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Emperor Higashiyama (?,Higashiyama-tenn?, October 21, 1675 - January 16, 1710) was the 113th emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession. Higashiyama's reign spanned the years from 1687 through to his abdication in 1709 corresponding to the Genroku era. The previous hundred years of peace and seclusion in Japan had created relative economic stability. The arts and theater and architecture flourished.
Events of Higashiyama's life
Before Higashiyama's ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne, his personal name (imina) was Asahito () or Tomohito. Tomohito was born on October 21, 1675 and was the fifth son of Emperor Reigen, his birth mother was a lady-in-waiting named Matsuki Muneko. While Prince Tomohito was the son of a secondary consort, he was adopted by empress Takatsukasa Fusako (chief consort or Ch?g?). Tomohito's Imperial family lived with him in the Dairi of the Heian Palace. Events that took place before Tomohito became Crown Prince include a great flood that devastated Edo, a great famine that devastated Kyoto, and the Great Tenna Fire in Edo. The Shingon Buddhist templeGokoku-ji was also founded in Edo where it remains today as one of the few sites in Tokyo that survived World War II. Tomohito-shinn? was proclaimed Crown prince in 1682, and given the pre-accession title of Go-no-miya (). For the first time in over 300 years a ceremonial investiture was held for the occasion. A fire burned the Kyoto Imperial Palace to ashes in 1684 prompting reconstruction that took a year to complete. The effects from this fire on the Imperial family if any are unknown. Emperor Reigen's brother, former-Emperor Go-Sai died on March 26, 1685 and a great comet was observed crossing the night sky.
Prince Tomohito acceded to the throne on May 2, 1687 as Emperor when his father abdicated in his favor, the era's name was changed from J?ky? to Genroku to mark this event. While he held the political title of Emperor, it was in name only as the shoguns of the Tokugawa family controlled Japan. Initially, Emperor Reigen continued to rule in Higashiyama's name as a Cloistered Emperor as had been done in the Heian period. While this move caused trouble by provoking the ruling shogunate, Higashiyama's gentle character helped to improve relations with the Sh?gun. This warmed relationship caused imperial property to be increased, and repairs carried out on Imperial mausoleums. Reigen meanwhile lived out his retirement in the Sent?-gosho (the palace for an ex-Emperor), and is now known for being the last "Cloistered Emperor" of Japan. On December 20, 1688 the esoteric Daij?-sai ceremony was revived because of the shogunate's insistence. This Shinto ritual had been in abeyance for over a century, and is performed only once by the emperor in the period of the enthronement ceremonies.
September 16, 1689 (Genroku 2): GermanphysicianEngelbert Kaempfer arrives at Dejima for the first time. Bakufu policy in this era was designed to marginalize the influence of foreigners; and Kaempfer had to present himself as "Dutch" in dealings with the Japanese. Regardless of this minor subterfuge, an unintended and opposite consequence of sakoku was to enhance the value and significance of a very small number of thoughtful observers like Kaempfer, whose writings document what he learned or discovered first-hand. Kaempfer's published accounts and unpublished writings provided a unique and useful perspective for Orientalists and Japanologists in the 19th century; and his work continues to be rigorously examined by modern researchers today.
1695 (Genroku 8, 8th month): Minting begun of Genroku coinage. The shogunate placed the Japanese character gen (?) on the obverse of copper coins, the same character used today in China for the yuan. There is no connection between those uses, however.
1695 (Genroku 8, 11th month): First kennel is established for stray dogs in Edo. In this context, Tokugawa Tsunayoshi comes to be nicknamed the "Dog Sh?gun" (,Inu-kub?).
1697 (Genroku 10): The fourth official map of Japan was made in this year, but it was considered to be inferior to the previous one--which had been ordered in 1605 (Sh?h? 1) and completed in 1639 (Kan'ei 16). This Genroku map was corrected in 1719 (Ky?h? 4) by the mathematician Tatebe Katahiro (1644-1739), using high mountain peaks as points of reference, and was drawn to a scale of 1:21,600.
1703 (Genroku 15, 14th day of the 12th month): when the Ak? Incident took place, in which a band of Forty-seven r?nin (leaderless samurai) avenged the death of their master Asano Naganori, due to the bloodshed, Emperor Higashiyama nearly withdrew the imperial will.
1703 (Genroku 16, 28th day of the 11th month): The Great Genroku earthquake shook Edo and parts of the sh?guns castle collapsed. The following day, a vast fire spread throughout the city. Parts of Honsh?'s coast were battered by tsunami, and 200,000 people were either killed or injured.
October 28, 1707 (H?ei 4, 14th day of the 10th month): 1707 H?ei earthquake. The city of Osaka suffers tremendously because of a very violent earthquake.
• First son: Prince Ichi • Second son: Prince Ni • Fourth son: Prince Hisa • Second daughter: Princess Tomi • Fifth son: Imperial Prince Yasuhito (later Emperor Nakamikado) • Sixth son: Imperial Prince Kan'in-no-miya Naohito
Reizei Tsuneko (?)
• Third son: Imperial Prince priest K?kan
Takatsuji Nagakazu (?) (Aka: Sugawara - )
• Third daughter: Princess K?my?jy?'in • Fourth daughter: Princess Sy?syuku
Higashiyama appears under the name of Tomohito in the novel The Samurai's Wife by author Laura Joh Rowland. In the novel, detective Sano Ichiro is sent to investigate the murder of an important official in the Imperial Court. Tomohito is labelled as a suspect, and is portrayed as a childish oaf at the start of the novel. He is later revealed to be the instigator behind a coming revolution against the Tokugawa regime, so he can seize control of Japan himself. However, his plan fails, and he is once again placed in the Imperial Palace, where he seems to have accepted his fate to never leave the palace.
^Titsingh, p. 415; Varley, H. Paul. (1959). A Chronicle of Gods and Sovereigns: Jinn? Sh?t?ki, p. 44; n.b., a distinct act of senso is unrecognized prior to Emperor Tenji; and all sovereigns except Jit?, Y?zei, Go-Toba, and Fushimi have senso and sokui in the same year until the reign of Emperor Go-Murakami.