The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Emperor Sanjo of Japan

Emperor Sanjō (三条天皇) (February 5, 976 - June 5, 1017) was the 67th imperial ruler of Japan. He ruled from 1011 to 1016. His name was Okisada (居貞)



He was the second son of Emperor Reizei. His mother was Empress ??? (宮超子) the daughter of the sesshō Fujiwara no Kaneie. He was the half-brother of Emperor Kazan. His mother died when he was seven, and his father, the Retired Emperor Reizei became mentally ill. His maternal grandfather, Fujiwara no Kaneie raised him.

  • 994-1051 Imperial Prince Atsuakira (敦明親王), Ko-ichijō-in (小一条院), Emperor Go-Ichijō's Crown Prince
  • 997-1054 Imperial Prince Atsunori(敦儀親王)
  • 999-1049 Imperial Prince Atsuhira (敦平親王)
  • 1001-1023 known as Imperial Princess Toshō (real pronounciation is unknown, 当子内親王) - saigū (priestess at Ise Shrine)
  • 1003-1048 known as Imperial Princess Teishi (real pronounciation is unknown, 禔子内親王) - spouse of Fujiwara no Norimichi (藤原教通)
  • 1005-1085 Imperial Prince Moroakira (師明親王), lay priest under the name Seishin (性信)
  • 1013-1094 known as Imperial Princess Teishi (禎子内親王) (real pronounciation is unknown, Empress Dowager Yōmeimon-in, 陽明門院) - Empress (kōgō) to Emperor Go-Suzaku, mother of Emperor Go-Sanjō

Consorts and Empresses


After his mother died when he was at seven, his maternal grandfather Fujiwara no Kaneie raised him at Kaneie's mansion. Kaneie loved him very much and Sanjo grew to a young talented prince with dignity. When the emperor Ichijo, another grandson of Kaneie ascended to the throne, Sanjo was appointed to the heir, the crown prince, in his teenage. It followed the convention two imperial lineages took the throne in turn, people took it rare, because Ichijo was younger than Sanjo. Sanjo therefore had a nickname Sakasa no moke no kimi (the imperial heir in reverse).

Kaneie died in the early of Ichijo's reign and Sanjo lost his political backbone. His three uncles, sons of Kaneie, made their daughters concorts of Ichijo and aimed to seize the power as the grandfather of the emperor in future, Sanjo was therefore not the best choise for those high courtiers, though each of them made their daughter a spouse of Sanjo. Later Ichijo had children from Fujiwara no Kishi, the daughter of Fujiwara no Michinaga, and MIchinaga expcted his grandson to ascend to the throne as soon as possible. Michinaga became the de facto ruler of Japan during the reign of Ichijo and expected to hold this position in the Sanjo's government too, but Sanjo desired strongly to govern the state without such influence from his subjects as an matured man in his thirty. The relation between Sanjo and Michinaga was bad and it became worse when one of Sanjo's spouse who was a daughter of Michinaga died without a child. Most of courtiers feared Michinaga and avoid the imperial court. Sanjo was isolated in his own court.

Sanjo was ill at his eyes and his sight was being lost. Michinaga gave him pressure as to descend from the throne. Finally Sanjo retired from the throne with disappointment. His eldest son, Prince Atsuakira became the crown prince but later he abandoned this position because of the pressure from Michinaga. Michinaga gifted Atsuakira a status equal to the retired emperor with the title of Koichijo-in and Nariakira married a daughter of Michinaga.

No son of Sanjo ascended to the throne. But from a daughter of him, Princess Teishi an emperor came and his blood remained in the imperial blood line.


He was given the posthumous name of Sanjō-in (三条院) after the palace where he spent his life after abdicating. The palace, in turn, was named for the location of the palace where he lived after his abdication. After the Meiji Era, the in was dropped and replaced with tennō (Emperor)

Eras of his reign

  • Kankō
  • Chōwa
Preceded by:
Emperor of Japan Succeeded by:

Last updated: 10-13-2005 10:16:06
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