Fujiwara no Aritoshi (藤原有年)

FUJIWARA no Aritoshi (year of birth and death unknown) was a government official (low to medium rank) who lived in the early Heian period. He was in the FUJIWARA no Otomaro line, the Southern House of the Fujiwara clan. He was a fifth generation Fujiwara from FUJIWARA no Otomaro. His great-grandfather was Dainagon (chief councilor of state) FUJIWARA no Otomo. His grandfather was FUJIWARA no Otokawa, who was Iga no kuni no kami (Governor of Iga Province). His father was FUJIWARA no Takafumi, who was Mutsu no kuni no kami (Governor of Mutsu Province). His mother was a daughter of Jugoinojo (Junior Fifth Rank, Upper Grade) Sakagami sekimori (barrier keeper). His children were FUJIWARA no Masaki and FUJIWARA no Masashige (his mother was from the Takebe clan).

Aritoshi was appointed to Bigo no kuni no kami (Governor of Bigo Province) in May 856, and was appointed to Jugoinoge (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade) lord of Omi Province in September 858. After that, he served at the Dazai-fu (local government office in Kyushu region), served as the lord of Sanuki Province, and then as the governor of Harima Province. He was charged with responsibility for a murder case while he was serving as the lord of Sanuki Province and was punished with 50 lashes of the whip and 5 kins of shokudo (copper as a fine). Also, in 867, while he was serving as the lord of Sanuki Province, he published "Fujiwara no Aritoshi moshibumi" (petition by FUJIWARA no Aritoshi), which is the oldest existing so-gana (cursive style writing of Manyo-gana) writing and is currently stored as a national treasure (at Tokyo National Museum).

Fujiwara no Aritoshi Moshibumi

His full title is "Sanuki no Kokushinoge Fujiwara no Aritoshi moshibumi" (official document written by FUJIWARA no Aritoshi, Governor of Sanuki Province).
It is a petition that Aritoshi wrote on the backside of the front page of the first volume of 'Sanuki no kuni kosekicho' (family register book of Sanuki province) and attached before another petition called 'Sanuki no Kokushinoge.'
Sanuki no Kokushinoge' was an application for change of the family name submitted on March 29, 867, to Prince Wake by the INAGI no Obito clan who lived throughout Naka County and Tado no Gori (Sanuki Province). It was then submitted to the Daijokan (Grand Council of State) by Sanuki no kuni kokushi (Governor of Kawaga Prefecture). Aritoshi at the time was the vice-governor of Sanuki Province, and the full citation of "Aritoshi moshibumi" is described as follows.

改姓人夾名勘録進上 許礼波奈世无尓加 官尓末之多末无 見太末ふ波可利止奈毛お毛ふ 抑刑大史乃多末比天 定以出賜 いとよ可良無 有年申
His writing is a mixture of classical Chinese and so-gana and also contains onnade (writing in hira-kana) and two-character renmenso (cursive style writing). It is the oldest existing so-gana writing style and the oldest writing containing the kana characters. For this reason, it is an important research material in the field of history of Japanese calligraphy and Japanese language.

[Original Japanese]