Fujiwara no Kiyoko (藤原聖子)

FUJIWARA no Kiyoko (1122 - January 17, 1182) was an empress at the end of the Heian period. She was the chugu (Empress) of Emperor Sutoku and the foster mother of Emperor Konoe, and had the title of Nyoin (close female relatives of the Emperor or a woman of comparable standing). Her ingo (title) was Kokamoin.

She was the eldest daughter of FUJIWARA no Tadamichi, who had the title of Sessho (Regent), Kanpaku (chief adviser to the Emperor), and Daijo-daijin (Grand minister of state), and her mother was FUJIWARA no Muneko, who had the rank of Kita no Mandokoro (legal wife of regent or chief adviser to the Emperor) and Juichii (Junior First Rank) (daughter of FUJIWARA no Munemichi, who had the rank of Gon Dainagon (a provisional chief councilor of state))
She was the only daughter born from the legal wife of Tadamichi.

She married into the imperial court to Emperor Sutoku in 1129 and was promoted to Chugu in 1130. Her father was Sessho (regent) at that time, and the imperial marriage of the daughter of active sekkan (regent to the emperor) did not occur for 80 years since Empress FUJIWARA no Kanshi of Emperor Goreizei, and Tadamichi placed hope for Kiyoko and the revival of the Sekkanke (line of regents and advisers). However, Kiyoko did not give birth to a daughter despite the wishes of her father. Instead, she became the junbo (foster mother) of Imperial Prince Narihito (later became Emperor Konoe) of Emperor Toba, and the Empress Dowager in 1141 when Narihito ascended to the throne. She was issued an Imperial letter to permit use of the "In" title of Kokamonin in 1150.

During the Hogen War in 1156, her father Tadamichi and husband Retired Emperor Sutoku fought against each other, and the defeated Retired Emperor Sutoku was exiled to Sanuki Province. Kiyoko, who was caught in between, entered Buddhist priesthood in the same year and received the homyo (Buddhist name) title of Shojoe. She became a priest again that required the shaving of the head in 1163 and gained the name of Renkaku.

She agreed to look after her paternal younger brother and the adopted child, Kanezane KUJO, after the death of her father. She adopted Yoshimichi KUJO, who was the legitimate son of Kanezane and passed over the territory of Saishokongo-in Shrine which existed since the time of Tadamichi in 1180. This became the headstream of the family estate of later generations of the Kujo family.

Relationship as Husband and Wife

There was a theory that Sutokuin was distant from Kiyoko by giving deep affection to Hyoenosuke no Tsubone of the Nyobo (lady-in-waiting) (she was the daughter of Shinen with the rank Hoin (the highest rank in the hierarchy of Buddhist priests) and the adopted daughter of MINAMOTO no Yukimune with the title of Okura-kyo (Minister of the Treasury), and the real mother of Imperial Prince Shigehito), but this was not certain. While Emperor Sutoku was on the throne, Kiyoko often resided in the same palace, and the retired emperor constantly visited the palace of Kiyoko or Kiyoko performing gyokei (visit of imperial person) to the palace of the retired emperor. The fact that Hyoenosuke no Tsubone accompanied Sutokuin after the Hogen War and Kokamonin remained in the capital without accompanying him reflected on her status rather than the level of his affection. For example, when Emperor Gotoba was exiled later years, the person who accompanied him was the nyobo who was not of the high birth, and Shumeimonin, who was favored by the emperor, did not accompany him. The valets accompanied the exiled aristocrat to take care of him. The current nyoin (a close female relative of the Emperor or a woman of comparable standing) such as Kokamonin, who were ladies who were at the ranks of Chugu or Empress Dowager as the legal princess or empress were at the similar rank as the retired emperor that they were not in the position to serve the retired emperor. It was not the case that Nyoin did not accompany, but could not accompany him. Furthermore, her father Tadamichi of Kanpaku probably did not permit her to accompany the retired emperor to Sanuki.
Kokamonin was the only daughter of the legal wife of Tadamichi, and Tadamichi would not act indifferently to the departure of the emperor from the capital (Tadamichi became the victor after a hard battle in the Hogen War which destroyed the structure of Sekkan Family.)
(Due to the support of Tadamichi, Kokamonin was respected in the imperial court even after the Hogen War).

Brief Personal History

1122: Born (her father was the Tadamichi, who had the title of Kanpaku and her mother was FUJIWARA no Muneko of Kita no Mandokoro)

1128: Given the Jo rank (official court rank) of Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank) before undergoing Judai (December 9)

1129: Underwent Judai to Emperor Sutoku (February 6) and declared Senge (imperial proclamation) as his Nyogo (consort) (February 13)

1130: Became the Chugu (April 8)

1141: Became the Empress Dowager (December 27 in old calendar)

1150: Issued an Imperial letter to permit use of "In" title of Kokamonin (April 3)

1155: Her mother Muneko passed away (September 19)

1156: The Hogen War (August 4), and Sutokuin was exiled to Sanuki (August 17), and she became a priest and shaved her head (November 22)

1163: Became a priest again and shaved her head (December 26 in old calendar)

1164: Her father Tadamichi passed away (March 20) and Sutokuin passed away in Sanuki (September 21)

1167: Declined from fuko (Residential units (ko) assigned as prebend (fu) to support top-ranking officials, temples, shrines, and royal households such as those of the queen-consort and crown prince) (June 19)

1177: Gave the shigo (a posthumous name) to the Sutokuin (August 31 and she was previously called as Sanukiin)

1181: She passed away (December 4 in old calendar, but according to the modern calendar, she died in the following year, January 17, 1182).

[Original Japanese]