Emperor Shōkō

Emperor Shōkō (称光天皇, Shōkō-tennō, May 12, 1401 – August 30, 1428) was the 101st emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession.[1] His reign spanned the years from 1412 through 1428.[2]

Emperor Shōkō
Emperor of Japan
ReignOctober 5, 1412 – August 30, 1428
CoronationJanuary 29, 1415
ShōgunAshikaga Yoshimochi
Ashikaga Yoshikazu
BornMay 12, 1401
DiedAugust 30, 1428(1428-08-30) (aged 27)
Fukakusa no kita no Misasagi (Kyoto)
SpouseFujiwara no Mitsuko
IssueSee below
FatherEmperor Go-Komatsu
SignatureEmperor Shoko kao.jpg


His personal name was Mihito (initially written as 躬仁, and later written as 実仁). He was the eldest son of Emperor Go-Komatsu. His mother was Hinonishi Motoko (日野西資子), daughter of Hino Sukekuni (日野資国). He had no children of his own, and was succeeded by his third cousin, Emperor Go-Hanazono, great-grandson of the Northern Pretender Emperor Sukō.

The name "Shōkō" (称光) was formed by taking one kanji from the names of the 48th and 49th imperial rulers Empress Shōtoku (称徳) and Emperor Kōnin (光仁).

Empress Shōtoku (称徳)
"Shōkō" (称光)
Emperor Kōnin (光仁)


  • Lady-in-waiting: Fujiwara (Hino) Mitsuko (藤原(日野)光子), Hino Katsumitsu’s daughter
  • Naishi: Minamoto (Itsutsuji) Tomoko (源(五辻)朝子), Itsutsuji Tomonaka’s daughter
    • daughter: (b.1418)
  • Naishi: Takakura Nagafuji’s daughter
  • Court Lady: Iyo no Tsubone (伊予局), Jimyoin Motochika’s daughter
    • daughter: (b.1426)
  • Court Lady: Kii no Tsubone(紀伊局), Kamo Tomo’s daughter

Events of Shōkō's lifeEdit

He reigned from October 5, 1412 until his death on August 30, 1428.

Shōkō became emperor upon the abdication of his father, Go-Komatsu in Ōei 18, in the 10th month (October 5, 1412). His actual coronation date was two years later.[3]

The "retired" Go-Komatsu ruled as a Cloistered Emperor during Shōkō's reign.

Shōkō was connected to Ashikaga Yoshimitsu and the Hino clan through his mother's side.

Shōkō-tennō was only 12 years old when he assumed the role of formal head of the Daïri; but "Go-Komatsu-in" had direction of the court [and] the Shōgun Ashikaga Yoshimochi was charged with the general superintendence of affairs."[3]

  • October 5, 1412 (Ōei 18, on the 18th day of the 9th month): Emperor Shōkō was made the new sovereign upon the abdication of his father, Emperor Go-Komatsu; and the succession (‘‘senso’’) was received.[4]

Shōkō was only 12 years old when he began living in the daïri; but Go-Komatsu, as a Cloistered Emperor still retained direction of the court and the Shōgun was charged with the general superintendence of affairs.[5]

  • 1413 (Ōei 20): Shōgun Ashikaga Yoshimochi fell ill, and so he sent an ambassador to the Ise Shrine to pray for the return of his health.[6]
  • January 29, 1415 (Ōei 21, on the 19th day of the 12th month): Enthronement of Emperor Shōkō was two years after the senso was received. At this point, Emperor Shōkō is said to have acceded to the throne (‘‘sokui’’).[4]
  • 1418 (Ōei 25): Ashikaga Yoshimochi ordered Asama Shrine, at the base of Mount Fuji in Suruga province, to be re-built.[7]
  • July 18, 1419 (Ōei 26, on the 26th day of the 6th month): Oei Invasion. Korea invaded Tsushima Province.
  • 1423 (Ōei 30, 2nd month): Shōgun Yoshimochi retired in favor of his son, Ashikaga Yoshikatsu, who was 17 years old.[8]
  • March 17, 1425 (Ōei 32, on the 27th day of the 2nd month): Shōgun Yoshikatsu died at the age of 19 years, having administered the empire for only three years.[4]
  • February 3, 1428 (Shōchō 1, 18th day of the 1st month): Shōgun Ashikaga Yoshimochi, having taken power again after the death of his son, died himself at the age of 43.[9]
  • August 30, 1428 (Shōchō 1, 20th day of the 7th month): Emperor Shōkō died at the age of 27.[10]Nihon Ōdai Ichiran suggests a cause of death by explaining: "Ce prince, s'occupait de magie et du culte de démons, mens une vie pure, et observa rigoureusement l'abstinence et le jeùne." ("This prince, who occupied himself with magic and the cult of demons, led a pure life, and rigorously observed abstinence and fasting.")[11]

Shōkō had no heirs of his own; and for this reason, Emperor Go-Komatsu selected Shōkō's third cousin for Shōkō to adopt as heir. This cousin would accede to the Chrysanthemum Throne at age 10 as Emperor Go-Hanazono on September 7, 1428 (Shōchō 1, 29th day of the 7th month): Emperor Go-Hanazono accedes to the throne at age 10.[12]

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


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

Eras of Shōkō's reignEdit

The years of Shōkō's reign are more specifically identified by more than one era name or nengō.[3]


  1. ^ Imperial Household Agency (Kunaichō): 称光天皇 (101); retrieved 2013-8-28.
  2. ^ Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du japon, pp. 327–331.
  3. ^ a b c Titsingh, p. 327.
  4. ^ a b c Titsingh, p. 330.
  5. ^ Titsingh, p. 326-327; Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1959). The Imperial Family of Japan, pp. 105–106.
  6. ^ Titsingh, p. 328.
  7. ^ Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1962). Studies in Shinto and Shrines, pp. 461–462.
  8. ^ Titsingh, p. 329.
  9. ^ Titsingh, pp. 330–331.
  10. ^ Titsingh, p. 331.
  11. ^ Titsingh, p. 331; n.b. also, " 法魔 (Muo-fa), or the science of demons, is the name the Chinese and the Japanese give to a specific "magic" discipline. Those who follow its rigorous regime of practice abandon all relationships with women. They are persuaded that by guarding their purity to focus attention, they can execute their magic arts with precision and success."
  12. ^ Titsingh, p. 331-332.


  • Ponsonby-Fane, Richard Arthur Brabazon. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan. Kyoto: Ponsonby Memorial Society. OCLC 194887
  • ___________. (1962). Studies in Shinto and Shrines. Kyoto: Ponsonby Memorial Society. OCLC 3994492
  • 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

See alsoEdit

Regnal titles
Preceded by Emperor of Japan:

Succeeded by