Go-Sakuramachi (1740–1814)

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Go-Sakuramachi (1740–1814)

Japanese empress who reigned (but did not rule) during the Edo Period (1762–71) and was the tenth woman to sit on the throne of Japan. Name variations: Princess Toshi-ko or Toshiko; Go-Sakuramachitenno. Born in 1740 (some sources cite 1741); died in 1814, at age 74; daughter of Emperor Sakuramachi; sister of Emperor Momosono.

Go-Sakuramachi was born in 1740 as Princess Toshiko, the daughter of Emperor Sakuramachi. Actual power was held not by her father, however, but by the Shogun Yoshemune. After reigning for 11 years, the emperor abdicated in 1747 in favor of his son and her younger brother, Momosono, then aged 11. During the reign of Momosono, power rested with the Shogun Ieshige. Upon her brother's death in 1762, Princess Toshiko ascended to the imperial throne as the Empress Go-Sakuramachi, but she wielded only ceremonial powers, with Ieshige continuing to actually govern the state. At age 31, in 1771 she abdicated in favor of her nephew Hidehito. Go-Sakuramachi died in 1814, age 74.


Smith, Robert J. "Divine Kingship in the Formation of the Japanese State, 1868–1945," in John S. Henderson and Patricia J. Netherly, eds., Configurations of Power: Holistic Anthropology in Theory and Practice. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1993, pp. 51–73.

Webb, Herschel. The Japanese Imperial Institution in the Tokugawa Period. NY: Columbia University Press, 1968.

John Haag , Athens, Georgia