Emperor Go-Yozei

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A letter from Go-Yôzei to Toyotomi Hideyoshi, reproaching him for his invasions of Korea. Tokyo National Museum
  • Born: 1572
  • Died: 1617/8/26
  • Reign: 1586-1611
  • Japanese: 後陽成天皇 (Go Youzei tennou)

Emperor Go-Yôzei was the last emperor to reign during the Sengoku period, and the first of the Edo period, his reign spanning the years from 1586 to 1611.

Go-Yôzei was the grandson of his predecessor, succeeding Emperor Ôgimachi after Ôgimachi's son, Go-Yôzei's father, died. Konoe Sakiko, a daughter of Konoe Sakihisa, was one of his consorts.

He was the last emperor to be depicted in the medieval fashion in his official imperial portrait - with facial hair, a symbol of masculine power. By the time of his successor's portrait being painted, however, attitudes had shifted, and a clean-shaven face was seen as a key element of an overall tidy appearance.[1]

On 1603/2/12, Go-Yôzei formally named Tokugawa Ieyasu "Shogun," thus bestowing imperial legitimacy upon his claims to hegemony and authority. In 1605, he named Konoe Nobutada his regent (kanpaku).

Go-Yôzei was forced to abdicate in 1611, in favor of one of his sons who then took the throne as Emperor Go-Mizunoo.

Preceded by
Emperor Ôgimachi
Emperor of Japan
Succeeded by
Emperor Go-Mizunoo


  1. Takashi Fujitani, Splendid Monarchy, UC Press (1998), 173.