Fujiwara no Nariyori (藤原成頼)

FUJIWARA no Nariyori (1136 - 1202) was a kugyo (top court official) living from the late Heian period to the early Kamakura period. He belonged to the Kanjuji line of the Northern House of the Fujiwara clan, and he was the third son (some say the fourth son) of FUJIWARA no Akiyori of Gon Chunagon (a provisional vice-councilor of state). Nariyori's mother was the daughter of FUJIWARA no Toshitada of Gon Chunagon, and Nariyori was the younger half brother of FUJIWARA no Mitsuyori and of FUJIWARA no Korekata. Nariyori rose to the rank of Shosanmi (Senior Third Rank), and to the title of Sangi (councilor) and Shuri no daibu (Master of the Office of Palace Repairs). He became an adoptee of his elder brother Mitsuyori.

In 1158, Nariyori was conferred the peerage of Kurodo (Chamberlain). When the Heiji War broke out in 1159, his brother Korekata once took part in the rebel army of FUJIWARA no Nobuyori and then switched sides, but Nariyori's action was coolheaded from start to finish, so he enabled the Retired Emperor Goshirakawa to escape from Dairi (the Inner Palace). When Emperor Nijo who already escaped from Dairi and the retired emperor both entered the Rokuhara residence of TAIRA no Kiyomori, Nariyori heralded it as a sign of Kiyomori's legitimacy to kugyo and Shodaibu (aristocracy lower than Kugyo), so Nariyori contributed to a drastic shift in the tide of the war in Kiyomori's favor.

Thereafter his relationship with Taira clan government was so good that he got married to a daughter of FUJIWARA no Kunitsuna who was the sworn friend of Kiyomori, and she became the wet nurse of Emperor Takakura afterward. And in 1166, Kunitsuna transferred his title of Sangi to Nariyori. But in 1174, on the first anniversary of his brother Mitsuyori's death, he became a priest. Thereafter Nariyori lived a secluded life on Mt. Koya, so he was called Koya no saisho Nyudo (a priest monk councilor of Mt. Koya).

In "Heiji Monogatari" (The tale of the Heiji) and "Heike Monogatari" (The tale of the Heike), Nariyori was described as a wise man, but some writings like "Gukansho" (Jottings of a Fool) said his becoming a priest was not good.

[Original Japanese]