Emperor Gouda (後宇多天皇)

Emperor Gouda (December 17, 1267 - July 16, 1324) was the ninety first Emperor during the Kamakura period (his reign was from March 6, 1274 to November 27, 1287). His posthumous name was Yohito.


He was the second Prince of Emperor Kameyama, his mother was the Sadaijin (Minister of the Left), Saneo TOIN's daughter, Kitsushi TOIN (Kyogokuin).

Brief Personal History
He became Crown Prince in 1268 when he was eight months old with the intention of Emperor Gosaga.
Following the Retired Emperor's will who passed away, he succeeded to the throne in 1274 when he was eight years old after Emperor Kameyama passed the throne to him
The Retired Emperor Kameyama ruled the cloistered government.

During his reign there was an invasion by the Yuan (Mongol) dynasty, Koryo; Goryeo, and what is called Bunei no Eki (the first Mongolian Invasion), Koan no Eki (the second Mongolian Invasion) occurred.

The Emperor did not like Emperor Gofukakusa to being his brother, the Retired Emperor Kameyama's line (the Daikakuji-to Imperial line) instead of his own line (the Jimyo-in Imperial line), he passed the throne to the Retired Emperor Gofukakusa's Prince, Emperor Fushimi with the Kamakura bakufu's (Japanese feudal government headed by a Shogun) mediation in 1287. Since then, the separation of the Imperial line continued to prevent conflicts against the succession of the Imperial throne between the Jimyo-in Imperial line and the Daikaku-ji Imperial line, whereby ryoto tetsuritsu (alternate accedence from two ancestries of imperial families) was suggested by bakufu as the mediation.

During the eldest child Emperor Gonijo's reign (the ninety fourth), the Retired Emperor ruled the cloistered government from 1301 till 1308.

Because Imperial Princess Reishi died in 1307, he became a priest (entering the Buddhist priesthood) at Ninna-ji Temple and was named Kongosho. At that time he lived at Daikaku-ji Temple and used it as his Palace, afterwards he entered into the Buddhist priesthood and became Monzeki (the head priest who came from the Imperial family). After the Crown Prince, Emperor Gonijo died in 1308, the Emperor lost his authority as the father of the Crown Prince and he was not involved in politics until the enthronement of Emperor Godaigo. During this period the Emperor became interested in esoteric Buddhism, he visited Mt. Koya in 1313 where he had wished to go from long ago. It is said there was a heavy thunder storm on the way to the mountain, the Emperor was exhausted and he almost fainted, although his aides who were with him, asked the Emperor to get on the palanquin, he refused and kept on walking until he got to the Mt. Koya. There are books related to Shingon esoteric Buddhism such as 'The Life of Kobo Daishi' and 'Go Tein Yuigo' (a book of will written by Emperor Gouda). He received a title or a rank as a Buddhist priest while ruling the cloistered government at Daikaku-ji Temple, and he issued 'Eisenji' which gives the authority to use those titles and ranks to the temple. The 'Eisenji' was abolished after the Meiji Restoration.

After the enthronement of Emperor Hanazono of the Jimyo-in Imperial line, followed by Prince Godaigo's succession to the throne (the ninety sixth Emperor) in 1318, Emperor Gouda started ruling the cloistered government again. He stopped ruling the cloistered government and retired in 1321. After this, Emperor Godaigo's directly ruled government began. The Emperor died at Daikakuji Palace on June 25, 1324.

In his later years, it is said he wished the Daikaku-ji Imperial line to be unified after the enthronement of Emperor Gonijoin's eldest son (his own child), Imperial Prince Kuniyoshi, however Emperor Godaigo did not like to be in power temporarily, and the relationship between him and his father, Emperor Godaigo, gradually became fragile, as the result, it is presumed the cloistered government was stopped and the Emperor started the directly ruled government, but there is another theory that retired Emperor Gouda stopped his cloistered government by his own will, and more study is needed to determine the truth of the matter.

Posthumous name, Tsuigo, different name

The Emperor was given Tsuigo of Gouda in which go was added to Emperor Uda's name. Since he restored Emperor Saga's imperial villa, the Daikaku-ji Temple, and ruled the cloistered government from there, it was called Daikaku-ji dono, later on that name represented Emperor Kameyama and Gouda's Imperial line. There are different names which come from the name of other Palaces he lived in such as; Madenokoji dono and Tokiwai dono. As he became a priest, (entering the Buddhist priesthood), he also had a monk name, Kongosho.

Eras during his reign

Bunei (January 26, 1274) - April 25, 1275
Kenji April 25, 1275 - February 29, 1278
Koan February 29, 1278 - (October 21, 1287)

The Imperial mausoleum

The Emperor died in Daikaku-ji dono and was entombed in one part of Rengebu-ji Temple. Currently it is called Rengebuji no Misasagi in Asaharayama-cho, Kitasaga, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto City.

[Original Japanese]