Fujiwara no Masaruko (藤原多子)

FUJIWARA no Masaruko (1140 - January 19, 1202) was the Empress at the end of the Heian period. She was called the `Empress of two generations'; she first became the empress of Emperor Konoe, and then became the empress of Emperor Nijo. Her father was Kinyoshi TOKUDAIJI, and her mother was FUJIWARA no Goshi. Her adopted father was FUJIWARA no Yorinaga.

Yorinaga married the eldest daughter of Saneyoshi TOKUDAIJI, Koshi (the aunt of Masaruko), and lived in Oimikado Takakura tei with Tokudaiji family members; he adopted the daughter of his brother in law, Kinyoshi when the daughter was young. In 1142, the adopted daughter turned three years old, performed the ceremony of Manahajime (ceremony of giving fish meat to the child for the first time) in March, and the ceremony of Hakama-gi (first clothing) in August. In June 1148, Yorinaga asked Emperor Toba for the entry of his adopted daughter into the palace of Emperor Konoe, obtaining approval. In August, Yorinaga had his aides; Confucian scholars, suggest the first name of his adopted daughter; the name containing kanji character `多' was agreed to by many aides ("Taiki Bekki"). By the reason`夫婦の儀,愛を以って先と為す.文は既に夕を重ね,情は同じく夜に専らとす.文は既に夕を重ね,情は同じく夜に専らとす.しかのみならず子孫衆多,后妃の至徳なり,' the adopted daughter was named as Masaruko and awarded as jusanmi (Junior Third Rank). Yorinaga proceeded with the preparation for her entry into the palace, however, the Genpuku ceremony (Coming-of-age ceremony) for Emperor Konoe which had been scheduled in the following new year was called off, and her entry was also postponed since the official empress; MINAMOTO no Shishi (Moroko) of FUJIWARA no Tadazane died in December.

Entry into the Palace
On January 4, 1150, Emperor Konoe performed the Genpuku Ceremony (Coming-of-age ceremony) at Higashi Sanjo dono (palace), the main palace of the clan (family) eligible for regents; FUJIWARA no Tadamichi played the role of crowning, while Yorinaga played the role of hair cutting. On January 10, Masaruko entered into the palace, and became nyogo (a high-ranking lady in the court; a consort of the emperor) on January 19. Emperor Konoe was twelve years old, and Masaruko was eleven years old then. In February, there was a rumor that the daughter of FUJIWARA no Koremichi, FUJIWARA no Teishi (twenty years old) would enter into the palace. Yorinaga was surprised to hear that, and immediately asked the Cloistered Emperor for Masaruko to be enthroned as an empress; a clear answer was not obtained.
Tadamichi adopted Teishi, and advised the Cloistered Emperor saying `a daughter of someone who is other than the clan is not able to be enthroned.'
Although Tadamichi had adopted Yorinaga, he intended to have his son, Motozane KONOE, succeed his position in the clan after his son was born. Yorinaga sought Tadazane who was in Uji for help; Tadazane came out of Uji, ordered Yorinaga to send the document to Bifukumonin, the mother of Emperor Konoe, to ask for Masaruko to be enthroned, presenting the case examples to the Cloistered Emperor that the daughter of Michinaga FUJIWARA, FUJIWARA no Shoshi, and daughters either of which was not the daughter of a governor; FUJIWARA no Anshi; the daughter of FUJIWARA no Morosuke; FUJIWARA no Kenshi, the adopted daughter of FUJIWARA no Morozane were enthroned. Yorinaga who looked down on Bifukumonin who was Shodaibu (generic term for the fourth or fifth rank) hesitated to do so, but, Tadazane persuaded him saying `已に国母たり' ("Taiki" (diary of FUJIWARA no Yorinaga)).

Teishi had been awarded Jusanmi, and her entry into the palace was forthcoming, Yorinaga started to say `If Teishi is enthroned before Masaruko, I will retire,' and Tadazane also persistently asked the Cloistered Emperor for Masaruko to be enthroned; Masaruko became empress on March 14. Masaruko's birth father, Kinyoshi, assumed the post of kogogu-daibu (Master of the Empress's Household); FUJIWARA no Kanenaga, the son of Yorinaga assumed the post of Gon no daibu (provisional master). On April 21, as if Teishi followed Masaruko, she entered into the palace, and was enthrone; she became the second consort of an emperor on June 22. Through this incident the relationship between Tadamichi and Yorinaga became unrecoverable. Bifukumonin expected that Teishi would have a child soon. In 1152, Teishi showed signs of pregnancy, but it was just her imagination due to the pressure around her.

Emperor Konoe passed away
Emperor Konoe who was not in good health passed away in July 1155. Masaruko moved to Konoe Kawara to live quietly. At the time of the Hogen War in 1156, her adopted father, Yorinaga was killed, but it didn't affect her; the Tokudaiji family had already disaffiliated itself from the Yorinaga forces; her grandfather, Saneyoshi had become togu-no-fu (an official in charge of education of the Crown Prince) of Prince/Imperial Prince Morihito (future Emperor Nijo); FUJIWARA no Yoshiko, Masaruko's elder sister entered into the inner palace of the Emperor Goshirakawa. In October 1156, Yoshiko became the second consort of the Emperor Goshirakawa, and Teishi became an empress; Masaruko was assigned as the empress dowager, and then became a grand empress dowager, after Teishi was assigned to the empress dowager when Imperial Princess Toshi became an empress in February 1158. In fact, she was not the grandmother of the emperor, her position was in name only. After the death of Masaruko, the position of Grand Empress Dowager disappeared as the female cloistered system flourished.

Reentry into the Palace
On New Years day in 1160, Masaruko reentered the inner palace of Emperor Nijo as the emperor strongly requested (according to "Teio Hennen ki"(the Chronicle of emperors), it was January 26). She was twenty one years old then. Masaruko was in Emperor Nijo's favor, but she sorrowed that she didn't become a priest when Emperor Konoe died, and the reentry into the inner palace was not according to her will; she wrote a poem `I have had so many difficulties, yet came back to the palace and view the moon that used to be the moon I once viewed' ("Heike Monogatari" (The Tale of the Heike)). However, Masaruko reentered into the inner palace just after the Heiji War was over, under abnormal situation; there is a view that it was the political marriage in order to control her father and Goshirakawa (he was the successor of Emperor Toba and Emperor Konoe) in that it is unlikely that Bifukumonin who was the guardian of Emperor Nijo and the aides of Emperor Nijo; FUJIWARA no Tsunemune, FUJIWARA no Korekata didn't interfere in this.

Emperor Nijo passed away
In July 1165, Emperor Nijo passed away at the young age of twenty three years old. Masaruko became a priest in December 1165. The second prince of Goshirakawa, Prince Mochihito performed Genpuku ceremony (Coming-of-age Ceremony) at Masaruko's palace at Konoe Kawara in the same month ("Heike Monogatari" (The Tale of the Heike). Prince Mochihito might have been supported by the old force close to the Nijo that was against Goshirakawa and the Taira clan performing a Genpuku Ceremony since he was adopted by Hachijo-in, junbo (a woman of comparable standing to the birth mother of an emperor) of Emperor Nijo.

The Tokudaiji family was the key player of poetry circles as Saigyo had served before he became a priest. Masaruko's mother, Goshi was also from the Mikohidari family from which FUJIWARA no Toshinari and FUJIWARA no Sadaie were originated; Masaruko was known for being an expert in calligraphy, painting, Japanese harp, Japanese lute, taking over the cultural talent of her parents. The people including FUJIWARA no Kiyosuke, daishin (high-ranking official who serve the Grand Empress Dowager), TAIRA no Tsunemori, ryo (high-ranking official who serves the Grand Empress Dowager) who served Masaruko also had good reputation as a poet. Thereafter, she lived mourning for two emperors who died, and she passed away at the age of 62 in 1201.

[Original Japanese]