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Emperor Higashiyama

Emperor of japan
The basics
AKA 東山天皇, Higashiyama-tennō, Emperor Higashiyama
Date of birth Kyoto, Kyōto Prefecture, Kansai region, Japan
Date of death Jan 16, 1710 Kyoto, Kyōto Prefecture, Kansai region, Japan
Spouse: Princess Yukiko Fujiwara no Yoshiko
Children: Akiko-naishinnō Emperor Nakamikado Kan'in-no-miya Naohito-shinnō
Father: Emperor Reigen
Sister(s): Yoshiko-naishinnō Masako-naishinnō
Mother: Empress Dowager Keihō
Brother(s): Kyōgoku-no-miya Ayahito-shinnō Saku-no-miya Gyōen-hosshinnō Arisugawa-no-miya Yorihito-shinnō
Authority VIAF id
The details
Higashiyama also refers to a ward of Kyoto City.

Emperor Higashiyama (東山天皇, Higashiyama-tennō, October 21, 1675 – January 16, 1710) was the 113th emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession.

Higashiyama's reign spanned the years from 1687 through to his abdication in 1709 corresponding to the Genroku era, generally considered to be the golden age of the Edo period. The previous hundred years of peace and seclusion in Japan had created relative economic stability. The arts and theater and architecture flourished.


Before Higashiyama's ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne, his personal name (imina) was Asahito (朝仁) or Tomohito and his pre-accession title was Go-no-miya (五宮)

Higasiyama was the fifth son of Emperor Reigen.

Higashiyama's Imperial family lived with him in the Dairi of the Heian Palace. This family included at least 11 children.

  • Empress: Imperial Princess Yukiko (幸子女王) later Shōshūmon’in (承秋門院), Imperial Prince Arisugawa-no-miya Yukihito’s daughter
    • First daughter: Imperial Princess Akiko (秋子内親王; 1700–1756) married Imperial Prince Fushimi-no-miya Kunitada
  • Lady-in-waiting: Kushige Yoshiko (櫛笥賀子) later Shin-syukenmon’in (新崇賢門院), Kushige Takatomo’s daughter
    • First son: Ichi-no-miya (一宮; 1693–1694)
    • Second son: Ni-no-miya (二宮; 1696–1698)
    • Fourth son: Hisa-no-miya (寿宮; 1700–1701)
    • Second daughter: Tomi-no-miya (福宮; 1703–1705)
    • Fifth son: Imperial Prince Yasuhito (慶仁親王) (Emperor Nakamikado)
    • Sixth son: Imperial Prince Kan'in-no-miya Naohito (1704–1718; 閑院宮直仁親王) – First Kan'in-no-miya
  • Lady-in-waiting: Reizei Tsuneko (冷泉経子; 1678–1755)
    • Third son: Imperial Prince priest Kōkan (公寛法親王; 1697–1738)
  • Handmaid: Takatsuji (Sugawara) Nagakazu (高辻(菅原)長豊)’s daughter
    • Third daughter: Kōmyōjyō'in-no-miya (1707; 光明定院宮)
    • Fourth daughter: Princess Syōsyuku (1709–1721; 聖祝女王)

Events of Higashiyama's life

Prince Tomohito was the son of a secondary consort, Fujiwara no Muneko; but he was adopted by the Chugu Fusa-ko.

  • 1682 (Tenna 3): Tomohito-shinnō is proclaimed Crown Prince; and a ceremonial investiture is held (after an abeyance of over 300 years).
  • March 26, 1685 (Jōkyō 2, 22nd day of the 2nd month): Former-Emperor Go-Sai died; and a great comet was observed crossing the night sky.

In 1687, he acceded to the throne after the abdication of Emperor Reigen. On the 16th day of the 11th month of that year, he revived the Daijōsai (大嘗祭), the first ceremonial offering of rice by a newly enthroned Emperor.

Initially, Emperor Reigen continued to rule in Higashiyama's name, which caused much friction with the Bakufu. However, Higashiyama's gentle character helped to improve relations with the Bakufu, and imperial property was increased, and repairs were carried out on Imperial mausoleums.

  • May 2, 1687 (Jōkyō 4, 21st day of the 3rd month): Emperor Reigen abdicated, which meant that his son received the succession (senso). Shortly thereafter, Emperor Higashiyama formally acceded to the throne (sokui). After abdication, Reigen's new home was called the Sentō-gosho (the palace for an ex-Emperor).
  • December 20, 1688 (Jōkyō 4, on the 16th day of the 11th month): The esoteric Daijō-sai ceremony, having been in abeyance since the time of Emperor Go-Kashiwabara, a period spanning the reigns of nine emperors, was revived because of the shogunate's insistence. This Shinto ritual is performed only once by the emperor in the period of the enthronement ceremonies.
  • 1688 (Genroku gannen): The Tokugawa shogunate revised the code of conduct for funerals (Fuku-kiju-ryō), which incorporated a code of conduct for mourning as well.
  • September 16, 1689 (Genroku 2): German physician Engelbert Kaempfer arrives at Dejima for the first time. Bakufu policy in this era was designed to marginalize the influence of foreigners; and Kaempfer had to present himself as "Dutch" in dealings with the Japanese. Regardless of this minor subterfuge, an unintended and opposite consequence of sakoku was to enhance the value and significance of a very small number of thoughtful observers like Kaempfer, whose writings document what he learned or discovered first-hand. Kaempfer's published accounts and unpublished writings provided a unique and useful perspective for Orientalists and Japanologists in the 19th century; and his work continues to be rigorously examined by modern researchers today.
  • 1695 (Genroku 8, 8th month): Minting begun of Genroku coinage. The shogunate placed the Japanese character gen (元) on the obverse of copper coins, the same character used today in China for the yuan. There is no connection between those uses, however.
  • 1695 (Genroku 8, 11th month): First kennel is established for stray dogs in Edo. In this context, Tokugawa Tsunayoshi comes to be nicknamed the "Dog Shōgun" (犬公方, Inu-kubō).
  • 1697 (Genroku 10): The fourth official map of Japan was made in this year, but it was considered to be inferior to the previous one—which had been ordered in 1605 (Shōhō 1) and completed in 1639 (Kan'ei 16). This Genroku map was corrected in 1719 (Kyōhō 4) by the mathematician Tatebe Katahiro (1644–1739), using high mountain peaks as points of reference, and was drawn to a scale of 1:21,600.
  • 1697 (Genroku 10): Great fire in Edo.
  • 1697 (Genroku 11): Another great fire in Edo. A new hall is constructed inside the enclosure of the Edo temple of Kan'ei-ji (which is also known as Tōeizan Kan'ei-ji or "Hiei-san of the east" after the principal temple of the Tendai Buddhist sect—that is to say, after the temple of Enryaku-ji at Mount Hiei near to Heian-kyo).
  • 1703 (Genroku 15, 14th day of the 12th month): when the Akō Incident took place, in which a band of Forty-seven rōnin (leaderless samurai) avenged the death of their master Asano Naganori, due to the bloodshed, Emperor Higashiyama nearly withdrew the imperial will.
  • 1703 (Genroku 16, 5th month): First performance of Chikamatsu Monzaemon's play The Love Suicides at Sonezaki.
  • 1703 (Genroku 16, 28th day of the 11th month): The Great Genroku earthquake shook Edo and parts of the shōgun's castle collapsed. The following day, a vast fire spread throughout the city. Parts of Honshū's coast were battered by tsunami, and 200,000 people were either killed or injured.
  • October 28, 1707 (Hōei 4, 14th day of the 10th month): 1707 Hōei earthquake. The city of Osaka suffers tremendously because of a very violent earthquake.
  • November 15, 1707 (Hōei 4, 22nd day of the 10th month): An eruption of Mt. Fuji; cinders and ash fell like rain in Izu, Kai, Sagami, and Musashi.
  • 1708 (Hōei 5): The shogunate introduces new copper coins into circulation; and each coin is marked with the Hōei nengō name (Hōei Tsubo).
  • 1708 (Hōei 5, 8th day of the 3rd month): There was a great fire in Heian-kyō.
  • 1708 (Hōei 5, 8th month): Italian missionary Giovanni Sidotti landed in Yakushima, where he was promptly arrested.
  • 1709 (Hōei 6): Shōgun Tsunayoshi appoints commission to repair and restore Imperial mausoleums.
  • 1709 (Hōei 6, 4th month): Tokugawa Ienobu, Tsunayoshi's nephew, becomes the 6th shōgun of the Edo bakufu. and Emperor Nakamikado accedes to the throne.
  • July 27, 1709 (Hōei 6, 21st day of the 6th month): Emperor Higashiyama abdicated and the throne passed to his son.
  • January 16, 1710 (Hōei 6, 17th day of the 12th month): Higashiyama died.

Higashiyama is among those enshrined in the Imperial mausoleum, Tsuki no wa no misasagi, at Sennyū-ji in Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto. Also enshrined in this location are this emperor's immediate Imperial predecessors since Emperor Go-Mizunoo – Meishō, Go-Kōmyō, Go-Sai and Reigen. Higashiyama's immediate Imperial successors, including Nakamikado, Sakuramachi, Momozono, Go-Sakuramachi and Go-Momozono, are enshrined here as well.

Eras of Higashiyama's reign

The years of Higashiyama's reign are more specifically identified by more than one era name or nengō.

  • Jōkyō (1684–1688)
  • Genroku (1688–1704)
  • Hōei (1704–1711)

Fictional Portrayals

Higashiyama appears under the name of Tomohito in the novel "The Samurai's Wife" by author Laura Joh Rowland. In the novel, detective Sano Ichiro is sent to investigate the murder of an important official in the Imperial Court. Tomohito is labelled as a suspect, and is portrayed as a childish oaf at the start of the novel. He is later revealed to be the instigator behind a coming revolution against the Tokugawa regime, so he can seize control of Japan himself. However, his plan fails, and he is once again placed in the Imperial Palace, where he seems to have accepted his fate to never leave the palace.


The contents of this page are sourced from a Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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