Sesshō and Kampaku

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Not to be confused with a 'Regent of a Shogun' known as Shikken

Imperial Standard of the Regent

In Japan, Sesshō (摂政?) was a title given to a regent who was named to assist either a child emperor before his coming of age, or an empress. The Kampaku (関白?) was theoretically a sort of chief advisor for the emperor, but was the title of both first secretary and regent who assists an adult emperor. During the Heian era, they were the effective rulers of Japan. There was little, if any, effective difference between the two titles, and several individuals merely changed titles as child emperors grew to adulthood, or adult emperors retired or died and were replaced by child emperors. The two titles were collectively known as Sekkan (摂関?), and the families that exclusively held the titles were called Sekkan-ke or Sekkan family. After the Heian era, shogunates took over the power.

A retired kampaku is called Taikō (太閤?), which came to commonly refer to Toyotomi Hideyoshi.


In earlier times, only members of the Imperial Family could be appointed sesshō. Kojiki reported that Emperor Ōjin was assisted by his mother, Empress Jingū, but it is doubtful if it is a historical fact. The first historical sesshō was Prince Shōtoku who assisted Empress Suiko.

The Fujiwara clan was the primary holders of the kampaku and sesshō titles. More precisely those titles were held by the Fujiwara Hokke (Fujiwara north family) and its descendants, to which Fujiwara no Yoshifusa belonged.

In 858 Fujiwara no Yoshifusa became sesshō. He was the first not to belong to the Imperial house. In 876 Fujiwara no Mototsune, the nephew and adopted son of Yoshifusa, was appointed to the newly created office of kampaku.

After Fujiwara no Michinaga and Fujiwara no Yorimichi, their descendants held those two office exclusively. In the 12th century, there were five families among the descendants of Yorimichi called Sekke: Konoe family, Kujō family, Ichijō family, Takatsukasa family and Nijō family. Both the Konoe and Kujō family were descendants of Yorimichi, through Fujiwara no Tadamichi. The other three families were derived from either the Konoe or Kujō families. Until the Meiji Restoration of 1868, those five families held those title exclusively with the two exceptions of Toyotomi Hideyoshi and his nephew Toyotomi Hidetsugu.

The office and title of kampaku fell out of use by convention with the appointment of the first Prime Minister of Japan during the Meiji Restoration. Emperor Meiji abolished the office in 1872. Today, under the Imperial Household Law, the office of sesshō is restricted to the Imperial Family. Crown Prince Hirohito, before becoming Emperor Shōwa, was sesshō from 1921 to 1926 for the mentally disabled Emperor Taishō. He was called sesshō-no-miya.


The following is a list of sessho and kampaku in the order of succession.[1][2] The list is not exhaustive.

Sesshō Kampaku Reign Monarch
Prince Shōtoku 593–622 Empress Suiko
Fujiwara no Yoshifusa[3] 858–72 Emperor Seiwa
Fujiwara no Mototsune 872–80 Emperor Seiwa, Emperor Yōzei
Fujiwara no Mototsune 880–90 Emperor Yōzei, Emperor Kōkō, Emperor Uda
Fujiwara no Tokihira 909[4] Emperor Daigo
Fujiwara no Tadahira 930–41 Emperor Suzaku
Fujiwara no Tadahira 941–49 Emperor Suzaku, Emperor Murakami
Fujiwara no Saneyori[5] 967–69 Emperor Reizei
Fujiwara no Saneyori 969–70 Emperor En'yū
Fujiwara no Koretada 970–72 Emperor En'yū
Fujiwara no Kanemichi[6] 972–77 Emperor En'yū
Fujiwara no Yoritada 977–86 Emperor En'yū, Emperor Kazan
Fujiwara no Kaneie 986–90 Emperor Ichijō
Fujiwara no Kaneie May 5 (lunar calendar), 990 – May 8, 990 Emperor Ichijō
Fujiwara no Michitaka May 8, 990 – May 26, 990 Emperor Ichijō
Fujiwara no Michitaka 990–993 Emperor Ichijō
Fujiwara no Michitaka 993–995 Emperor Ichijō
Fujiwara no Michikane April 28, 995 – May 8, 995 Emperor Ichijō
Fujiwara no Michinaga 1016–17 Emperor Go-Ichijō
Fujiwara no Yorimichi 1017–19 Emperor Go-Ichijō
Fujiwara no Yorimichi[7] Emperor Go-Ichijō, Emperor Go-Suzaku, Emperor Go-Reizei
Fujiwara no Norimichi 1068–75 Emperor Go-Sanjō, Emperor Shirakawa
Fujiwara no Morozane 1075–86 Emperor Shirakawa
Fujiwara no Morozane 1086–1090 Emperor Horikawa
Fujiwara no Morozane 1090–1094 Emperor Horikawa
Fujiwara no Moromichi 1094–1099 Emperor Horikawa
Fujiwara no Tadazane 1105–1107 Emperor Horikawa
Fujiwara no Tadazane 1107–1113 Emperor Toba
Fujiwara no Tadazane 1113–1121 Emperor Toba
Fujiwara no Tadamichi 1121–1123 Emperor Toba
Fujiwara no Tadamichi 1123–1129 Emperor Sutoku
Fujiwara no Tadamichi 1129–1141 Emperor Sutoku
Fujiwara no Tadamichi 1141–1150 Emperor Konoe
Fujiwara no Tadamichi 1150–1158 Emperor Konoe, Emperor Go-Shirakawa
Konoe Motozane 1158–1165 Emperor Nijō
Konoe Motozane 1165–1166 Emperor Rokujō
Fujiwara no Motofusa 1166–1172 Emperor Rokujō, Emperor Takakura
Fujiwara no Motofusa 1172–1179 Emperor Takakura
Konoe Motomichi 1179–1180 Emperor Takakura
Konoe Motomichi 1180–1183 Emperor Antoku
Matsudono Moroie 1183–1184 Emperor Antoku
Konoe Motomichi 1184–1186 Emperor Antoku, Emperor Go-Toba
Kujō Kanezane 1186–1191 Emperor Go-Toba
Kujō Kanezane 1191–1196 Emperor Go-Toba
Konoe Motomichi 1196–1198 Emperor Tsuchimikado
Konoe Motomichi 1198–1202 Emperor Tsuchimikado
Kujō Yoshitsune 1202–06 Emperor Tsuchimikado
Konoe Iezane[8] 1206 Emperor Tsuchimikado
Konoe Iezane[9] 1206–21 Emperor Tsuchimikado, Emperor Juntoku
Kujō Michiie[10] 1221 Emperor Chūkyō
Konoe Iezane.[11] 1221–23 Emperor Go-Horikawa
Konoe Iezane[12] 1223–1228 Emperor Go-Horikawa
Kujō Michiie 1228–1231 Emperor Go-Horikawa
Kujō Norizane 1231–1232 Emperor Go-Horikawa
Kujō Norizane 1232–1235 Emperor Shijō
Kujō Michiie 1235–1237 Emperor Shijō
Konoe Kanetsune 1237–1242 Emperor Shijō
Konoe Kanetsune 1242 Emperor Go-Saga
Nijō Yoshizane 1242–1246 Emperor Go-Saga
Ichijō Sanetsune 1246 Emperor Go-Saga
Ichijō Sanetsune 1246–1247 Emperor Go-Fukakusa
Konoe Kanetsune 1247–1252 Emperor Go-Fukakusa
Takatsukasa Kanehira 1252–1254 Emperor Go-Fukakusa
Takatsukasa Kanehira 1254–1261 Emperor Go-Fukakusa, Emperor Kameyama
Nijō Yoshizane 1261–1265 Emperor Kameyama
Ichijō Sanetsune 1265–1267 Emperor Kameyama
Konoe Motohira 1267–1268 Emperor Kameyama
Takatsukasa Mototada 1268–1273 Emperor Kameyama
Kujō Tadaie 1273–1274 Emperor Kameyama
Kujō Tadaie 1274 Emperor Go-Uda
Ichijō Ietsune 1274–1275 Emperor Go-Uda
Takatsukasa Kanehira 1275–1278 Emperor Go-Uda
Takatsukasa Kanehira 1278–1287 Emperor Go-Uda
Nijō Morotada 1287–1289 Emperor Go-Uda, Emperor Fushimi
Konoe Iemoto 1289–1291 Emperor Fushimi
Kujō Tadanori 1291–1293 Emperor Fushimi
Konoe Iemoto 1293–1296 Emperor Fushimi
Takatsukasa Kanetada 1296–1298 Emperor Fushimi
Takatsukasa Kanetada 1298 Emperor Go-Fushimi
Nijō Kanemoto 1298–1300 Emperor Go-Fushimi
Nijō Kanemoto 1300–1305 Emperor Go-Fushimi, Emperor Go-Nijō
Kujō Moronori 1305–1308 Emperor Go-Nijō
Kujō Moronori 1308 Emperor Hanazono
Takatsukasa Fuyuhira 1308–1311 Emperor Hanazono
Takatsukasa Fuyuhira 1311–1313 Emperor Hanazono
Konoe Iehira 1313–1315 Emperor Hanazono
Takatsukasa Fuyuhira 1315–1316 Emperor Hanazono
Nijō Michihira 1316–1318 Emperor Hanazono, Emperor Go-Daigo
Ichijō Uchitsune 1318–1323 Emperor Go-Daigo
Kujō Fusazane 1323–1324 Emperor Go-Daigo
Takatsukasa Fuyuhira 1324–1327 Emperor Go-Daigo
Nijō Michihira 1327–1330 Emperor Go-Daigo
Konoe Tsunetada 1330 Emperor Go-Daigo
Takatsukasa Fuyunori 1330–1333 Emperor Go-Daigo, Emperor Kōgon
Konoe Tsunetada 1336–1337 Emperor Kōmyō
Konoe Mototsugu 1337–1338 Emperor Kōmyō
Ichijō Tsunemichi 1338–1342 Emperor Kōmyō
Kujō Michinori 1342 Emperor Kōmyō
Takatsukasa Morohira[13] 1342–46 Emperor Kōmyō
Nijō Yoshimoto 1346–58 Emperor Kōmyō, Emperor Sukō, Emperor Go-Kōgon
Kujō Tsunenori 1358–61 Emperor Go-Kōgon
Konoe Michitsugu 1361–63 Emperor Go-Kōgon
Nijō Yoshimoto 1363–1367 Emperor Go-Kōgon
Takatsukasa Fuyumichi 1367–1369 Emperor Go-Kōgon
Nijō Moroyoshi 1369–1375 Emperor Go-Kōgon, Emperor Go-En'yū
Kujō Tadamoto 1375–1379 Emperor Go-En'yū
Nijō Morotsugu 1379–1382 Emperor Go-En'yū
Nijō Yoshimoto 1382–1388 Emperor Go-Komatsu
Konoe Kanetsugu 1388 Emperor Go-Komatsu
Nijō Yoshimoto 1388 Emperor Go-Komatsu
Nijō Yoshimoto 1388 Emperor Go-Komatsu
Nijō Morotsugu 1388–1394 Emperor Go-Komatsu
Ichijō Tsunetsugu 1394–1398 Emperor Go-Komatsu
Nijō Morotsugu 1398–1399 Emperor Go-Komatsu
Ichijō Tsunetsugu 1399–1408 Emperor Go-Komatsu
Konoe Tadatsugu 1408–1409 Emperor Go-Komatsu
Nijō Mitsumoto 1409–1410 Emperor Go-Komatsu
Ichijō Tsunetsugu 1410–1418 Emperor Go-Komatsu, Emperor Shōkō
Kujō Mitsuie 1418–1424 Emperor Shōkō
Nijō Mochimoto 1424–1428 Emperor Shōkō
Nijō Mochimoto 1428–1432 Emperor Go-Hanazono
Nijō Kaneyoshi 1432 Emperor Go-Hanazono
Nijō Mochimoto 1432–1433 Emperor Go-Hanazono
Nijō Mochimoto 1433–1445 Emperor Go-Hanazono
Konoe Fusatsugu 1445–1447 Emperor Go-Hanazono
Ichijō Kaneyoshi 1447–1453 Emperor Go-Hanazono
Takatsukasa Fusahira 1454–1455 Emperor Go-Hanazono
Nijō Mochimichi 1455–1458 Emperor Go-Hanazono
Ichijō Norifusa 1458–1463 Emperor Go-Hanazono
Nijō Mochimichi 1463–1467 Emperor Go-Hanazono, Emperor Go-Tsuchimikado
Ichijō Kaneyoshi 1467–1470 Emperor Go-Tsuchimikado
Nijō Masatsugu 1470–1476 Emperor Go-Tsuchimikado
Kujō Masamoto 1476–1479 Emperor Go-Tsuchimikado
Konoe Masaie 1479–1483 Emperor Go-Tsuchimikado
Takatsukasa Masahira 1483–1487 Emperor Go-Tsuchimikado
Kujō Masatada 1487–1488 Emperor Go-Tsuchimikado
Ichijō Fuyuyoshi 1488–1493 Emperor Go-Tsuchimikado
Konoe Hisamichi 1493–1497 Emperor Go-Tsuchimikado
Nijō Hisamoto 1497 Emperor Go-Tsuchimikado
Ichijō Fuyuyoshi 1497–1501 Emperor Go-Tsuchimikado, Emperor Go-Kashiwabara
Kujō Hisatsune 1501–1513 Emperor Go-Kashiwabara
Konoe Hisamichi 1513–1514 Emperor Go-Kashiwabara
Takatsukasa Kanesuke 1514–1518 Emperor Go-Kashiwabara
Nijō Korefusa 1518–1525 Emperor Go-Kashiwabara
Konoe Taneie 1525–1533 Emperor Go-Kashiwabara, Emperor Go-Nara
Kujō Tanemichi 1533–1534 Emperor Go-Nara
Nijō Korefusa 1534–1536 Emperor Go-Nara
Konoe Taneie 1536–1542 Emperor Go-Nara
Takatsukasa Tadafuyu 1542–1545 Emperor Go-Nara
Ichijō Fusamichi 1545–1548 Emperor Go-Nara
Nijō Haruyoshi 1548–1553 Emperor Go-Nara
Ichijō Kanefuyu 1553–1554 Emperor Go-Nara
Konoe Sakihisa 1554–1568 Emperor Go-Nara, Emperor Ōgimachi
Nijō Haruyoshi 1568–1578 Emperor Ōgimachi
Kujō Kanetaka 1578–1581 Emperor Ōgimachi
Ichijō Uchimoto 1581–1585 Emperor Ōgimachi
Nijō Akizane 1585 Emperor Ōgimachi
Toyotomi Hideyoshi 1585–1591 Emperor Ōgimachi, Emperor Go-Yōzei
Toyotomi Hidetsugu 1591–1595 Emperor Go-Yōzei
Kujō Kanetaka 1600–1604 Emperor Go-Yōzei
Konoe Nobutada 1605–1606 Emperor Go-Yōzei
Takatsukasa Nobufusa 1606–1608 Emperor Go-Yōzei
Kujō Yukiie 1608–1612 Emperor Go-Yōzei, Emperor Go-Mizunoo
Takatsukasa Nobuhisa 1612–1615 Emperor Go-Mizunoo
Nijō Akizane 1615–1619 Emperor Go-Mizunoo
Kujō Yukiie 1619–1623 Emperor Go-Mizunoo
Konoe Nobuhiro 1623–1629 Emperor Go-Mizunoo
Ichijō Akiyoshi 1629 Emperor Go-Mizunoo
Ichijō Akiyoshi 1629–1635 Empress Meishō
Nijō Yasumichi 1635–1647 Empress Meishō, Emperor Go-Kōmyō
Kujō Michifusa 1647 Emperor Go-Kōmyō
Ichijō Akiyoshi 1647 Emperor Go-Kōmyō
Ichijō Akiyoshi 1647–1651 Emperor Go-Kōmyō
Konoe Hisatsugu 1651–1653 Emperor Go-Kōmyō
Nijō Mitsuhira 1653–1663 Emperor Go-Kōmyō, Emperor Go-Sai
Nijō Mitsuhira 1663–1664 Emperor Reigen
Takatsukasa Fusasuke 1664–1668 Emperor Reigen
Takatsukasa Fusasuke 1668–1682 Emperor Reigen
Ichijō Kaneteru 1682–1687 Emperor Reigen
Ichijō Kaneteru 1687–1689 Emperor Higashiyama
Ichijō Kaneteru 1689–1690 Emperor Higashiyama
Konoe Motohiro 1690–1703 Emperor Higashiyama
Takatsukasa Kanehiro 1703–1707 Emperor Higashiyama
Konoe Iehiro 1707–1709 Emperor Higashiyama
Konoe Iehiro 1709–1712 Emperor Nakamikado
Kujō Sukezane 1712–1716 Emperor Nakamikado
Kujō Sukezane 1716–1722 Emperor Nakamikado
Nijō Tsunahira 1722–1726 Emperor Nakamikado
Konoe Iehisa 1726–1736 Emperor Nakamikado, Emperor Sakuramachi
Nijō Yoshitada 1736–1737 Emperor Sakuramachi
Ichijō Kaneka 1737–1746 Emperor Sakuramachi
Ichijō Michika 1746–1747 Emperor Sakuramachi
Ichijō Michika 1747–1755 Emperor Momozono
Ichijō Michika 1755–1757 Emperor Momozono
Konoe Uchisaki 1757–1762 Emperor Momozono
Konoe Uchisaki 1762–1772 Empress Go-Sakuramachi, Emperor Go-Momozono
Konoe Uchisaki 1772–1778 Emperor Go-Momozono
Kujō Naozane 1778–1779 Emperor Go-Momozono
Kujō Naozane 1779–1785 Emperor Kōkaku
Kujō Naozane 1785–1787 Emperor Kōkaku
Takatsukasa Sukehira 1787–1791 Emperor Kōkaku
Ichijō Teruyoshi 1791–1795 Emperor Kōkaku
Takatsukasa Masahiro 1795–1814 Emperor Kōkaku
Ichijō Tadayoshi 1814–1823 Emperor Kōkaku, Emperor Ninkō
Takatsukasa Masamichi 1823–1856 Emperor Ninkō, Emperor Kōmei
Kujō Hisatada 1856–1862 Emperor Kōmei
Konoe Tadahiro 1862–63 Emperor Kōmei
Takatsukasa Sukehiro 1863 Emperor Kōmei
Nijō Nariyuki 1863–66 Emperor Kōmei
Nijō Nariyuki 1867 Emperor Meiji
Crown Prince Hirohito 1921–26 Emperor Taishō

See also


  1. ネケト. 摂政・関白 (in Japanese). JP. Retrieved 2007-09-20.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> Authoritative.
  2. ja:摂政・関白の一覧, Retrieved 2007-09-20 Alternative source.[better source needed]
  3. Brown & Ishida 1979, p. 286.
  4. Titsingh 1834, p. 132.
  5. Titsingh 1834, p. 142.
  6. Titsingh 1384, p. 145.
  7. Titsingh 1834, p. 160.
  8. Titsingh 1834, p. 229.
  9. Titsingh 1834, pp. 229–36.
  10. Titsingh 1834, p. 236.
  11. Titsingh 1834, p. 238.
  12. Titsingh 1834, p. 239.
  13. Titsingh 1834, p. 297.