Takatsukasa Tsunako (鷹司繋子)

Tsunako TAKATSUKASA (March 17, 1798 - May 14, 1823), later Zokogo (a title of empress given after her death) Tsunako, was the nyogo (a court title of the Emperor's consort) of the Emperor Ninko during the late Edo period. Her nyoingo (a title of respect given to close female relatives of the emperor or a woman of comparable standing) was Shinkokamonin.


She was the daughter of Kanpaku (chief adviser to the emperor) Masahiro TAKATSUKASA. Her real mother was Haishi TOYOOKA, who was her father's concubine and Gon Chunagon (a provisional vice-councilor of state) Naosuke TOYOOKA's daughter. She had many brothers and sisters, including Kanpaku Masamichi TAKATSUKASA (older paternal half-brother) and the Emperor Ninko's nyogo Yasuko TAKATSUKASA (younger sister).

Brief Personal History

In 1813, she made judai (an Imperial Consort's bridal entry into court) as the empress of the Crown Prince Ayahito (the Imperial Prince Ayahito, later the Emperor Ninko), who was two years younger than she, at the age of 16. In 1817, Tsunako received senge (imperial proclamation) to become Nyogo when the Crown Prince Ayahito ascended the throne.

In 1820, she gave birth to the first prince, the Imperial Prince Shizuhito. However, he died young in the following year although he was the first prince by the lawful wife.

Tsunako gave birth again on May 12, 1823. The first princess was born, but due to the difficult delivery, the princess died on that day and so did Tsunako two days later. She died at the age of 26. She was buried at Nochi no Tsuki no Wa no Misasagi.

Soon after her death, Tsunako was given the name Shinkokamonin as nyoingo (a title of respect given to close female relatives of the Emperor or a woman of comparable standing) and, in the following year 1824, also conferred a rank of empress. It was the first time in about 500 years that the title of empress was used in Japan since 1319 when the Imperial Princess Soshi, the Emperor Gouda's princess, became an empress by the imperial investiture in the late Kamakura period.

In 1825, her younger sister Yasuko entered into the court as the second consort of the Emperor Ninko after Tsunako's premature death, and became nyogo with the imperial proclamation.

[Original Japanese]