Fujiwara no Yoshitaka (藤原義孝)

FUJIWARA no Yoshitaka (954 - November 8, 974) was a court noble and poet in the mid-Heian period. He was the third (or fourth) son of the Regent Prime Minister FUJIWARA no Koretada (also known as Koremasa). Among his sons was FUJIWARA no Yukinari (also known as Kozei), one of the three great calligraphers. He was regarded as one of the medieval 36 Immortal Poets. He was the Shogoi (Senior Fifth Rank) of the Palace Guards. He called himself Nochi no Shosho (New Minor Captain).

He was a Minor Captain of the Right. Pious Buddhist as he was, he contracted smallpox that was epidemic at that time. He died at the tender age of twenty-one on the same day as his elder brother FUJIWARA no Takakata. Another theory is that he killed himself because he suffered from the ugly scars left by smallpox which deformed his once celebrated beautiful face. As legend has it, he became a vengeful spirit.

His verses were selected in the imperial anthology "Goshui Wakashu" (Later Collection of Gleanings of Japanese Poetry). He compiled the private anthology 'Yoshitaka-shu' (the Selected Verses of Yoshitaka).

Ogura Hyakunin Isshu (the Ogura Anthology of One Hundred Tanka-poems by One Hundred Poets)
No. 50: I thought little of my life until I met you; yet now that I have met you I long to live longer. ('Goshui Wakashu' Love 2-669).

[Original Japanese]