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.
The succession of power in the Insei system was complex.
|Insei System of Imperial Rule|
|Reign dates||Emperor of Japan|| Senior
|80||1168—1180||Emperor Takakura||Go-Shirakawa||Rokujō (until 1176)|
|81||1180—1185||Emperor Antoku||Go-Shirakawa||Takakura (until 1181)|
- Former emperors are called Daijō Tennō or Jōkō. Those former emperors who lived in a Buddhist temple or monastery were called Daijō Hōō (太上法皇).
- Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Insei" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 391.
- Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan, pp. 257-258.
- Sansom, George Bailey. (1958). History of Japan to 1334, p. 200.
- Nussbaum, "Hō-ō" at p. 351.