Emperor Sanjo (三条天皇)

Emperor Sanjo (February 5, 976 - June 5, 1017) was the sixty-seventh Emperor. His posthumous name was Okisada (Iyasada). He was 42 years old. He was in power from June 13, 1011 to January 29, 1016.

He was born as the second prince of Emperor Reizei, and his mother was the eldest daughter of the dajo daijin (grand minister) FUJIWARA no Kaneie, Zo-Ko-Go-Gu FUJIWARA no Choshi. He was the younger half-brother of Emperor Kazan.

He lost his mother when he was seven, his father (Emperor Reizei) had a mental problem, and his guardian was feeble. According to "O-kagami (The Great Mirror)," it is said that the Emperor looked very much like his maternal grandfather, Kaneie, so he won his favor.

Brief Personal History
There was a ceremonial investiture of the crown prince under the circumstance of having both Emperor Reizei and Emperor Enyu's sides in power by turns; the crown prince was called 'Sakasa no Moke no kimi' because he was eleven years old, four years older than the Emperor.

Since Emperor's maternal uncles, FUJIWARA no Michitaka, FUJIWARA no Michikane and FUJIWARA no Michinaga, took political power by turns under Emperor Ichijo's supervision and regulated Kokyu (a special part of the Imperial Palace in which empresses and princesses live), Emperor Sanjo was 36 years old when he was finally enthroned, having been the crown prince for 25 years, when he took over from Emperor Ichijo. Prince Atsuhira (later Emperor Go-Ichijo), the son of FUJIWARA no Shoshi (a daughter of FUJIWARA no Michinaga), became the crown prince.

The relationship between Michinaga and Emperor Sanjo wasn't good, as Michinaga tried to set up an early enthronement for his maternal grandchildren while the Emperor preferred to rule the government directly; after Emperor Sanjo's chugu, FUJIWARA no Kenshi (Michinaga's second daughter) had a baby girl, although a boy was expected, and Michinaga approached the Emperor to abdicate the throne on the basis of the Emperor's eye disease. As his disease got worse, Emperor Sanjo abdicated by taking Michinaga's advice after the first prince, Ko-Ichijo-in, became the crown prince. He became a Japanese priest in April 1017, and died soon afterward at the age of 42.

After Emperor Sanjo died, his eldest son Prince Atsuhira was indirectly pressured by Michinaga, and eventually he declined the position of Crown Prince on his own accord. Consequently, Emperor Reizei and Emperor Enyu would no longer share the Imperial Throne; thus the throne was kept with Emperor Enyu's direct descendant for a long time, as Emperor Sanjo's blood line was carried over to the next generation of the Imperial Family through Princess Teishi.

There is one song in A Hundred Waka Poems (A Hundred Poems by a Hundred Poets) that is believed to have been written by the Emperor after he stepped down from the throne.

If I can survive this painful world in the future, one day I should be able to remember this memory without hard feelings, by looking at the moon, just like today. Sanjo-in

Posthumous name, Tsuigo, a different name
He had the tsuigo of 'Sanjo-in,' which came from the name Goin (the name of the palace following his enthronement).
After the Taisho period, the 'in' suffix was removed from his name and he was called 'Emperor Sanjo.'

Eras during his reign

Kanko: June 13, 1011 - December 25, 1012

Chowa: December 25, 1012 - January 29, 1016

The Imperial Mausoleum
It is located at Kitayama-no-misasagi in Nishi-Sonjoincho, Kinugasa. Kita Ward, Kyoto City.

[Original Japanese]