Fujiwara no Miyako (藤原宮子)

FUJIWARA no Miyako (year of birth unknown - August 11, 754) was the first daughter of FUJIWARA no Fuhito. Her mother was Kamohime. She became a consort of the Emperor Monmu. The Empress Komyo, the empress of the Emperor Shomu was Miyako's younger paternal half-sister as well as daughter in law.

She married the Emperor Monmu in 697. In 701 Miyako gave birth to the Prince Obito (later the Emperor Shomu), but suffering from mental illness, she did not have a chance to see the prince for a long time. After the deaths of her husband, the Emperor Monmu and her father FUJIWARA no Fuhito, Miyako was conferred Junii (Junior Second Rank) in 723, and Shoichii (Senior First Rank) as well as Oomioya (meaning the mother of the emperor but the title in official documents was Kotaifujin [the wife of the previous retired emperor]) in 724, when the Prince Obito acceded to the throne, and yet it took a long time before her illness was cured. It was not until 737 that she recovered from her illness, and managed to see her son, the Emperor Shomu for the first time in 36 years. When her granddaughter the Imperial Princess Abe acceded to the throne and became the Empress Koken in 749, Miyako was conferred Grand Empress Dowager, and died in 754. It is presumed she was around 70 years old when she passed away.

While fighting against her illness for a long time, Miyako fulfilled her minimum duty as an empress of an emperor by giving birth to a prince heir. Her son, the Emperor Shomu, however, failed to produce single male heir after the Prince Asaka died, which, coupled with power struggle between the Fujiwara family and other noble families, practically led to the extinction of the lineage of the Emperor Tenmu, less than 20 years from the emperor's demise.

In addition, it was a Buddhist monk, Genbo who helped Miyako to recover from her illness, and it is believed that the reputation earned there paved a way for the bonze to have enormous power under the patronage of TACHIBANA no Moroe.

[Original Japanese]