Fujiwara no Mototoshi (藤原基俊)

FUJIWARA no Mototoshi (1060-Feburary 20, 1142) was a court noble and poet of the late Heian period. His father was Minister of the Right, FUJIWARA no Toshiie.

Although he was from the Northern House, the main stream of the Fujiwara clan and the great-grandson of FUJIWARA no Michinaga, he was not favored with promotions and remained Jugoi (Junior Fifth Rank), Emonfu (Headquarters of the Outer Palace Guards). He became a Buddhist monk in 1138 and called himself Kakushun.

Waka poetry

His debut in the world of waka poetry was late, but he contributed to uta-awase (poetry contests) not only as a composer, but also often as a judge.

Along with MINAMOTO no Toshiyori, he took a lively part as a leader in waka circles during the regime of cloistered government. He also excelled in Chinese prose and poetry, and compiled 'Shinsen Roei Shu' (Newly Selected Collection of Roei).

More than one-hundred poems of his were selected for 'Kinyo wakashu' and other Chokusen wakashu (anthologies of Japanese poetry compiled by Imperial command) afterwards.
He has a personal collection called 'Mototoshi Shu.'

Ogura Hyakunin Isshu (the Ogura Anthology of One Hundred Tanka-poems by One Hundred Poets)
In spite of your promising words "sasemo" (the name of a grass) that I had been relying on like a blessing of dewdrops, again my hopes didn't bear fruit this autumn and my life is passing by in vain. ('Senzaishu' (Collection of Japanese Poems of a Thousand Years) Miscellaneous, 1023)

As a calligrapher

He was also known as a calligrapher, and the following writing remains:

Wakan Roeishu (Japanese and Chinese poems to sing), Taga-gire
Owned by Yomei bunko. There is a two-line Okugaki (postscript) 'Written October (old calendar) 2, in the fourth year of Eikyu (in 1116), these old eyes helped me put a period, old Mototoshi,' written by the same hand as the text on the fragment equivalent to the end of the last volume, and there is also written 'composition was completed on the same date' by a different hand. A calligraphic specimen such as this fragment, specifying the date and the writer, is quite rare among the numerous relics of the Heian period.

Shinsen Roei Shu, the Yamana Edition

[Original Japanese]