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Emperor Go-Saga

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Title: Emperor Go-Saga  
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Subject: Emperor Go-Fukakusa, Emperor Saga, List of Emperors of Japan, 1240s, Emperor of Japan
Collection: 1220 Births, 1272 Deaths, Japanese Emperors, People of Kamakura-Period Japan
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Emperor Go-Saga

Emperor of Japan
Reign 1242–1246
Predecessor Shijō
Successor Go-Fukakusa
Spouse Fujiwara no Kitsushi
Born April 1, 1220
Died March 17, 1272 (aged 51)
Burial Saga no minami no Misasagi (Kyoto)

Emperor Go-Saga (後嵯峨天皇 Go-Saga-tennō) (April 1, 1220 – March 17, 1272) was the 88th emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession. This reign spanned the years 1242 through 1246.[1]

This 13th-century sovereign was named after the 8th-century Emperor Saga and go- (後), translates literally as "later"; and thus, he is sometimes called the "Later Emperor Saga". The Japanese word go has also been translated to mean the "second one;" and in some older sources, this emperor may be identified as "Saga, the second," or as "Saga II."


  • Genealogy 1
  • Events of Go-Saga's life 2
  • Kugyō 3
  • Eras of Go-Saga's reign 4
  • See also 5
  • Notes 6
  • References 7


Before his ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne, his personal name (his imina) was Kunihito-shinnō (邦仁親王).[2]

He was the second son of Emperor Tsuchimikado, and second cousin of his predecessor Emperor Shijō.

  • Empress: Saionji (Fujiwara) no Yoshi-ko (西園寺(藤原)姞子)[3]
    • Fourth son: Imperial Prince Hisahito (久仁親王) (Emperor Go-Fukakusa)
    • First daughter: Imperial Princess Osako (綜子内親王)[4]
    • Seventh son: Imperial Prince Tsunehito (恒仁親王) (Emperor Kameyama)
    • Eleventh son: Imperial Prince Masataka (雅尊親王)[4]
    • Thirteenth son: Imperial Prince Sadayoshi (貞良親王)[4]
  • Lady-in-waiting: Taira no Muneko (平棟子), daughter of Taira no Munemoto (平棟基)[5]
  • Handmaid?: Fujiwara ?? (藤原博子)
    • Eighth son: Prince Kakujo Hoshinnō (覚助法親王) (Buddhist Priest)[4]
    • Second daughter: ??? (柳殿)
    • Sixth daughter: Imperial Princess ?? (懌子内親王)

Events of Go-Saga's life

He ruled from February 21, 1242 to February 16, 1246.

When Emperor Tsuchimikado moved to Tosa Province (on Shikoku), he was raised by his mother's side of the family.

Because of the sudden death of Emperor Shijō at the age of 10, the question of succession arose. Because the expectations of the court nobility and the Bakufu conflicted, the issue was bitterly contested. Kujō Michiie and the court nobility supported Prince Tadanari (忠成王), a son of Retired Emperor Juntoku, but the shikken Hōjō Yasutoki was opposed to the sons of Juntoku because of his involvement in the Jōkyū War. Michiie instead supported Tsuchimikado's son Prince Kunihito as a neutral figure for Emperor. During these negotiations, there was a vacancy on the throne of 11 days.

  • 1242 (Ninji 3, 10th day of the 1st month): In the 10th year of Shijō-tennō 's reign (四条天皇10年), the emperor died suddenly; and despite a dispute over who should follow him as sovereign, contemporary scholars then construed that the succession (senso)[6] was received by the second son of former Emperor Tsuchimikado.[7]
  • 1242 (Ninji 3, 5th month): Emperor Go-Saga is said to have acceded to the throne (sokui).[8]

In 1242, Prince Kunihito became emperor. In 1246 he abdicated to his son, Emperor Go-Fukakusa, beginning his reign as cloistered emperor. In 1259, he compelled Emperor Go-Fukakusa to abdicate to his younger brother, Emperor Kameyama. Imperial Prince Munetaka became shōgun instead of the Hōjō regents. Henceforth, the shōguns of the Kamakura Bakufu came from the imperial house. Still, the Hōjō regents increased their control of the shogunate, setting up the system of rule by regents.

The descendants of his two sons contested the throne between them, forming into two lines, the Jimyōin-tō (Go-Fukakusa's descendants) and the Daikakuji-tō (Kameyama's descendants).

Memorial Shinto shrine and mausoleum honoring Empress Go-Saga.

In 1272, Go-Saga died.

Go-Saga's final resting place is designated as an Imperial mausoleum (misasagi) at Saa no minami no Misasagi in Kyoto.[9]


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. Even during those years in which the court's actual influence outside the palace walls was minimal, the hierarchic organization persisted.

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 Go-Saga's reign, this apex of the Daijō-kan included:

Eras of Go-Saga's reign

The years of Go-saga's reign are more specifically identified by more than one era name or nengō.[10]

See also


Japanese Imperial kamon — a stylized chrysanthemum blossom
  1. ^ Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du japon, p. 245-247; Varley, H. Paul. (1980). Jinnō Shōtōki. pp. 228–231.
  2. ^ Titsingh, p. 245; Varley, p.228.
  3. ^ Fortunes of Emperors
  4. ^ a b c d Emergence of Japanese Kingship, p5
  5. ^ Taira no Muneko is from 'The Changing of the Shogun 1289: An Excerpt from Towazugatari', The Journal of the Association of Teachers of Japanese, Vol. , No. 1, Tenth Anniversary Issue, (Nov., 1972), pp. 58–65
  6. ^ 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, pp. 244–245; Varley, p. 228.
  8. ^ Titsingh, p. 245; Varley, p. 44.
  9. ^ Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan, p. 423.
  10. ^ Titsingh, p. 245.


Regnal titles
Preceded by
Emperor Shijō
Emperor of Japan:

Succeeded by
Emperor Go-Fukakusa
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