Daijō Hōō or Daijō Hō (both accepted readings of 太上法皇), term sometimes translated in English as cloistered Emperor, was a Japanese emperor who abdicated and entered the Buddhist monastic community by receiving the Pravrajya rite. The term can also be shortened in Hōō (法皇, literally "emperor who practices Dharma").
Cloistered emperors sometimes acted as Daijō Tennō (retired emperors), therefore maintaining effective power. This title was first assumed by Emperor Shōmu and was later used by many other emperors who "took the tonsure", signifying a decision to become a Buddhist monk.
Emperors who adopted cloistered rule were:
- Emperor Shirakawa (1053–1129, r. 1073–1087 and cloistered rule 1087–1129)
- Emperor Toba (1103–1156, r. 1107–1123 and cloistered rule 1129–1156)
- Emperor Go-Shirakawa (1127–1192, r. 1155–1158 and cloistered rule 1158–1192)
- Emperor Go-Toba (1180–1239, r. 1183–1198 and cloistered rule 1198–1221)
- Emperor Go-Horikawa (1212–1234, r. 1221–1232 and cloistered rule 1232–1234)
- Emperor Go-Saga (1220–1272, r. 1242–1246 and cloistered rule 1246–1272)
Emperor Go-Hanazono abdicated in 1464 (the 5th year of Kanshō), but not long afterwards, the Ōnin War (Ōnin-no-ran) broke out, and there were no further abdications until 1586 (the 5th year of Tensho), when Emperor Ōgimachi abdicated in favor of his grandson Emperor Go-Yōzei. This was due to the disturbed state of the country; and the fact that there was neither a house for an ex-emperor nor money to support him or the cloistered rule.
- Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1963). Vicissitudes of Shinto, p. 27.
- Ponsonby-Fane, Kyoto, pp. 340-341.
- Ponsonby-Fane, Richard Arthur Brabazon. (1956). Kyoto: The Old Capital of Japan, 794-1869. Kyoto: The Ponsonby Memorial Society. OCLC 36644
- _____________. (1963). Vicissitudes of Shinto. Kyoto: Ponsonby Memorial Society. OCLC 36655
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