Fujiwara no Asateru (藤原朝光)

FUJIWARA no Asateru (or Asamitsu) (951 - April 22, 995) was a court noble who lived during the Heian Period.

He is believed to have been the second son of FUJIWARA no Kanemichi, the then Daijo Daijin (Chancellor of State), although he might have been the third or fourth son. His mother was a daughter of Imperial Prince Ariakira (son of Emperor Daigo). His elder brother was FUJIWARA no Akimitsu (who served as Sadaijin (minister of the left), his younger sister was FUJIWARA no Koko (Empress of Emperor Enyu), his son was FUJIWARA no Asatsune, and his daughter was FUJIWARA no Choshi (a court lady who served Emperor Kazan). He held the rank of Junii (Junior Second Rank), and served as Dainagon (Chief Councilor of State) and Sadaisho/Sakone no daisho (Major Captain of the Left Division of Inner Palace Guards). He was called Kanin Sadaisho.

With his intelligence recognized while he was still young, he was smoothly promoted to Chunagon (vice-councilor of state) in 975 at the age of 25 and Sakone no daisho in 977 at the age of 27. He was sociable, liked gaiety and invented the idea of producing the nock of arrows with quartz and made it popular. Known for his excellent poems, he had 28 of his poems included in "chokusen wakashu," anthologies of Japanese poetry compiled by Imperial command, including Shui wakashu (Collection of Gleanings of Japanese Poems). He was also known for his casual liaisons with contemporary female poets, such as Kodai no Kimi (also known as Kookimi) and Uma no Naishi. The compilation of his own poems was "Asateru shu."

He was on especially friendly terms with FUJIWARA no Michitaka and FUJIWARA no Naritoki as drinking companions and brought a free atmosphere to the Imperial Court under the reign of Michitaka. In 987, he was promoted to Dainagon (chief councilor of state), and though he had a bright future ahead of him, he died in a smallpox epidemic at almost the same time as Michitaka and Naritoki.

[Original Japanese]