Emperor Reigen

Reigen Tennō (霊元天皇), also known as Reigen (July 9, 1654 - September 24, 1732) was the 112th emperor of Japan, according to the traditional Japanese order of succession.

His term of office lasted from March 5, 1663 following the abdication of Emperor Go-Sai Tennō, until May 2, 1687, when he made the decision to abdicate in favor of the fifth of his sons, Higashiyama Tennō.

Prior to his appointment as emperor, his personal name was Satohito (識仁) and his pre-ascension title was Ate-no-miya (高貴宮).

Emperor Reigen's Family

Reigen was the sixteenth son of the 108th2nd emperor of Japan, Go-Mizunoo Tennō.

His mother was the daughter of the Minister of the Sonomotooto Center (内大臣園基音), Sono Kuniko (新広義門院国子).

On the other hand, Reigen's imperial family lived with him in the Dairi of the Heian Palace.

This family included at least 13 sons and 14 daughters, but from his union with the Empress Consort, Takatsukasa Fusako only had a single daughter.

The rest of her children were born to the empress's ladies-in-waiting, some of her secondary consorts and to other women belonging to the court of the time.

  • Empress: Takatsukasa Fusako (鷹 司 房子) later Shin-jyōsaimon'in (新 上 西門 院), the daughter of Takatsukasa Norihira.
    • Third daughter: imperial princess Masako (1673-1746; 栄 子 内 親王) married Nijo Tsunahira.
  • Maid of honor: Bōjō Fusako (1652-1676; 坊 城 房子), the daughter of Bōjō Toshihiro.
    • Second daughter: imperial princess Ken'shi (憲 子 内 親王; 1669-1688) married Konoe Iehiro.
  • Maid of honor: Chunagon-Naishi (1653-1691; 中 納 言 典 侍).
    • First son: the imperial prince priest Saishin (1671-1701; 済 深 法 親王).
  • Maid of honor: Matsuki Muneko (宗子) later Keihōmon'in (法門 院), the daughter of Mutsuki Muneatsu.
    • Fourth son: imperial prince Asahito (朝 仁 親王), also known as Tomohito;4 later, Emperor Higashiyama
    • Fifth daughter: imperial princess Tomiko (福 子 内 親王; 1676-1707) married imperial prince Fushimi-no-miya Kuninaga.
    • Sixth daughter: princess Eisyū (永 秀 女王; 1677-1725).
    • Seventh son: the Imperial prince Kyōgoku-no-miya Ayahito (1680-1711; 京 極 宮 文 文 仁 親王).
    • Seventh daughter: princess Ume (1681-1683; 梅 宮).
    • Eighth daughter: imperial princess Katsuko (1686-1716; 勝 子 内)
    • Eighth son: prince Kiyo (1688-1693; 清宮).
  • Maid: Atago Fukuko (1656-1681; 愛 宕 福 福 子), the daughter of Atago Michitomi.
    • Second son: imperial prince priest Kanryū (1672-1707; 寛 隆 法).
    • Fourth daughter: Princess Tsuna (1675-1677; 綱 宮)
  • Maid: Gojyō Yōko (1660-1683; 五条 庸), daughter of Gojyō Tametsune.
    • Third son: Prince San (1675-1677; 三 宮)
    • Fifth son: Imperial Prince Priest Gyōen (1676-1718; 尭 延 法 親王)
    • Sixth son: prince Tairei'in (1679; 台 嶺 院 宮).
  • Maid: Higashikuze Hiroko (1672-1752; 東 久 世博 世博 子), the daughter of Higashikuze Michikado.
    • Eleventh son: prince Toku (1692-1693; 徳 宮).
    • Twelfth son: Prince Riki (1697; 力 宮)
  • Court lady: Onaikouji-no-Tsubone ( -1674; 多 奈 井 井 小路 局), daughter of Nishinotōin Tokinaga.
    • First daughter: princess Chikōin (1669; 知 光 院 宮).
  • Court lady: Gojyō Tsuneko (1673- ; 五条 経 子), the daughter of Gojyō Tametsune.
    • Ninth son: prince Saku (1689-1692; 作 宮)
    • Tenth son: imperial priest prince Syō'ou (1690-1712; 性 応 法 親王).
    • Ninth daughter: the Bunki princess (1693-1702; 文 喜 女王).
    • Tenth daughter: princess Gensyū (1696-1752; 元 秀 女王)
  • Court lady: Tōshikibu-no-Tsubone (d.1746; 藤 式 部 部 局), daughter of Imaki Sadaatsu.
    • Thirteenth son: imperial prince Priest Sonsyō (1699-1746; 尊 賞 法).
    • Eleventh daughter: princess Bun'ō (1702-1754; 応 女王 応 女王)
  • Court lady: Irie Itsuko ( -1763; 入 江 伊 伊 津 子), the daughter of Irie Sukenao.
    • Fourteenth son: prince Kachi (1709-1713; 嘉 智 宮).
    • Twelfth daughter: Princess Tomé (1711-1712; 留 宮)
  • Court lady: Chūjō-no-Tsubone (1691-1753; 中将 局), daughter of Kurahashi Yasusada.
    • Fifteenth son: Prince Mine (1710-1713; 峯 宮)
  • Court lady: Matsumuro Atsuko ( -1746; 松 室 敦 敦 子), the daughter of Matsumuro Shigeatsu.
    • Sixteenth son: imperial prince Arisugawa-no-miya Yorihito (1713-1769; 有 栖 川 宮 職 職 仁 親王) - Fifth Arisugawa-no-miya.
    • Thirteenth daughter: imperial princess Yoshiko (吉 子 内 親王, 1714-1758), betrothed to the shōgun Tokugawa Ietsugu.
    • Eighteenth son: Imperial Prince Priest Gyōkyō (1717-1764; 尭 恭 法 親王).
  • Court lady: Shōshō-no-Tsubone (1702-1728; 少将 局), the daughter of Minami Suketada.
    • Fourteenth daughter: princess Yae (1721-1723; 八 重 宮).
  • Court lady: Matsumuro Nakako (1707-1751; 松 室 仲 仲 子), the daughter of Matsumuro Shigenaka.
    • Seventeenth son: imperial prince Priest Son'in (1715-1740; 尊 胤 法 親王).

Emperor Reigen's Life before his reign

On July 9, 1654, Imperial Prince Satohito, later to be known as Reigen-tenno, was born.

In the same year of his birth, he is named as successor to power, prior to the death of his brother, Emperor Go-Kōmyō; however, the young prince is considered too young to become emperor.

Therefore, it is decided that until the young heir grows up, his older brother will accede to the throne as Emperor Go-Sai.

Eras of the Reigen reign

Kanbun (1661-1673)

On March 5, 1663, Emperor Go-Sai Tenno abdicated and Satohito received the succession. Shortly thereafter, Reigen formally acceded to power, and his reign began.

In 1665, inquisition courts were established in every village in Japan. These courts were charged with investigating for the discovery and subsequent elimination of any vestiges of Christianity in Japanese communities.

A year later, the retention of Hokke shu Buddhist practices was decreed only for those who retained the belief that their moral and spiritual purity might be tarnished by close association with others.

In 1667, after its harsh destruction by an intense fire; reconstruction of the Nigatsu-dō temple (二月 堂) in Nara began. In 1668, a major fire broke out in Edo, lasting up to 45 days. The origin of the fire was attributed to arson.

In 1669, there was a famine; and a military expedition was sent to northern Honshū against the Shakushain Revolt.

Enpō (1673-1681).

With the beginning of the new era, in the early days of 1673, there was a great fire in Kyoto. On May 21 of the same year , the Chinese Buddhist master Ingen dies at the Ōbaku Zen temple, Manpuku-ji in Uji.

In 1675 another natural catastrophe occurs again, a new large fire in Kyoto.

On June 4, 1680, the fourth Tokugawa shōgun, Tokugawa Ietsuna, dies; he is succeeded by Tokugawa Tsunayoshi, and only 11 days later, his father and former Emperor, Go-Mizunoo died.

During that same year, a great flood devastated Edo, today's Tokyo. In that same year and in that same city, the temple of Gokoku-ji was founded.

Tenna (1681-1684)

In 1681, Tokugawa Tsunyoshi's inauguration as Shogun began. Months later a series of setbacks follow in the Reigen mandate: a severe famine in Kyoto and its surroundings leaves the population very weakened, and already in 1682; a new catastrophe devastates the city of Edo;

this time in the form of a huge fire. Also, throughout this era; Tomohito-shinnō is proclaimed as the Crown Prince; and the ceremonial investiture takes place (after being on hold for over 300 years).

Jōkyō (1684-1688).

On March 26, 1685, Reigen's predecessor, Go-Sai; passes away. Two years later; in 1687, Emperor Reigen makes the decision to abdicate in favor of the fifth of his sons, who would thereafter become Emperor Higashiyama.

Thereafter, Emperor Reigen began to rule as a cloistered emperor; and after the abdication, Reigen's new home became the Sento-gosho, a former palace of one of the previous Japanese emperors.

Emperor Reigen's Life after his reign

In 1713, the former emperor Reigen enters a monastery with the name Sojō (素浄), and the following year, the thirteenth daughter of the former emperor Reigen, Princess Yoshiko; married the seventh Tokugawa shōgun, Ietsugu Tokugawa. In 1716, Ietsugu Tokugawa died, when he was 7 years old.

On September 24, 1732, Reigen died; aged 78.

Emperor Reigen Posthumous Name

His posthumous name was created during the Meiji Era (the reign of Emperor Meiji Tenno from 1968 to 1912) by combining the kanji (these are the signograms used in writing the Japanese language) of two previous emperors:

  • Emperor Kōrei Tenno (孝霊), the seventh Emperor of Japan (reign: -290 to -215).
  • Emperor Kōgen Tenno (孝元), the eighth Emperor of Japan, (reign: -214 to -158).