Emperor Go-En'yū

Emperor Go-En'yū

Emperor Go-En'yū (後円融天皇 "Go-En'yū-tennō") (January 11, 1359 – June 6, 1393) was the fifth of the Ashikaga Pretenders during the period of two courts. According to pre-Meiji scholars, his reign spanned the years from 1371 through 1382. [Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). "Annales des empereurs du japon," pp. 310-316.]

This Nanboku-chō "sovereign" was named after the 10th century Emperor En'yū and "go-" (後), translates literally as "later;" and thus, he may be called the "Later Emperor En'yū". 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 "En'yū, the second," or as "En'yū II."


His personal name was Ohito (緒仁).

He was the second son of the fourth Northern Pretender Emperor Go-Kōgon. His mother was Fujiwara Nakako (藤原仲子), daughter of Hirohashi Kanetsuna (広橋兼綱).
*Consort: Itsuko (厳子), daughter of Sanjō Kimitada (三条公忠)
**First son: Imperial Prince Motohito (幹仁親王) (Emperor Go-Komatsu)
**First daughter: Imperial Princess Keiko (珪子内親王)
*Lady-in-waiting Fujiwara Imako (藤原今子)
**Second son: Imperial Prince ?? (道朝親王)

Events of Emperor Go-En'yū's life

He claimed the throne from April 9, 1371 to May 24, 1382

In 1371, by Imperial Proclamation, he received the rank of "shinnō" (親王), or Imperial Prince (and potential heir). Immediately afterwards, he became emperor upon the abdication of his father, Emperor Go-Kōgon. There was said to be a disagreement between Go-Kōgon and the retired Northern Emperor Emperor Sukō over the Crown Prince. With the support of Hosokawa Yoriyuki, who controlled the Bakufu, Go-Kōgon's son became the Northern Emperor.

Until 1374, Go-Kōgon ruled as cloistered emperor. In 1368, Ashikaga Yoshimitsu was named Shōgun, and with his guardianship, the Imperial Court was stabilized. In 1382, upon abdicating to Emperor Go-Komatsu, his cloistered rule began. Having no actual power, he rebelled, attempting suicide and accusing Ashikaga Yoshimitsu and his consort Itsuko of adultery.

In 1392, peace with the Southern Court being concluded, the Period of the Northern and Southern Courts came to an end. On June 6, 1393, Go-En'yū died.

Eras Emperor Go-En'yū's reign

The years of Go-En'yū's "Nanboku-chō" reign are more specifically identified by more than one era name or "nengō".

:"Nanboku-chō" Southern court
*Eras as reckoned by legitimate Court (as determined by Meiji rescript)
** "Kentoku" (1370-1372)
** "Benchū" (1372-1375)
** "Tenju" (1375-1381)
** "Kōwa" (1381-1384)

:"Nanboku-chō" Northern court
*Eras as reckoned by pretender Court (as determined by Meiji rescript)
** "Ōan" (1368-1375
** "Eiwa" (1375-1379)
** "Kōryaku" (1379-1381)
** "Eitoku" (1381-1384)

outhern Court Rivals

*Emperor Chōkei


* Titsingh, Isaac, ed. (1834). [Siyun-sai Rin-siyo/Hayashi Gahō, 1652] , "Nipon o daï itsi ran; ou, Annales des empereurs du Japon, tr. par M. Isaac Titsingh avec l'aide de plusieurs interprètes attachés au comptoir hollandais de Nangasaki; ouvrage re., complété et cor. sur l'original japonais-chinois, accompagné de notes et précédé d'un Aperçu d'histoire mythologique du Japon, par M. J. Klaproth." Paris: Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland. [http://books.google.com/books?id=18oNAAAAIAAJ&dq=nipon+o+dai+itsi+ran --"Two copies of this rare book have now been made available online: (1) from the library of the University of Michigan, digitized January 30, 2007; and (2) from the library of Stanford University, digitized June 23, 2006." Click here to read the original text in French.]

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