Fujiwara no Matate (藤原真楯)

FUJIWARA no Matate (715 to April 29, 766) was a statesman who lived in the Nara period. He was born as the third son of FUJIWARA no Fusasaki, who was the founder of the Northern House of the Fujiwra clan. Matate was the name conferred to him around 760, before that his name had been Yatsuka.

He was recognized as a talented person and favored by the Emperor Shomu, however, the most powerful of his contemporaries was FUJIWARA no Nakamaro (EMI no Oshikatsu) and the most prosperous family was the Southern House of the Fujiwara clan. The head of the main line of the Northern House at the time was FUJIWARA no Nagate, who was his older brother promoted to minister, and it was largely attributable to his talent that he was promoted to chief councilor of state in the late Nara period, when the balance among the clans was sought and assuming important positions by a father and son, or brothers, was still highly criticized. And it was the Hokke Matate ryu (the Matate line of the Northern House of the Fujiwara clan) founded by Matate that produced FUJIWARA no Michinaga and his son FUJIWARA no Yorimichi in later years, who were the most prosperous in the Fujiwara clan.

Eight of his poems, including seven tanka (thirty-one syllables' poems) and one sedoka (an adjacent form of the waka or tanka which consists of six lines with sound units arranged as six/seven/seven, five/seven/seven), are selected in "Manyoshu" (Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves). The footnotes in Manyoshu suggest that he was personally associated with OTOMO no Yakamochi.

Brief Personal History
733: Had KAWABE no Azumahito visit to comfort YAMANOUE no Okura, who was ill and with whom he was associated with.

740: Assumed the position of Togu-daishin (Senior official of the Crown Prince's Quarters), granted the rank of Jugoinoge (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade).

740: Granted the rank of Jugoinojo (Junior Fifth Rank, Upper Grade) at Akasaka tongu (a temporary palace in Akasaka, Tokyo) on accompanying an imperial visit to Kanto region.

741: Assumed the position of Ueji no kami (Captain of the Right Division of Outer Palace Guards).

743: Granted the rank of Shogoinojo (Senior Fifth Rank, Upper Grade) (concurrently served as Shikibu no taifu [Senior Assistant Minister of the Ministry of Ceremonial] at the time).

744: Granted the rank of Jushiinoge (Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade).

746: Around this time, assumed the position of Yamato no kuni no kami (governor of Yamato Province). 747: Assumed the position of jibukyo (Minister of Civil Administration).

748: Served as shozokushi (an official who handled important rituals) on the death of the Emperor Gensho.

749: Assumed the position of Sangi (councillor).

752: Assumed the position of Settsudaibu (a master of Settsu Province).

754: Granted the rank of Jushiinojo (Junior Fourth Rank, Upper Grade).

757: Granted the rank of Shoshiinoge (Senior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade) after the TACHIBANA no Naramaro War.

758: Participated in amendment of official posts with FUJIWARA no Nakamaro and other members (he was Sangi and Nakatsukasa-kyo [Minister of Central Affairs] at the time).

759: Granted the rank of Shoshiinojo (Senior Fourth Rank, Upper Grade).

760: Granted the rank of Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank), and assumed the position of Dazai no sochi (Governor-General of the Dazai-fu offices).
Granted the name 'Matate.'

762: Assumed the positions of vice-councillor of state and Nakatsukasa-kyo (Minister of Central Affairs).

764: Granted the rank of Shosanmi (Senior Third Rank), assumed the positions of Shikibukyo (Minister of Ceremonial), bestowed the Second order of merit, and assumed the position of Jyutotaisho (Chief of the Division of Inner Palace Guards).

766: Assumed the position of chief councilor of state.

April 29, 766: Died at the age of 52. The Empress Shotoku mourned him as a minister.

[Original Japanese]