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Suzaku (923-952) was the 61st emperor of Japan, according to the official chronology. Suzaku was the 11th son of Emperor Daigo, by his consort Onshi, who was a daughter of Fujiwara clan-head Fujiwara Mototsune. Suzaku ascended to the throne unexpectedly 930 when his older brother and his older brother's son both died suddenly within a short span, before either could be enthroned. Suzaku reigned until 946, when he resigned according to plan, only to die of illness a few short years later at the tender age of 29, whereupon he was succeeded by his younger brother, Emperor Murakami.<\p>

Suzaku reigned during the height of the Fujiwara Regency, in which the Fujiwara family dominated Japanese politics and emperors were nothing more than figureheads. As such, all important affairs of state during his 16-year reign were managed by his uncle, Fujiwara Tadahira, who was then head of the Fujiwara clan and served as Kampaku, or regent, for the entire 16 years.

Suzaku's reign is somewhat significant, because the years 939 and 940 witnessed the rebellion of warlord Taira Masakado, who raised an army, proclaimed himself emperor, and laid claim to a vast region of eastern Japan for several months before finally being defeated by one of his cousins who was fighting in Suzaku's name. Masakado's insurrection remains one of the most significant challenges to the rule of Japan's imperial family in recorded history.

Note that Emperor Suzaku should not be confused with a later emperor, Go-Suzaku (ie "Suzaku II"), who is a major character in The Tale of Genji (Genji's brother, in fact), and is often referred to simply as "Emperor Suzaku," but is actually an entirely different person who lived almost a century later.

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