Fujiwara no Masaie (藤原正家)

FUJIWARA no Masaie (1026-November 21, 1111) was a court noble in the late Heian period. He was a son of Shoshii (Senior Fourth Rank) FUJIWARA no Ietsune. He court rank was Shoshinoge (Senior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade) and his post was Benkan (the Steward of the Imperial household).

He was born as a son of FUJIWARA no Ietsune, who was a member of the Manatsu line of the Northern House of the Fujiwara clan and served at Shikibusho (the Ministry of Ceremonial) as Monjo hakase (a professor of literature). It is said that he was famous from his childhood as a child prodigy who read fifty copies of part of the "Lotus Sutra" a day or the aggregate of tens of thousands copies. He pursued a career as a scholar after he came of age and passed the examination for government officials. After serving as an officer of Emonfu (Headquarter of the Outer Palace Guards) and the provincial governor of Etchu Province, he was appointed to Ushoben (Minor Controller of the Right) in 1061 as well as Monjo hakase in 1065. He was further promoted as Benkan and became Udaiben (Major Controller of the Right) cum Kangakuin betto (chief officer of the educational institution) in 1080. In 1087, he served as the tutor of the Emperor Horikawa as Shikibu gon no taifu (Provisional Senior Assistant Minister of the Ministry of Ceremonial) and later became Shikibu taifu (the Assistant Minister of the Ministry of Ceremonial) in 1095.

He and OE no Masafusa were regarded as the two leading scholars in the era of Emperor Gosanjo and Emperor Shirakawa ("Imakagami"(The Mirror of the Present)). He was called 'Juso' since he excelled in Jugaku (Cofucianism), and he was also well-known as a physiognomist ("Chugaisho"(narrative of FUJIWARA no Tadazane), "Kojidan"(Talks of the Past)). As seen from the above, he was a person of wide knowledge and talents.

He was also a waka poet who participated in "Jishin Utaawase" held in 1051, "Shoryaku Ninen Dairi Utaawase" and "Kaho Gannen Saki no Kanpaku Morozane Utaawase" etc. At Daijosai (the Imperial enthronement rite) in 1108, he served as a composer of waka poem of sukikata (a province or county that was chosen to present rice to a newly enthroned Emperor). His waka poems were selected in chokusen wakashu (anthology of Japanese poetry compiled by the Imperial command) such as "Kinyo Wakashu" etc. Further, it is said that he was a talented person in Chinese prose and poetry along with OE no Masafusa.

[Original Japanese]