Emperor Gokameyama (後亀山天皇)

Emperor Gokameyama (1347? - May 10, 1424) was the ninety-ninth Emperor in the period of the Northern and Southern Courts (Japan) and the last and fourth Emperor in the Southern Court (reign: November/December 1383 - November 19, 1392). His name was Yoshinari.

He was recognized as one of the successive emperors when the Southern Court (Japan) became the official court in 1911.

Brief Personal History

In the end of 1383, Emperor Chokei abdicated and Emperor Gokameyama ascended the throne. Chokei was a hard-liner towards the bakufu, and it is told that a policy conflict existed within the Southern Court. Based on the fact that peace negotiations began between the Court and the bakufu after Gokameyama was enthroned, it is believed that the enthronement of Gokameyama was supported by those peace advocates. During the nine years on the throne, Emperor Gokameyama supported the declining government of the Southern Court.

In October 1392, Yoshimitsu ASHIKAGA, the third shogun of Muromachi bakufu, presented conditions of peace-making between the Northern and Southern Courts, and the Emperor agreed to accept the conditions. Lords and vassals of the Southern Court left Yoshino, offering jingi (the sacred treasures), and arrived at Kyoto Daikaku-ji Temple. On October 29, only three sacred imperial treasures were transferred from Daikaku-ji Temple to the Tsuchimikado Palace where Emperor Gokomatsu of the Northern Court resided. Accordingly, the period of the Northern and Southern Courts came to an end, and the imperial line was integrated into the line of the Northern Court. Later Gokameyama recalled that he decided to agree to the unification of the Northern and Southern Courts to cease the long-time conflict and remove people's anxiety. After the unification, Gokameyama accepted the treatment as a dependent of the bakufu after he entered Daikaku-ji Temple. In March 1394, he was conferred the honorary title of Daijo Tenno (the retired Emperor) as 'the emperor who was not enthroned'; however, he declined the title in November 1397.

After that, he entered into priesthood, calling himself Kongoshin, and solely lived in retirement. However, he suddenly fled from Saga in December 1410, confining himself in Yoshino, and spending the next few years there. "Kanmon Nikki" (Diary of Imperial Prince Fushimi no miya Sadafusa) suggests that although this event appears as a result of dire poverty, due to the fact that the bakufu at that time attempted to have Imperial Prince Mihito (later Emperor Shoko), the prince of Emperor Gokomatsu, take over the throne, contrary to the conditions of peace (ryoto tetsuritsu (alternate accedence from two ancestries of imperial families), it may have been an act of protest by the Cloistered Emperor Gokameyama, who was unhappy with such developments. Despite his actions, Emperor Shoko ascended the throne in 1412 and the Cloistered Emperor Gokameyama returned to Saga Daikaku-ji Temple with Kanenobu HIROHASHI's intermediary in September 1416. He demised on May 19, 1424. His age was 75 or 78.

Era names during the reign

Kowa: November 1383 - May 26, 1384

Genchu: May 26, 1384 - October 29, 1392

Imperial mausoleum

Emperor Gokameyama was supposedly buried in Saga no Ogura no misasagi (mausoleum) which is located in Sagatoriimotokozaka-cho, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto City.

As it was on the site of the former Fukuden-ji Temple, the mausoleum was called Fukuden-ji Mausoleum in the early-modern times. In 1879, the mausoleum was renamed its current name.

[Original Japanese]