Fujiwara no Koretada (藤原伊尹)

FUJIWARA no Koretada (924 - December 14, 972) was a court noble who lived in the mid Heian period. He was a Sessho regent.
He was also known as 'Koremasa.'
Koretada was the eldest child of FUJIWARA no Morosuke. His mother was FUJIWARA no Moriko. His younger brothers were FUJIWARA no Kanemichi, FUJIWARA no Kaneie, FUJIWARA no Tamemitsu, and FUJIWARA no Kinsue (each of them held the title of Daijo-daijin (Grand minister of state)). His children were FUJIWARA no Chikakata and FUJIWARA no Yoshichika. His alias was Ichijo Sessho.

Koretada was the eldest son of Morosuke, who held the title of Udaijin (Minister of the Right), and served under Emperor Murakami, and when Emperors Reizei and Enyu, who were the sons of Koretada's younger sister FUJIWARA no Anshi, who held the title of Chugu (Empress), ascended to the throne, he succeeded as well and became Sessho Daijo-daijin (Regent and the Grand Minister), but died early in the following year. Koretada did not hand his power over to his children; the reins of power shifted to the family line of his younger brother, FUJIWARA no Kaneie.


Koretada's father, Morosuke, guided the Tenryaku no chi (glorious Tenryaku rule) by Emperor Murakami, as the Udaijin. His younger sister, Chugu FUJIWARA no Anshi, entered Kokyu (the palace where the emperor's wife and concubines lived) of Emperor Murakami and gave birth to leading imperial princes, including Emperor Reizei, who had the title of Togu (crown prince), Imperial Prince Tamehira, and Emperor Enyu.

In 941, Koretada was promoted to Jugoinoge (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade). He assisted as Kurodo (Chamberlain) during the Tenryaku and Tentoku (Japan) eras of Emperor Murakami and worked as a local official additionally assigned the positions of Mino no kuni zuryo (the head of the provincial governors in Mino Province) and Iyo no kuni no kami (Governor of Iyo Province). His father, Morosuke, died suddenly in 960. At the time, Koretada had just the titles of Jushiinojo (Junior Fourth Rank, Upper Grade), Kurodo no to (Head Chamberlain), Togu gon no suke (Provisional Assistant Master of the Crown Prince's Quarters), and Sakone gon no chujo (Provisional Middle Captain of the Left Division of Inner Palace Guards), and his younger brothers Kanemichi and Kaneie just had ranks of Jushiinoge (Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade), Chugu Gon no daibu (provisional master of the Consort's Household), and Shogoinoge (Senior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade), Shonagon (lesser councilor of state), respectively, and the families of Kujo line was at the brink of collapse. However, Emperor Murakami accepted Imperial Prince Norihira as the Imperial Prince, and Koretada was promoted to Sangi (consultant) during a Jimoku (ceremony to inaugurate court officials) the same year, promoted to the rank of Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank) in 967, and skipped four Joro (higher ranking officials) to become the Gon Chunagon (a provisional vice-councilor of state). He was able to send his younger brothers, Kanemichi and Kaneie, to the Kurodo no to consecutively, and sustained his relation with Emperor Murakami.

In the same year, Emperor Murakami passed away and the imperial prince of Anshi, Imperial Prince Norihira (Emperor Reizei), ascended to the throne. His father, Morosuke, was already gone, and his uncle, FUJIWARA no Saneyori, became the Kanpaku Daijo-daijin (chief advisor to the emperor and grand minister) but since he did not have any maternal relation with the emperor, his political power remained weak. Meanwhile, Koretada became the uncle of a maternal relative of the emperor and was assigned as Gon Dainagon (a provisional chief councilor of state) before being promoted to Shosanmi (Senior Third Rank) in 968. Koretada made his daughter, FUJIWARA no Kaishi, enter the Imperial Court as the Nyogo (consort) of Emperor Reizei, and they became the parents of Emperor Kazan.

Emperor Reizei had a mental illness which made him go mad and he was not granted a long reign; his younger maternal brothers, Imperial Princes Tamehira and Morihira, were seen as likely candidates for the Togu, and in the end the younger of the brothers, Imperial Prince Morihira, was chosen. This was because the wife of Imperial Prince Tamehira was MINAMOTO no Takaakira, who had the title of Sadaijin (Minister of the Left), and the FUJIWARA clan was afraid of the Daigo-Genji (Minamoto clan) becoming a maternal relative to the emperor.

MINAMOTO no Mitsunaka reported a secret rebellion in 969 and Takaakira suddenly lost his position and was transferred and demoted to Dazai-fu (local government office in Kyushu region) (Anna Incident). There were various theories that Koretada was the mastermind of this rebellion and arranged all of this.

Emperor Reizei passed over his position in the same year and Imperial Prince Morihira abdicated the throne (Emperor Enyu). Imperial Prince Morosada became a Togu.

Koretada became Udaijin in 970; his uncle Saneyori, who held the titles of Sessho Daijo-daijin and Uji choja (chieftain of the family), passed away in the same year, and Koretada, who was a maternal uncle to the emperor, became Sessho and Uji choja (the head of the clan). He became Daijo-daijin and gained the rank of Shonii (Senior Second Rank) in 971.

Koretada gained power and reputation but fell ill the following year, 972; he retired from Sessho before passing away. He died at the age of 49. He was posthumously awarded Shoichii (Senior First Rank) and the name Kentokuko.

He had the personality of someone who liked luxury; when he noticed that his bedroom wall became slightly black on the day of a party, he had it replaced with very expensive Michinokugami (Japanese paper originally made from the fibers of mayumi (the spindle tree), and produced in Michinoku area, part of modern day Tohoku) wallpaper. His father, Morosuke, taught his descendants to be frugal, but Koretada did not follow this aspect.

He excelled in Waka and was assigned as Betto (chief officer) of Senwakadokoro (imperial poetry bureau) located in Nashitsubo (normally the palace residence which is used by an imperial Consort, but is cleared out for use of poem selection) in 951, and was deeply involved in editing "Gosen Wakashu" (Later selected collection of Japanese poetry). There was a kashu (collection of self-produced waka) called "Ichijo Sessho Gyoshu." A famous Shoka (calligrapher) named FUJIWARA no Yukinari was the grandson of Koretada, and the Seson-ji family line continued from that family line.

There was an anecdote on the young death of Koretada in "Okagami" (The Great Mirror). During the Jimoku performed while Koretada was young, he, along with FUJIWARA no Asahira, became a candidate for Kurodo no to. Asahira pleaded with Koretada to let him have the position, since it would be his last chance, while Koretada was young and had a good family background. Koretada agreed to this, but in the end Koretada gained the position. Asahira became a wraith and haunted and killed Koretada, who had just become Sessho, and gave scourge to his children. However, there is no written evidence that these two competed for the high official rank, and Koretada died before Asahira. There is a strong theory that the actual cause of death was diabetes mellitus.

Kaneie was seen as being very likely to gain the position of Kanpaku (chief advisor to the emperor) after Koretada, but his older brother Kanemichi gained the position by the will of Chugu Anshi. In 984, Emperor Enyu passed his power to Imperial Prince Morosada (Emperor Kazan), who ascended to the throne. The son of Koretada, Yoshichika, who became a maternal uncle to the emperor and held the title of Chunagon (vice-councilor of state), tried to manage the government of the Imperial Court, but Emperor Kazan was forced to abdicate to become a priest by the scheme of Kaneie; as a result Emperor Ichijo ascended to the throne, and Kaneie, who was a maternal relative to the emperor, became the Sessho regent.

Despaired, Yoshichika became a priest, and from that time, Koretada's family line did not rule in the Imperial Court.

Chronology of government posts and ranks
Dates follow the lunar calendar. On February 7, 941, he received the rank of Jugoinoge (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade). On April 12, he was given permission to visit the imperial residence of the emperor.

On December 17, 942, he was assigned as Jiju (chamberlain).

On March 7, 946, he was reassigned as Uhyoe no suke (assistant captain of the Right Division of Middle Palace Guards).

On January 7, 948, he was promoted to Jugoinojo (Junior Fifth Rank, Upper Grade). On January 30, he was assigned as Sakone no shosho (Minor Captain of the Left Division of Inner Palace Guards). On October 9, he was given additional post as Kurodo.
(There is a theory that he was appointed to that position in February.)

On January 24, 949, he was given additional post of Mino no suke (assistant governor of Mino Province).

On January 30, 951, he was given additional post of Kii no Gon no suke (Provisional Assistant Governor of Kii Province) and retired from position of Mino no suke. He was given additional post as Betto of Senwakadokoro (date unknown).

On January 7, 952, he was promoted to Shogoinoge and retained his positions as Kurodo and Sakone no shosho.

On January 7, 955, he was promoted to Jushiinoge and retained his position as Sakone no shosho. On January 17, he was given permission to visit the imperial residence of the emperor. On January 17, he was reassigned as Sakone gonno chujo. On August 7, he was given additional post as Kurodo no to.

On March 24, 956, he was given additional post as Togu gon no suke (for Imperial Prince Norihira, who eventually became Emperor Reizei).

On January 30, 958, he was given additional post of Iyo no Gon no kami (Provisional Governor of Iyo Province).

On January 7, 960, he was promoted to Jushiinojo and retained his positions as Sakone gonno chujo and Togu gon no suke. On August 9, he was given additional post as Iyo no kami (Governor of Iyo Province). On August 22, he was appointed to Sangi and retained his position of Sakone gonno chujo.

On January 25, 961, he was given additional post of Iyo no kami (there was a theory that he became Ki no Gon no kami (Provisional Governor of Kii Province).
There was also a theory that he was assigned to that post on March 25.)

On January 22, 963, he was assigned additionally to Bicchu no kami (Governor of Bicchu Province) and retired from Iyo no kami.

On January 7, 965, he was promoted to Shoshiinoge (Senior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade) and retained his positions of Sangi, Sakone gonno chujo, and Bicchu no kami.

On January 20, 967, he was promoted to Jusanmi and reassigned as Gon Chunagon. On December 13, he was reassigned as Gon Dainagon.

On November 23, 968, he was promoted to Shosanmi and retained his position as Gon Dainagon.

On March 26, 969, he was reassigned to Dainagon and given additional position of Ukone no daisho (Major Captain of the Right Division of Inner Palace Guards). On November 11, he was given additional post of Sakone no daisho (Major Captain of the Left Division of Inner Palace Guards) and left position of Ukone no daisho.

On January 27, 970, he was reassigned as Udaijin. On February 2, he retained his position as Sakone no daisho. On May 20, Senge (an imperial proclamation) was issued apppointing him as as Sessho. He retained his positions of Udaijin and Sakone no daisho. On July 13, he was promoted to Junii (Junior Second Rank) and retained his positions as Sessho, Udaijin, and Sakone no daisho. On July 28, he retired from his position of Sakone no daisho. On October 20, he was given additional post of Kurodo dokoro no betto (Superintendent of the Chamberlain's Office).

On November 2, 971, Senge was issued appointing him as as Daijo-daijin and he was promoted to Shonii. He retained his position of Sessho.

On October 23, 972, he retired from positions of Sessho and Daijo-daijin. On November 1 (December 14 in the modern calendar), Koretada died. He died at the age of 49. On November 5, he was posthumously awarded the rank of Shoichii. He was buried in Mikawa Province, and his posthumous name is Kentokuko.

[Original Japanese]