Emperor Takakura (1161–1181), whose reign name literally means "Emperor Tall Storehouse," was the 80th emperor of Japan according to the traditional chronology, reigning from 1168 to 1180.
Born Prince Norihito, Takakura was the fourth son of Emperor Go-Shirakawa, and thus the uncle of his immediate predecessor, Emperor Rokujō. His mother was Taira Shigeko, the younger sister of Taira no Tokiko, the wife of the powerful warlord Taira Kiyomori. His empress consort was Taira Tokuko, Kiyomori's daughter and thus his first cousin (as his mother and Tokuko's mothers were sisters).
Takakura ascended to the throne at the tender age of seven when his 3-year-old nephew Rokujō abdicated. This was all at the behest of Kiyomori, who was locked in a struggle for power with the retired emperor Go-Shirakawa, who held the real reins of power during the reigns of these child emperors. Kiyomori hoped to weaken the power of the insei system of rule by retired emperors by using his dominance over the court to appoint emperors who would strengthen his own position at the expense of Go-Shirakawa's. In this case, Kiyomori preferred Takakura over Rokujô because Takakura was his own nephew, and thus more thoroughly under his sway. Kiyomori's ultimate ambition was to have one of his relatives become the ruling retired emperor, thus unifying all political power within his own hands.
In any case, things went largely according to plan for Kiyomori. Once Takakura was on the throne, Go-Shirakawa's power over the Imperial Court was curtailed, and Kiyomori ruled as de facto regent and could do pretty much whatever he wanted.
In 1178, Takakura's empress consort Tokuko gave birth to a son, and all of Kiyomori's years of scheming had at last come to fruition. The infant was immediately declared the crown prince, and two years later, Kiyomori pressured Takakura into abdicating and had his grandson installed as Emperor Antoku at the age of 2. Kiyomori was now the uncle of the retired emperor and the grandfather of the sitting emperor, with both firmly under his sway, and his power seemed absolute. Takakura died a year later, at the age of just 21.
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