Prince Yamashina Akira
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Prince Yamashina Akira
Yamashina Akira
Prince Yamashina Akira
Prince Yamashina Akira2.jpg
Born(1816-10-12)12 October 1816
Kyoto, Japan
Died29 October 1891(1891-10-29) (aged 75)
Tokyo, Japan
FatherPrince Fushimi Kuniye
MotherFujiki Hisako

Prince Yamashina Akira ( , Yamashina-no-miya Akira shinn?) (22 October 1816 – 29 October 1891), was the founder of the Yamashina collateral line of the Japanese imperial family.

Early life

Prince Akira was born in Kyoto, the eldest son of Prince Fushimi Kuniie (1802-1875) and Fujigi Hisako (?). Prince Kuniie was the twentieth head of the Fushimi-no-miya, the oldest of the four branches of the imperial dynasty allowed to provide a successor to the Chrysanthemum throne should the main imperial house fail to produce an heir. Hisako was a Ny?b?, a rank of the prince's Lady-in-waiting. Soon after his birth, he was regarded as the ninth son of his grandfather, Prince Asahiko, though this adoption was annulled far later in 1889 and he became his father's eldest son again.

It was not until 1835 that Prince Kuniie officially married Takatsukasa Hiroko (?), and they had two sons, Sadanori and Sadanaru; this made Prince Akira unable to succeed the Fushimi-no-miya. He was thus also a half-brother of Prince Kuni Asahiko, Prince Kitashirakawa Yoshihisa, and Prince Kan'in Kotohito.

Buddhist priest

From an early age, Prince Akira was groomed to pursue a career as a Buddhist priest, the traditional career path for non-heir sons in the Shinn?ke during the Edo period. At the age of two, he was officially adopted by Emperor K?kaku (1779-1817;, died in 1840) as a potential heir.

Prince Akira took the tonsure and entered the priesthood under the title Saihan Hoshinn?. He was later appointed prince-abbot of the monzeki temple of Kaj?-ji in Yamashina, outside of Kyoto. In 1842, he angered the Tokugawa bakufu, which stripped him of his post and confined him to the temple of T?-ji. In 1864, the Tokugawa government reinstated him to his former post. However, with the growing movement to overthrow the Tokugawa government in the years leading up to the Meiji Restoration, Emperor K?mei returned him to secular status, adopted him as a potential heir, and created the title "Yamashina-no-miya" as a new branch of the Imperial house in 1858.

Meiji period

After the Meiji restoration, Prince Yamashina served the new Meiji government as a diplomat, assisting in the opening of Kobe to foreign trade, and meeting with foreign dignitaries and royalty. He was one of the few Imperial princes to refuse a military commission, remaining a civilian all his life.

Marriage and family

Prince Yamashina Akira never officially married, but he had a least one concubine, Nakaj? Chieko ().

A son, Prince Yamashina Kikumaro (3 July 1873 - 2 May 1908) was born to Prince Yamashina Akira and Nakaj? Chieko. Kikumaro was officially adopted to carry on the Yamashina line.


  1. Keene, Donald. Emperor of Japan: Meiji and His World, 1852-1912 (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002) ISBN 0-231-12340-X
  2. Lebra, Takie Sugiyama. Above the Clouds: Status Culture of the Modern Japanese Nobility (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993) ISBN 0-520-07602-8
  3. Papinot Edmond. Historical and geographical dictionary of Japan (New York: F. Ungar Pub. Co., 1948)

  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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