. This period spanned the years from March 1356 through March 1361; The emperor in Kyoto was Emperor Go-Kōgon. Go-Kōgon's Southern Court rival in Yoshino during this time-frame was Emperor Go-Murakami

Jōwa (Muromachi period)

Jōwa (貞和) was a Japanese era or nengō which was promulgated by the more militarily powerful of two Imperial rival courts during the Era of Northern and Southern Courts. This nengō came after Kōei and before Kannō and lasting from October 1345 through February 1350. The emperor in Kyoto was Emperor Kōmyō. Go-Kōgon's Southern Court rival in Yoshino during this time-frame was Emperor Go-Murakami.

Emperor Kōgon 1St Northern Emperor

Emperor Kōgon was the first of the Emperors of Northern Court during the Period of the Northern and Southern Courts in Japan. His reign spanned the years from 1331 through 1333.

The Southern Court were a set of four emperors whose claims to sovereignty during the Nanboku-chō period spanning from 1336 through 1392 were usurped by the Northern Court. This period ended with the Southern Court definitively losing the war, and they were forced to completely submit sovereignty to the Northern Court. This had the result that, while later Japanese sovereigns were descended from the Northern Court, posterity assigns sole legitimacy during this period to the Southern Court.

References