Imperial Prince Kaneakira (兼明親王)

Imperial Prince Kaneakira (914 - 987) was a member of the Imperial Family during the Heian period.

He is the 16th prince of the Emperor Daigo, and his mother is FUJIWARA no Yoshihime, a daughter of FUJIWARA no Sugane. He is a half brother of the Emperor Suzaku, the Emperor Murakami and MINAMOTO no Takaakira. Once he departed from the Imperial Family and became an allegiant, named MINAMOTO no Kaneakira. He was a of person of varied attainments and called Saki no Chusho O (originally, the name as the head of a ministry) and was admired together with his nephew Nochi no Chusho O, Imperial Prince Tomohira. His rank was Ippon (First Order of an Imperial Prince) no Nakatsukasa-kyo (Minister of the Ministry of Central Affairs). He was also called Mikohidari no otodo (prince and the sadaijin (minister of the left)). He is sometimes counted as one of the three great calligraphers along with FUJIWARA no Sukemasa and FUJIWARA no Yukinari.

Personal Profile

He was given a surname Minamoto and departed from the Imperial Family and became an allegiant, and firstly appointed to jusiinojo (Junior Fourth Rank, Upper Grade) in 932. Later, he was designated as Harima no gonnokami (the Provisional Governor of Harima Province), ukone no chujo (Middle Captain of the Right Division of Inner Palace Guards), sakone no chujo (Middle Captain of the Left Division of Inner Palace Guards) and finally sangi (a state councillor) in 944. He successfully advanced his career to be posted as gon chunagon (Provisional Middle Counselor), Chunagon (vice-councilor of state), and Junii (Junior Second Rank) dainagon (Major Counselor). In 971, he was posted to the Sadaijin (Minister of the Left). In 977, he returned as an Imperial Prince with the Imperial edict after 57 years with Imperial Prince Akihira who referred to himself as MINAMOTO no Akihira. He was appointed to nihon nakatsukasakyo. In 986, he resigned nakatsukasakyo, and retired to Saga.

He left some poetry in "Godansho" (the Oe Conversations, with anecdotes and gossip) and "Honcho Monzui" (The Literary Essence of Our Country). A waka poem of his is included in the collection of poetries compilation by the Imperial command and was the only one in "Goshui Waka shu" (Later Collection of Gleanings). He is believed to have been a selector for "Kokin Waka Rokujo (six volumes of Japanese poetry written in the middle of the Heian period)".

It is recorded in "Honcho monzui" that in 986, Imperial Prince Kaneakira lamented because there was no seisen (pure spring) when he constructed a villa (Oguradono) at Kameyama in Saga-no and prayed to the God of Kameyama, then he could gain a spiritual spring. Later, the Retired Emperor Gosaga constructed a villa "Sento Kameyamadono" in Kameyama.

The Imperial Prince Kaneakira has other names; Mikohidari no otodo and Miko hidari, that mean the Imperial Prince of the Emperor Daigo and Sadaijin. In the later years, FUJIWARA no Nagaie resided in the residence of the Imperial Prince, the prince's other name became the house name of the family, "Mikohidari-ke" (Mikohidari family). Nagaie is called Mikohidari Dainagon (chief councilor of state).

The reason why Imperial Prince Kaneakira was forced to return to the Imperial Family was related to the conflicts between FUJIWARA no Kanemichi and FUJIWARA no Kaneie brothers. Kanemichi beard a bitter grudge against his younger brother Kaneie because he once was taken an upper order of precedence in the Court, and when he became a Kanpaku naidaijin (Chancellor Minister of the Center), he left Kaneie at a position of Dainagon as it was and trusted his cousin FUJIWARA no Yoritada as an advisor. And Kanemichi wanted to give Yoritada the post of Sadaijin, so the Imperial Prince Kaneakira who was holding the position was embroiled in promotion.

The waka poem of the Imperial Prince

The meaning of the waka poem: Although Japanese roses bloom seven and eightfold of flowers, they never bear even a single fruit, that is a funny thing to understand. (Goshui wakashu #1154)
It is also known as the episode of Dokan OTA and a girl. There is the title; Rakugo (a kind of classical Japanese story telling art), 'Dokan' which is derived from this waka poem.

[Original Japanese]