Emperor Gosaga (後嵯峨天皇)

Emperor Gosaga (April 1, 1220 - March 17, 1272) was the eighty eighth Emperor during the Kamakura period (his reign was from February 21, 1242 to February 16, 1246). His posthumous name was Kunihito.


He was the second Prince of Emperor Tsuchimikado. His mother was Michimune TSUCHIMIKADO's daughter, MINAMOTO no Tsushi (Michiko).

Brief Personal History

After the Retired Emperor Tsuchimikado was banished to Tosa Province, he was raised by his mother's great uncle, Nakanoin Michikata, Sadamichi TSUCHIMIKADO. However, his life was not easy due to the Tsuchimikado family being ruined, he was left in a state of confusion not even being able to have a coming-of-age ceremony after he was twenty years old.

But after Emperor Shijo died suddenly, when he was just twelve years old, it raised the issue of Imperial succession. The issue ran into difficulties because the Court nobles and the Kamakura bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) both had different expectations. Michiie KUJO from one of the Court noble forces, tried to have Prince Tadanari (Emperor Chukyo's half younger brother), Emperor Juntoku's Prince, succeed to the throne, however, the regent, Yasutoki HOJO was against it since Retired Emperor Juntoku's Prince was involved in the Jokyu Disturbance, he then tried to have Retired Emperor Tsuchimikado's Prince, Prince Kunihito become Emperor and allowed the Prince to be enthroned by saying he received an oracle from Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu Shrine (In fact, Sadamichi TSUCHIMIKADO's wife was Yasutoki's half younger sister, thus there was an unusual situation whereby the Prince Kunihito and Hojo clan were relatives to each others). Due to the above tactics, there was an interregnum for eleven days.

Prince Kunihito succeeded to the throne in 1242, he was in power for four years and passed the throne to Emperor Gofukakusa in 1246. After that the Retired Emperor ruled the cloistered government. After his opposition, who was a powerful politician, Michiie KUJO lost his position, the retired Emperor took control of the politics inside the Imperial Palace. Since then Akitomo ANEGAKOJI and Tsuneto NAKAMIKADO who were middle class court nobles, were appointed as close aides to the retired Emperor to run day-to-day operations of the Palace to further the cloistered government. In 1259 the retired Emperor urged that Emperor Gofukakusa pass the throne to his brother, Emperor Kameyama.

During the Retired Emperor Gosaga's reign, the Kamakura bakufu tried to control the Imperial Palace, the cloistered government ruled by the Retired Emperor Gosaga was mostly regulated by the government. Also, the Imperial Prince, Munetaka, was sent as Shogun instead of the family eligible for regent positions. After this, the Shogun of the Kamakura bakufu came from the Imperial family. During this period the Hojo clan took control of the Kamakura bakufu and established regency politics.

He became a Cloistered Emperor who had joined a Buddhist order in 1268 and moved to Daikaku-ji Temple. He died in 1272.

The Retired Emperor Gosaga appointed Emperor Kameyama's Prince (later called Emperor Gouda) as Crown Prince, instead of appointing Emperor Gofukakusa's Prince, and this caused a conflict between what it's called the Jimyo-in Imperial line (Emperor Gofukakusa's line) and the Daikaku-ji Imperial line (Emperor Kameyama's line) in later years, it also caused the big battle during the period of the Northern and Southern Courts (Japan) and even the post Southern Court. In "Shihon Taihei ki" (the Record of Great peace), Eiji YOSHIKAWA mentioned, 'It was common sense for emperors not to rule the government, instead, Chiten no kimi, the retired emperors and the cloister emperors who had joined a Buddhist order, took the actual control of the politics.
These unnatural measures were organized for the continuation of power by ruling the cloistered government for the longest possible time.'

Eras during his reign

Ninji (January 9, 1242) - February 26, 1243

Kangen February 26, 1243 - (January 19, 1246)

The Imperial mausoleum

The Emperor was entombed in Sagano Minami no Misasagi at Susuki no Baba-cho, Saga Tenryu-ji, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto City.

[Original Japanese]