Fujiwara no Kiyokawa (藤原清河)

FUJIWARA no Kiyokawa (706 - 778) was one of the nobility during the Nara Period. He was the 4th child of FUJIWARA no Fusasaki. His Tang name was Kasei. He was in the rank of Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank) and in the position of Sangi (councilor). He received a postmortem promotion to Juichii (Junior First Rank). He visited China as Kento-shi (Japanese envoy to Tang Dynasty China) and served the Tang Dynasty with ABE no Nakamaro, but he could not return to Japan due to a storm and the Rebellion of An Lu-shan and Shih Ssu-ming until the end of his life.


In September, 750, Kiyokawa was appointed as Kento-taishi (commander-in-chief of the Japanese envoy to Tang Dynasty China). As vice-commanders, OTOMO no Komaro and KIBI no Makibi were appointed. In intercalary March of the year 752, before the departure, Kiyokawa received a sword representing his full authority, and was given the rank of Shoshiinoge (Senior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade). The party of Kento-shi reached Tang and went into the city of Changan, and he had an audience with Xuan Zong, the Tang Emperor, and was praised as a man of virtue.

In January, 753, he attended the meeting of New Year's salutation from the surrounding countries to the Chinese Emperor. He made a protest about Japan's seat being the second after the Tibetan Empire on the west side, although Shiragi (ancient Korean kingdom) was the first on the east side, which meant Shiragi's precedence over Japan, so he forced to exchange the position with Shiragi so that he could preserve Japan's honor.

In December, 753, Kiyokawa and the party of Kento-shi were coming back to Japan together with ABE no Nakamaro, who had stayed in Tang for 35 years as a senior official. The party of Ganjin (Jianzhen), who wanted a missionary to travel to Japan, wished to board, but Tang prohibited Ganjin from leaving the country, so Kiyokawa rejected his boarding. However, OTOMO no Komaro, vice-commander, boarded Ganjin on his ship at his own decision.

The Japanese envoy ships left the city of Yangzhou, but the first ship that Kiyokawa and Nakamaro boarded was caught in a head wind and was drifted to the city of Huanzhou in the south of Tang (present-day Vietnam). (In "Tempyo no Iraka" [The Roof Tile of Tempyo], a novel written by Yasushi INOUE, the ship came down to Okinawa, but was stranded when sailing out.
Then, it went wrecked and was drifted to Annam.)
They were assailed by the natives and many of the crew were killed, but Kiyokawa and Nakamaro had a narrow escape. Meanwhile, the second ship that Ganjin boarded returned to Japan safely.

In 755, Kiyokawa and Nakamaro returned to Changan. Kiyokawa renamed himself Kasei to attend at the Tang Dynasty court and was appointed as secretary.

In 759, an envoy for welcoming the envoy visiting Tang, which was lead by taishi (commander-in-chief) Kogendo, reached Tang via the country of Bo Hai. However, the Tang Dynasty did not allow Kiyokawa to return home on the grounds that the travel would be dangerous due to Tang's turbulence by the Rebellion of An Lu-shan and Shih Ssu-ming.

In 763 in Japan, Kiyokawa was appointed to Hitachi no Kami (governor of Hitachi Province), remaining at commander-in-chief of the envoy to Tang, and in 764 he was promoted to Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank).

Kiyokawa's stay in Tang amounted to more than ten years without a chance to return to Japan, and in 777 the next Kento-shi reached Tang, but in 778 Kiyokawa died in Tang. He received from Tang the rank of grand governor general of Luzhou. Kiyokawa married a woman from Tang and had a daughter named Kijo. Kijo came to Japan with Kento-shi during the Hoki era.

In 779, he received postmortem promotion to Junii (Junior Second Rank). In 836, he received postmortem promotion to Juichii (Junior First Rank).

Career of Job Grade

In 740, he received the rank of Jugoinoge (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade).

In 741, he was appointed to Nakatsukasa no Shoyu (Junior Assistant Minister of the Imperial Household Ministry).

In 743, he received the rank of Shogoinoge (Senior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade) and was appointed to Yamato no kuni Kokushi (governor of Yamato province).

In 745, he received the rank of Shogoinojo (Senior Fifth Rank, Upper Grade).

In 746, he received the rank of Jushiinoge (Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade).

In 749, he was appointed to Sangi (councilor).

In 752, he received the rank of Shoshiinoge (Senior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade), and was appointed as the commander-in-chief of the Japanese envoy to Tang Dynasty China and also appointed to Minbukyo (Minister of the Finance and Tax Ministry). In 763, he was concurrently appointed to Hitachi no Kami (governor of Hitachi Province). In 764, he received the rank of Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank).

[Original Japanese]