Imperial Prince Atsuakira (敦明親王)

Imperial Prince Atsuakira (June 25, 994 - February 27, 1051) was the first prince of the sixty seventh Emperor Sanjo, and his mother was Empress FUJIWARA no Seishi, the daughter of FUJIWARA no Naritoki.


His father, Emperor Sanjo was forced by FUJIWARA no Michinaga to install Imperial Prince Atsuhira (Emperor Goichijo), the second prince of Emperor Ichijo who was the grandchild of Michinaga as a crown prince. On March 16, 1016, Imperial Prince Atsuakira became the crown prince of Emperor Goichijo. However, after Emperor Sanjo passed away, Michinaga put more pressure on Imperial Prince Atsuakira. Meanwhile, Imperial Prince Atsuakira's side also offered to dethrone Atsuakira; they think that Atsuakira was not likely to be enthroned as he was 14 years older than Atsuhira. On September 7, 1017, Atsuakira declined to stay as a crown prince. On September 23 of the same year, Michinaga arranged to grant the honorary title of Ko-Ichijo-in Daijo tenno (the Retired Emperor) to Atsuakira, which meant he was treated as so-called Jun Daijo tenno (quasi Retired Emperor), and he took FUJIWARA no Kanshi (her mother was MINAMOTO no Akiko), the daughter of Michinaga as his wife. Furthermore, he assumed Zuryo (the head of the provincial governors) and zuijin (a guard) as a Keishi (household superintendent). His children born in the imperial prince's palace were treated in an excessively honorable way; they were proclaimed as imperial princes eligible to become the adopted children of Emperor Sanjo although they were actually the children of the retired emperor.

However, for the circumstances above, FUJIWARA no Enshi, the lawful wife of Imperial Prince Atsuakira, was abandoned by Imperial Prince Atsuakira, and she died suddenly in her sorrow. Subsequently, FUJIWARA no Akimitsu, Sadaijin (Minister of the Left), her father (the eldest son of Kanpaku (chief adviser to the emperor), FUJIWARA no Kanemichi) died from disease in despair and hopelessness. It was said that Akimitsu and Enshi who turned out to be a ghost, haunted Michinaga's whole family.
People seemed to be afraid of Akimitsu calling him 'demoniac Sadaijin.'

Meanwhile, Criticism against Imperial Prince Atsuakira had been often indicated in "Shoyuki" (the diary of FUJIWARA no Sanesuke) because before Atsuakira was installed as a prince, he behaved indiscreetly. For instance, it was stated that he committed violence against MINAMOTO no Masamoto in Kaga Province on July 21, 1014 and against FUJIWARA no Sadayori, Benkan (Oversight Department: division of the daijokan responsible for controlling central and provincial governmental offices) on January 7, 1015. It is also stated in "Gonki" (FUJIWARA no Yukinari's diary) that Atsuakira's face was not a face deserved for an emperor saying that he was not familiar with physiognomy when he heard about Atsuakira's refusal to remain crown prince (article written on September 6, 1017).

[Original Japanese]