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Emperor Reigen

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Title: Emperor Reigen  
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Subject: Emperor Higashiyama, Emperor Go-Sai, Emperor Nakamikado, Emperor Go-Kōmyō, Emperor Sakuramachi
Collection: 1654 Births, 1732 Deaths, Japanese Emperors
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Emperor Reigen

Emperor of Japan
Reign 1663–1687
Predecessor Go-Sai
Successor Higashiyama
Born (1654-07-09)9 July 1654
Died 24 September 1732(1732-09-24) (aged 78)
Burial Taukinowa no misasagi (Kyoto)
Spouse Fujiwara no Fusako
Father Go-Mizunoo

Emperor Reigen (霊元天皇 Reigen-tennō, 9 July 1654 – 24 September 1732) was the 112th emperor of Japan,[1] according to the traditional order of succession.[2]

Reigen's reign spanned the years from 1663 through 1687.[3]


  • Genealogy 1
  • Events of Reigen's life 2
    • Kugyō 2.1
  • Eras of Reigen's reign 3
  • Notes 4
  • References 5
  • See also 6


Before Reigen's ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne, his personal name (imina) was Satohito (識仁);[4] and his pre-accession title was Ate-no-miya (高貴宮).

Reigen was the 16th son of Emperor Go-Mizunoo. His mother was the daughter of Minister of the Center Sonomotooto (内大臣園基音), Lady in Waiting Kuniko (新広義門院国子).

Regien's Imperial family lived with him in the Dairi of the Heian Palace. This family included at least 13 sons and 14 daughters:[2]

  • Empress: Takatsukasa Fusako (鷹司房子) (Empress Dowager Shin-jyōsai, 新上西門院)
    • Third daughter: Imperial Princess Masako (栄子内親王)
  • Lady-in-waiting: Bōjō Fusako (坊城房子)
    • Second daughter: Princess Ken'shi (憲子内親王)
  • Lady-in-waiting: Daughter of Ogura Saneoki (小倉実起女)
    • First son: Prince Saishin (済深法親王) (Buddhist priest)
  • Lady-in-waiting: Matsuki Muneko (松木宗子)  (Empress Dowager Keihō, 敬法門院)
    • Fourth son: Imperial Prince Asahito (朝仁親王), also known as Tomohito[5] (Emperor Higashiyama)
    • Fifth daughter: Princess Tomiko (福子内親王)
    • Sixth daughter: Princess Eisyū (永秀女王)
    • 7th son: Imperial Prince Kyōgoku-no-miya Ayahito (京極宮文仁親王) – Sixth Kyōgoku-no-miya
    • 7th daughter: Ume-no-miya (梅宮)
    • 8th daughter: Princess Katsuko (勝子内親王)
    • 8th son: Sei-no-miya (清宮)
  • ??: Atago Fukuko? (愛宕福子)
    • Second son: Prince Kanryū (寛隆法親王) (Buddhist priest)
    • Fourth daughter: Tsuna-no-miya (綱宮)
  • ??: Gojyō Yōko (五条庸子)
    • Third son: San-no-miya (三宮)
    • Fifth son: Prince Gyōen (尭延法親王) (Buddhist priest)
    • Sixth son: Tairei'in-no-miya (台嶺院宮)
  • ??: Higashikuze Hiroko (東久世博子)
    • 11th son: Toku-no-miya (徳宮)
    • 12th son: Riki-no-miya (力宮)
  • ??: Daughter of ?? Sada'atsu (今城定淳女)
    • 13th son: Prince Sonsyō (尊賞法親王) (Buddhist priest)
    • 11th daughter: Princess Bun'ō (文応女王)
  • Consort: Daughter of Nishi-no-tōin Tokinaga (西洞院時良女)
    • First daughter: Chikōin-miya (知光院宮)
  • Consort: Gojyō Tsuneko (五条経子)
    • 9th son: Saku-no-miya (作宮)
    • 10th son: Prince Syō'ou (性応法親王) (Buddhist priest)
    • 9th daughter: Princess Bunki (文喜女王)
    • 10th daughter: Princess Gensyū? (元秀女王)
  • Consort: Irie Itsuko (入江伊津子)
    • 14th son: Kachi-no-miya (嘉智宮)
    • 12th daughter: Tome-no-miya (留宮)
  • Consort: Daughter of Kurahashi Yasusada (倉橋泰貞女)
    • 15th son: Mine-no-miya (峯宮)
  • Consort: Matsumuro Atsuko (松室敦子)
    • 16th son: Imperial Prince Arisugawa-no-miya Yorihito (有栖川宮職仁親王) – Fifth Arisugawa-no-miya
    • 13th daughter: Princess Yoshiko (吉子内親王)
    • 18th son: Prince Gyōkyō (尭恭法親王) (Buddhist priest)
  • Consort: Matsumuro Nakako (松室仲子)
    • 17th son: Prince Son'in (尊胤法親王) (Buddhist priest)
  • Consort: Daughter of Hata ??tada (秦相忠女)
    • 14th son: Yae-no-miya (八重宮)

His posthumous name was created during the Meiji Era by combining the kanji from the names of two previous Emperors, Emperor Kōrei (孝霊) and Emperor Kōgen (孝元).

Events of Reigen's life

  • 9 July 1653: The birth of an Imperial prince who will become known by the posthumous name of Reigen-tennō.[6]
  • 1654: Prince Satohito, who is also known as Ate-no-miya, is named as heir before the death of his eldest brother, Emperor Go-Kōmyō; however, the young prince is considered too young to become emperor. It is decided that until the young heir grows older, his elder brother will accede to the throne as Emperor Go-Sai.
  • 5 March 1663 (Kanbun 3, 26th day of the 1st month): Emperor Go-Sai abdicated;[7] and Prince Satohito received the succession (senso). Shortly thereafter, Emperor Reigen formally acceded (sokui) and his reign began.[6]
  • 1665 (Kanbun 5, 6th month): Courts of inquisition were established in all the villages of Japan. These courts were charged with discovering and eliminating any vestiges of Christianity in each community.[8]
  • 1666 (Kanbun 6, 4th month): Hokke shu Buddhist religious practices are preserved for those who believe that their spiritual and moral purity may be tainted by close association with others.[8]
View across the roof of Tōdai-ji becomes a panoramic vista as seen from the elevated walkway of Nigatsu-dō.
  • 1667 (Kanbun 7): After fire destroyed the main temple structure, work on rebuilding Nigatsu-dō (二月堂) at Nara commenced.[8]
  • 13 February 1668 (Kanbun 8, 1st day of the 2nd month): A great fire broke out in Edo—a conflagration lasting 45 days. The disastrous fire was attributed to arson.[8]
  • 1669 (Kanbun 9):There was a famine in this year; and a military expedition was sent to northern Honshū against Shakushain's Revolt.[8]
  • 1673 (Enpō 1): There was a great fire in Kyoto.[8]
  • 1675 (Enpō 3): There was a great fire in Kyoto.[8]
  • 1680 (Enpō 8, 8th month): A great flood devastates Edo.[8]
  • 1680 (Enpō 8): Gokoku-ji is founded in Edo.[8]
  • 1681 (Tenna 1): Tsunyoshi's investiture as shogun.[8]
  • 5 February 1682 (Tenna 1, 28th day of the 12th month): A great fire sweeps through Edo.[9]
  • 1681 (Tenna 2): A great famine devastates Kyoto and the surrounding area.[9]
  • 1682 (Tenna 3): Tomohito-shinnō is proclaimed Crown Prince; and the ceremonial investiture is held (after being in abeyance for over 300 years).[2]
  • 26 March 1685 (Jōkyō 2, 22nd day of the 2nd month): Former-Emperor Go-Sai died; and a great comet was observed crossing the night sky.[9]
  • 2 May 1687 (Jōkyō 4, 21st day of the 3rd month): Emperor Reigen abdicates in favor of his fifth son who will come to be known as Emperor Higashiyama.[9]
  • 1687: Former-Emperor Reigen begins to rule as a cloistered emperor; and after abdication, Reigen's new home will be called the Sentō-gosho (the palace for an ex-Emperor).[10]
  • 1713: Former-Emperor Reigen enters a monastery under the name Sojō (素浄)
  • 24 September 1732 (Kyōhō 17, 24th day of the 9th month): Reigen died;[6] he was age 79.

Emperor Reigen's memory is honored and preserved at his designated Imperial mausoleum (misasagi), Tsukinowa no misasagi at Sennyū-ji in Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto. His immediate Imperial predecessors since Emperor Go-MizunooMeishō, Go-Kōmyō and Go-Sai are also enshrined along with his immediate Imperial successors, including Higashiyama, Nakamikado, Sakuramachi, Momozono, Go-Sakuramachi and Go-Momozono.[11]


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

Eras of Reigen's reign

The years of Reigen's reign are more specifically identified by more than one era name or nengō.[8]


Japanese Imperial kamon — a stylized chrysanthemum blossom
  1. ^ Imperial Household Agency (Kunaichō): 霊元天皇 (112)
  2. ^ a b c Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan, pp. 117.
  3. ^ Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). , pp. 414–415.Annales des empereurs du japon
  4. ^ Ponsonby-Fane, p. 9.
  5. ^ Ponsonby-Fane, p. 10.
  6. ^ a b c Meyer, Eva-Maria. (1999). p. 186.Japans Kaiserhof in der Edo-Zeit,
  7. ^ Titsingh, p. 414.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Titsingh, p. 414.
  9. ^ a b c d Titsingh, p. 415.
  10. ^ Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1956). Kyoto: The Old Capital of Japan, 794–1869, p. 342.
  11. ^ Ponsonby-Fane, Imperial House, p. 423.


  • Meyer, Eva-Maria. (1999). Japans Kaiserhof in der Edo-Zeit: unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der Jahre 1846 bis 1867. Münster: LIT Verlag. ISBN 978-3-8258-3939-0; OCLC 42041594
  • Ponsonby-Fane, Richard Arthur Brabazon. (1956). Kyoto: The Old Capital of Japan, 794–1869. Kyoto: Ponsonby Memorial Society. OCLC 182637732
  • __________. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan. Kyoto: Ponsonby Memorial Society. OCLC 194887
  • Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Nihon Odai Ichiran; ou, Annales des empereurs du Japon. Paris: Royal Asiatic Society, Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland. OCLC 5850691
  • Varley, H. Paul. (1980). Jinnō Shōtōki: A Chronicle of Gods and Sovereigns. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-231-04940-5; OCLC 59145842

See also

Regnal titles
Preceded by
Emperor Go-Sai
Emperor of Japan:

Succeeded by
Emperor Higashiyama
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