Fujiwara no Michinaga

Fujiwara no Michinaga

Fujiwara no Michinaga

Fujiwara no Michinaga (藤原 道長) was a member of the Fujiwara Clan, more specifically the Hokke Branch of this clan. He lived from 966-1028.12

Family

Michinaga was the son of Fujiwara no Kaneie1 and had many children, these being Fujiwara no Shōshi, Fujiwara no Kenshi, Fujiwara no Ishi, Fujiwara no Yorimichi, Fujiwara no Norimichi and Fujiwara no Takaie.1

His three daughters went on to marry Emperors Ichijō, Sanjō, and Go-Ichijō.1

Career

Michinaga ruled for thirty years and it was during his lifetime that the Fujiwara Clan reached its height of power. In 995 he became head of the clan and was appointed udajin and nairan. He banished his nephew Fujiwara no Korechika in 996, who was his rival, and so ruled uncontested.2

He was given the title of sesshō in 1016, and was made dajō daijin in 1018.1

Though he was never granted the title of kampaku he essentially had all the power over the position. To further reinforce his power he allied with the Seiwa Genji.12 He also saw to it that his son Yorimichi was given the title of kampaku and saw his other sons placed into minserial roles.1

Retirement

Due to fading health in 1019 he retired to be a monk and built Hōjō-ji, however he did continue to direct policies to his son Yorimichi.12 His posthumous name was Hōjō no Kampaku.1

Literature

Michinaga is known to have had a diary called the Midō kampaku ki12 and is stated to have a model for the Tale of Genji.1

Footnotes

1. Louis Frederic, translated by Kathe Roth (2002) “Japan Encyclopedia”. London: Harvard University Press.
2. Kodansha. (1993) ”Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia”. Tokyo: Kodansha Ltd.

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