Fujiwara no Nobuko (藤原順子)

FUJIWARA no Nobuko (809 - November 11, 871) was a nyogo (imperial consort) of the 54th Emperor Ninmyo. She was an Empress Dowager. She was the oldest daughter of FUJIWARA no Fuyutsugu, and her mother was an official of Naishi no tsukasa (female palace attendants), FUJIWARA no Mitsuko. She was commonly called Gojo no Kisaki.

A legend
According to "Nihon Sandai Jitsuroku" (sixth of the six classical Japanese history texts), she was a beautiful and gentle lady. This is based upon an entry in Volume 20, Chapter 20 of Seiwa-ki (History of the Seiwa clan), and the record says 'she was beautiful and elegant, and her nature was of mild." The record says "She was beautiful and elegant, and her nature was of mild."

Nobuko being called 'Gojo no Kisaki' was derived from her residence in Togojoin (Gojo no miya.)

According to Act 5 of "Tales of Ise," the time when ARIWARA no Narihira and a niece of Nobuko, FUJIWARA no Takaiko fell in love in secrecy was when Takaiko lived in this residence and before she was sent to court to marry the emperor, so as Narihira could not enter the house from the main gate, it seems that he crept into the house from a the torn wall or a hole a kid kicked down and made (...as he could not enter the house from the gate, he sneaked in from part of a collapsed wall made by a child). If this story is true, it is very interesting as to who the child was who could make (or was permitted) such a thing in the residence of the Empress Dowager Nobuko.

It is said that she built Ansho-ji Temple in Uji District (Kyoto City) and she also made a kanjo (ceremonial transfer of a divided tutelary deity to a new location) at Oharano-jinja Shrine built by FUJIWARA no Otomuro.

Brief Personal History
Her father FUJIWARA no Fuyutsugu died in 826.

She gave birth to Imperial Prince Michiyasu (latter day Emperor Montoku) in 827. Emperor Ninmyo acceded the throne in 833. In November 833, she became a nyogo and was designated as Jushii (Junior Fourth Rank).

In 842, the Jowa Incident broke out.

Imperial Prince Tsunesada was uncrowned and Imperial Prince Michiyasu (latter day Emperor Montoku) had an investiture of the Crown Prince.

In 850, the Emperor Ninmyo died. Emperor Montoku succeeded the throne.
Nobuko became a Kotaifujin (title for previous retired emperors' wife.)

In 854, she became empress dowager.

In 858, Emperor Montoku died. Emperor Seiwa succeeded the throne.

In February 861, she made rakushoku (to take the tonsure and enter the priesthood.)
In June 861, she received religious precepts, Kaishi (the priest who imparts the Buddhist commandments) was the chief priest of the Tendai sect, Ennin.

In 864, she became Grand Empress Dowager.

She died on November 11, 871.

Her grave is at Gosankairyo.

[Original Japanese]