Imperial Prince Akihira (昭平親王)

Imperial Prince Akihira (954 - August 7, 1013) was an Imperial family member in the Heian period. He was the fifth Prince of Emperor Murakami, and his mother was Koi (secondary imperial consort) (court lady), FUJIWARA no Masahime (Sadaijin (Minister of the left), FUJIWARA no Arihira's daughter). His wife was Konoefu (Headquarters of the Inner Palace Guards), FUJIWARA no Takamitsu's (FUJIWARA no Morosuke's eighth son) daughter. His daughter married FUJIWARA no Kinto as an adopted daughter of FUJIWARA no Michikane. He was once demoted from nobility to subject for a certain period, and named MINAMOTO no Akihira. His other name was Iwakuranomiya.

On October 29, 960, he was demoted from nobility to subject and received the surname of the Minamoto clan Asomi. He had coming-of-age ceremony at his grandfather, FUJIWARA no Arihira's villa on September 25, 968, and he was appointed as Jushiijo (Junior Fourth Rank, Upper Grade), Hyoefu (Headquarters of the Middle Palace Guards) on December 24 in the same year. However there were no other Imperial Princes of Emperor Murakami's including his real brothers who were demoted from nobility to subject except for Akihira.

After that it was decided to take Akihira back into the Imperial family on May 7, 977, his position changed from Shoshiinoge (Senior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade) to Shihon (Fourth Order rank for Imperial Princes), Shinno-Ningoku (provinces whose gubernatorial posts were reserved as sinecures for imperial princes) of Hitachi Province. After Emperor Enyu, Akihira's half younger brother, who was in power at that time, considered Akihira's situation who was the only one among the brothers that had to be demoted from nobility to subject, he made Akihira come back to the Imperial family.

However it is said there was another reason (that Akihira had to be demoted from the nobility to subject) which was that Sadaijin (the Minister of the left), MINAMOTO no Kaneakira (Akihira's uncle and former Imperial Prince Kaneakira) returned to the Imperial family on the same day, and he received the position of Nakatsukasakyo (chief of the Ministry of Central Affairs). Since FUJIWARA no Kanemichi, who was Kanpaku Daijo Daijin (the Chief Adviser to the Emperor) at that time, had to oppose to his younger brother, Dainagon (chief councilor of state), FUJIWARA no Kaneie, Kanemichi needed to have Udaijin (Minister of the right), FUJIWARA no Yoritada (Kanemichi's male cousin) on his side, since he was in a strong position to be able to compete against both Kanemichi and Kaneie within the Fujiwara. In order for Kanemichi to accomplish the above, he needed to have MINAMOTO no Kaneakira return to the Imperial family, (at that time there was a custom that the Imperial family was not allowed to become Sadaijin) and promote Yoritada as his successor.
However it did not look good from the outside to have only Kaneakira return to the Imperial family, since it seemed like the 'Fujiwara clan had pushed Kaneakira aside.'
It was considered to have been planned to make it look like there was not much political influence, by having Akihira return to the Imperial family at the same time, which Emperor Enyu had wished to do previously.

After that the Imperial Prince entered into priesthood to Onjo-ji Temple in 984 having Gon-no-Shojo Chiben as his mentor. He then moved to and lived in Daiun-ji Temple in Iwakura, Otagi District, Yamashiro Province (current Sakyo Ward, Kyoto City) and died there. He was known as noshoka (master of calligraphy).

[Original Japanese]