The Kujo Family (九条家)

The Kujo Family is one of the Sekke and a court noble.


The progenitor of this family was Kanezane KUJO, the third son of FUJIWARA no Tadamichi, a direct descendant of the Fujiwara-hokke (the Northern House of the Fujiwara clan). The family name comes from the fact that the Kujo Family lived in Kujo-den, which was located in Kyoto Kujo and said to have been built by FUJIWARA no Mototsune. This individual was a duke after the Meiji Restoration. The crest is Kujo-Fuji Crest. A descendant of FUJIWARA no Kanefusa (grand minister of state), the younger brother-uterine of Kanezane, he is sometimes included in the Kujo family but Kanefusa's family line failed at an early stage.

The children of Michiie KUJO, a grandchild of Kanezane--Norizane KUJO, Yoshizane KUJO and Sanetsune KUJO--became regents to the emperor and started the Kujo Family, Nijo Family and Ichijo Family, respectively, thus constituting Gosekke.

Kanezane KUJO inherited the fief of the elder sister by a different mother, Kokamonin, which became the foundation of the Kujo Family fiefdom. Kanezane was critical of the Taira clan administration and Pope Goshirakawa; he became regent by recommendation of MINAMOTO no Yoritomo and then chief advisor to the Emperor, whereupon the Konoe and Kujo families took positions as regents to the emperor.

Kanezane's grandson, Michiie KUJO, gained power in the Imperial court since Michiie's son Yoritsune KUJO, and then Yoritsune's son Yoritsugu KUJO, became Sekke Shogun in the Kamakura Shogunate.

Kanezane's diary, "Gyokuyo (Kanezane KUJO's Diary)," is famous.

The Kujo family's fiefdom continued to expand during medieval times. They held the lordship of Karoku, an area of land that yielded 2,000 koku of rice in the Edo era and 3,000 koku later on, until the Meiji era.

Setsuko, the fourth daughter of the duke Michitaka KUJO, who was Hisatada KUJO's firstborn, became empress to the Emperor Taisho (Empress Teimei).

Conflict over legitimate blood between the Kujo and Ichijo families

Michiie KUJO lost the legitimate heir, Norizane KUJO, and the second son, Yoshizane KUJO, was practically repudiated. Michiie gave Tadaie KUJO, Norizane's son and Michiie's grandchild, to be the legitimate heir, a shobunjo (a kind of will) to give instructions that documents such as diaries (which were the most important heritage for a court noble at the time) should be inherited by the Ichijo Family, but that the head of a family who controls the family temples such as Tofuku-ji Temple should first be inherited by Sanetsune ICHIJO, the third son of Michiie, then by Tadaie KUJO, a child of the eldest son of Michiie, and later by either descendant of the Kujo Family or the Ichijo Family who took the highest-ranking official position (head of a clan). In accordance with Michiie's will, Sanetsune ICHIJO's descendant inherited the position as head of the family after Michiie died.

Thereafter, the predominance of the Ichijo Family was maintained for over 100 years, whereby the position of the Ichijo Family as legitimate blood of Kujo-ryu (Kujo family line) was well established. When Tsunemichi ICHIJO died in 1365 (the Hokucho period), during the Muromachi era, Tsunenori KUJO--who had gained the second position of power after the Ichijo Family--made an appeal to the Emperor Gokogon that Fusatsune ICHIJO, a son of Tsunemichi, had fraudulently identified himself as the head of family. At that time, primogeniture was becoming the common practice, and Tsunenori claimed that according to primogeniture the Kujo Family, the descendant of the eldest son of Michiie, should inherit the family estate. Fusatsune ICHIJO argued against Tsunenori, stating that just because an ancestor of the Kujo Family was the firstborn child it did not mean the Kujo Family was the legitimate blood of Kujo-ryu, and that because Michiie KUJO gave the family estate to Sanetsune ICHIJO, the Tokado-bunko (Gonnjo-moromichi-ki) (Gonijo-moromichi record), Gyokuyo (Kanezane KUJO's diary) and Gyokuzui (Michiie KUJO's diary)) and the document endorsing the political authority of Kujo-ryu Sekkan-ke, a regent family, were inherited by the ICHIJO Family; whereas Tsunenori KUJO asserted that measures to give inheritance to Sanetsune were taken just because Tadaie KUJO was in infancy, and that if Norizane KUJO had lived longer it would not have happened. Tunenori further asserted that Tadaie KUJO was named as the receiver of the shobunjo (executor of the will) and the land patent of the premise of Tofuku-ji Temple had been inherited by the Kujo Family because the Kujo was the legitimate blood. Considering the political position of the Kujo Family at that time, the emperor gave Rinji to the Kujo Family on November 29 (lunar calendar), in the same year giving the verdict that the will of Michiie was no more than the inheritance of the head of a family by the head of a clan and that the Kujo and Ichijo families, both having the qualification, were on equal footing as legitimate blood. The Ichijo Family was the legitimate blood of Kujo-ryu during the Kamakura era, but after the middle Muromachi period the position of the Kujo Family was elevated and the Ichijo and Kujo families were considered to be the legitimate blood of Kujo-ryu. The Kujo Family started inheriting the Matsudono Family's fiefdom after the Middle Edo period; thus the Kujo possessed the largest Kokudaka, lived in a huge house and claimed to be the legitimate blood of Kujo-ryu.

Major figures

Kanezane KUJO (1149-1207)
Yoshitsune KUJO (1169-1206)
Michiie KUJO (1193-1252)
Norizane KUJO (1210-1235)
Yoritsune KUJO (1218-1256)
Yoritsugu KUJO (1239-1256)
Hisatada KUJO (1798-1871)

Site of Kujo-tei

Old Kujo-tei was in the southwest area of the present-day Kyoto Gyoen.

Today only the garden remains, on the basis of maintenance. Itsukushima-jinja Shrine, which was then called Chinju-sha, still exists on the island of the garden pond (KUJO-ike), and a simple but elegant tearoom called Shusui-tei is found near the pond. The major buildings (such as the main building) were transferred to Kujo-tei in Tokyo in accordance with the order issued during the early Meiji era, and were recently donated by the Kujo Family to the Tokyo National Museum, which was named Kujo-kan.

[Original Japanese]