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Montoku (827-858) was the 55th Emperor of Japan according to the traditional chronology, reigning for eight years, from 850 to until 858.

Montoku reigned at a time when Fujiwara control of the imperial throne was absolute, and was thus a mere puppet. The head of the Fujiwara house, Fujiwara Yoshifusa, was both Montoku's grandfather and his father-in-law, Montoku having been forced to take Yoshifusa's daughter Akiko as his primary consort. During Montoku's reign, Yoshifusa made use of his control over Montoku to have himself appointed to the grandiose and previously unused rank of "Chancellor of the Realm" (Daijō-daijin).

But life as a puppet was pretty good for Montoku. Put up in a lavish palace and maintained in a life of idle luxury by his Fujiwara patron, Montoku seems to have spent most of his short life in dalliance with his numerous consorts, such that by the time of his death at the early age of 31, he had already managed to sire 27 children. Upon his death, he was succeeded by his 9-year-old son by Akiko, who became Emperor Seiwa.


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