Daigo was the eldest son of his predecessor, Emperor Uda. His mother was Fujiwara no Taneko (or Inshi), daughter of the minister of the center, Fujiwara no Takafuji. He succeeded the throne at the young age after his father, the Emperor Uda, abdicated in 897. His mother died before his ascension, so he was raised by Uda's another consort, Fujiwara no Onshi, daughter of the former kampakuFujiwara no Mototsune.
Daigo's grandfather, Emperor Kōkō, demoted his sons from the rank of imperial royals to that of subjects in order to reduce the state expenses, as well as their political influence; in addition, they were given a family name Minamoto. As such, Daigo wasn't born as a royalty and was named Minamoto no Korezane (源維城) until 887, when Daigo's father, Minamoto no Sadami (formerly Prince Sadami), was once again promoted to the Imperial Prince and the heir to the throne. Afterwards, his personal name (imina) was changed to Atsuhito (敦仁親王) or Ono-tei before his ascension of the Chrysanthemum Throne.
Daigo had 21 empresses, imperial consorts, and concubines; he had 36 imperial sons and daughters.
Events of Daigo's life
The era name was changed in 898 to mark the beginning of Emperor Daigo's reign. The highlight of Daigo's 34-year reign was that he ruled by himself without the regency of the Fujiwara clan, though he himself was part Fujiwara.
August 4, 897 (Kanpyō 9, 3rd day of the 7th month ): In the 10th year of Uda-tennō 's reign (宇多天皇十年), Emperor Uda abdicated; and his eldest son received the succession ("senso").
August 14, 897 (Kanpyō 9, 13th day of the 7th month): Emperor Daigo formally acceded to the throne (sokui).
December 7, 899 (Shōtai 2, 1st day of the 11th month): The sun entered into the winter solstice, and all the great officials of the empire presented themselves in Daigo's court.
February 2, 900 (Shōtai 3, 3rd day of the 1st month): Daigo went to visit his father in the place Uda had chosen to live after the abdication.
900 (Shōtai 3, 10th month): The former Emperor Uda traveled to Mount Kōya (高野山,, Kōya-san) in what is now Wakayama prefecture to the south of Osaka. He visited the temples on the slopes of the mountain.
January 23, 901 (Engi 1, 1st day of the 1st month): There was an eclipse of the sun.
901 (Engi 1, 1st month): The Sugawara Michizane "incident" developed, but more details cannot be known because Daigo ordered that diaries and records from this period be burned.
906 (Engi 5, 4th month): Ki-no Tsurayuki presented the emperor with the compilation of the Kokin Wakashū, a collection of waka poetry.
909 (Engi 9, 4th month ): The sadaijin Fujiwara no Tokihira died at the age of 39. He was honored with the posthumous title of regent.
929 (Enchō 7, 8th month): Floods devastated the country and many perished.
July 21, 930 (Enchō 8, 26th day of the 6th month): A huge black storm cloud traveled from the slopes of Mt. Atago to Heian-kyō accompanied by frightful thunder. Lightning struck the Imperial Palace. Both Senior Counselor Fuijwara-no Kiyotsura (also known as Miyoshi no Kiyoyuki) and Middle Controller of the Right Taira-no Mareyo and many other subaltern officers were killed and their bodies were consumed in the subsequent fires. The deaths were construed as an act of revenge by the unsettled spirit of the late Sugawara Michizane.
October 16, 930 (Enchō 8, 22nd day of the 9th month): In the 34th year of Daigo-tennō 's reign (醍醐天皇34年), the emperor fell ill and, fearing that he might not survive, Daigo abdicated. At this point, the succession (senso) was said to have been received by his son. Shortly thereafter, Emperor Suzaku is said to have acceded to the throne (sokui).
October 23, 930 (Enchō 8, 29th day of the 9th month): Emperor Daigo entered the Buddhist priesthood in the very early morning hours. As a monk, he took the Buddhist name Hō-kongō and, shortly thereafter, he died at the age of 46. This monk was buried in the precincts of Daigo-ji, which is why the former-emperor's posthumous name became Daigo-tennō.
Daigo also ordered construction of several halls in the Daigo-ji, such as the Yakushi hall.
In general, this elite group included only three to four men at a time. These were hereditary courtiers whose experience and background have brought them to the pinnacle of a life's career. During Daigo's reign, this apex of the Daijō-kan included:
Twelfth Daughter: Imperial Princess Seishi (靖子内親王; 915–950), removed from the Imperial Family by receiving the family name from Emperor (Shisei Kōka, 賜姓降下) in 921; later, Imperial Princess in 930. married to Fujiwara no Morouji
Court Attendant (Koui): Fujiwara no Senshi (藤原鮮子; d.915), Iyonosuke (伊予介) Fujiwara no Tsuranaga's daughter
Third Daughter: Imperial Princess Takako/Kyōshi (恭子内親王, 902–915), 11th Saiin in Kamo Shrine 903–915
Third son: Imperial Prince Yoakira (代明親王; 904–937)
^Varley, p. 179; Brown, p. 264; prior to Emperor Jomei, the personal names of the emperors were very long and people did not generally use them; however, the number of characters in each name diminished after Jomei's reign.