Emperor Heizei

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Emperor Heizei (平城天皇 Heizei-tennō?, 773 – August 5, 824), also known as Heijō-tennō. was the 51st emperor of Japan,[1] according to the traditional order of succession.[2]

Heizei's reign spanned the years from 806 through 809.[3]


Traditional narrative

Before his ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne, his personal name (his imina)[4] was Ate-shinnō (Yasudo).[5]

He was the eldest son of the Emperor Kammu and his empress Fujiwara no Otomuro, who was the daughter of nadaijin Fujiwara Yoshitsugu.[6]

Heizei had three Empresses and seven Imperial sons and daughters.[7]

Events of Heizei's life

Before he ascended to the throne, his liaison with Fujiwara no Kusuko, the mother of his one consort, caused a scandal. Because of this scandal his father considered depriving him of the rank of crown prince.

  • April 9, 806 (Daidō 1, 17th day of the 3rd month): In the 25th year of Emperor Kammu's reign (桓武天皇25年), he died; and despite an ensuring dispute over who should follow her as sovereign, contemporary scholars then construed that the succession (senso) was received by his son. Shortly thereafter, Emperor Heizei is said to have acceded to the throne (sokui).[8]

His title Heizei derived from the official name of the capital in Nara, Heizei Kyō. He was called often Nara no Mikado, the Emperor of Nara.

Heizei appointed Sakanoue no Tamuramaro (758-811) to lead a military expedition against the Emishi.[9] During Heizei's reign, Tamuramaro was also appointed Senior Commander of the Imperial Bodyguards of the Right.[10]

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