Fujiwara no Hirotsugu (藤原広嗣)

FUJIWARA no Hirotsugu (year of birth unknown - November 28, 740) was a retainer of Imperial Court in the Nara period. He was the eldest son of FUJIWARA no Umakai from Fujiwara Shikike (a sub branch of Fujiwara family). His mother was a daughter of ISONOKAMI no Maro (one theory states that it was SOGA no Ishikawamaro).


In 737, when Fujiwara four brothers who was holding tremendous authority in Imperial Court died one after another, he was appointed Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade. In 738, he became Guide of Yamato Province and Junior Assistant Minister of the Ministry of Ceremonial. In the Imperial Court, under the background of the uprising anti-Fujiwara power, he was relegated in the same year to Dazai no shoni (Junior Assistant Govenor-General of Dazai-fu offices) because of the slander against his relatives.

Objecting to the relegation, Hirotsugu sent a report to the throne in the Imperial Court saying that the ringleaders who caused the disaster to the world were the two main people in the anti-Fujiwara group, KIBI no Makibi and Genbo. However, TACHIBANA no Moroe, who was at that time the powerful Minister of the Left, received this as an evidence of rebellion. It was Moroe who employed KIBI no Makibi and GENBO. The criticism toward the public sentiment stability plan for the commoners who had received damage from the epidemic was clearly the criticism toward Moroe himself. Responding to this, Emperor Shomu sent out an ordinance of summons to Hirotsugu.

Hirotsugu did not follow the ordinance, and in 740, he, with his younger brother FUJIWARA no Tsunate, gathered and led his 10,000 or more troop members including the ones in Dazaifu and raised a revolt. However, he was defeated by a punitive force led by Commander-in-Chief ONO no Azumahito and finally captured in Matsuura-gun District, Hizen Province and executed in Karatsu of the same province (called the Rebellion of FUJIWARA no Hirotsugu). As a result, a lot of people related to the Shiki Family received punishments, and though they seized the political power temporarily at the end of Nara Period, this rebellion became one of the factors which weakened the power of the Shiki Family in future generations.

The "Kagami-jinja Shrine" located to the west of Shinyakushi-ji Temple was built in order to soothe FUJIWARA no Hirotsugu's vengeful spirit.

[Original Japanese]