Imperial Prince Sanehito (Heian period) (実仁親王 (平安時代))

Imperial Prince Sanehito (March 20, 1071 - December 3, 1085) was a member of the Imperial Family during the Heian period. He was the second Prince of Emperor Gosanjo. His mother was MINAMOTO no Kishi (Motoko), who was nyogo (a high-ranking lady in the court, a consort of an emperor) and a daughter of MINAMOTO no Motohira. He was the younger paternal half-brother of Emperor Shirakawa who was heir apparent. Imperial Prince Sukehito was his younger maternal half-brother.

His father Emperor Gosanjo expected that a son born to him and MINAMOTO no Kishi (Motoko), who was not a maternal relative of the Northern House of the Fujiwara clan, would be the promising imperial heir rather than his eldest son Imperial Prince Sadahito (who would later become Emperor Shirakawa), who was a descendant from a branch of the Northern House of the Fujiwara clan. During the enthronement of Emperor Shirakawa in 1072, Imperial Prince Sanehito was addressed the younger brother of Emperor Shirakawa who was heir apparent, only at age two. In the following year when the Retired Emperor Gosanjo became seriously ill soon after Imperial Prince Sukehito was born, he repeatedly confirmed his will that Imperial Prince Sukehito would be the younger brother of Emperor Sanehito who was heir apparent after the enthronement of Emperor Sanehito. Chakko (ceremony of first-time wearing of a hakama) in 1075, the ceremony of dokushohajime (ceremony of first-time learning) in 1078, and the ceremony of attaining manhood in 1081 were held. The maternal grandfather MINAMOTO no Motohira had already died before Imperial Prince Sanehito was born, so Imperial Prince Sanehito did not have a guardian. However, as he won his grandmother Yomeimonin's favor, he became known as 'the virtuous man' and as a promising person.

Nevertheless, Imperial Prince Sanehito suddenly died of smallpox in 1085 at an early age of 15. In the following year, Emperor Shirakawa disregarded his father's will, making his biological son Imperial Prince Taruhito (who later became Emperor Horikawa) an Imperial Prince; the same day, he abdicated the throne in favor of Imperial Prince Taruhito accordingly and Emperor Horikawa ascended to the throne, thus initiating the government by the Retired Emperor Shirakawa.

[Original Japanese]