Imperial Princess Keishi (Kaoruko) (馨子内親王)

Imperial Princess Keishi (February 17, 1029 - September 26, 1093), who was also called Kaoruko, was the second imperial princess of the sixty-eighth emperor, Goichijo. Her mother was chugu (the second consort of an emperor), FUJIWARA no Ishi. She became the Sai-in (Imperial Princess appointed to serve the deities of the Kamo-jinja Shrines) and later, the chugu of Emperor Gosanjo. She was also called Empress Sai-in. Her elder sister (by the same mother) was Imperial Princess Shoshi (the chugu of Emperor Goreizei).

After the chakko (ceremony of first-time wearing of a hakama) in 1031, the nihon (the second-highest imperial rank) was conferred upon her. In the same year, she became the Sai-in of the Kamo-jinja Shrines by divination and the Jugo (honorary rank next to the three empresses: Great Empress Dowager, Empress Dowager and Empress). Upon the death of her father, Emperor Goichijo, in 1036, she retired from the Sai-in. Her mother, FUJIWARA no Ishi, also died less than six months later as if following him.

Subsequent to her parents' deaths, she was reared by FUJIWARA no Shoshi. She entered into the court in 1051 in order to be the consort of Crown Prince Takahito (later Emperor Gosanjo). With the enthronement of Emperor Gosanjo in 1068, she was appointed to the Chugu in 1069. She entered the priesthood along with the ill Emperor Gosanjo in 1073, who had abdicated the throne in 1072; however, he died shortly afterward. She became the Empress in 1074 and died in 1093 at age 65.

It is said that the birth of Imperial Princess Keishi received a frosty welcome by the members of the Imperial Court, who had eagerly expected the birth of a prince, because she was another princess following her elder sister, Princess Shoshi. Then appointed to the Sai-in, succeeding Daisaiin Princess Senshi at the age of only three, she left the Imperial Court. Her mother FUJIWARA no Ishi particularly loved her, and would visit her in the Sai-in occasionally.

After retiring the Sai-in following the deaths of her parents, she and her elder sister were placed in the custody and rearing of their grandmother, Jotomonin. She had entered the court in order to be the consort of Crown Prince Takahito (later Emperor Gosanjo) at the age of 23, although at the time she was slightly past the usual age. This was also the idea of Jotomonin, but Crown Prince Takahito and his birth mother, Imperial Princess Teishi were in conflict since the period of the former emperor, Gosuzaku, and even the entry of Imperial Princess Keishi into the court couldn't fill the gap between them. Crown Prince Takahito already had a prince consort, Miyasundokoro FUJIWARA no Moshi (an adopted daughter of FUJIWARA no Yoshinobu), who entered the court through Soibushi (the acquisition ceremony of a feminine bed partner) and had given birth to their first child shortly before the Imperial Princess Keishi's entry into the court, and in succeeding years, one male and four female children were born between Crown Prince Takahito and Moshi. After the death of FUJIWARA no Moshi, MINAMOTO no Kishi was in the crown prince's favor and bore two boys. Anxious about Emperor Goreizei, who did not have a prince, FUJIWARA no Yorimichi and Jotomonin tried to resolve the situation by having the Imperial Princess who had close ties with the Sekkan-ke (line of regents and advisers) enter the court and become the Crown Princess; however, Imperial Princess Keishi had only one male and one female children, both of whom had died young.
(However, in the "Eiga Monogatari" (the Tale of Glory), it is described that 'Imperial Princess Keishi was treated kindly as a noble.')

After the death of Emperor Goreizei, who had no heir, Imperial Princess Keishi was appointed to the Chugu with the enthronement of Emperor Gosanjo. Emperor Gosanjo was strongly protected and supported by his mother, Imperial Princess Teishi, who had become the Nyoin (a title for a close female relative of the Emperor) Yomeimonin. Furthermore, the emperor doted on the nyogo (a high-ranking lady in the court (a consort of the Emperor)) Kishi. On the other hand, even though Imperial Princess Keishi was the lawful wife of Emperor Gosanjo, she was an empress who did not even have a princess. Imperial Princess Keishi could no longer rely on the Sekkan-ke because they had already lost their influence. Following the death of Emperor Gosanjo, who had abdicated only five years after his enthronement, Imperial Princess Keishi spent her remaining years in the Sai-in as a priestess called "Empress Sai-in."

[Original Japanese]