Fujiwara no Moronaga (藤原師長)

FUJIWARA no Moronaga (1138 - September 4, 1192) was the Kugyo (court noble), who had a title of Daijodaijin (Prime Minister) at the end of Heian period. His father was FUJIWARA no Yorinaga, who was infamous for being the ring reader of the Hogen no ran (Hogen Disturbance) and had a title of Sadaijin (Minister of the Left). His mother was the daughter of MINAMOTO no Nobumasa. His brothers were FUJIWARA no Kanenaga, FUJIWARA no Takanaga, and Norinaga.
He was known by Go (byname) of 'Myoonin.'

In addition to being the son of Yorinaga and adopted by his grandfather, FUJIWARA no Tadazane, he received the estate of Iyo no kuni (Iyo Province) and held the post at Konoefu (Division of Inner Palace Guards) early despite being the second son. He became the Sangi (Councilor) at an early age of 14 in 1151. He became the Chunagon (Middle Councillor) in 1154. However, since his father Moronaga allied with the Retired Emperor Sutoku to trigger the Hogen no ran in 1156, Moronaga was held responsible for his association with his father, and his court rank was taken away from him before being exiled to Tosa no kuni (Tosa Province) (one theory stated that it was the Hata district within the same province).
Just before he was exiled, he revealed to his adopted father, grandfather Tadazane that he would go through becoming a priest but was persuaded to change his decision by being told, 'it is always unclear about what happens in this world.'

He was pardoned for his crime, and allowed to regain his court rank, and returned to Kyoto in 1164. He later participated as a close servant to the Retired Emperor Goshirakawa and became a Gon dainagon (Provisional Major Councilor), working as Naidaijin (Great Minister of the Centre), and was promoted to Daijodaijin, who had a Juichii rank (Junior First Rank) in 1177.

However, when it came to surface that there was a strife between Motomichi KONOE and him, it created a clash with the Taira family who supported KONOE, and Moronaga was dismissed from his court office during the coop d'etat triggered by TAIRA no Kiyomori (Jishosannen no seihen (coop of Jishosannen)) in November 1179 and was exiled to the Owari no kuni (Owari Province). Afterwards, Moronaga became a Buddhist priest to gain the Go (byname) of Rikaku. He was allowed to return to Kyoto three years later and died on September 4, 1192 at the age of 55.

He contributed a little as a politician, but possessed academic knowledge gained his father (while his father was still alive, he was often absorbed in debate at Jin no sadame (Ancient Cabinet Council) with his father, who was said to be the great scholar of that time) and left his name in the history of gagaku (old Japanese court music) as a musician who represented the Heian era along with MINAMOTO no Hiromasa. He was known as an expert in koto (Chinese zither) and biwa (Japanese lute), and well versed in a variety of music at the time from kagura (ancient Shinto music and dancing), shomyo (ancient Indian linguistic and grammar studies), roei (recitation of Japanese or Chinese poem), imayo (Heian poetry style), and saibara (genre of Heian era Japanese court music primarily consisting of gaku-styled folk melodies). There was a parting song for MINAMOTO no Koremori, who became a retainer after yearning for koto played by Moronaga when he was exiled to Tosa Province at the young age of 19 in "Senzai Wakashu" (Collection of a Thousand Years), as well as the legend that he secretly travelled to Southern Song dynasty to learn music when he was young, but was restrained by the ghost of Emperor Murakami in Suma district and was taught the secrets of biwa instead.

His music-related written works include "Jinchi yoroku" and "Sango yoroku." In addition, he gained the name 'Myoonin' since he strongly believed in Myoon bossatsu (Benzaiten, god of wealth, music, eloquence and water) who was believed to be the guardian deity for music.

The bloodline of Yorinaga ended with the death of Moronaga.

[Original Japanese]