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Emperor Yōzei

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Emperor of Japan
Hyakuninisshu 013.jpg
Somedono In, Heian Kyō (Kyōto)
Heian Kyō (Kyōto)
Kaguragaoka no Higashi no misasagi (Kyōto)
MotherFujiwara no Takaiko

Emperor Yōzei (陽成天皇 Yōzei-tennō?, 869–949) was the 57th Emperor of Japan,[1] according to the traditional order of succession.[2] His reign started in 876 and ended in 884.[3]

Traditional narrative

Before he became the monarch, his personal name (imina) was Prince Sadaakira (貞明親王 Sadaakira-shinnō?).[4]

Yōzei was the oldest son of Emperor Seiwa. His mother was the Fujiwara no Takakiko.[5] She was the sister of Fujiwara no Mototsune.[6]

Events of Yōzei's life

Yōzei was made emperor when he was a young boy.

  • 869 (Jōgan 10): Prince Sadaakira was born.[7]
  • 18 December 876 : In the 18th year of Emperor Seiwa's reign, he abdicated. Prince Sadaakira received the succession (senso).[8]
  • 877 (Gangyō 1): The beginning of a new nengō was proclaimed the beginning of Yōzei's reign.[7]
  • 20 January 877 (Gangyō 1, 3rd day of the 1st month): Yōzei was formally established as emperor (sokui).[8] This was confirmed in ceremonies.[9]
  • 883 (Gangyō 7): Yōzei showed signs of mental illness and violent incidents which could not be ignored. For example, he killed people randomly in the court.[10]
  • 4 March 884 (Gangyō 8, 4th day of the 2nd month): Fujiwara no Mototsune removed Yōzei from the palace; and Yōzei was deposed as emperor.[11]

Yōzei was succeeded by his father's uncle, who became known as Emperor Koko. During the reign of Kōkō's son, Emperor Uda, the former emperor became dangerous again.

  • 889 (Kanpyō 1, 10th month): Former- Emperor Yōzei again began killing people randomly. Sometimes he disappeared into the mountains where he chased wild boars and Sika Deer,[12]
Memorial Shinto shrine and mausoleum honoring Emperor Yōzei, Kyoto

Yōzei lived in retirement until the age of 81.[13]

After his death

The actual site of Yōzei's grave is known.[1] This emperor is traditionally venerated at a memorial Shinto shrine (misasagi) at Kyoto.

The Imperial Household Agency designates this location as Yōzei's mausoleum. It is formally named Kaguragaoka no Higashi no misasagi.[14]

Eras of Yōzei's reign

The years of Yōzei's reign are more identified by more than one Japanese era.[15]


In ancient Japan, there were four noble clans, the Gempeitōkitsu (源平藤橘). One of these clans, the Minamoto clan (源氏) are also known as Genji, and of these, the Yōzei Genji (陽成源氏) are descended from the 57th emperor Yōzei.

Yōzei fathered nine sons who were born after his abdication.[16]

Related pages


The chrysanthemum symbol of the Japanese emperor and his family
  1. 1.0 1.1 Imperial Household Agency (Kunaichō): 陽成天皇 (57)
  2. Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan, pp. 66-67.
  3. Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du Japon, pp. 121-124; Brown, Delmer. (1979). Gukanshō, pp. 288-289; Varley, H. Paul. (1980). Jinō Shōtōki, pp. 170-171.
  4. Titsingh, p. 121; Varley, p. 170.
  5. Varley, p. 170.
  6. Titsigh, p. 121.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Titsingh, p. 122.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Titsingh, p. 122; Brown, p. 288.
  9. 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. Compare Imperial Household Agency (Kunaichō), Ceremony of Accession (Sokui-no-Rei); retrieved 2011-12-23.
  10. Titsingh, pp. 123-124.
  11. Titsingh, p. 124; Varley, p.171.
  12. Titsingh, p. 127.
  13. Varley, p. 171.
  14. Ponsonby-Fane, p. 420.
  15. Titsingh, Annales des empereurs du Japon, pp. 121-124.
  16. Brown, p. 288.

Other websites

Media related to Emperor Yōzei at Wikimedia Commons

Preceded by
Emperor Seiwa
Emperor of Japan:

Succeeded by
Emperor Kōkō