Fujiwara no Ishi (藤原伊子)

FUJIWARA no Ishi (years of birth and death unknown) was a woman at the end of the Heian period. Her father was Motofusa MATSUDONO, Kanpaku (chief adviser to the Emperor). She became the lawful wife of MINAMOTO no Yoshinaka who was a busho (Japanese military commander) of Kiso-Genji (the Minamoto clan) and later a concubine of MINAMOTO no Michichika, Kugyo (the top court official), and had Dogen as her baby. Her official court rank was Jusanmi (Junior 3rd Rank). Her name can also be written as '松殿伊子' in Japanese. She was said to be called Fuyu-hime as well.

She was born as the daughter of FUJIWARA no Motofusa who was one of the direct descendants of the Northern House of the Fujiwara clan. On January 1, 1184, MINAMOTO no Yoshinaka joined the coup to attack Hojuji-dono Palace, the imperial palace of the Cloistered Emperor Goshirakawa. Yoshinaka, who temporarily gained the dictatorship due to this coup approached Motofusa of the Matsudono family who had been on the outside under Goshirakawa-insei (the government by the Retired Emperor Goshirakawa). Because Motofusa had sought retribution since he was deprived of the position of Kanpaku by the Konoe family, he considered it to be his chance and cooperated with Yoshinaka. On January 12, Yoshinaka married Ishi, the daughter of Motofusa as his lawful wife. At that time, Ishi was 17 years old. On that day, Yoshinaka held Jimoku (ceremony for appointing officials) through the imprisoned Emperor Gotoba to dismiss Sessho (regent) Motomichi KONOE and instead replace him with Moroie MATSUDONO, the younger brother of Ishi.

Kamakura-Genji (the Minamoto clan) which had heard of imprisonment of Cloistered Emperor Gotoba was about to take up arms in the Kanto region, while Yoshinaka and the Matsudono family temporarily ruled the world. The army of MINAMOTO no Noriyori and MINAMOTO no Yoshitsune started their charge forward to Kyoto. "Genpei Seisui ki" (Rise and Fall of the Minamoto and the Taira clans) describes the following story: Yoshinaka remained unwilling to part from Ishi in Gojo Dairi (the Emperor's residential compound) in the middle of being attacked by MINAMOTO no Yoshitsune, so Kazukage Echigo no chuta (referred to Iemitsu in "Heike Monogatari" - The tale of the Heike) and Saburo TSUNADA who lived in Kaga Province committed Seppuku (suicide by disembowelment) to remonstrate that behavior.

Though she lived in a mountain villa owned by her father after her husband Yoshinaka died in action, she was again married off for political reasons to regain the reins of power by her father Motofusa and became the concubine of Kugyo (top court official) MINAMOTO no Michichika. Michichika was the person who became the leading figure in the Imperial Court government after the death of Cloistered Emperor Goshirakawa and had so much power as he was referred to as 'Gen hakuroku'. On January 26, 1200, she had Dogen (the founder of Soto sect) as a baby with Michichika in Uji Kohata villa. Later, Moroie, the younger brother of Ishi had Dogen as the adopted child to aim at restoring the Matsudono family, but eventually it was not realized. Michichika died and she became widowed two years later. Ishi moved to live in Kohata villa with Dogen, but she died of disease five years later when Dogen was eight years old. The reason why Dogen entered into priesthood was because of the bereavement of his parents during his childhood.

[Original Japanese]