Fujiwara no Suemichi (藤原季通)

FUJIWARA no Suemichi (year of birth and death unknown) was a retainer at the Imperial Court and a kajin (waka, the traditional Japanese poem of thirty-one syllables, poet) who lived at the end of the Heian Period. He was the third son of FUJIWARA no Munemichi who was Gon Dainagon (provisional chief councilor of state). His mother was a daughter of FUJIWARA no Akisue who was Rokujo Shuri no daibu (a master of building and construction of the Palace from Rokujo Fujiwara family). His brothers were FUJIWARA no Koremichi, who was Daijo-daijin (Grand Minister of State), FUJIWARA no Narimichi, and FUJIWARA no Shigemichi among others. He was Sashosho (Minor Captain of the Left Division of the Inner Palace Guards), Bingo no kuni no kami (Governor of Bingo Province) and Higo no kuni no kami (Governor of Higo) in the position of Shoshiinoge (Senior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade).

He was good at not only waka, but also playing instruments such as the biwa (Japanese lute), fue (Japanese flute) and so (a long Japanese zither with thirteen strings), and was relied on deeply by the Retired Emperor Shirakawa. However, he was regarded as being guilty of adultery with FUJIWARA no Shoshi (Taikenmonin and the Empress of Emperor Toba), who was his disciple in regard to the so instrument, in his youth, and as a result, he was unsuccessful as a governmental official. It is said that FUJIWARA no Yorinaga showed compassion for his inferiority in official court rank to his brothers Narimichi and Shigemichi, and gave him a rank of Shoshiinoge, according to "the Taiki" (Diary of FUJIWARA no Yorinaga). It is said that he lived until around 1158, but the year of his death is not clear.

It is said that when he visited his aunt FUJIWARA no Matako with his brother Koremichi when he was young, she said, 'this elder brother will become a minister in future, but this little brother will end as a common person', according to "Kojidan" (Talks of the Past). As a result, he did not show talent and was unsuccessful as a governmental official throughout life and left his name only in the area of culture and arts. As a kajin, he joined and read a waka in Tobadono hokumen utaawase (Hokumen poem contest in the Toba Palace) in 1116. While his waka was selected for "Senzai waka shu" (Collection of a Thousand Years) among others, he bequeathed a personal collection of poetry, "Suemichi Ason shu" (Collection by Suemichi Ason, second highest of the eight hereditary titles).

[Original Japanese]