display | more...


Reizei (950-1011) was the 63rd Emperor of Japan according to the traditional chronology, reigning for only two years from 967 to until 969.

Troubled by a weak constitution supposedly resulting from some sort of heart condition, Reizei is said to have been so ill at the time of his coronation, that he could barely complete the ceremony. During his brief reign, Reizei had no power, as the affairs of state were entirely in the hands of his maternal uncle, Fujiwara Saneyori, who ruled in his stead as regent (Kampaku).

The one notable event of Reizei's reign occurred when Saneyori decided to unilaterally change the crown prince from Reizei's next oldest brother, Prince Tamehira, to a younger (and therefore more controllable) brother, Prince Morihira. This was against the express wish of Reizei's father, Emperor Murakami, and a number of nobles led by Tachibana Shigenobu, indignant that Murakami's decision was being overturned, plotted to seize the throne and install Tamehira as emperor. However, when the powerful warlord Minamoto Mitsunaka, who had a previous quarrel with Shigenobu, went turncoat and informed Saneyori of the plan, the scheme was foiled and the conspirators were banished.

Soon thereafter, Saneyori arranged to have Reizei abidicate on account of his weak constitution, installing the ten-year-old Prince Morihira as Emperor En'yu and thus insuring his preferred succession of weak, pliable child-emperors. But Reizei gave lie to the claim that he was frail and weak by living in relatively good health to the ripe old age of 62.

<< Murakami - Emperors of Japan - En'yu >>

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