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Tennō Toba Edit Profile


statesman , Emperor

Tennō Toba was an Emperor of the late Heian period. He served as the 74th ruler of the country.


Tennō Toba was born on 24 February 1103. He was a son of Emperor Horikawa.


He ascended the throne on his father’s death in 1107 to become the seventy-fourth ruler of Japan.

Earlier, in 1086, Emperor Shirakawa had turned over the throne to his son, Emperor Horikawa, so that, as a retired sovereign and father of the ruler, he might exercise power more freely, and this system of government, known as insei or government by an ex-sovereign, continued to be practiced by Emperor Shirakawa’s successors.

Ten days after Toba's death in the seventh month of 1156, a struggle broke out between his son, Retired Emperor Sutoku, and Emperor Goshirakawa. Known as the Hogen uprising, it split not only the imperial family but many of the great aristocrat families such as the Fujiwara as well, some members of a single family supporting one side, some the other; it ended in victory for the supporters of Emperor Goshirakawa. Active in the strife were military leaders such as Taira no Kiyomori and Minamoto no Yoshitomo. As a result, these men of the warrior class were able to acquire power within the court, and in the end, one of them, Taira no Kiyomori, succeeded in establishing control over the court and setting himself up as a virtual dictator.


Emperor Toba was a devouted follower of Buddhist teachings, building temples and leaving instructions for his burial at the Anrakuju-in, a temple that he himself had founded.


Emperor Toba in 1123 turned over the throne to his son, Emperor Sutoku, and with the death of his father in 1129, became the actual wielder of power through the insei system.

Emperor Horikawa - Japan

Tenno Sutoku - Japan