Emperor Heizei, Heijo (平城天皇)

Emperor Heizei, Heijo (September 26, 774 - August 5, 824) was the fifty-first Emperor (his reign was from June 8, 806 to May 8, 809). He was called Prince Ote but was later called Ateno miko. He was also called Nara no Mikado. The national posthumous title was Yamato neko ame oshikuni takahiko no mikoto.

He was the eldest son of Emperor Kammu. His mother, FUJIWARA no Otomuro (the daughter of FUJIWARA no Yoshitsugu) was the empress of Emperor Kammu. Emperor Saga, who became the crown prince, was the Emperor Heizei's younger half-brother. His children were Prince Abo, Prince Takaoka, Prince Kose and four other princesses. Prince Abo's fifth child was ARIWARA no Narihira, who was the Emperor's grandchild.

Brief Personal History
In 785, the Emperor Heizei became the crown prince to succeed his uncle, Prince Sawara. However, the Emperor was in poor health when he became the Crown Pprince and had a sensitive relationship with his father the Emperor at that time; according to "Nihon Koki," there was a rumor that the crown prince was involved in the incident of Togu-bo Tachihaki (no) Toneri being killed in 793, or that in 805 the Emperor, who was in serious medical condition, recovered temporarily and ordered the Crown Pprince to go to the Imperial Palace, but when he refused to do so, FUJIWARA no Otsugu reprimanded him and he finally went to the Imperial Palace for a while. Also, the Emperor made a favor of the mother of the empress, FUJIWARA no Kusuko, while he was the crown prince, as a result of which he became the subject of a scandal, so FUJIWARA no Kusuko was ordered to leave the palace by the Emperor's father. It is said that the Emperor reflected this kind of full account to review according to the politics of his father, Emperor Kammu.

The Emperor Heizei was enthroned in May 806. In the early stage of his reign, he dealt aggressively with politics, trying to combine or remove officials, stopping annual events or improving working conditions for middle- and low-class officials in order to restore the politics and finances as a means to ease ordinary people. On the other hand, he called back FUJIWARA no Kusuko to the Imperial Palace and ordered her to become Naishi no Tsukasa, and she was entrusted with the handling of day-to-day things in the palace; additionally, the Emperor restored an article of the incident FUJIWARA no Tanetsugu being killed from "Shoku Nihon GI (Continuation of Chronicles of Japan)." This is due to Kusuko being FUJIWARA no Tanetsugu's daughter, but it is also said that the Emperor intended to have correct proof as to Prince Sawara's inability to become the crown prince, and the Emperor's imperial succession (however, the article was again removed by Emperor Saga). In April 809, the Emperor abdicated and Prince Kamino (Emperor Saga) succeeded to the Imperial Throne, whereupon Emperor Saga appointed Prince Takaoka (Emperor Heizei's son) as the crown prince. In December 809, the Retired Emperor Heizei moved to the former capital city, to the Heijokyo (Heijo Palace).

Due to the involvement of Kusuko and her brother, FUJIWARA no Nakanari, in 810 the Emperor issued an order to the nobles to move the capital city to Heijokyo (Heijo Palace), although the Emperor Kammu had previously issued an order not to move the capital from Heiankyo (Heian Palace), but after that he took actual control of politics. However, Emperor Saga's side went ahead of Emperor Heizei, and on September 10 Emperor Saga took away Kusuko's office rank. The Emperor raised an army on September 11 and tried to enter the eastern district with Kusuko, but he was stopped by SAKANOUE no Tamuramaro and returned to Heijokyo (Heijo Palace) the following day. He immediately shaved his head and became a Buddhist priest; Kusuko committed suicide by taking poison. The prince Takaoka was thus denied the status of crown prince, and Prince Otomo (the future Emperor Junna) was set up as the crown prince. This is called the Kusuko Incident (the Revolt of Kusuko). When the Kusuko Incident (the Revolt of Kusuko) occurred, the Empress Princess Asahara and Princess Oyake did not follow Emperor Heizei; instead, they resigned from their positions in May 812.

The Retired Emperor Heizei continued to stay at Heijokyo (Heijo Palace) after a while (he did not have the title Hoo, a retired Emperor with a Buddhist name; a cloistered emperor) the title 'Dajo Tenno (Retired Emperor)' remained, and Emperor Saga visited the Retired Emperor Heizei. The princes Abo and Takakura (Dazai no gon no sochi) were ensured of being treated well and were allowed to have the level of Shihon shinno. Later, when Emperor Saga intended to abdicate, it became apparent that FUJIWARA no Fuyutsugu opposed it, saying it would cost too much for the Imperial Palace and they would face financial difficulty if Emperor Saga were treated the same as the Retired Emperor Heizei.

His posthumous name came from Heijokyo (Heijo Palace). His imperial mausoleum is stated by the Imperial Household Agency as being at Yamamomo no Misasagi, just north of Heijokyo (Heijo Palace). It has been considered that Yamamomo no Misasagi is the largest round barrow (tumulus, a round burial mound) (Ichiniwa Kofun, or the Ichiniwa tomb) in Japan; however, it cannot be called Emperor Heizei's mausoleum since it was learned through an archaeological excavation in 1962-1963 that the front part of the round barrow had been pulled down during the construction of Heijokyo (Heijo Palace).

[Original Japanese]