display | more...

花園

Emperor Hanazono (12971348), whose reign name literally means "Emperor Flower Garden," was the 95th emperor of Japan according to the traditional chronology, reigning from 1308 to 1318.

Born Prince Tomihito, Hanazono was the younger brother of the Emperor Go-Fushimi, the son of Emperor Fushimi, and thus the grandson of Emperor Go-Fukakusa. At the time he ascended to the throne, the imperial reign was supposed to alternate between two rival lineages of the Imperial family: the "senior," or Jimyōin line (持明院統, Jimyōin-tō, descended from Go-Fukakusa), and the "junior," or Daikakuji line (大覚寺統, Daikakuji-to, descended from Go-Fukakusa's younger brother Emperor Kameyama).

As the grandson of Go-Fukakusa, Hanazono was from the senior line, and thus when his distant cousin, the junior line emperor Go-Nijō died suddenly and unexpectedly from illness at the age of 23, the throne passed to Hanazono in accordance with the principal of alternation between the two lines, when Hanazono was just 12 years of age. However, in those days Japanese emperors reigned but did not actually rule, so for the entirety of Hanazono's reign, real power was vested in his father, Fushimi, and later his older brother Go-Fushimi, who ruled in their capacities as "retired emperors."

During the time of Hanazono's reign, the senior line to which he belonged was under a cloud of suspicion, due to his father Fushimi having already once tried to break the agreement to alternate reigns with the junior line when he had his own son Go-Fushimi succeed him. With the junior line pressing the Kamakura shogunate to recognize their claim to the throne in perpetuity, based on an argument that the senior line could not be trusted, retired emperor Go-Fushimi sought to institutionalize the reign alternation arrangement by negotating a deal with the Shogunate, called the Bumpo Agreement, in which emperors the two lines would reign for exactly 10 years each before handing the throne over to the other line.

In accordance with this agreement, Hanazono dutifully abdicated the throne, after exactly 10 years, to his cousin from the junior line, who became emperor Go-Daigo. However, Go-Daigo had grand plans to destroy the Shogunate and restore direct Imperial rule over the nation. As such, he had no intention of honoring the Bumpo agreement, and thus the agreement painstakingly negotiated by Go-Fushimi was honored for the first and last time by Hanazono.

Hanazono did get to rule as a retired emperor of sorts when his nephew reigned as Emperor Kogon from 1332 through 1334, after the conflict between the senior and junior lines devolved into open schism and two rival Imperial courts. However, since Go-Daigo continued to rule over the renegade Southern Court at that time, and became associated with the beloved samurai warrior and Japanese national hero Kusunoki Masashige, today Kogon's reign is not officially recognized, and therefore Hanazono's rule as retired emperor is not either, even though the Northern Court was the court that held actual power over most of the country at that time.

After Kogon abdicated the throne in 1334 and Hanzono's rule as retired emperor came to an end, he took up the tonsure and became a Buddhist monk in 1335. Hanzono then turned his personal retirement palace in Kyoto into the Myōshin-ji Zen Buddhist temple, which today has grown to become the largest temple network in the Rinzai Zen Buddhist sect. Many places and institutions in that neighborhood of Kyoto are named after Hanazono today, including Hanazono University (the main university of the Rinzai sect) and Hanazono Station.

Hanazono was extremely literate and was an accomplished waka poet. He also left behind a diary that remains a useful historical source - the Hanazono-in Minki ("Chronicle of Retired Emperor Hanazono"). He died in 1348.


<< Go-Nijō - Emperors of Japan - Go-Daigo >>

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.