四条

Shijō (1231-1242) was the 87th emperor of Japan, at least according to the official chronology. The eldest son of Emperor Go-Horikawa, Shijō ascended to the throne at the age of one year old when his father abdicated in 1231 (himself a tender 21 years old).

This was just the way the ruling Hojo shogunate wanted it, as they had no intention of allowing adult emperors, who might cause trouble the way Shijō's grand uncle Go-Toba had done in fomenting the Jokyu War against the shogunate.

Shijō was said to be a very mischievous child who was always pulling pranks causing trouble for his handlers. In one of these pranks he ordered the halls of the palace to be highly polished so that he could delight in watching the ladies of waiting slip and fall as they scurried about. Unfortunately, Shijo became a victim of his own practical joke, taking a nasty tumble himself one day while running about, and sustaining fatal injuries.

Shijō's sudden and untimely death set off a succession dispute between the candidate favored by the court and the candidate favored by the shogunate, although eventually the shogunate won out and Shijō's cousin Go-Saga ascended to the throne.

Upon his death Shijō was interred behind Sennyuji temple in eastern Kyoto, inaugurating a tradition whereby numerous future emperors would be interred there as well.


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