Gonijo became emperor in 1352 DR when his father Gokammu retired. His life was completely directed by counselors of the Takenaka clan and the Hojo clan. He only needed to sign the edicts made by the counselors and perform the traditional rituals to ensure the welfare of the state.
Gonijo cared nothing for the state's affairs. He would gladly resign and enter a monastery but he did not yet have an heir, so this was an impossible dream for the time being.