Emperor Ichijo (一条天皇)

Emperor Ichijo (July 15, 980 - July 25, 1011) was the sixty-sixth Emperor. Emperor Ichijo's reign began on June 23, 986, and he resigned on June 13, 1011. His posthumous name was Yasuhito/Kanehito.


The first prince of Emperor Enyu
His mother was FUJIWARA no Kaneie's daughter, FUJIWARA no Senshi. He had no brother or sister.


Brief Personal History

He became the crown prince in 984, when Emperor Kazan was in power. On August 1, 986, Emperor Kazan left the Imperial Palace for good in order to become a Buddhist monk, and subsequently Emperor Ichijo was enthroned in his seventh year (it is said that this was a conspiracy by Kaneie set up a grandchild for enthronement at an early age). The crown prince was Imperial Prince Okisada, son of Emperor Reizei (FUJIWARA no Kaneie), who became regent (and later became kampaku, or chief adviser, to the Emperor).

After Kaneie died, his eldest son, FUJIWARA no Michitaka, became regent and kampaku to the Emperor as his maternal relative, and FUJIWARA no Teishi became Emperor Ichijo's second consort; however, in 995 he died. After Michitaka's death, his brother FUJIWARA no Michikane became kanpaku to the Emperor, but he died just seven days later; FUJIWARA no Michinaga, Michitaka and Michikane's brother, who had won the power struggle with Michitaka's son FUJIWARA no Korechika, became nairan (chief secretary) and took power after receiving the recommendation of his sister and the Emperor's mother, Shoshi. Michinaga set the precedent for Ittei-Nigo (an emperor having two empresses) when he made Teishi, who was the second consort of the emperor at the time, empress, and made his daughter, FUJIWARA no Shoshi, the new second consort.

With Emperor Ichijo's enthronement, the FUJIWARA clan was in its prime under the supervision of Michitaka, Michinaga's brother; meanwhile, the Heian culture flourished with Seishonagon (who served Empress Teishi) and Murasakishikibu and Izumishikibu, both of whom served Chugu Shoshi. The Emperor himself was keen to learn literature, and left his Chinese-style poem in "Honcho Monzui." The Emperor was musically talented and loved to play the recorder. With his warm personality he was popular among people, and he loved to study.

The Emperor decided that Michinaga would be nairan (chief secretary) instead of kampaku (chief adviser) to the Emperor, once he became older, since he wanted to run the government directly instead of having a regent and kampaku, like his great-grandfather Emperor Daigo and his grandfather, Emperor MurakamiI; on the other hand, Michinaga agreed to be nairan and also the head of various sections to control the government, since the regent and kampaku weren't entitled to attend the meetings of the Cabinet; thus a strong political framework was set up and OE no Masahusa acknowledged through "Zoku Honcho Ojoden," with which talented people like FUJIWARA no Sanesuke and FUJIWARA no Yukinari were produced.

On the other hand, according to "Gukan-sho," which was written early in the Kamakura period by Jien, who was Michinaga's sixth descendent, Michinaga found a letter in the Emperor's mementos saying that 'one person tried to have all the power to himself, therefore the world is covered by clouds and people are unhappy'; Michinaga burned this letter, since he took it as saying, 'Because of Michinaga's own way of ruling the government, the world is not in peace.'
This was an inconvenient fact for the clan (family) eligible for regency, and although Jien did not deny the relevance of the fact, he accused the Emperor of ignorance and honored Michinaga, remaining faithful to the Emperor. This kind of story is written in "Kojidan," but there is another story in "Gon-ki" stating that the Emperor, late in life, wished for Teishi's son, Imperial Prince Atsuyasu, to be the crown prince, but this was blocked by Michinaga. This story could be entirely or partly true; nevertheless, there is a theory that the relationship between the Emperor and Michinaga wasn't necessarily good.

Posthumous name, posthumous title (Tsuigo), a different name

The posthumous title of the 'Ichijo-in' (the ex-Emperor Ichijo) came from the name of the temporary residence, Satodairi, where the Emperor stayed during his reign (the posthumous title (tsuigo) is sometimes considered to be a type of posthumous name, but strictly speaking these are two different names).
After the Meiji period, the name 'In' was no longer used, so he was called 'Emperor Ichijo.'

Eras during his reign








The Imperial Mausoleum

The Emperor was entombed in the North Imperial Mausoleum at Enyuji, Ryoan-ji Temple, Ukyo Ward, in Kyoto City. The Emperor wished to be entombed next to the ex-Emperor Enyu in his father's mausoleum; Michinaga remembered this after the late ex-Emperor was cremated, and his okotsu (remain/ashes) were kept at Enyu-ji Temple. All the past emperors are enshrined in Koreiden, one of the Three Palace Sanctuaries.

[Original Japanese]