Imperial Prince Shigeakira (重明親王)

Imperial Prince Shigeakira (906 - October 13, 954) was the forth prince of Emperor Daigo. His mother was koi (a lady in waiting in the court), MINAMOTO no Noboru. Another name was Ribu (Riho) O (Chinese name of Shikibu sho).

On May 7, 908, he received the title of Imperial Prince by the emperor. He was first called 将保親王, but renamed Shigeakira in 911. He had a coming-of-age ceremony at Seiryoden in 921. After that, he served as the governor of Kozuke Province in 928 and as danjoin (President of the Board of Censors) in 930, continued to serve as Nakatsukasa-kyo (Minister of the Ministry of Central Affairs) after resigning from danjoin in 937, given the title of sanbon (the third rank for an Imperial Princes) in 943, and afterwards became Shikibukyo (Minister of the Ministry of Ceremonial). Also, among his children, the eldest daughter, Princess Yoshiko (Kishi), and the second daughter, Princess Yoshiko (Esshi), were assigned as Saigu (unmarried princess who, in former times, was sent by the emperor to serve at Ise Shrine) by bokujo (bokutei - to decide by fortune telling).

He never had any disputes over the imperial throne, but he had made great attainments and had refined taste and excellent musical talent, so his father, Emperor Daigo, left him a will in the presence of both Imperial Prince Shigeakira and Imperial Prince Yoshiakira during the Emperor's last moment. Also, in the Imperial Palace of his half brother, Emperor Murakami, he was much appreciated and always played the thirteen-stringed koto and a flute at banquets. His relationship with the family, eligible to become regents, was good, so he first married a daughter, FUJIWARA no Kanshi (Hiroko), of the Grand Minister, FUJIWARA no Tadahira, and he later remarried to FUJIWARA no Toshi (Nariko), who was Kanshi (Hiroko)'s niece in 948 after Kanshi (Hiroko)'s death in 945. Also, Kanshi (Hiroko)'s eldest daughter, Princess Yoshiko (Kishi), made her bridal entry into the court to Emperor Murakami after resigning from Saigu.

Imperial Prince Shigeakira had a lot of unusual anecdotes, and there was a legend that he dreamed about a phoenix flying when the sun came into the house, so he expected it was the sign of becoming involved in the crown in the future. (The residence of the Imperial Prince was later the Higashi sanjo dono where FUJIWARA no Kaneie lived.) Also, according to "Goke shidai," when foreigners (envoys from Bokkai) broke into his residence, Imperial Prince wrapped an ox-drawn carriage made with duck's feathers with eight layers of badger's fur, so the envoys were very ashamed, and it revealed that he seemed to love elegance, but also had a strong and brave character. In addition, the story in "Konjaku monogatari" (Tales of Times Now Past) told that a suspicious fat night heron appeared every night in the garden of Higashi sanjo dono, so the Prince called a yin-yang diviner, and a copper hisage (a Japanese sake bottle) appeared from the corner of south-east, then the night heron never appeared again.

Also, although the original manuscript for Ribuoki (also pronounced Rihioki), the diary of Imperial Prince Shigeakira, has not survived and no copies are presently known to exist, extracts from it that appear in later diaries and documents suggest that it included detailed reports on conferences held at the Imperial Court, providing a valuable historical record of the ceremonies and rituals practiced at the Imperial Court at that time.

[Original Japanese]