Emperor Antoku (安徳天皇 Antoku-tennō) (December 22, 1178 – April 25, 1185) was the 81st emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession. His reign spanned the years from 1180 through 1185.
The conflict between the clans led to numerous legends and tales. The story of Emperor Antoku and his mother's family became the subject of the Kamakura periodepic poemThe Tale of the Heike (Heike is an alternate reading of the Japanese characters for "House of the Taira"). Antoku's tomb is said to be located in a number of places around western Japan, including the island of Iwo Jima, a result of the spreading of legends about the emperor and the battle.
Antoku was named crown prince at around one month of age. He ascended the throne at the age of two. Naturally, he held no actual power, but rather his grandfather Taira no Kiyomori ruled in his name, though not officially, as sesshō (regent).
1180 (Jishō 4, 21st day of the 4th month): In the 12th year of Takakura-tennō 's reign (高倉天皇十二年), the emperor was forced to abdicate; and the succession (‘‘senso’’) was received by his infant son, the grandson of Taira Kiyomori. Shortly thereafter, Emperor Antoku is said to have acceded to the throne (‘‘sokui’’).
In the year of his enthronement, the capital was moved to modern-day Kōbe, Hyōgo, but it was soon moved back to Heian-kyō.
1183 (Juei 2, 20th day of the 8th month): Go-Toba is proclaimed emperor by the Minamoto; and consequently, there were two proclaimed emperors, one living in Heian-kyō and another in flight towards the south.
The Taira were defeated. Antoku's grandmother, Taira no Tokiko, Kiyomori's widow, drowned herself along with the young emperor. His mother also drowned herself, but apparently, according to The Tale of the Heike (Heike Monogatari), she was pulled out with a rake by her long hair.
Kugyō (公卿) is a collective term for the very few most powerful men attached to the court of the Emperor of Japan in pre-Meiji eras.
In general, this elite group included only three to four men at a time. These were hereditary courtiers whose experience and background would have brought them to the pinnacle of a life's career. During Antoku's reign, this apex of the Daijō-kan included:
After his drowning, in order to mourn the body and placate any restless spirits, the Amidaji Goeidō was built. Later, Antoku was enshrined at the Kurume-Suitengū in Kurume, Fukuoka, and he came to be worshipped as Mizu-no-kami (水の神, lit. "water-god" or "god of water"), the god of easy delivery at Suitengū (水天宮, lit. "water-heaven/emperor-shrine") everywhere.
^Brown, pp. 264; n.b., up until the time of Emperor Jomei, the personal names of the emperors (their imina) were very long and people did not generally use them. The number of characters in each name diminished after Jomei's reign.
^Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan, p. 422; n.b., although Ponsonby-Fane indicates that the official shrine was in Kyoto in the 1930s, the credible, but unsourced text at the bottom of this article explains that the current location of the shrine is in Shimonoseki.
According to Shimonoseki City Information: "In the Middle Age, the last battle between the Genji clan and the Heike clan broke out in Dannoura on 24 March 1185 and Yoshitsune won the battle by using the tides."