|Emperor of Japan|
|Born||December 22, 1177|
|Died||March 24, 1185 (aged 8)|
|Burial||Amida-ji no Misasagi (Shimonoseki)|
Emperor Antoku (安徳天皇 Antoku-tennō) (December 22, 1177 – March 24, 1185) was the 81st emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession. His reign spanned the years from 1180 through 1185. During this time, the imperial family was involved in a bitter struggle between warring clans. Yoritomo, with his cousin Yoshinaka, led a force from the Minamoto clan against the Taira, who controlled the emperor. During the sea battle of Dan-no-ura in March 1185, a member of the royal household took Antoku and plunged with him into the water in the Shimonoseki Straits, drowning the child emperor rather than allowing him to be captured by the opposing forces. The conflict between the clans led to numerous legends and tales. Antoku's tomb is said to be located in a number of places around western Japan, including the island of Iwo Jima, a result of the spreading of legends about the emperor and the battle.
Events of Antoku's life
Antoku was named crown prince at around one month of age. He ascended the throne at the age of two. Naturally, he held no actual power, but rather his grandfather Taira no Kiyomori ruled in his name, though not officially, as sesshō (regent).
- 1180 (Jishō 4, 21st day of the 4th month): In the 12th year of Takakura-tennō 's reign (高倉天皇12年), the emperor was forced to abdicate; and the succession (‘‘senso’’) was received by his infant son, the grandson of Taira Kiyomori. Shortly thereafter, Emperor Antoku is said to have acceded to the throne (‘‘sokui’’).
- 1183 (Juei 2, 20th day of the 8th month): Go-Toba is proclaimed emperor by the Genji; and consequently, there were two proclaimed emperors, one living in Heian-kyō and another in flight towards the south.
In 1183, when Minamoto no Yoshinaka entered the capital, the Taira clan fled with the young emperor and the sacred treasures to Yashima (the name of a place inside modern-day Takamatsu, Kagawa). Being defeated in the Battle of Yashima, they fled westward.
- 1185 (Genryaku 2, 24th day of the 3rd month): The Taira and the Minamoto clashed in the Battle of Dan-no-ura.
The Taira were defeated. Antoku's grandmother, Taira no Tokiko, the widow of Taira no Kiyomori, drowned herself along with the young emperor. His mother also drowned herself, but apparently, according to The Tale of the Heike (Heike Monogatari), she was pulled out with a rake by her long hair. According to legend, the sacred jewels and the sacred sword (two of the three sacred treasures) sunk to the bottom of the sea, and although the sacred jewels were recovered, the sword was lost.
The story of Emperor Antoku and his mother's family became the subject of the Kamakura period epic poem The Tale of the Heike (Heike is an alternate reading of the Japanese characters for "House of the Taira").
In general, this elite group included only three to four men at a time. These were hereditary courtiers whose experience and background would have brought them to the pinnacle of a life's career. During Antoku's reign, this apex of the Daijō-kan included:
After his drowning, in order to mourn the body and placate any restless spirits, the Amidaji Goeidō was built. Later, Antoku was enshrined at the Kurume-Suitengū in Kurume, Fukuoka, and he came to be worshipped as Mizu-no-kami (水の神, lit. "water-god" or "god of water"), the god of easy delivery at Suitengū (水天宮, lit. "water-heaven/emperor-shrine") everywhere.
Eras of Antoku's reign
- Emperor of Japan
- List of Emperors of Japan
- Imperial cult
- Akama Shrine (Akama jingū)
- Emperor Bing of Song, a child emperor who was also forced to commit suicide in a naval battle
- Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du Japon, pp. 200–207; Brown, Delmer et al. (1979). Gukanshō, pp. 333–334; Varley, H. Paul. (1980). Jinnō Shōtōki. pp. 214–215.
- Jeremy Roberts: Japanese Mythology A to Z, 2nd edition, 2010. ISBN 978-1-60413-435-3.
- Brown, pp. 264; n.b., up until the time of Emperor Jomei, the personal names of the emperors (their imina) were very long and people did not generally use them. The number of characters in each name diminished after Jomei's reign.
- Brown, p. 333; Varley, p. 214.
- Titsingh, p. 200.
- Titsingh, p. 200; Brown, p. 333; Varley, p. 44; n.b., a distinct act of senso is unrecognized prior to Emperor Tenji; and all sovereigns except Jitō, Yōzei, Go-Toba, and Fushimi have senso and sokui in the same year until the reign of Emperor Go-Murakami.
- Titsingh, p. 207.
- Kitagawa, Hiroshi et al. (1975). The Tale of the Heike, p. 787; Titsingh, pp. 211–212.
- Brown, p. 333.
- Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan, p. 422; n.b., although Ponsonby-Fane indicates that the official shrine was in Kyoto in the 1930s, the credible, but unsourced text at the bottom of this article explains that the current location of the shrine is in Shimonoseki.
- Titsingh, pp. 200–207; Brown, pp. 333–334.
- Brown, Delmer M. and Ichirō Ishida, eds. (1979). Gukanshō: The Future and the Past. Berkeley: University of California Press. 10-ISBN 0-520-03460-0; 13-ISBN 978-0-520-03460-0; OCLC 251325323
- Helmolt, Hans Ferdinand and James Bryce Bryce. (1907). The World's History: A Survey of Man's Progress. Vol. 2. London: William Heinemann.OCLC 20279012
- Kitagawa, Hiroshi and Burce T. Tsuchida, ed. (1975). The Tale of the Heike. Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press. ISBN 0-86008-128-1 OCLC 164803926
- Ponsonby-Fane, Richard Arthur Brabazon. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan. Kyoto: Ponsonby Memorial Society. OCLC 194887
- Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Nihon Odai Ichiran; ou, Annales des empereurs du Japon. Paris: Royal Asiatic Society, Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland. OCLC 5850691
- Varley, H. Paul. (1980). Jinnō Shōtōki: A Chronicle of Gods and Sovereigns. New York: Columbia University Press. 10-ISBN 0-231-04940-4; 13-ISBN 978-0-231-04940-5; OCLC 59145842
- According to Shimonoseki City Information: "In the Middle Age, the last battle between the Genji clan and the Heike clan broke out in Dannoura on 24 March 1185 and Yoshitsune won the battle by using the tides."
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