Emperor Toba

Emperor Toba

Emperor Toba (鳥羽天皇, Toba Tennō, February 24, 1103 - July 20, 1156) was the 74th emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession.

He reigned nominally from 1107 to 1123, with power in effect being exercised by his grandfather, the retired emperor Shirakawa.

When Shirakawa died in 1129, Toba also became retired emperor. His personal name is prince Munehito (宗仁). His consort is empress Fujiwara no Nariko.

Emperor Toba Genealogy

Toba was the son of Emperor Horikawa. He left many children, among them the future emperors Sutoku, Konoe and Go-Shirakawa.

Empresses and descendants

  • Fujiwara no Tamako, born 1101, daughter of Fujiwara no Kinzane and Fujiwara no Koshi (Mitsuko), daughter of Fujiwara no Takakata; adopted daughter of Emperor Shirakawa; married 1117; princess (chūgū) 1118; titled Taikemmon'In 1124; died 1145; by whom he had:
    • First son: Prince Akihito, born 1119 (Emperor Sutoku).
    • first daughter : Princess Kishi (1122 - 1133)
    • second son : Prince Michihito (1124 - 1129)
    • third son : Prince Kimihito (1125-1143)
    • second daughter : Princess Toshi (1126 - 2 IX 1189) ; created imperial princess 5 IX 1126 ; vestal princess of Kamo from 1127 to 1132 ; titled honorary empress (kogo) 5 III 1158 ; titled Josaimon In 4 III 1159 ; nun Shinnyori 26 III 1160
    • fourth son : Prince Masahito, born in 1129 (emperor Go-Shirakawa)
    • fifth son: Prince Motohito(1129 - 1169); Buddhist monk; imperial prince monk (Ho shinno) Kakusho; head of Ninnaji temple
  • Fujiwara no Taishi (Yasuko), born 1095; daughter of Fujiwara no Tadazane and Minamoto no Shishi; entered palace 1 VIII 1133; assimilated to empresses 28 III 1134; empress (kōgō) 15 IV 1134; titled Kayano-in 24 VIII; Shojori nun 10 VI 1141; titled Kayano'in; died 10 I 1156.
  • Fujiwara no Tokushi (Tokuko), born 1117, daughter of Fujiwara no Nagazane; entered the palace 1134; elevated to the 3rd rank 21 V 1136; imperial wife (nyogo) 21 IX 1139; empress (kōgō) 25 I 1142; titled Bifukumon In 6 IX 1149; empress dowager in 1156; died 12 XII 1160; of whom he had:
    • fourth daughter: Princess Eishi ° 8 I (1136- 19 I 1149)
    • fifth daughter : Princess Shoshi ° 29 IV (1137- 6 VIII 1211) ; imperial princess on 19 IV 1138 ; titled Hachijo-In 3 I 1162
    • eighth son : Prince Narihito, born in 1139 (emperor Konoe)
  • A daughter of Fujiwara no Iemasa and a daughter of Fujiwara Akitaka, ° 1105; lady-in-waiting of Taikenmon-In; nicknamed Sanjo no Tsubone; killed 12 XII 1138; mother of :
    • Third daughter: Princess Kenshi ° (1130); vestal princess of Ise 1142-1151; + 1160
  • A daughter of the bonze Kosho and a daughter of the hogen Kakushin, ° (1105) nicknamed Mino no tsubone; lady of the palace; + after 1141; mother of :
    • sixth son : Prince Michie ° 1132 + 1168 ; Buddhist monk Doe
    • seventh son : Prince Kakukai ° 1134 + 1181 ; buddhist monk
    • sixth daughter : Princess Aya Gozen, nun at Sorin-ji
    • seventh daughter: Princess Shushi(1141-1176); first called Jushi; created imperial princess 27 IX 1154 as Shushi; adopted by Bifukumon-In; entered palace 27 Mar 1156; empress (chūgū) of Emperor Nijō 12 III 1159; nun Jissokaku 20 IX 1160; titled Takamatsu-In 20 II 1162
  • An adopted daughter of Fujiwara no Saneyoshi, nicknamed Kasuga no kimi, lady-in-waiting; mother of
    • eighth daughter: Princess Shoshi(1145-1208); vestal princess of Kamo; nicknamed Itsutsuji no Sai-In

Biography of Emperor Toba

After the death of his mother, Toba was taken in charge and raised by his grandfather the retired emperor Shirakawa.

At the age of four, he is enthroned as emperor upon the death of his father Horikawa, with the affairs of government remaining under the control of his grandfather. The Gukanshō praises the child ruler's character:

"That said, he had the personality (of his uncle) Fujiwara no Kinzane (藤原公実), characterized by the study of Chinese Civilization, and walked in the footsteps of (his ancestor) Sugawara no Michizane, but Toba had more of the Yamato-Damashii (the soul of Japan) than either of them."

In 1123, his grandfather forced him to abdicate in favor of his son Sutoku. Toba was then 21 years old.

After the death of Shirakawa in 1129, Toba became himself a retired emperor, exercising power through the reign of three successive emperors, Sutoku, Konoe and Go-Shirakawa.

In 1142, Toba became a monk at the temple of Tōdai-ji under the name of Kūkaku and assumed the title of Daijō-Tennō.

In the same year, he forced Sutoku to step down from the throne in favor of Konoe, then only two years old, which would later be one of the causes of the Hōgen rebellion that broke out upon his death in 1156. Toba is buried in Anrakuju-in.

Eras of Emperor Toba reign

  • Kajō era
  • Tennin era
  • Ten'ei era
  • Eikyū era
  • Ère Gen'ei
  • Ère Hōan