Emperor Go-Momozono : biography
Go-Momozono’s reign spanned the years from 1771 through his death in 1779.Titsingh, Isaac. (1834).
This 18th-century sovereign was named after his father Emperor Momozono and go- (後), translates literally as "later;" and thus, he could be called the "Later Emperor Momozono". The Japanese word "go" has also been translated to mean the "second one;" and in some older sources, this emperor might be identified as "Momozono, the second," or as "Momozono II".
Eras of Go-Momozono’s reign
The years of Go-Momozono’s reign are more specifically identified by more than one era name or nengō:
- Meiwa (1764–1772)
- An’ei (1772–1781)
Events of Go-Momozono’s life
Hidehito was passed over when his father died. He was too young to be emperor at that time.
- August 5, 1758: Prince Hidehito is born, the first son of Emperor Momozono.Meyer, Eva-Maria. (1999).
- 1768: Hidehito-shinno was named Crown Prince and heir.
- January 9, 1771: Empress Go-Sakuramachi abdicated in favor of her nephew, Prince Hidehito; and his reign started immediately.
- February 29, 1772 (Meiwa 9, 26th day or the 1st month): "The Great Meiwa Fire" – one of the three greatest Edo fire disasters. Unofficial reports describe a swath of ashes and cinders nearly five miles wide and long—destroying 178 temples and shrines, 127 daimyo residences, 878 non-official residences, 8705 houses of bannermen, and 628 blocks of merchant dwellings, with estimates of over 6,000 casualties. All this devastation subsequently engendered the costs of reconstruction.Hall, John. (1955). Tanuma Okitsugu, p. 120.
- August 2, 1772 (Meiwa 9, 4th day of the 6th month): A tempest struck the Kantō region, causing floods and ruining crops.
- August 17, 1772 (Meiwa 9, 19th day of the 6th month): Another storm brought flooding and high winds to the Kantō region, destroying an estimated 4000 houses in Edo alone.
- 1772 (Meiwa 9): This was called the "year of trouble" because it was marked by an extraordinary succession of natural calamities. a contemporary pun was made linking the words "Meiwa" + "ku" (meaning "Meiwa 9") and the sound-alike word "meiwaku" (meaning "misfortune" or "annoyance").
- 1772 (Meiwa 9, 11th month): The nengō was changed to Anei (meaning "eternal tranquillity"); but this symbolic act proved to be futile.Hall, p. 169.
- 1775 (An’ei 4): Epidemic diseases spread across the country – in Edo alone, an estimated 190,000 died.Hall, p. 121.
- 1775 (An’ei 4): Swedish pyhsician and botanist Carl Peter Thunberg arrives at VOC outpost or "factory" in Nagasaki bay; and his scientific activities will result in the first detailed, descriptive survey of the flora and fauna of the Japanese archipelago.
- 1778 (An’ei 7): Kyoto suffers a massive flood.
- 1778 (An’ei 7): Volcanic island of Sakurajima erupts one mile away from Kagoshima – 16,000 died.
- 1779: The emperor adopted a son from the Kan’in branch of the Imperial family; and this son would become known as Emperor Kōkaku.
- June 12, 1779: The emperor died at the age of 22.
Go-Momozono’s kami is enshrined in the Imperial mausoleum, Tsukinowa 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, Reigen, Higashiyama, Nakamikado, Sakuramachi, Momozono and Go-Sakuramachi. The shrine complex also encompasses the misasagi of three of Go-Momozono’s immediate successors – Kōkaku, Ninkō, and Kōmei.Ponsonby-Fane, p. 423.
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-Momozono’s reign, this apex of the Daijō-kan included:
Before Go-Momozono’s accession to the Chrysanthemum Throne, his personal name (imina) was Ponsonby-Fane, p. 10 or HanahitoTitsingh, p. 419.
He was the firstborn son of Emperor Momozono.
Go-Momozono’s Imperial family lived with him in the Dairi of the Heian Palace. This family included at least 2 sons who died in infancy and one 10-month-old daughter at the time of the emperor’s early death. An adopted son would became Go-Momozono’s heir:
- Court Lady: Konoe Koreko (近衛維子)
- First daughter: Imperial Princess Yoshiko (欣子内親王) – later Emperor Kōkaku’s chief wife (chūgū), Yoshiko (后妃, 欣子内親王), then also known as Shin-Seiwa-In (?, 新清和院)
- Adopted son
- Imperial Prince Tomohito (兼仁親王) (Emperor Kōkaku, sixth son of Imperial Prince Kan’in-no-miya Sukehito)