Emperor Kogon (光厳天皇)

Emperor Kogon (August 1, 1313 - August 5, 1364), his reign was from October 22, 1331 to July 7, 1333) and he was the first Emperor of Northern Court during the period of the Northern and Southern Courts. His posthumous name was Kazuhito.

In 1911 it was decided to use the Southern Court as the standard era, Emperor Kogon was excluded from successive emperors. (Until then the Northern dynasty era was considered as the standard era that leads to current Imperial lines.)


He was the third Prince of Emperor Gofushimi of the Jimyo-in Imperial line. His mother was a high-ranking lady in the court; an empress, Neishi (Yasuko) (Neishi SAIONJI), who was the daughter of the Minister of the Left, Kinhira SAIONJI. He became an adopted child of his uncle, Emperor Hanazono.

Brief Personal History

In 1326 he became the Crown Prince of Emperor Godaigo of the Daikaku-ji Imperial Line.
It was decided, by the Kamakura bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun), to share the Imperial succession between the Jimyo-in Imperial line and the Daikaku-ji Imperial line every ten years, however, there was an exceptional settlement to succeed to the throne after Emperor Gonijo died suddenly after being in power for seven years, described as follows; Emperor Gonijo (Daikaku-ji Imperial line)=>Emperor Hanazono (Jimyo-in Imperial line)=>Emperor Godaigo (Daikaku-ji Imperial line)=>Imperial Prince Kuniyoshi (Kuninaga) (Daikaku-ji Imperial line, legitimate son of Emperor Gonijo)=>Imperial Prince Kazuhito. (Jimyo-in Imperial line)
However Imperial Prince Kuniyoshi (Kuninaga) died of an illness in that year, Imperial Prince Kazuhito was decided, in haste, to become the Crown Prince. But the Emperor Godaigo who was in power at that period did not accept abdicating his position and insisted the Kamakura bakufu's settlement was invalid.

When Emperor Godaigo's intentions became apparent in 1331, he raised an army in haste, however, he was caught by the government, and Emperor Kogon succeeded to the throne on September 20. Imperial Prince Kuniyoshi's (Kuninaga) legitimate son, Kidera no Miya Imperial Prince Yasuhito, was appointed the Crown Prince, then the principal of sharing the Imperial Succession was maintained. In the following year, Emperor Godaigo was sentenced to deportation to Oki Province, however he refused to abdicate and stood side by side with Emperor Kogon, and the period of the Northern and Southern Courts started from that time.

In 1333 Takauji ASHIKAGA's army attacked Rokuhara Tandai; the Kamakura bakufu's agents stationed in Rokuhara, Kyoto, they tried to escape to the Eastern country together with the magistrate of Rokuhara Tandai, together with Nakatoki HOJO and Tokimasu HOJO, however, they were caught at Banba Station in Omi Province, their positions were taken away on May 25. But the Emperor himself, refused to abdicate from the throne.
Emperor Godaigo treated Emperor Kogon as 'the retired Emperor who abdicated from the position of Crown Prince, however, not officially succeeding to the throne, he was treated as an retired emperor exception,' which means the Emperor was indirectly denied and he was no longer Emperor. (Hence, theoretically this is a similar to the example of Koichijo-in who abdicated from being the Crown Prince and received the respected title of retired emperor.)

However Emperor Godaigo, who returned to the city, made a mistake with the Kenmu Restoration, when Takauji ASHIKAGA broke away, the retired Emperor issued a command from an retired emperor order to search out and destroy Yoshisada NITTA. In 1336, the Emperor's brother, Emperor Komyo succeeded to the throne from the Jimyo-in Imperial line. Emperor Godaigo opened the Yoshino Imperial Palace in Yoshino, Yamato Province and went against the Northern Dynasty to insist upon justice for his own Imperial line. The retired Emperor Kogon ruled a cloister government through two generations under Emperor Komyo and Emperor Suko, however, when the Kanno Disturbance infighting occurred among the ASHIKAGA clan, and as the army of the Emperor Gomurakami recaptured Kyoto city in 1352, both retired Emperor Komyo and Emperor Suko were caught by the Southern Dynasty and taken away after being pursued and withdrew to Otokoyama in Yamashiro Province (Yawata City, Kyoto Province), and then further to Ano in Yamato (Gojo City, Nara Prefecture) where the Southern Dynasty's home base was. Since then the Emperor was kept under house arrest in the Southern dynasty for about ten years.

It is said, that in his last years, he became a priest and believed in the Zen sect and lived in Joshoko-ji Temple. (Keihoku Ido-cho Town, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture)
He was a talented poet and was an important member of the Kyogoku school in the later period. The Emperor edited "Fuga Waka shu" (the collection of Waka poems during early Muromachi period) under the supervision of Hanazono-in, and "Collection of Japanese Poetry by Kogonin" was given to history.

The Emperor died on the 7th of July in Joji 3. (Northern Dynasty)

Eras during his reign

Genko (September 20, 1331) - April 28, 1332

Shokyo (Shokei) April 28, 1332 - (May 25, 1333)

The Imperial mausoleum

The Emperor was entombed in Yamakuni no Misasagi at Keihoku Ido-cho Town, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture.

Also there is another place where the Emperor's remains are kept, at Kongo-ji Temple in Kawachinagano City, Osaka Prefecture.

Related materials

Masako MORI 'Haitei (a deposed emperor),' Kadokawa Haruki Corporation (2004/03)

Ken ASAMATSU "Jakyoku Kairo" (Vicious Corridor) - Ikei Collection (Heteromorphic Collection) volume 33 "haunted house." (Kobunsha Co. Ltd, 2005)
Although the Emperor had already passed away, the staff he had used during his time as a priest was found one day by Sojun IKKYU, a young Buddhist novice, and this staff opened up a portal to a kind of hell dimension that Sojun then fell into.

[Original Japanese]