Emperor Go-Mizunoo

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Mizunoo II
Emperor of Japan
Emperor Go-Mizunoo2.jpg
Reign 9 May 1611 – 22 December 1629
Predecessor Go-Yōzei
Successor Meishō
Spouse Tokugawa Masako
Issue Meishō (1624–1696, r. 1629–1643)
Go-Kōmyō (1633–1654, r. 1643–1654)
Go-Sai (1638–1685, r. 1655–1663)
Reigen (1654–1732, r. 1663–1687)
Era dates
Keichō (1596–1615)
Genna (1615–1624)
Kan'ei (1624–1644)
House Edo period
Father Go-Yōzei
Born (1596-06-29)29 June 1596
Died 11 September 1680(1680-09-11) (aged 84)
Burial Tsukinowa no misasagi (Kyoto)

Emperor Go-Mizunoo (後水尾天皇 Go-Mizunoo-tennō?, 29 June 1596 – 11 September 1680) was the 108th Emperor of Japan,[1] according to the traditional order of succession.[2]

Go-Mizunoo's reign spanned the years from 1611 through 1629.[3]

This 17th-century sovereign was named after the 9th-century Emperor Seiwa[4] and go- (?), translates literally as "later;" and thus, he could be called the "Later Emperor Mizunoo". The Japanese word go has also been translated to mean the "second one", and in some older sources, this emperor may be identified as "Mizunoo II".


Before Go-Mizunoo's accession to the Chrysanthemum Throne, his personal name (his imina) was Kotohito (政仁?)[5] or Masahito.[6]

He was the third son of Emperor Go-Yōzei. His mother was Konoe Sakiko, the daughter of Konoe Sakihisa.

Go-Mizunoo's Imperial family lived with him in the Dairi of the Heian Palace. The family included at least 33 children; and four of them would occupy the throne.[7]

  • Lady-in-waiting: Kushige (Fujiwara) Takako, Daughter of Sa Konoe Chūjō(左近衛中将,Vice-Secretary of left Imperial Guard).
    • Imperial Prince Hide-no-miya Nagahito (秀宮良仁親王): became Emperor Go-Sai
    • Imperial Prince Yasuhito (穏仁親王 Yasuhito-shinnō?, 1643–1665): later adopted into the Katsura no miya princely house.[10]

Events of Go-Mizunoo's life[edit]

Masahito-shinnō became emperor following the abdication of his emperor-father. The succession (the senso) was considered to have been received by the new monarch; and shortly thereafter, Emperor Go-Mizunoo is said to have acceded (the sokui).[11] The events during his lifetime shed some light on his reign. The years of Go-Mizunoo's reign correspond with a period in which Tokugawa Hidetada and Tokugawa Iemitsu were leaders at the pinnacle of the Tokugawa shogunate.

  • 29 June 1596: The birth of an Imperial prince who will become known by the posthumous name of Go-Mizunoo.[12]
  • 9 May 1611 (Keichō 16): In the 26th year of Go-Yōzei-tennō 's reign (後陽成天皇26年?), he abdicated; and the reign of Emperor Go-Mizunoo is considered to have begun.[12] The young emperor was aged 16.[14]
  • 26 November 1614 (Keichō 19, 25th day of the 10th month): There was a strong earthquake. The same year a great bell for the Daibutsu Temple in Kyoto was cast.[6]
  • 1615 (Keichō 20): Osaka Summer Battle begins
  • 1615 (Genna 1): Tokugawa Ieyasu and his son, Shogun Hidetada, marched again to Osaka Castle, which was captured and burned; but Hideyori managed to flee to Satsuma where he had prepared a refuge in advance.[6]
  • 6 January 1616 (Genna 2, 17th day of the 4th month): Ieyasu died at Suruga.[6]
  • 25 September 1617 (Genna 3, 26th day of the 8th month): Former-Emperor Go-Yōzei died. He is buried at the North Fukakusa Burial Mound (深草北陵 Fukakusa no Kita no Misasagi?).
  • 1620 (Genna 6): Tokugawa Masako, the daughter of Shogun Hidetada, entered the palace as a consort of the emperor; and the marriage was celebrated with great pomp.[15]
  • 2 April 1620 (Genna 6, 30th day of the 2nd month): Severe fire in Kyoto.[6]
  • 6 April 1620 (Genna 6, 4th day of the 3rd month): Severe fires in Kyoto.[6]
  • 1623 (Genna 9): Tokugawa Iemitsu, son of Hidetada, came to the court of the emperor where he was created Shogun.[6]
  • 1627 (Kan'ei 6): The "Purple Clothes Incident" (紫衣事件 shi-e jiken?): The Emperor was accused of having bestowed honorific purple garments to more than ten priests despite the shogun's edict which banned them for two years (probably in order to break the bond between the Emperor and religious circles). The shogunate intervened making the bestowing of the garments invalid. The priests which had been honored by the emperor were send into exile by the bakufu.[7]
  • 22 December 1629 (Kan'ei 6, 8th day of the 11th month): Go-Mizunoo abdicated.[12] The emperor renounced the throne in favor of his daughter, Okiko, on the same day that the priests of the "Purple Clothes Incident" went into exile.[16] Okiko became the Empress Meishō.

For the rest of his long life, Go-Mizuno-in concentrated on various aesthetic projects and interests, of which perhaps the best-known are the magnificent Japanese gardens of the Shugaku-in Imperial Villa.[7]

The mausoleum of Emperor Go-Mizunoo – Tsukinowa no misasagi – at Sennyū-ji in Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto.
  • 11 September 1680 (Enpō 8, 19th day of the 8th month): Former-Emperor Go-Mizunoo died.[17]

Go-Mizunoo's memory is honored at Sennyū-ji in Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto where a designated Imperial mausoleum (misasagi) is located. It is named Tsukinowa no misasagi. Also enshrined are this emperor's immediate Imperial successors – Meishō, Go-Kōmyō, Go-Sai, Reigen, Higashiyama, Nakamikado, Sakuramachi, Momozono, Go-Sakuramachi and Go-Momozono.[18]


Kugyō (公卿?) is a collective term for the very few most powerful men attached to the court of the Emperor of Japan in pre-Meiji eras. Even during those years in which the court's actual influence outside the palace walls was minimal, the hierarchic organization persisted.

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 Go-Mizunoo's reign, this apex of the Daijō-kan included:

Eras of Go-Mizunoo's reign[edit]

The years of Go-Mizunoo's reign are more specifically identified by more than one era name or nengō.[6]

See also[edit]


Japanese Imperial kamon — a stylized chrysanthemum blossom
  1. ^ Imperial Household Agency (Kunaichō): 後水尾天皇 (108)
  2. ^ Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan, pp. 113–115.
  3. ^ a b Titsingh, Isaac (1834). Annales des empereurs du japon, pp. 410–411.
  4. ^ Emperor Seiwa, after his death, was sometimes referred to as Mizunoo (水尾?) because this is the location of his tomb.
  5. ^ Ponsonby-Fane, p. 9.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Titsingh, p. 410.
  7. ^ a b c d e Ponsonby-Fane, p. 114.
  8. ^ Ponsonby-Fane, p. 115.
  9. ^ Ponsonby-Fane, pp. 114–115; Satow, Ernest Mason. (1881). A Handbook for Travellers in Central & Northern Japan, p. 408.
  10. ^ Ponsonby-Fane, p. 115
  11. ^ Titsingh, p. 410; Varley, H. Paul. (1980). Jinnō Shōtōki, 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.
  12. ^ a b c Meyer, Eva-Maria. (1999). Japans Kaiserhof in der Edo-Zeit, p. 186.
  13. ^ Titsingh, p. 409.
  14. ^ a b Ponsonby-Fane, p. 113.
  15. ^ Ponsonby-Fane, p. 113; Titsingh, p. 410.
  16. ^ Ponsonby-Fane, p. 114; Titsingh, p. 411.
  17. ^ Titsingh, p. 414; Meyer, p. 186.
  18. ^ Ponsonby-Fane, p. 423.
  19. ^ 近衛家(摂家)


See also[edit]

Regnal titles
Preceded by
Emperor Go-Yōzei
Emperor of Japan:

Succeeded by
Empress Meishō