Emperor Go-Daigo
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Emperor Go-Daigo
Emperor Godaigo.jpg
Emperor of Japan
ReignMarch 29, 1318 - September 18, 1339
K?gon (Pretender)
BornNovember 26, 1288
Heian-ky?, Kamakura shogunate
DiedSeptember 19, 1339(1339-09-19) (aged 50)
Yoshino no Ang? (Nara), Ashikaga shogunate
T?-no-o no misasagi (Nara)
SpouseSaionji no Kishi
Princess Junshi
Among others...
Prince Moriyoshi
Prince Takanaga
Prince Munenaga
Prince Tsunenaga
Prince Narinaga
Emperor Go-Murakami
Prince Kaneyoshi
FatherEmperor Go-Uda
MotherFujiwara no Ch?shi

Emperor Go-Daigo ( Go-Daigo-tenn?) (November 26, 1288 - September 19, 1339) was the 96th emperor of Japan,[1] according to the traditional order of succession.[2] He successfully overthrew the Kamakura shogunate in 1333 and established the short lived Kenmu Restoration to bring the Imperial House back into power. This was to be the last time the emperor had any power until the Meiji Restoration in 1868.[3] The Kenmu restoration was in turn overthrown by Ashikaga Takauji in 1336, ushering in the Ashikaga shogunate, and split the imperial family into two opposing factions between the Ashikaga backed Northern Court situated in Kyoto and the Southern Court based in Yoshino led by Go-Daigo and his later successors.

Post-Meiji historians construe Go-Daigo's reign to span 1318-1339; however, pre-Meiji accounts of his reign considered the years of his reign to encompass only between 1318-1332. Pre-Meiji scholars also considered Go-Daigo a pretender emperor in the years from 1336 through 1339.[]

This 14th-century sovereign personally chose his posthumous name after the 9th-century Emperor Daigo and go- (?), translates as "later", and he is thus sometimes called the "Later Emperor Daigo", or, in some older sources, "Daigo, the second" or as "Daigo II".


Before his ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne, his personal name (imina) was Takaharu-shinn? (?).[4]

He was the second son of the Daikakuji-t? emperor, Emperor Go-Uda. His mother was Fujiwara no Ch?shi/Tadako (?), daughter of Fujiwara no Tadatsugu (Itsutsuji Tadatsugu) (?/?). She became Nyoin called Dantenmon-in (?). His older brother was Emperor Go-Nij?.

Emperor Go-Daigo's ideal was the Engi era (901-923) during the reign of Emperor Daigo, a period of direct imperial rule. An emperor's posthumous name was normally chosen after his death, but Emperor Go-Daigo chose his personally during his lifetime, to share it with Emperor Daigo.

Events of Go-Daigo's life

Woodblock print triptych by Ogata Gekk?; Emperor Go-Daigo dreams of ghosts at his palace in Kasagiyama
  • 1308 (Enky? 1): At the death of Emperor Go-Nij?, Hanazono accedes to the Chrysanthemum Throne at age 12 years; and Takaharu-shinn?, the second son of former-Emperor Go-Uda is elevated as Crown Prince and heir apparent under the direction of the Kamakura shogunate.[5]
  • March 29, 1318 (Bunp? 2, 26th day of 2nd month): In the 11th year of Hanazono's reign (?), the emperor abdicated; and the succession (senso) was received by his cousin, the second son of former-Emperor Go-Uda. Shortly thereafter, Emperor Go-Daigo is said to have acceded to the throne (sokui).[6]
  • 1319 (Bunp? 3, 4th month): Emperor Go-Daigo caused the neng? to be changed to Gen'? to mark the beginning of his reign.[7]

In 1324, with the discovery of Emperor Go-Daigo's plans to overthrow the Kamakura shogunate, the Rokuhara Tandai disposed of his close associate Hino Suketomo in the Sh?ch? Incident.

In the Genk? Incident of 1331, Emperor Go-Daigo's plans were again discovered, this time by a betrayal by his close associate Yoshida Sadafusa. He quickly hid the Sacred Treasures in a secluded castle in Kasagiyama (the modern town of Kasagi, S?raku District, Ky?to Prefecture) and raised an army, but the castle fell to the shogunate's army the following year, and they enthroned Emperor K?gon, exiling Daigo to Oki Province (the Oki Islands in modern-day Shimane Prefecture),[8] the same place to which Emperor Go-Toba had been exiled after the J?ky? War of 1221.

In 1333, Emperor Go-Daigo escaped from Oki with the help of Nawa Nagatoshi and his family, raising an army at Senjo Mountain in H?ki Province (the modern town of Kotoura in T?haku District, Tottori Prefecture). Ashikaga Takauji, who had been sent by the shogunate to find and destroy this army, sided with the emperor and captured the Rokuhara Tandai. Immediately following this, Nitta Yoshisada, who had raised an army in the east, laid siege to Kamakura. When the city finally fell to Nitta, H?j? Takatoki, the shogunal regent, fled to T?sh? temple, where he and his entire family committed suicide. This ended H?j? power and paved the way for a new military regime.[8]:15-21

Upon his triumphal return to Kyoto, Daigo took the throne from Emperor K?gon and began the Kenmu Restoration. The Restoration was ostensibly a revival of the older ways, but, in fact, the emperor had his eye set on an imperial dictatorship like that of the emperor of China. He wanted to imitate the Chinese in all their ways and become the most powerful ruler in the East. Impatient reforms, litigation over land rights, rewards, and the exclusion of the samurai from the political order caused much complaining, and his political order began to fall apart. In 1335, Ashikaga Takauji, who had travelled to eastern Japan without obtaining an imperial edict in order to suppress the Nakasendai Rebellion, became disaffected. Daigo ordered Nitta Yoshisada to track down and destroy Ashikaga. Ashikaga defeated Nitta Yoshisada at the Battle of Takenoshita, Hakone. Kusunoki Masashige and Kitabatake Akiie, in communication with Kyoto, smashed the Ashikaga army. Takauji fled to Ky?sh?, but the following year, after reassembling his army, he again approached Ky?to. Kusunoki Masashige proposed a reconciliation with Takauji to the emperor, but Go-Daigo rejected this. He ordered Masashige and Yoshisada to destroy Takauji. Kusunoki's army was defeated at the Battle of Minatogawa.

When Ashikaga's army entered Ky?to, Emperor Go-Daigo resisted, fleeing to Mount Hiei, but seeking reconciliation, he sent the imperial regalia to the Ashikaga side. Takauji enthroned the Jimy?in-t? emperor, K?my?, and officially began his shogunate with the enactment of the Kenmu Law Code.[8]:54-58

Memorial Shinto shrine and mausoleum honoring Emperor Go-Daigo

Go-Daigo escaped from the capital in January 1337, the regalia that he had handed over to the Ashikaga being counterfeit, and set up the Southern Court among the mountains of Yoshino, beginning the Period of Northern and Southern Courts in which the Northern Dynasty in Kyoto and the Southern Dynasty in Yoshino faced off against each other.[8]:55,59

Emperor Go-Daigo ordered Imperial Prince Kaneyoshi to Ky?sh? and Nitta Yoshisada and Imperial Prince Tsuneyoshi to Hokuriku, and so forth, dispatching his sons all over, so that they could oppose the Northern Court.

  • September 18, 1339 (Ryaku? 2, 15th day of the 8th month): In the 21st year of Go-Daigo's reign, the emperor abdicated at Yoshino in favor of his son, Noriyoshi-shinn?, who would become Emperor Go-Murakami.[9]
  • September 19, 1339 (Ryaku? 2, 16th day of the 8th month): Go-Daigo died;[10]

The actual site of Go-Daigo's grave is settled.[1] This emperor is traditionally venerated at a memorial Shinto shrine (misasagi) at Nara.

The Imperial Household Agency designates this location as Go-Daigo's mausoleum. It is formally named T?-no-o no misasagi.[11]


Consorts and children

Empress (Ch?g?): Saionji Kishi () later Empress Dowager Go-Ky?goku-in (?), Saionji Sanekane's daughter

  • Princess (b. 1314)
  • Second Daughter: Imperial Princess Kanshi (, 1315-1362) later Empress Dowager Senseimon-in (?), Sai? at Ise Shrine; later, married to Emperor K?gon

Empress (Ch?g?): Imperial Princess Junshi () later Empress Dowager Shin-Muromachi-in (?), Emperor Go-Fushimi's daughter

  • Imperial Princess Sachiko (, b. 1335)

Ny?go: Fujiwara no Eishi (?) also Anfuku-dono (), Nij? Michihira's daughter

Court lady: Fujiwara no Chikako (?) also Ch?nagon-tenji (), Itsutsuji Munechika's daughter

  • Eleventh Son: Imperial Prince Mitsuyoshi (?)

Lady-in-waiting: Dainagon'nosuke, Kitabatake Moroshige's daughter

Lady-in-waiting: Shin-Ansatsu-tenji (), Jimyoin Yasufuji's daughter

Lady-in-waiting: Sochi-no-suke ()

Court lady: Koto no Naishi (?), Saionji Tsunafusa's daughter

  • Princess

Court lady: Sh?sh? no Naishi (?), Sugawara no Arinaka's daughter

  • Imperial Prince Seijo () - Head Priest of Onj?-ji

Court lady: Fujiwara (Ano) no Renshi (?/?) later Empress Dowager Shin-Taikenmon-in (, 1301-1359), Ano Kinkado's daughter

Court lady: Minamoto no Chikako (), Kitabatake Morochika's daughter

  • Imperial Prince Moriyoshi (or Morinaga) (?) - Head Priest of Enryakuji (Tendai-zasu, ?) (Buddhist name: Prince Son'un, )
  • Imperial Prince K?sh? (, 1305-1333) - priest
  • Imperial Princess Hishi () - nun in Imabayashi
  • princess - married to Konoe Mototsugu (divorced later)
  • Imperial Prince Sonsho ()

Court lady: Fujiwara no Ishi/Tameko (?, d. c. 1311-12), Nij? Tameyo's daughter

Ny?go: Fujiwara no Jisshi (). T?in Saneo's daughter

  • Princess

Court lady: Fujiwara no Shushi/Moriko (?, 1303-1357), daughter of T?in Saneyasu (?)

  • Imperial Prince Gen'en (, d.1348) - Head Priest of K?fuku-ji
  • Imperial Prince Saikei () - priest in My?h?-in

Princess: Imperial Princess Kenshi (, 1270-1324) later Empress Dowager Sh?keimon'in (?), Emperor Kameyama's daughter

Court lady: Fujiwara (Nijo) Michiko (?) also Gon-no-Dainagon no Sammi no Tsubone (?, d. 1351) later Reisho-in (), Nij? Tamemichi's daughter

  • Imperial Prince H?nin (, 1325-1352) - priest in Ninna-ji
  • Prince Kaneyoshi (also Kanenaga) (?, 1326-1383) - Seisei Taish?gun () 1336-?
  • princess

Court lady: Ichij? no Tsubone () later Y?gimon'in (?), Saionji Sanetoshi's daughter

  • Imperial Prince Tokiyoshi (also Yoyoshi) (?) (c. 1306-8 - 1330)
  • Imperial Prince J?son () (Imperial Prince Keison, ) - priest in Sh?goin ()
  • Imperial Princess Kinshi () - nun in Imabayashi

Court lady: Sh?nagon no Naishi (), Shij? Takasuke's daughter

  • Sonshin () - priest

Ny?go: Dainagon-no-tsubone (?), Ogimachi Saneakira's daughter

  • Imperial Princess Naoko ()

Ny?go: Saemon-no-kami-no-tsubone (), Nij? Tametada's daughter

  • Nun in Imabayashi

Court lady: Gon-no-Ch?nagon no Tsubone (), Sanj? Kinyasu's daughter

  • Imperial Princess Sadako ()

Ny?go: Yoshida Sadafusa's daughter

Ny?go: B?mon-no-tsubone (), Bomon Kiyotada's daughter

  • Princess (Y?d)

Ny?go: Horikawa Mototomo's daughter

  • Princess

Ny?go: Minamoto-no-Yasuko () also Asukai-no-tsubone (?) later Enseimon'in Harima (), Minamoto-no-Yasutoki's daughter

Ny?go: Wakamizu-no-tsubone (), Minamoto-no-Yasutoki's daughter

Ny?go: Horiguchi Sadayoshi's daughter

  • daughter married Yoshimizu Munemasa

Court lady: Konoe no Tsubone () later Sh?kunmon'in (?)

  • Prince Tomoyoshi ()

(unknown women)

  • Y?d? (d. 1398) - 5th Head Nun of T?kei-ji
  • Rokuj? Arifusa's wife
  • Ryusen Ryosai (?, d.1366)
  • Kenk? ()

Go-Daigo had some other princesses from some court ladies.


Kugy? () is a collective term for the very few most powerful men attached to the court of the Emperor of Japan in pre-Meiji eras. Even during those years in which the court's actual influence outside the palace walls was minimal, the hierarchic organization persisted.

In general, this elite group included only three to four men at a time. These were hereditary courtiers whose experience and background would have brought them to the pinnacle of a life's career. During Go-Daigo's reign, this apex of the Daij?-kan included:

Eras of Go-Daigo's reign

The years of Go-Daigo's reign are more specifically identified by more than one era name or neng?. Emperor Go-Daigo's eight era name changes are mirrored in number only in the reign of Emperor Go-Hanazono, who also reigned through eight era name changes.[12]

Pre-Nanboku-ch? court
Nanboku-ch? southern court
  • Eras as reckoned by legitimate sovereign's Court (as determined by Meiji rescript)
Nanboku-ch? northern Court
  • Eras as reckoned by pretender sovereign's Court (as determined by Meiji rescript)

In popular culture

Emperor Go-Daigo appears in the alternate history novel Romanitas by Sophia McDougall.

See also


  1. ^ a b Imperial Household Agency (Kunaich?): (96); retrieved 2013-8-28.
  2. ^ Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan, p. 95.
  3. ^ Sansom 1977: 22-42.
  4. ^ Titsingh, p. 281, p. 281, at Google Books; Varley, p. 241.
  5. ^ Titsingh, p. 278, p. 278, at Google Books; Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1959) The Imperial House of Japan, p. 204.
  6. ^ Titsingh, p. 281, p. 281, at Google Books; Varley, p. 44; a distinct act of senso is unrecognized prior to Emperor Tenji; and all sovereigns except Jit?, Y?zei, Go-Toba, and Fushimi have senso and sokui in the same year until the reign of Emperor Go-Murakami.
  7. ^ Varley, p. 243.
  8. ^ a b c d Sansom, George (1961). A History of Japan, 1334-1615. Stanford University Press. pp. 7-11. ISBN 0804705259.
  9. ^ Varley, p. 270.
  10. ^ Titsingh, p. 295., p. 295, at Google Books
  11. ^ Ponsonby-Fane, p. 420.
  12. ^ Titsingh, p. 281-294., p. 281, at Google Books


External links

Regnal titles
Preceded by
Emperor Hanazono
Emperor of Japan:

Succeeded by
Emperor Go-Murakami
Emperor K?gon

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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