Emperor Seiwa

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Emperor Seiwa (清和天皇 Seiwa-tennō?, 850–880) was the 56th emperor of Japan,[1] according to the traditional order of succession.[2]

Seiwa's reign spanned the years from 858 through 876.[3]


Traditional narrative

Before his ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne, his personal name (his imina)[4] was Korehito (惟仁?).[5] He was also known at Mizunoo-no-mikado[6] or Minoo-tei.[7]

Seiwa was the fourth son of Emperor Montoku. His mother was Empress Dowager Fujiwara no Akirakeiko (明子), also called the Somedono empress 染殿后). Seiwa's mother was the daughter of Fujiwara no Yoshifusa (藤原良房), who was regent and great minister of the council of state.[6] He was the younger half-brother of Imperial Prince Koretaka (惟喬親王) (lived 844-897)

Events of Seiwa's life

Originally under the guardianship of his maternal grandfather Fujiwara no Yoshifusa, he displaced Imperial Prince Koretaka (惟喬親王) as Crown Prince. Upon the death of his father in 858, Emperor Montoku, he became Emperor at the age of 8, but the real power was held by his grandfather, Yoshifusa.

  • July 10, 858 (Ten'an 2, 27th day of the 8th month): In the 8th year of Montoku-tennō 's reign (文徳天皇8年), the emperor abdicated;[8] and the succession (senso) was received by a his son. Shortly thereafter, Emperor Seiwa is said to have acceded to the throne (sokui).[9]
  • December 15, 858 (Ten'an 2, 7th day of the 11th month): The emperor's official announcement of his enthronement at age 9 was accompanied by the appointment or his grandfather as regent (sesshō). This is the first time that this high honor has been accorded to a member of the Fujiwara family, and it is also the first example in Japan of the accession of an heir who is too young to be emperor. The proclamation of the beginning of Seiwa's reign was made at the Kotaijingu at Ise Province and at all the tombs of the imperial family.[10]

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