Imperial Princess Ryoshi (亮子内親王)

Imperial Princess Ryoshi (Nagako), January 25, 1030 - September 21, 1077, was the first daughter of Emperor Gosuzaku, the sixty-seventh Emperor of Japan. Her mother was Empress Teishi (Yoshiko/Sadako) who was an Imperial Princess. Imperial Princess Ryoshi was granted Ippon Jugo (the highest rank of nobility after the Grand Empress Dowager, the Empress Dowager and the Empress) and was Saigu (Imperial Princess appointed to serve the deities of the Ise-jingu Shrine). Imperial Princess Keishi (Saiin or Imperial Princess appointed to serve the deities of the Kamo-jinja Shrines) was her uterine younger sister and Emperor Gosanjo, the sixty-ninth emperor, was her uterine younger brother.

Brief Personal History

On December 24, 1036 when her father, Emperor Gosuzaku acceded to the throne, Princess Ryoshi was selected as Saigu by divination at the age of eight. In December of the same year she was awarded by the Emperor the title of Imperial Princess with a rank of Nippon (the second highest rank of nobility). On April 27, 1037 she moved to Shosaiin (the Hall of Initial Abstinence) in Daizenshiki (the Office of the Imperial Kitchen). On November 3 of the same year she moved to Nonomiya (the Field Palace). On October 17, 1038 she went down to Ise (escorted by the Councillor, FUJIWARA no Sukehira). In June 1042 she underwent the Mogi ceremony (a ritual celebrating a child's passage into adulthood) and was awarded the rank of Ippon. In January 1045 she was given the title of Jusangu (the highest rank of nobility after the Grand Empress Dowager, the Empress Dowager and the Empress) and on February 11 of the same year she retired from her office at the age of seventeen, with Emperor Gosuzaku's abdication. She seems to have lived with her mother Imperial Princess Teishi and siblings after her return from Kyoto on May 23 of the same year. In 1077 she died of smallpox at the age of forty-nine.

FUJIWARA no Sukefusa (the son of FUJIWARA no Sukehira) who accompanied the Imperial Princess gave a detailed account of her procession to Ise (gunko) in his diary titled "Shunki." This has attracted attention as it is the only historical record of gunko at present. Details of the elegant ceremony of 'kaiawase-playing (a kind of concentration game using seashells instead of cards) held by the Saigu Ryoshi' on June 24, 1040 was recorded by the anonymous author in "Saigu Kaiawase Nikki" (the Diary of Kaiawase-playing Held by Saigu). This is also a valuable text, being the earliest record of kaiawase.