Fujiwara no Morosuke (藤原師輔)

FUJIWARA no Morosuke (908 - June 7, 960 (May 6, 960 by the old calendar)) was a Kugyo (Court Noble) during the mid Heian Period. He was the second son of FUJIWARA no Tadahira of the Northern House of the Fujiwara clan. His older stepbrother was FUJIWARA no Saneyori.
His younger brothers were FUJIWARA no Morouji and FUJIWARA no Morotada
His children were FUJIWARA no Koretada, FUJIWARA no Kanemichi, and FUJIWARA no Kaneie. Morosuke was also known as Kujo Udaijin, Bojo Daijin, and Kujo dono.

He was known to possess outstanding wisdom and knowledge of the court, supporting Emperor Murakami as Udaijin (Minister of the right). After Morosuke's death, the sons of his eldest daughter, Empress FUJIWARA no Anshi, were enthroned as Emperor Reizei and Emperor Enyu, helping Morosuke's family to flourish.


He was born the second son of FUJIWARA no Tadahira, who had long served the government through the imperial court as a Sessho (regent) and Kanpaku (Chief Advisor to the Emperor). According to 'Teishin-ko ki (FUJIWARA no Tadahira's diary),' his childhood name was Daitoku. Between 931 and 941 he was promoted successively from Sangi (councillor) and Gon-chunagon (Provisional Middle Councillor). and he married Imperial Princess Kinshi, the fourth princess to Emperor Daigo.

When TAIRA no Masakado waged a revolt, FUJIWARA no Tadafumi was appointed Seito Taishogun (commander-general of the army of the eastern regions); however, before he reached the battleground, the disturbance had subsided. At the Imperial Court, debate took place on the presentation of an achievement award, during which Morosuke's older brother, Saneyori, asserted that Tadafumi had not qualified. Morosuke, on the other hand, stated: "When in doubt about the offense, consider giving the lighter sentence; and when in doubt about the merit, consider giving the higher award. Tadafumi departed the imperial capital under imperial order, and he should be awarded." Saneyori would not alter his opinion. The public felt that Morosuke's comment was wiser.

Thereafter, he was promoted to Dainagon (Chief Councillor), Ukonefu Daisho (Major Captain of the Inner Palace Guards, Right Division) and Junii (Junior Second Rank).

In 947, Emperor Suzaku abdicated the throne and Emperor Murakami was enthroned.
Morosuke's older brother Saneyori was appointed Sadaijin (Minister of the Left) and Morosuke was appointed Udaijin (Minister of the Right) and promoted to Shonii (Senior Second Rank)
His older brother, as the future head of the Fujiwara family, was always a rung higher on the social ladder, but Morosuke was praised as being an outstanding individual, so outstanding that it distressed his brother. In reality, Morosuke held actual control of the Imperial Court. Morosuke's eldest daughter, FUJIWARA no Anshi, married Emperor Murakami while he was still the crown prince, and she became a lady of the court with Emperor Murakami's enthronement; Morosuke fully supported the emperor. Anshi gave birth to a son, who later became Emperor Reizei, and became the Chugu (wife of the emperor). Thereafter, she gave birth to Imperial Prince Tamehira and Emperor Enyu. Being related to the Imperial Prince, Morosuke lead the Imperial Court, and Emperor Murakami's government, which was supported by Morosuke, was called the Tenryaku no chi.

When Morosuke's wife, Imperial Princess Kinshi, died, he married Imperial Princess Masako. When Imperial Princess Masako died, he married Imperial Princess Koushi, meaning that he married three of Emperor Daigo's daughters, which strengthened ties with the Royal family.

Saneyori and Morosuke were educated by Tadahira, and they each established a faction of court and a military household. Saneyori's faction was called the Onomiya line and Morosuke's faction was called the Kujo line, and they were succeeded by their descendents. Kujo Nenchu Gyoji' is a document that describes the faction. Morosuke formed a friendship with MINAMOTO no Takaaki, who also possessed wisdom on court households, and Morosuke's allowed his third and fifth daughters to marry Takaaki. Takaaki, a man of intelligence, received support from Morosuke and moved up the social ladder.

Morosuke was also talented in poetry, and produced a collection of poetry, 'Morosuke shu' (Kujo Udaijin shu). In 956, he sponsored Bojo Udaijin Morosuke Zen Senzai. In 'Okagami' (The Great Mirror) there is a story about Morosuke visiting KI no Tsurayuki to ask him to read the poetry.

In 960, Morosuke fell ill, and following the custom at the time, decided to join the priesthood; however, Emperor Murakami sent an imperial messenger to persuade him that he was still needed and should remain. Unfortunately, his illness took a turn for the worse and he died. He was 53 years old.

He left behind a diary, 'Kyureki,' and 'Kujodonoikai' (Teachings by Kujo dono) for his descendents.

Morosuke was not able to become a Sessho or Kanpaku; however, after the death of Emperor Murakami, Anshi's son, Imperial Prince Norihira, was enthroned as Emperor Reizei, followed by Imperial Prince Morihira as Emperor Enyu, which strengthened ties with the Imperial family. Thereafter, five of his sons, Koretada, Kanemichi, Kaneie, Tamemitsu, and Kinsue, became Daijo Daijin (Grand Minister), and the line of regents was attained in his children's generation through the lineage of his eldest son.

History of Government Officials

According to 'Kugyo Bunin (Record of Kugyo Officials)'
Dates are by the old calendar.

[Original Japanese]