Kobetsu Sekke (皇別摂家)

Kobetsu Sekke refers to the Imperial Family or its male descendants who succeeded Sekke (line of regents and advisers) in the Edo period.


In the Edo period, the following figures are also known as members of the Imperial Family who succeeded the Tosho family (the hereditary lineage of Court nobles occupying relatively high ranks). Tadayuki HIROHATA is the 3rd Prince of Imperial Prince Hachijonomiya Toshihito (the grandson of the 106th Emperor Ogimachi), and he established Hirohata family under the name of the Minamoto Clan (the official name was Ogimachi-Genji). Kinzumi SAIONJI is the successor of the Saionji family as well as the 4th Prince of Arisugawanomiya Imperial Prince Tsunahito (the grandson of the 112nd Emperor Reigen). However, since all of them died without having a son, they never draw attention as "Kobetsu" (clans branched out from the Imperial Family). The word "Kobetsu Sekke" is originally coined by "Shinsen Shojiroku"(Newly Complied Register of Clan Names and Titles of Nobility), the pedigree record of ancient cognate clans edited by the Imperial Court in 815 which classified clans into three types: Kobetsu (descendants of emperors and princes), Shinbetsu (descendants of Amatsukami [heavenly god] and Kunitsukami [god of the land]), and Shoban (descendants of migrants from Korean Peninsula and the Chinese Continent). The Word "Kobetsu Sekke" first appeared when Akira OTA called Nobuhiro KONOE "the founder of Kobetsu Sekke" in his book, "family lineage dictionary" published in 1920. While the word has been passed down to future generations by some enthusiasts of the term, the category of Kobetsu Sekke started to include people who newly established a branch family, people who succeeded other families through adoption and their male descendants.

Relation to succession to the Imperial Throne

In November 2004, with the growing concerns over the male lineage disappearance in the present Imperial Family, the Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi at the time proposed to revise the Imperial House Act so as to accept female successors to the imperial throne. Later, succession to the Imperial Throne became a discussion across the nation. However, some advocates of male-lineage succession suggested that members of the Kobetsu Sekke be selected as successors to the imperial throne instead of members of the "former imperial family", because some people opposed the selection of the latter as successors since their more distant kinship to the imperial family means they would not enjoy public support. However, Kobetsu Sekke has spent much more time as non-members of the imperial family than the former imperial family. Therefore, this has not been seen as a viable solution as Kobetsu Sekke is extremely little known amongst the public, and it is not regarded as legitimate that Kobetsu Sekke succeed to the Imperial Throne.

the Ichijo family

The Ichijo family was succeeded to the following successors; Akiyoshi ICHIJO, Norisuke ICHIJO, and Kaneteru ICHIJO. However, the male linage of Akiyoshi became extinct when Kaneka ICHIJO (the child of Fusasuke TAKATSUKASA) succeeded the Ichijo family after Kaneteru. Yet, Fuyumoto DAIGO (the son of Akiyoshi ICHIJO) formed the branch family, Daigo family, and his male descendants still exist. In the Meiji period, Tadashige DAIGO from the Daigo family joined the Imperial Japanese Navy and was promoted to the vice admiral, with an excellent reputation as the expert of submarines.

the Takatsukasa family

Although the Takatsukasa family was succeeded to the following members; Sukehira TAKATSUKASA, Masahiro TAKATSUKASA, Masamichi TAKATSUKASA, and Sukehiro TAKATSUKASA, the male linage became extinct when Terumichi TAKATSUKASA (the son of Hisatada KUJO of the Kujo family) succeeded the Takatsukasa family from Sukehiro. However, Sanekata TOKUDAIJI (the son of Sukehira) succeeded the Tokudaiji family followed by Kinito TOKUDAIJI (the son of Masamichi), and furthermore their descendants succeeded many of the peerages. Kinmochi SAIONJI, who served as the prime minister twice and was designated as Genro (unofficial advisor to the emperor) after retirement from Meiji through Taisho Period, was the child of Kinito TOKUDAIJI,.

[Original Japanese]