Fujiwara no Korekata (藤原惟方)

FUJIWARA no Korekata (1125 - year of death unknown) was a court noble who lived toward the end of the Heian period. He was the second son of FUJIWARA no Akiyori, who held the title of Chunagon (vice-councilor of state) and was from the Kajuji line of Northern House of the Fujiwara clan. He held the office of Sangi (councilor) and rose to the rank of Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank). He was commonly known as Awataguchi betto.


He was born as the second son of FUJIWARA no Akiyori, the son of FUJIWARA no Akitaka called the 'night chief adviser to the Emperor.'

In 1141, he served Bifukumonin as Kogogushiki (officer for serving the Empress in household ministry) and was appointed as Echizen no kuni no kami (Governor of Echizen Province) (Echizen Province was under control of Bifukumonin), thereafter he was appointed as provincial governor around the country. When Imperial Prince Morihito (who would later become Emperor Nijo), who was adopted by Bifukumonin and was the foster brother of Korekata, was formally installed as the Crown Prince in 1155, Korekata was appointed as Togubo (Crown Prince's Quarters). After that, he was promoted satisfactorily: in 1156 he was appointed as Kurodo (Chamberlain) for Emperor Goshirakawa and served concurrently as Emonfu (Headquarters of the Outer Palace Guards) and benkan (officials of the dajokan), thus honorably holding the post of three offices. Furthermore, he was appointed as Kurodo no to (Head Chamberlain) in 1158, and then as Sangi upon the enthronement of Emperor Nijo. After the enthronement of Emperor Nijo, he organized the faction supporting Emperor Nijo with FUJIWARA no Tsunemune and others, and confronted with Shinzei who was the leader of the political faction supporting the Cloistered Emperor Goshirakawa, while approaching his nephew (sister's child) FUJIWARA no Nobuyori who was in the faction supporting the Cloistered Emperor Goshirakawa but was antagonistic to Shinzei like Korekata.

Under the circumstances, in the Heiji War in 1159, he occupied the Imperial Palace at first with Nobuyori and MINAMOTO no Yoshitomo and killed Shinzei, thereby increasing their power. However, as he was admonished by his elder brother FUJIWARA no Mitsuyori who had a distrust of Nobuyori's capability, in the meantime, he decided to break away from Nobuyori. He colluded with Tsunemune, his wife's brother FUJIWARA no Tadaaki and others, to have Emperor Nijo, who was confined in the Imperial Court by Nobuyori, escape dressed as a woman and accompanying him to TAIRA no Kiyomori's Rokuhara house, which made the tide of the war conclusive.

Due to the achievements in the Heiji War and the death of Shinzei, who was the influential person in the faction supporting the Cloistered Emperor Goshirakawa, the faction supporting the Emperor temporarily gained power after the War; however, Korekata was gradually removed from political life by the Cloistered Emperor Goshirakawa who was opposed to Korekata. As a measure to realize direct rule by the emperor, Korekata and Tsunemune forced the stand in FUJIWARA no Akinaga's house to be closed in 1160, where the Cloistered Emperor lived and enjoyed seeing an ordinary view. As a result, the Cloistered Emperor became outraged and ordered TAIRA no Kiyomori to arrest Korekata and Tsunemune; accordingly, they were arrested by Tadakage and MINAMOTO no Tamenaga who were the retainers sent by Kiyomori on April 5. The Cloistered Emperor tortured their faces, and banished Korekata and Tsunemune to Nagato Province and Awa Province, respectively. On April 26, when Korekata was exiled, he became a priest and called himself Jakushin as his homyo (a name given to a person who enters the Buddhist priesthood).

Six years later, he was remitted and summoned home on May 7, 1166, but he never made a comeback in central politics. Later in life, he found his mind at peace with waka poetry and lived quietly. His poem collection is "Awataguchi Betto Nyudo Shu" (the collection of poems of Awataguchi Betto).


While people exiled after the Heiji War were gradually summoned to the capital, Korekata lived without knowing when he would be remitted; in the meantime, Korekata created a poem to send to his wife in the capital from haisho (the place where a criminal is sent).

If I could see you, my tears overflow like a river on my sleeves.

When the Cloistered Emperor Goshirakawa read this poem, he felt sorry for Korekata and pardoned and summoned him to the capital.

[Original Japanese]