Takashina no KishiTakako (高階貴子)

TAKASHINA no Kishi/Takako (date of birth unknown -October 966) was a female poet who lived in the Heian period. She is considered one of the Thirty-six Immortal Lady Poets.

She was commonly known by the name, Ko no naishi, or as a mother of Gido Sanshi. The former is the name of a court lady, while the latter is an official title (Gido Sanshi) of her son, FUJIWARA no Korechika.

She was the daughter of TAKASHINA no Naritada of Junii (Junior Second Rank) (923 - 998), and her real mother is unknown. The daughter of KI no Yoshimitsu is known as the wife of Naritada, so if she had been Kishi's mother, she would have been descended from a noted scholar, KI no Haseo. Her brothers were Uchuben (Middle Controller of the Right) Nobunori, Muku no Gon no Kami (Provisional Chief of Bureau of Carpentry) Michinobu, and Iyo no Kami (Governor of Iyo Province) Akinobu.

In various books, such as "Okagami" (the Great Mirror), she was praised for her excellence in prose and poetry for a woman. She served at the Imperial court as naishi (a maid of honor to the Empress) in the reign of Emperor Enyu, and her knowledge of Chinese classics and talent for prose and poetry were so outstanding that she was invited to a banquet of poetry held in the court. Around the same time, she got married to Naka no Kanpaku (Middle Regent) FUJIWARA no Michitaka (953 - 995), and gave birth to three sons and four daughters who were; Minister of the Center Korechika (974 - 1010), Chunagon (vice-councilor of state) FUJIWARA no Takaie (979 - 1044), Sozu (second rank monk) Ryuen (980 - 1015), and eldest daughter, FUJIWARA no Teishi.

Because her daughter Teishi became chugu (the second consort of an emperor) of Emperor Ichijo, she was raised from Jugoinojo (Junior Fifth Rank, Upper Grade) to Shosanmi (Senior Third Rank) on October 26, 990. Kishi's eldest son, Korechika, was also promoted quickly, being appointed Gon Dainagon (provisional major counselor) at the age of nineteen, in 992, and two years later advanced to Minister of the Center. Although she was a descendant of a lower-ranking noble, she rose to a high dignified position, becoming the first wife of Kanpaku (chief adviser to the Emperor) and a mother of Chugu (the second consort of an emperor), and moreover, TAKASHINA no Naritada was raised to Junii being given the title of a chieftain, Ason.

However, on April 10, 995, when her husband Michitaka died of disease, her sons Korechika and Takaie were defeated in a political conflict with their uncle FUJIWARA no Michinaga, and the political power shifted to Michinaga in an instant. The following year, Korechika and Takaie were exiled and demoted for the crime of rebellion against Emperor Kazan; Korechika was moved down to Dazai gon no sochi (Provisional Governor-General of the Dazai-fu offices), and Takaie was to Gon no kami (Provisional Governor) of Izumo Province. Kishi clung to the carriage, pleading to accompany them, but she was not allowed to. After a while, she became ill and passed away at the end of October of the same year, praying to the gods for their safety. It is conjectured that she was in her forties.

Her waka poem that was composed 'when Naka no Kanpaku started visiting her' is famous for being selected for the Ogura Haunting Isshu (the Ogura Anthology of One Hundred Tanka-poems by One Hundred Poets).

You promise that you will never forget until the end of time, but it is too long a time to ask for, so let me die today, still loved by you.'

[Original Japanese]