Emperor Go-Saga (後嵯峨天皇, Go-Saga Tennō, April 1, 1220 - March 17, 1272) was the 88th emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession, and ruled from February 21, 1242 to February 16, 1246.
His personal name was Kunihito (邦仁). His posthumous name was given to him in memory of Emperor Saga (the prefix Go-, 後, can be translated as "later", thus giving "Later Emperor Saga").
He was the second son of Emperor Tsuchimikado and the cousin of Emperor Shijō, his predecessor. His mother was Minamoto no Tsushi, a daughter of Minamoto no Michimune.
He had several children, including the future emperors Go-Fukakusa and Kameyama, as well as Prince Munetaka, sixth shogun of Kamakura.
Empress and consorts :
Following his father's departure into exile in Tosa province after the Jōkyū revolt in 1221, the future Go-Saga was raised by the maternal side of his family.
In 1242, after the sudden and accidental death of Emperor Shijō at the age of 10, the question of succession arose, and with the wishes of the court nobility and the bakufu at odds, it was bitterly contested.
Kujō Michiie and the court nobility support Prince Tadanari (忠成王), a son of the retired emperor Juntoku, but the shikken Hōjō Yasutoki opposes the accession of Juntoku's descendants because of Juntoku's involvement in the Jōkyū revolt.
Instead, he supports Prince Kunihito, son of Tsuchimikado, as a neutral figure, for accession to the title of emperor.
Because of these negotiations, the throne remained vacant for 11 days, after which Kunihito, who was a Buddhist monk at the time, gave up the robe and ascended the throne.
In 1246, Go-Saga abdicated in favor of his son Go-Fukakusa and began his reign as a retired emperor.
In 1259, he forced Go-Fukakusa to abdicate in favor of his younger brother Kameyama, which subsequently led to a reign by alternating between the two lines of the Jimyōin-tō (the descendants of Go-Fukakusa) and the Daikakuji-tō (the descendants of Kameyama).
In 1252, another of his sons, Prince Munetaka, became shogun, whereupon subsequent Kamakura shoguns were chosen from among the members of the imperial house. However, the real power remained in the hands of the Hōjō regents.