Emperor Toba

Emperor of Japan
Reign 1107–1123
Predecessor Horikawa
Successor Sutoku
Born February 24, 1103
Died July 20, 1156 (aged 53)
Burial Anrakuju-in no misasagi (Kyoto)

Emperor Toba (鳥羽天皇 Toba-tennō, February 24, 1103 – July 20, 1156) was the 74th emperor of Japan,[1] according to the traditional order of succession.[2]

Toba's reign spanned the years from 1107 through 1123.[3]


Before his ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne, his personal name (his imina)[4] was Munehito-shinnō (宗仁親王).[5]

He was the son of Emperor Horikawa. His mother was Empress Dowager Fujiwara no Ishi (藤原苡子)

Toba had three Empresses, some consort ladies and 14 imperial sons and daughters.[6]

Events of Toba's life

When his mother died, his grandfather, former-Emperor Shirakawa, took him under his care and raised him.

During the initial years of Toba's reign, the actual power was held by his grandfather, the "retired" Emperor Shirakawa, in a process known as cloistered rule.


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

Eras of Toba's reign

The years of Toba's reign are more specifically identified by more than one era name or nengō.[14]

See also


Japanese Imperial kamon — a stylized chrysanthemum blossom
  1. Imperial Household Agency (Kunaichō): 鳥羽天皇 (74)
  2. Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan, pp. 79.
  3. Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du Japon, pp. 178–181; Brown, Delmer et al. (1979). Gukanshō, pp. 320–322; Varley, H. Paul. (1980). Jinnō Shōtōki. pp. 203–204.
  4. Brown, pp. 264. [Up until the time of Emperor Jomei, the personal names of the emperors (their imina) were very long and people did not generally use them. The number of characters in each name diminished after Jomei's reign.]
  5. Titsingh, p. 178; Brown, p. 320; Varley, p. 203.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Brown, p. 321.
  7. Kitagawa, Hiroshi. (1975). The Tale of the Heike, p. 240.
  8. Titsingh, p. 178; Brown, pp. 320; Varley, p. 44. [A distinct act of senso is unrecognized prior to Emperor Tenji; and all sovereigns except Jitō, Yōzei, Go-Toba, and Fushimi have senso and sokui in the same year until the reign of Emperor Go-Murakami.]
  9. 1 2 3 Brown, p. 322.
  10. Brown, pp. 320–321; Titsingh, p.181.
  11. Brown, p. 322; Varley, p. 44.
  12. Titsingh, p. 182; Varley, p. 44.
  13. Brown, p. 322 n56.
  14. Titsingh, pp. 177–181; Brown, p.321.


Regnal titles
Preceded by
Emperor Horikawa
Emperor of Japan:

Succeeded by
Emperor Sutoku
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