Fujiwara no Akirakeiko (Somedono no kisaki) (藤原明子 (染殿后))

FUJIWARA no Akirakeiko (829-June 27, 900) was the daughter between FUJIWARA no Yoshifusa and his wife, MINAMOTO no Kiyohime, and nyogo (a high-ranking lady in the court (a consort of an emperor)) of the Emperor Montoku. She was said to be very beautiful. As her family home was the Seiwa-in Temple (commonly called "Somedono,") she was called Somedono no kisaki.

She married into the Imperial Court when Emperor Montoku was a Togu (the Crown Prince). Soon after her husband acceded to the throne, she became a nyogo. Within the year she became a nyogo (850), she gave birth to Imperial Prince Korehito, the later Emperor Seiwa. Official investiture of the Crown Prince was made to Imperial Prince Korehito. She was ranked as Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank) in 853 and promoted to Juichii (Junior First Rank) in 858. She was given the title "Empress Dowager" by her own son, the Emperor Seiwa, and also the "Grand Empress Dowager" by her grand son, the Emperor Yozei.

Among her children were aforementioned Emperor Seiwa and Imperial Princess Gishi who later became a Kamo Saiin (Imperial Princess appointed to serve the deities of the Kamo-jinja Shrines).

It seems that she suffered from a kind of depression from around 865, which was implied in "Konjaku Monogatari (Shu)" (The Tale of Times Now Past) as she was annoyed by mononoke (evil spirits).

Although it can be said that she was established with her aunt FUJIWARA no Nobuko and a cousin FUJIWARA no Takaiko as well the cornerstone of Sekkan (regent to the emperor) government of Yoshifusa, namely the Fujiwara family, she never wanted to go mainstream.

She died at the age of 72, which was a rare longevity at the time. Even after she received an Imperial letter of appointment as nyogo, six emperors reigned one after another including Montoku.

[Original Japanese]