Abe no Yoshimasa (安倍吉昌)

ABE no Yoshimasa (955? - June 4, 1019) was an Onmyoji (Master of Yin yang), and Inyoka (the Yin and Yang school of philosophy) in the Heian period. He was the second son of ABE no Seimei (there is a different opinion). He held a succession of posts; Tenmon hakase (master of astronomy), Onmyo hakase (master of onmyo), Kazue no kami (the head of budget bureau), Onmyo no kami (Director of Onmyoryo, or Bureau of Divination), and then he was appointed to Jushiijo (Junior Fourth Rank, Upper Grade). He governed the Onmyoryo (Bureau of Divination) as an Onmyodo Soke (head family of Onmyodo [way of Yin and Yang; occult divination system based on the Taoist theory of the five elements]), with his elder brother, ABE no Yoshihira and KAMO no Mitsuyoshi of the Kamo clan, the Shike (teaching master) of his father, ABE no Seimei.

Yoshimasa was recommended by KAMO no Yasunori to be a student of Astrology (the studenthood belonging to the office of Ommyo to learn astrology from the astrologist) in 970 ("Ruiju fusensho"; A collection of official documents dating from the years 737 to 1093). In 986, he was appointed to a Tenmon hakase taking over the post from Seimei, and then he was appointed to an Onmyo no kami while Seimei was still alive, in 1004. Originally, prestigious Inyoka such as the Kamo clan or the Onakatomi clan served as an Onmyo no kami; the post of Onmyo no kami has been succeeded by the Abe clan and the Kamo clan for generations since the appearance of Yoshimasa, and eventually it was succeeded exclusively by the Abe clan who would call themselves the Tsuchimikado family (the Abe clan) later. Any stories or episodes regarding Yoshimasa were not found; it is assumed that his performance and accomplishments were as great as those of his father or elder brother given that he was appointed to the Onmyo no kami; the top of the Onmyoryo. In addition, FUJIWARA no Sanesuke stated two days before Yoshimasa died in "Shoyuki" (Diary of FUJIWARA no Sanesuke) that Yoshimasa served as a Tenmon hakase in addition to serving as an officer for some duties. Since a successor for Yoshimasa was not available after Yoshimsa's death, an Onmyoji, called `Hisakuni HATA' who lived in Iyo was invited and appointed to the successor for Yoshimasa ("Shoyuki"). During this period when the Onmyodo was flourishing, there was a shortage of Onmyoji, and the Onmyoji that accompanied kokushi (provincial governors) and Zuryo (the head of the provincial governors) to local regions started to promulgate Onmyodo in the local regions (which eventually led to an appearance of Onmyoji for local communities).

Assumption that Yoshimasa was a legitimate son
In general, it is believed that ABE no Yoshihira was the eldest son (the legitimate son) of ABE no Seimei. However, some say that ABE no Yoshimasa was the legitimate son of Seimei while Yoshihira was the elder brother of Yoshimasa with a different mother, given that the issues; the age difference between Yoshihira and yoshimasa was just a year; the post of Onmyo no kami which was supposed to be appointed to the legitimate son (the eldest son) was assumed by the second son of seimei, Yoshimasa. Reiko OKANO who drew 'Onmyoji' (manga) in which Yoshimasa appeared as the eldest son of Seimei and Makuzu, through which we can assume that she also believed that Yoshimasa was the legitimate son.

On the other hand, in "Shoyuki" and "Mido Kanpakuki " (FUJIWARA no Michinaga's diary), ABE no Yoshihira was quoted more often than Yoshimasa, which makes it difficult to eliminate the possibility that Yoshihira was recognized as a successor for ABE no Seimei. Yoshihira was regarded as the eldest son even after Yoshimasa was appointed to the Onmyo no kami, and the child of Yoshimasa, ABE no Narichika might have been adopted from Yoshihira, which strengthens the theory that ABE no Yoshihira was the legitimate son.

Children of Yoshimasa
ABE no Narichika

Some historic materials stated that ABE no Narichika was the adopted child of Yoshimasa, not the birth child of Yoshimasa, and his birth father was ABE no Yoshihira.

Additionally, ABE no Masahiro, the main character of `Shonen Omyoji' (Juvenile Omnyoji) written by YUKI Mitsuru, with illustrations by Sakura ASAGI, (Light Novel), the third son of ABE no Yoshimasa, was fictional (out of two elder brothers of Masahiro, the second brother, ABE no Masachika was also fictional while the eldest brother, Naruchika (above-mentioned) was non-fictional).

[Original Japanese]