Emperor Go-Komatsu

Emperor Go-Komatsu (後小松天皇, Go-Komatsu-tennō, 1 August 1377 – 1 December 1433) was the 100th emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession,[1] and the sixth and final Emperor of the Northern Court.

Emperor Go-Komatsu
Emperor Go-Komatsu.jpg
Emperor of Japan
Reign19 November 1392 – 5 October 1412
ShōgunAshikaga Yoshimitsu
Ashikaga Yoshimochi
6th Northern Emperor
Reign24 May 1382 – 19 November 1392
Coronation31 January 1383
Born1 August 1377
Died1 December 1433(1433-12-01) (aged 56)
Fukakusa no kita no Misasagi (Kyoto)
SpouseHinonishi Sukeko
Among others...
Ikkyū Sōjun
Emperor Shōkō
FatherEmperor Go-En'yū
MotherSanjō Itsuko
SignatureEmperor Go-Komatsu kao.jpg

He is officially considered to have been the Northern pretender from May 24, 1382 to October 21, 1392, when upon Emperor Go-Kameyama's abdication, Go-Komatsu is understood to have been a legitimate emperor (the 100th sovereign) from that date. In 1392, following the post-Nanboku-chō unification of the two formerly contending courts, the Southern Emperor Emperor Go-Kameyama reached an agreement with Go-Komatsu to alternate control of the throne between the Northern and Southern courts on a ten-year plan which effectively signaled the end of the southern court's claims to sovereignty. However, Go-Komatsu reneged, not only ruling for 20 years until his own abdication on October 5, 1412, but was succeeded by his own son, rather than by one from the former Southern Court. According to pre-Meiji scholars, Go-Komatsu's reign as a legitimate emperor spanned the years from 1392 through 1412.[2] The present Japanese Imperial Family is descended from the three Northern Court emperors.

This Nanboku-chō "sovereign" was named after the 9th-century Emperor Kōkō, and go- (後), translates literally as "later." Jien's Gukanshō explains that Kōkō was called "the Emperor of Komatsu".[3] The 14th-century pretender and emperor may be called the "later Emperor Kōkō" or the "later Emperor Komatsu". The Japanese word go has also been translated to mean the "second one;" and in some older sources, this would-be emperor may be identified as "Komatsu, the second", or as "Komatsu II."


Before his accession to the Chrysanthemum Throne, his personal name (his imina) was Motohito-shinnō (幹仁親王).[4]

Go-Komatsu was the first son of Emperor Go-En'yū. His mother was Tsūyōmonin no Itsuko (通陽門院厳子), daughter of the Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal Sanjō Kimitada (三条公忠).

  • Consort: Hinonishi Motoko (日野西資子, 1384–1440) later Kohan’mon-in (光範門院), Hinonishi Sukekuni's daughter
    • First son: Imperial Prince Mihito (実仁親王) later Emperor Shōkō
    • Second son: Prince Ogawa (1404–1425; 小川宮), Emperor Shōkō's crown prince
    • First daughter: Princess Riei (理永女王; 1406–1447)
  • Lady-in-waiting: Kanrouji Tsuneko (甘露寺経子), Kanrouji Kanenaga's daughter
  • Naishi: Hinonishi Sukekuni's daughter
  • Naishi: Shirakawa Suketada's daughter
  • Naishi: Kohyōe-no-Tsubone (小兵衛局)
    • daughter: (b. 1412)
  • Naishi: Unknown (daughter of a retainer from the Southern Court)

He was named after Emperor Kōkō, who had the alternate name Komatsu, because they both returned the throne to their families, in the case of Emperor Go-Komatsu, by defeating his Southern Court rivals, and in the case of Emperor Kōkō, by succeeding his elder brother's grandson, Emperor Yōzei.

Events of Go-Komatsu's lifeEdit

In his own lifetime, Go-Komatsu and those around him believed that he occupied the Chrysanthemum Throne from May 24, 1382 through 1412.

He was raised in the turbulent Nanboku-chō period of rival northern and southern courts in the mansion of Hino Sukenori (日野西資教). He succeeded as Northern Emperor upon the abdication of his father, the Northern Pretender Emperor Go-En'yū. With the help of Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, his father ruled as Cloistered Emperor.

In 1392, an envoy from the Ashikaga Shogunate managed to persuade Emperor Go-Kameyama to convey the Imperial Regalia to Go-Komatsu, which meant that he ceded the Chrysanthemum throne to his former rival.[5] Go-Komatsu received the succession (senso); and he is understood to have formally acceded to the legitimate Imperial power and position (sokui).[4][6] In the peace at that time, it was agreed that the northern and southern courts would alternate. However, in 1412, when Emperor Go-Komatsu abdicated, the agreement was thrown away, and, instead, he was succeeded by his son, Emperor Shōkō, and all subsequent Emperors were descended from the Northern Court. Until 1911, the Northern Court Emperors were considered the legitimate ones, and the Southern Court to be illegitimate. However, now the Southern Court is considered to have been legitimate, primarily because they retained the three sacred treasures, and thus, Emperor Go-Komatsu is not considered to have been legitimate for the first 10 years of his reign.

He is enshrined with other emperors at the imperial tomb called Fukakusa no kita no misasagi (深草北陵) in Fushimi-ku, Kyoto.[7]


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

Eras of Go-Komatsu's reignEdit

The years of Go-Komatsu's Nanboku-chō and post-Nanboku-chō reign are more specifically identified by more than one era name or nengō.

Nanboku-chō northern court
  • Eras as reckoned by legitimate Court (as determined by Meiji rescript)
Nanboku-chō southern court
  • Eras as reckoned by pretender Court (as determined by Meiji rescript)
Post-Nanboku-chō court
  • Eras merged as Meitoku 3 replaced Genchū 9 as Go-Kameyama abdicated.

Southern Court rivalsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Imperial Household Agency (Kunaichō): 後小松天皇 (100); retrieved 2013-8-28.
  2. ^ Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du japon, pp. 317–327.
  3. ^ Brown, Delmer M. (1979). Gukanshō, p. 289; excerpt, "Koko's personal name was Tokiayasu, and he was called the 'Emperor of Komatsu'. He received the throne on the 4th day of the 1st month of 884 ...."
  4. ^ a b Titsingh, p. 317.
  5. ^ William, Griffis (1913). The Mikado's Empire: book 1. History of Japan from 660 B.C. to 1872 A.D.
  6. ^ Sansom, George (1961). A History of Japan, 1334–1615. Stanford University Press. pp. 117–118. ISBN 0804705259.
  7. ^ Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan, p. 423.


Regnal titles
Preceded by Northern Emperor
Succeeded by
Preceded by Emperor of Japan:

Succeeded by