Fujiwara no Narichika (藤原成親)

FUJIWARA no Narichika (1138 - August 11, 1177) was a court noble at the end of the Heian period.
He was the son of Fujiwara no Ienari, chunagon (the Middle Councilor.)
His mother was the daughter of FUJIWARA no Tsunetada. His brothers were FUJIWARA no Takasue, FUJIWARA no Ieakira, Ienori, and Sanenori; his sisters were FUJIWARA no Keishi, wife of FUJIWARA no Nobuyori; and his children were FUJIWARA no Naritsune and TAIRA no Koremori.



Because his father was Emperor Toba's favorite retainer, he quickly moved up the social ladder, being awarded Jugoinoge (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade) in 1142 at the age of 5. He was appointed Echigo no kami (Provincial Governor of Echigo) in 1144 at the age of 7; thereafter, he assumed the posts of Sanuki no kami (Provincial Governor of Sanuki), jiju (chamberlain), and Echigo no kami (for the second time). Following in his father's footsteps, he became the attendant to Cloistered Emperor Toba, and in May 1156, he was selected as saishi (a special envoy from the Imperial Court for festivals) for the Kamo Festival; and by the age of 19 he was appointed Sakonenoshosho (major general of inner palace guard, left division) ("Heihanki" (A diary written by TAIRA no Nobunari)). As FUJIWARA no Yorinaga criticized his brother, Ieakira, being 'shodaibu no senjo' (a low ranking official who was promoted quickly) when Ieakira was appointed sashosho (Major General of the left), inner palace guard was a position held by an upper class nobleman. Narichika's becoming sashosho suggests a rise in the status of the Ienari family and the trust of Cloistered Emperor Toba. In August of the same year, during the funeral for Cloistered Emperor Toba, Narichika was chosen along with FUJIWARA no Shinzei to place the emperor's body in his coffin.

Attendant to Goshirakawa

In 1158, he was appointed ukonenochujo (lieutenant general of the inner palace guards, right division). The following year, he was promoted to Shoshiinoge (Senior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade) and approved to be remain in the position of Echigo no kami (Provincial Governor of Echigo). While his step brothers Takasue and Ieakira served and were close to FUJIWARA no Nariko, Narichika was closer to his sister's husband, FUJIWARA no Nobuyori, and was added as one of the attendants to Emperor Goshirakawa. Goshirakawa had great trust in Narichika and it is stated in the "Gukansho" that they were involved in a homosexual relationship.

During the Heiji War, Narichika and Nobuyori armed themselves and joined in the battle. After defeat in the war, Nobuyori was executed, while Narichika received a special pardon because his younger sister Keishi was the wife of TAIRA no Shigemori. According to the "Gukansho," Narichika was considered a young court noble of no significance. His punishment was light, requiring that he resign his position.

In May 1161, he was reappointed to the position of uchujo (lieutenant general of the right). After the death of Bifukumon-in, the conflict between two groups, one siding with the Retired Emperor Goshirakawa and the other siding with Emperor Nijo, became intense. Goshirakawa endeavored to strengthen his political foundation. However, in August of the same year, TAIRA no Tokitada's conspiracy involving Norihito's (later Emperor Takakura) rittaishi (the investiture of the Crown Prince) was uncovered and Emperor Nijo immediately removed Goshirakawa's attendants from their positions. Narichika was included with them, and although he was recalled to his position in the following year, further promotion was frozen, and while Emperor Nijo ruled, he had no choice but to bide his time.

In February 1166, after the death of Emperor Nijo, he was appointed sakonenochujo (lieutenant general of the inner palace guards, left division). He benefited from Goshirakawa's return to power, being appointed kurodonoto (chief of the palace officers) in July and sangi (royal advisor) in September, and by December, he overtook his five superiors, and was promoted to Shosanmi (Senior Third Rank). In November, Imperial Prince Norihito (later Emperor Takakura) celebrated his rittaishi (investiture ceremony of the Crown Prince) and Goshirakawa began his rule with the support of TAIRA no Kiyomori.
The following year, Narichika was appointed gonchunagon (Provincial Middle Councilor)
He maintained a close relationship with his brother-in-law Shigemori, and Narichika's daughter married Shigemori's son, Koremori. In November 1169, during the Yasoshima Festival sponsored by Emperor Takakura, Keishi served as special envoy, and Narichika, his older brother Takasue, and other members of the Taira clan accompanied Keishi.

Kao no goso (force against a person of power)

Goshirakawa was a contributor to Onjo-ji Temple from early in his life and took the position of gegosha (non-ordained protector); Enryaku-ji Temple soon came into conflict with Onjo-ji Temple because of discontent with Gosirakawa's actions. In December 1169, Uemonfu Masatomo, who was the mokudai (dispatched proxy) for FUJIWARA no Ienori, the Governor of Owari Province, was having problems with the jinin (a member of the temple staff) of Hiranosho, Mino Province. The event itself was small, but in Mino Province there were many manors which were in possession of Enryaku-ji Temple, and Goshirakawa had been working to control those manors through the kokushi (local governor) who were his attendants, so Enryaku-ji Temple sought to have Narichika exiled and Masatomo detained. Narichika was Ienori's half-brother by the same mother and the provincial proprietor of Owari Province.

Goshirakawa called his court nobles, kebiishi (police and justices), and samurai to the Imperial Palace where he resided, to enhance security; however, the group of priests headed not for Goshirakawa's Palace but the Imperial Palace precincts, and made its attack of the precincts. Goshirakawa wanted to sent an armed force to suppress the mob; however, after discussion among court nobles, majority opinion was not to send troops, and Shigemori. leader of the force, would not follow Goshirakawa's orders. Therefore, on January 19 1170, Narichika was dismissed from his position and exiled to Bicchu Province. On the 23th, he was called back, and in turn, Tokitada, who was Kebiishi Betto (police steward), and TAIRA no Nobunori, who was the kurodonoto (chief of the palace officers), were exiled. On the 25th, Narichika was returned to the position of gonchunagon (Provincial Middle Councilor), and in February, he was appointed the uhyoe no kami (Captain of the right) kebiishi betto (Secretary in the Office of Police and Judicial Chief).
Kanezane KUJO called this measure "the work of a devil ("Gyokuyo")

Enryaku-ji Temple revolted once again, taking a strong stance against the decision, and Kiyomori came to Kyoto from Fukuhara on the 11th, in order to repair the damage. When armed forces gathered in Rokuhara, intensifying the situation, Narichika asked Goshirakawa for his resignation from the position of Kebiishi betto. On March 2, he was released from his position but was saved from being exiled. He quickly returned to his positions of Gonchunagon, uhyoe no kami and kebiishi betto in April of the same year, and was promoted to uemon no kami (Captain of the Right Gate Guard) in August and saemon no kami (Captain of the Left Gate Guard) in January of the following year. Thereafter, he served as kebiishi betto until December of 1175. Narichika, protected from Goshirakawa, not only avoided the loss of his position, but displayed Goshirakawa's confidence in him. Establishing his position as a core member of the attendants to the retired Emperor, Narichika always accompanied the Emperor in imayo (a popular style of song in Heian Period) and Kumano mode (visits to Kumano). In 1172, he built and managed Sanjodono, the palace of the retired Emperor, with Tanba and Echigo as governing provinces. The following year, he was promoted to Shonii (Senior Second Rank) and in 1175, to gondainagon (Provincial major councilor).

The Shishigatani Incident

The death of TAIRA no Shigeko in August 1176 gradually exposed the conflict between Goshirakawa and the Taira clan. The conflict reached the boiling point with the Hakusan Incident in May 1177. While Enryaku-ji Temple demanded the exile of FUJIWARA no Morotaka, the governor of Kaga Province, Morotaka's father Saiko, suggested that Goshirakawa punish Myoun, Tendaizasu (The chief priest of Enryaku-ji Temple), and the feud between the retired emperor and Enryaku-ji Temple became increasingly severe. While Kiyomori came to Kyoto to prepare to attack Enryaku-ji Temple on order from Goshirakawa, Narichika was suddenly arrested by Kiyomori.

The "Gukansho" gives a description of the incidents: "When Narichika arrived at the palace and greeted Shigemori and Yorimori, who were in the seats of Kugyo, he was tied up by TAIRA no Moritoshi and confined in a room.
Surprised. Shigemori comforted Narichika telling him 'not to worry; your life will be saved.'"
The group of priests, who were in Nishisakamoto at the time, expressed their thanks to Kiyomori, telling him they were "grateful to have had our enemy avenged." Narichika had long been an enemy to Enryaku-ji Temple along with Saiko.

In the "Hyakurensho" and "Gukansho" are statements that support the theory that Narichika conspired to subdue the Taira clan. The reason for Narichika's conspiracy is explained in the "Tale of Heike," as follows: When Narichika expressed the desire to take the post from which FUJIWARA no Moronaga had resigned, the two brothers, TAIRA no Shigemori and Munemori, were appointed Generals of the right and left, for which Narichika held a grudge. However, only very few families were of the class qualified to furnish Generals, and for Narichika to desire such a position at his rank was unrealistic, so this theory may be questioned. The same story is noted in the "Tale of Heiji", and because Tale of Heike and Tale of Heiji were written at about the same time, there is a possibility of it being literary fiction.

On July 6, Narichika was exiled to Bizen Province and on the 18th he was relieved of his position.
He received support from Shigemori, being presented with clothing, until he died on August 11.("Hyakurensho")
It seemed he was killed by not being given any food. ("Gukansho")


Dates = by the old calendar
1142 - 5 years old
January 5 - Jugoinoge (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade)

1144 - 7 years old
December 18 - Echigo no kami (Provincial Governor of Echigo)

1145 - 8 years old
January 4 - Jugoinojo (Junior Fifth Rank, Upper Grade)

1146 - 9 years old
December 29 - Sanuki no kami (Provincial Governor of Sanuki)

1150 - 13 years old
January 6 - Shogoinoge (Senior Fifth Rank. Lower Grade)

1152 - 15 years old
January 28 - jiju (chamberlain)

1155 - 18 years old
January 28 - Echigo no kami (Built Toba Mido)

1156 - 19 years old
April 6 - sashosho (Major General of the left)
Remained in the post of Echigo no kami

1157 - 20 years old
January 24 - Jushiinoge (Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade) (Built Kongo shinin)
October 22 - Jushiinojo (Junior Fourth Rank, Upper Grade) (Built Shunkoden)

1158 - 21 years old
November 26 - Uchujo (lieutenant general of the right)

1159 - 22 years old
January 3 - Shoshiinoge (Senior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade) (Received from FUJIWARA no Nobuyori)
February 3 - Echigo no kami (concurrently held position)
December 27 - Removed from position (Because of the crime committed by FUJIWARA no Nobuyori)

1161 - 24 years old
April 1 - Returned to the position of Uchujo
September 28 - Removed from the position

1166 - 29 years old
January 12 - Sachujo (lieutenant general of the left)
June 6 - kurodonoto (chief of the palace officers)
August 27 - Appointed Sangi (royal advisor)
Remained in the position of Sachujo
Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank)

December 23 - Shosanmi (Senior Third Rank)

1167 - 30 years old
January 30 - concurrently held the post of Echizen gonno kami (Senior provincial governor of Echizen)
February 11 - Gonno chunagon (Provincial Middle Councilor.)
October 19 - Approved to put on a sword

1169 - 32 years old
December 24 - Removed from position (Invocation by Tendai Taishu)
Exiled to Bicchu Province

December 28 - Called back
December 30 - Returned to original posts
Reappointed Gonno chunagon

1170 - 33 years old
January 5 - Uhyoe no kami (Captain of the right)
Kebiishi Betto (Secretary in the Office of Police and Judicial Chief)

February 6 - Removed from position (Invocation by Tendai Taishu)
April 21 - Returned to the posts of Gonno chunagon, Uhyoe no kami, and Kebiishi Betto
July 26 - Uemon no kami (Captain of the Right Gate Guard)
December 30 - saemon no kami (Captain of the Left Gate Guard)

1172 - 35 years old
July 21 - Junii (Junior Second Rank) (Construction of the Emperor's Palace, relocation of the Emperor and Empress upon completion)

1173 - 36 years old
April 13 - Shonii (Senior Second Rank) (Events and visits by Emperor to Hachiman kamo Shrine)

1175 - 38 years old
November 28 - Gonno Dainagon (Provincial Major Councilor)

1177 - 40 years old
June 1 - imprisoned at Nishi Hachijo Tei
June 2 - Exiled to Bizen Province
June 18 - Removed from post

[Original Japanese]