The Nijo School (二条派)

The Nijo school (Nijo-ha) was a medieval waka poetry school, which had its own specific style and philosophy.

The Mikohidari family, which was part of Michinaga's lineage in the Northern House of the Fujiwara clan, enjoyed considerable prestige as a family that excelled in waka poetry, with FUJIWARA no Shunsei, FUJIWARA no Teika, and FUJIWARA no Tameie; during the time of Tameie's son Tameuji NIJO, the family split into two branches, one led by his younger brother Tamenori KYOGOKU, a commoner, and the other led by Tamesuke REIZEI. In the time of Tameyo NIJO, Tameuji NIJO's son, and of Tamekane KYOGOKU, son of Tamenori KYOGOKU, the Nijo school of poetry allied itself with the Daikakuji imperial lineage (which later became the Southern Court) and began adhering to its conservative family (poetic) traditions; the Kyogoku school, however, forged ties to the Jimyoin imperial lineage (which was later to become the Northern Court), and developed an extraordinarily new, fresh poetic style. The Nijo and Kyogoku schools developed a relationship of vehement mutual antagonism, their respective members frequently squabbling over the prestige of being selected as compiler of the imperial waka anthologies; the Nijo school managed to achieve a near-monopoly with the exceptions of the 'Gyokuyo wakashu' (the Jeweled Leaves Collection), the 'Fuga wakashu' (Collected Elegant Verse), and the 'Shinshoku kokin wakashu' (New Collected Waka from Ancient and Modern Times, Continued). But the actual influence and prestige of the Nijo school had already been transferred to the poet-monk Tona by the time of the Northern and Southern Court period, and with the subsequent death of Tameto NIJO, the Nijo family lineage fell into extinction. Only ritual and ceremonial functions (that had been held by the Nijo family) were inherited by the Shimo (lower) branch of the Reizei family, which continues to perform them to this day. Thereafter, its secret teachings were passed to the To clan (a military family that was a tributary branch of the Chiba clan), which in turn handed it down to the SANJONISHI family (a noble family, part of the Fujiwara clan). These secret teachings are commonly referred to as "kokin denju," meaning a specific poetic interpretation of the Kokinshu. Moreover, thanks to one of the Sanjonishi family poetic school's most illustrious disciples, Yusai HOSOKAWA, their poetic style also spread to the then-contemporary Imperial Family, the Miyake (families allowed to be in status of Imperial family), the aristocracy, and the non-courtier families (jige), and ever since then, the Sanjonishi family has continued to hold rightful authority as the true poetic heirs of the Nijo family. Both the Nakanoin and the Karasuma families belong to the Nijo school.

[Original Japanese]