|Emperor of Japan|
|Reign||May 18, 809 - May 23, 823|
October 3, 786
|Died||August 24, 842(aged 55)|
|Mother||Fujiwara no Otomuro|
Emperor Saga (?, Saga-tenn?, October 3, 786 - August 24, 842) was the 52nd emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession. Saga's reign spanned the years from 809 through 823.
Saga was the second son of Emperor Kanmu and Fujiwara no Otomuro. His personal name was Kamino (). Saga was an "accomplished calligrapher" able to compose in Chinese who held the first imperial poetry competitions (naien). According to legend, he was the first Japanese emperor to drink tea.
Saga is traditionally venerated at his tomb; the Imperial Household Agency designates Saganoyamanoe no Misasagi (, Saganoyamanoe Imperial Mausoleum), in Uky?-ku, Kyoto, as the location of Saga's mausoleum.
Soon after his enthronement, Saga himself took ill. At the time the retired Heizei had quarreled with his brother over the ideal location of the court, the latter preferring the Heian capital, while the former was convinced that a shift back to the Nara plain was necessary, and Heizei, exploiting Saga's weakened health, seized the opportunity to foment a rebellion, known historically as the Kusuko Incident; however, forces loyal to Emperor Saga, led by taish?gun Sakanoue no Tamuramaro, quickly defeated the Heizei rebels which thus limited the adverse consequences which would have followed any broader conflict. This same Tamuramaro is remembered in Aomori's annual Nebuta Matsuri which feature a number of gigantic, specially-constructed, illuminated paper floats. These great lantern-structures are colorfully painted with mythical figures; and teams of men carry them through the streets as crowds shout encouragement. This early ninth century military leader is commemorated in this way because he is said to have ordered huge illuminated lanterns to be placed at the top of hills; and when the curious Emishi approached these bright lights to investigate, they were captured and subdued by Tamuramaro's men.
In ancient Japan, there were four noble clans, the Gempeit?kitsu (?). One of these clans, the Minamoto clan are also known as Genji (), and of these, the Saga Genji (?) are descended from 52nd emperor Saga. Saga's son, Minamoto no T?ru, is thought to be an inspiration for the protagonist of the novel The Tale of Genji.
In the 9th century, Emperor Saga made a decree prohibiting meat consumption except fish and birds and abolished capital punishment in 818. This remained the dietary habit of Japanese until the introduction of European dietary customs in the 19th century.
Emperor Saga played an important role as a stalwart supporter of the Buddhist monk K?kai. The emperor helped K?kai to establish the Shingon School of Buddhism by granting him T?-ji Temple in the capital Heian-ky? (present-day Kyoto).
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 Saga's reign (809-823), this kugy? included:
Saga had 49 children by at least 30 different women. Many of the children received the surname Minamoto, thereby removing them from royal succession.
Hi (deposed): Imperial Princess Takatsu (; d. 841), Emperor Kanmu's daughter
Hi: Tajihi no Takako (; 787-825), Tajihi no Ujimori's daughter
Bunin: Fujiwara no Onatsu (?; d. 855), Fujiwara no Uchimaro's daughter
Court lady (Naishi-no-kami): Kudara no Kyomy? (?; d. 849), Kudara no Ky?shun's daughter
Ny?go: Kudara no Kimy? (?; d. 851), Kudara no Shuntetsu's daughter
Ny?gohara no Kiyoko (?; d. 841), ?hara no Ietsugu's daughter
Koui: Iidaka no Yakatoji (), Iidaka Gakuashi
Koui: Akishino no Koko (?/), Akishino no Yasuhito's daughter
Koui: Yamada no Chikako (?)
Ny?go: Princess Katano (?), Prince Yamaguchi's daughter
Court lady: Takashina no Kawako (?), Takashina no Kiyoshina's daughter
Court lady: Hiroi no Otona's daughter
Court lady: Fuse no Musashiko ()
Court lady: Kamitsukeno clan's daughter
Court lady: Abe no Yanatsu's daughter
Court lady: Kasa no Tsugiko (), Kasa no Nakamori's daughter
Court lady: Awata clan's daughter
Court ladyhara no Matako (?), ?hara no Mamuro's daughter
Court lady: Ki clan's daughter
Court lady: Kura no Kageko (?)
Court lady: Kannabi no Iseko ()
Court lady: Fun'ya no Fumiko (?), Fun'ya no Kugamaro's daughter
Court lady: Tanaka clan's daughter
Court lady: Koreyoshi no Sadamichi's daughter
Court ladynakatomi no Mineko ()
Court lady: Tachibana no Haruko ()
Court lady: Nagaoka no Okanari's daughter
Court lady(Nyoju): Taima no Osadamaro's daughter
Lady-in-waiting: Sugawara Kanshi (?)
(from unknown women)
|Ancestors of Emperor Saga|