Insei facts for kids

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Insei (院政), also known as "cloistered rule," is an ancient Japanese term which means a special form of Imperial government.

In the Insei system, the monarch abdicated or retired and a new emperor was named; however, the old emperor held on to significant power and influence in the court and in the nation. The emperors who withdrew from public life did not give up any of their many powers. In practice, the retired emperor only gave up the time-consuming burden of his ceremonial roles and formal duties.

There were emperors who abdicated before and after the Heian period; however, the term Insei is most often used to mean the kind of Imperial system put in place by Emperor Shirakawa in 1086. This system was very important in the years before the rise of the Kamakura shogunate in 1192.

Heian period

The succession of power in the Insei system was complex.

Insei System of Imperial Rule
 Reign dates  Emperor of Japan   Senior
 Insei Emperor 
 Insei Emperors 
   71  1067—1072   Emperor Go-Sanjō
   72  1072—1073   Emperor Shirakawa  Go-Sanjō 
    1072—1073   Shirakawa
   73  1086—1107  Emperor Horikawa  Shirakawa
   74  1107—1123  Emperor Toba  Shirakawa
   75  1123—1129  Emperor Sutoku  Shirakawa  Toba
    1129—1141  Sutoku  Toba
   76  1141—1155  Emperor Konoe  Toba  Sutoku
   77  1155—1156  Emperor Go-Shirakawa   Toba  Sutoku
    1156—1158  Go-Shirakawa    Sutoku
   78  1158—1165  Emperor Nijō  Go-Shirakawa  
   79  1165—1168  Emperor Rokujō  Go-Shirakawa  
   80  1168—1180  Emperor Takakura  Go-Shirakawa  Rokujō (until 1176)
   81  1180—1185  Emperor Antoku  Go-Shirakawa  Takakura (until 1181) 
   82  1184—1192  Emperor Go-Toba  Go-Shirakawa  
    1192—1198  Go-Toba    

Edo period

The last retired emperor with an Insei title was Emperor Reigen in the Edo period.

Insei Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.