Minamoto no Tōru

Minamoto no Tōru from the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu.

Minamoto no Tōru

Minamoto no Tōru (源 融) was a member of the Imperial Family living from 822-895AD1. The son of Emperor Saga he was brother to the future Emperor Ninmyō as well as Minamoto no Makoto and Minamoto no Tokiwa.12

Tōru became Sadaijin in 8721 and was known as the Kawara Sadaijin after his residence in the capital which was east of Sixth Avenue near the river beach (kawara).2

His mansion would become a focal point in the 81st Chapter of the Tale of Ise.2

Minamoto no Tōru by Kikuchi Yōsai.

Tōru would build a mansion in Uji which would later become Byōdō-in.12

Additionally one of his major achievements was the creation of many beautiful mini gardens which were styled on his main garden he created.2

We see him as the protagonist in the noh play Tōru, written by Zeami. And he has 2 poems in the Kokinshū and Gosenshū.2

One of his poems (No.14) can also be found in the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu, and goes as follows:

Japanese text3
Romanized Japanese1
English translation1
Michinoku no
shinobu mojizuri
tare yue ni
ware naranakuni
My heart's as tangled
as the wild fern patterns
of Michinoku's Shinobu cloth.
Since it is not my fault
whom should I blame for this?


1. Louis Frederic, translated by Kathe Roth (2002) “Japan Encyclopedia”. London: Harvard University Press.
2. MacMillan, P. (2018) ”One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each: A Treasury of Classical Japanese Verse”. St. Ives: Penguin Classics.
3. Suzuki, H. et al. (1997) ”Genshoku: Ogura Hyakunin Isshu”. Tokyo: Bun’eidō.

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