Kōgon Tennō (光厳天皇) (August 1, 1313-August 5, 1364) was the first emperor of the Northern Court of Japan. According to pre-Meiji historical documents, he reigned from 1332 to 1334.
Before he was promoted to the Nanboku-chō throne, his personal name (imina) was imperial prince Kazuhito (量仁親王 Kazuhito-shinnō).
He was the third son of Go-Fushimi Tennō, of the Jimyōin-tō branch of the Imperial Family.
His mother was Kōgimon'in Neishi (広義門院寧子). He was adopted by his uncle, Hanazono Tennō.
Imperial prince Kazuhito was appointed crown prince and heir to Emperor Go-Daigo of the Daikakuji-tō branch in 1326.
At that time, the Kamakura shogunate decided that the throne would alternate between the Daikakuji-tō and Jimyōin-tō branches every ten years. But Emperor Go-Daigo did not accept the agreement and pursued the overthrow of the shogunate.
In 1331, when the second attempt to overthrow the emperor's hands was made public, the shogunate captured and exiled him to the Oki Islands, and they put Imperial Prince Kazuhito on the throne with the name Emperor Kōgon on October 22, 1331.
Emperor Go-Daigo flees Oki in 1333 with the help of Nawa Nagatoshi and his family, and raises an army on Funagami Mountain in Hōki Province (present-day Tottori Prefecture).
Ashikaga Takauji, who worked for the Hōjō clan, which dominated the shogunate, rebels against them and fights on behalf of Emperor Go-Daigo, attacking the Rokuhara Tandai, the leading group of the Kamakura shogunate.
With the destruction of the shogunate, Emperor Go-Daigo regains the throne on July 7, 1333 and re-establishes imperial control in the country, known as the Kenmu Restoration (1333-1336).
However, the revolution fails when Ashikaga Takauji revolts against the emperor.
In 1336, Ashikaga Takauji puts Emperor Kōgon's younger brother, Emperor Kōmyō, on the throne. Emperor Go-Daigo flees to Yoshino, Yamato Province, and claims that he still remains on the throne, thus forming the Southern Court.
Emperor Kōmyō's court would remain in Kyoto and become the Northern Court. This event would mark the beginning of the Northern and Southern Court Period in Japanese history, which would last until 1392.
In 1352, during the Kan'ō Riot, Emperor Go-Murakami of the Southern Court arrives in Kyoto and captures Emperor Kōgon, Emperor Kōmyō, Emperor Sukō and the crown prince.
After this event, Emperor Kōgon was placed under house arrest for the rest of his life. In his later years, he converted to Zen Buddhism and died in 1364 at the age of 51.
Northern Court Eras