Emperor Toba

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  • Death: 1156
  • Reign: 1107-1123
  • Japanese: 鳥羽天皇 (Toba tennou)

Emperor Toba was an emperor of the late Heian period.

A grandson of Emperor Shirakawa and Fujiwara no Sanesue and son of Emperor Horikawa, he took the throne in 1107 upon his father's death. Fujiwara no Tadazane served as sesshô and then kanpaku (regent) for nearly the entirety of Toba's reign, until 1121.

Toba married Fujiwara no Nariko, who came to be known as Empress Bifukumon-in (1117-1160). Among their children was the future Emperor Konoe.

He retired in 1123 in favor of his son by a different consort, Taikenmon-in, who then took the throne as Emperor Sutoku. In accordance with the Insei system established by his grandfather Shirakawa, however, Toba retained considerable political influence in his retirement.

Toba took up residence in the Sanjô Palace along with Taikenmon'in following the death of his grandfather Retired Emperor Shirakawa in 1129, remaining there until its loss in a fire in 1132/7.

He died in 1156.

Preceded by
Emperor Horikawa
Emperor of Japan
Succeeded by
Emperor Sutoku


  • Evelyn Rawski, Early Modern China and Northeast Asia: Cross-Border Perspectives, Cambridge University Press (2015), 156.
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