Jugo is an aristocratic title equal to the following three titles: taikotaigo (Emperor's grandmother), kotaigo (Empress Dowager) and kogo (Empress Consort). Upon the emperor's order, those with the title of Jugo received equal treatment to the Imperial Family although they were vassals. Jugo is also called Jusango or Jusangu.
What is Jugo?
Jugo is a title with the meaning of being equal to sango (sangu), which includes the following three titles: taikotaigo (Emperor's grandmother), kotaigo (Empress Dowager) and kogo (Empress Consort). As a kanji character '后' (ko) is used for any of the above three titles in particular, many tend to regard it as a title for women, especially a lady of the Imperial Family. However, Jugo means being equal to 'ko' (empress or queen) and the title was given to the nobility regardless of sex. Jugo was given to the lady of Emperor, the Imperial Family, kugyo (aristocrats), the Shogun family and high priests for the purpose of receiving nenkan (a rank given to the emperor's wives), nenshaku (a right to be bestowed a rank) and fuko, all of which were equal to those of sango, in order to favor them economically. The position of Jugo was created in 871 when the sessho (regent) of that time, FUJIWARA no Yoshifusa (who was a maternal relative of Emperor Seiwa), was granted nenkan, nenshaku and fuko by the emperor; subsequently, Jugo became firmly established as an institution of the Imperial Court when, during his tenure as sessho, FUJIWARA no Mototsune was granted zuishin hyojo (armed government officials who accompanied aristocrats as a mark of their dignity and to provide them with protection), ninjin, nenkan, and nenshaku by the emperor in the same way as the Sango would be.
Since then, it became an established custom that the title of Jugo was given to the emperor's relatives such as to a lady who could not be ranked in the position of an empress because of her mean birth, even though she was the emperor's real mother, a maternal relative, the father of a nyogo (imperial consort), and so forth, with treatment equal to Jugo after being declared Jugo and Sangu by the emperor. Although the Sessho, FUJIWARA no Kaneie who was Emperor Ichijo's maternal relative was Udaijin (Minister of the Right) and ranked third among the dajokan (Imperial Council of state), and even though he resigned from the position of Udaijin, received treatment equal to Jugo and was sankan (leisure government posts), according to the order of the imperial court, he was treated equally to the upper ranks of the Sanko (State ministers) (August 25 of the second year of the Kanwa era (old calendar)).
The emperor's declaration of Jugo gradually came to be extended to the imperial princes and princesses within the third degree of the imperial kinship. Among the male imperial family, in 1011, Jugo was given to Imperial Prince Atsuyasu, and since then the Imperial Family members who had entered the priesthood such as Monk imperial princes received the title, while prince and princess who did not enter the priesthood did not.
With regard to the wives of nobility and samurai warriors, Jugo was first given to MINAMOTO no Rinshi who was a legal wife of FUJIWARA no Michinaga, and TAIRA no Tokiko, who was a legal wife of Chancellor of the State, TAIRA no Kiyomori, while with regard to monks, it was the first example when Jugo was given to the Ninna-ji Hojo, who was a son of the kanpaku (advisor to the emperor) Michiie KUJO and was called Kaidenjugo in the Kamakura period. It is unknown as to what extent economically favorable treatment was of any substance, but since then and in more recent years its meaning gradually transformed from Jugo as an economically favorable treatment into a title intended for preferential treatment in status.
When the period of Northern and Southern Courts began, with Chikafusa KITABATAKE being given the title of Jugo, even the vassals who were not the emperor's maternal relatives started to be given the title of Jugo. When the third Seii taishogun Yoshimitsu ASHIKAGA of the Muromachi bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) tried to do trade with the Ming Dynasty, he was rejected because he was the emperor's vassal; therefore, he was given the title of Jusangu and with the diplomatic title of Japan Jugo, he sent a Japanese envoy to China during the Ming Dynasty; thus, Jugo were politicized for the purpose trading, by receiving the title of Japanese king and approval for tribute trade. As this became a custom, from Yoshimitsu ASHIKAGA to the 15th Shogun Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA, Jugo was given to the Ashikaga Shogun family. Mansai of the Sanbo-in and Godai-ji Temple, who was also called the "Chancellor in black" and served as a political advisor under the regime of Yoshimochi ASHIKAGA, also became a Jugo.