Emperor Gosai (後西天皇)

Emperor Gosai (January 1, 1638 - March 26, 1685), the 111th Emperor, reigned during the Edo period (from January 5, 1655 to March 5, 1663). His name from childhood was Hanamachinomiya, and his personal name was Nagahito.


He was the eighth prince of Emperor Gomizunoo. His mother was Hoshunmonin Takako KUSHIGE of Gomizunoo Naishi no suke (a court lady of the first rank), who was a daughter of Sachujo (Middle Captain of the Left Division of Inner Palace Guards), Takashi KUSHIGE. His cousin was Tsunamune DATE, the lord of the Sendai domain (third generation).

Brief Personal History

First, the Emperor was named Hanamachinomiya (Hanamachiin) to succeed the second Takamatsunomiya, after marrying the princess of Imperial Prince Yoshihito, who was the first Takamatsunomiya. The year before the enthronement, he came to Edo to act as a proxy for his older brother, Emperor Gokomyo. When Emperor Gokomyo died, his adopted son and younger brother, Imperial Prince Satohito (the Emperor Reigen) had just been born, and the other brothers were all living the religious life, Emperor Gosai was enthroned on November 28, 1654 until Imperial Prince Satohito was old enough to succeed to the throne.

On January 26, 1663, Emperor Gosai abdicated and passed the position to Imperial Prince Satohito, who had turned ten years old.

Generally, he threw himself into studies and left many books such as "水日集." He was a talented poet and had a deep understanding of classical studies. During his reign, Ise-jingu Shrine, Osaka-jo Castle and the Imperial Palace were burned down; additionally, there was a great fire in Meireki, or an earthquake in a rural area and the occurrence of flooding; therefore it is said that people in those days criticized the Emperor as being immoral. There is another theory that the Emperor was said to be immoral, given the fact that Cloistered Emperor Gomizunoo wanted Imperial Prince Satohito's early enthronement and because the Edo government didn't approve of the Emperor Gosai's family line being the cousin to a strong outside daimyo (the Sendai clan), whereupon both parties caused the Emperor's early abdication to take place.

He died in 1685.

Eras during his reign

Shoo (Joo) (September 20, 1654) - April 13, 1655
Meireki April 13, 1655 - July 23, 1658
Manji July 23, 1658 - April 25, 1661
Kanbun April 25, 1661 - (January 26, 1663)

Posthumous name, Tsuigo, a different name

Because Emperor Gosai was enthroned between his brother-in-law and nephew, he couldn't leave his family line for imperial succession. He received the posthumous name of 'Gosaiin,' named after 'Saiin,' a different name for the fifty-third Emperor, Junna, given that 'the Emperor Saiin' had a similar background.
After the Meiji period, with the restoration of Tenno go, he was called 'Emperor Gosaiin,' but the suffix "in" was abolished in 1925 and he was subsequently called 'Emperor Gosai.'
However, many historians say that his name should be Emperor Gosaiin and should not remove the suffix "in" like other names of retired emperors as 'Saiin' should be used as one word; they say it would make no sense with only "Gosai."

Imperial mausoleum

The Emperor was entombed in Tsuki no Wa no Misasagi in Senzan-cho, Imagumano, in the Higashiyama Ward of Kyoto City.

[Original Japanese]