Fujiwara no Takaie (藤原隆家)

FUJIWARA no Takaie (979 - February 8, 1044) was a court noble during the Heian period. He was the fourth son of FUJIWARA no Michitaka, Sekkan (regents and advisers) to Emperor Ichijo. His kyokkan (the most highest rank which one was appointed) was Shonii (Senior Second Rank) Chunagon (vice-councilor of state). His childhood name was Ako.


Following his coming of age ceremony on March 14, 989, 11-year-old Takaie was appointed jiju (a chamberlain) of Jugoinoge (the Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade) and on October 10, 994 was conferred Hisangi (advisor at large) of Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank) and took his place at the Imperial Court. Preceding the death of his father, Michitaka, he attained Gon Chunagon (a provisional vice-councilor of state) on May 13, 995.

On May 19 of the following year, 996, he was demoted to Izumo no kuni Gon no kami (Provisional Governor of Izumo Province) over three charges that he had criticized Emperor Kazan, had placed a curse on Higashi-sanjoin, and had participated in Daigensuiho (magic rituals of Shingon esoteric Buddhism) (His older half brother Korechika, Naidaijin (Minister of the Interior), was also demoted to Dazai gon no sochi (Provisional Governor-General of the Dazai-fu offices). This is referred to as the Chotoku Coup.

In the following year he was summoned back to the court, and after being appointed Hyobukyo (Chief of Military Affairs), he was reinstated to Gon Chunagon on November 7, 1002. On February 16, 1007 he was promoted to Junii (Junior Second Rank), on February 27, 1012 appointed Azechi (inspector of the provincial government), and on December 7, 1014 the Dazai gon no sochi; on May 17, 1015 he was promoted Shonii (Senior Second Rank), slowly making his return through court society, finally ending at Chunagon.

Takaie was known as a person of true moral character, criticizing Emperor Ichijo, who had denied investiture of Imperial Prince Atsuyasu as the crown prince, who was a son of Sadako, Takaie's older sister, as a 'brutish man'; refusing to yield in the face of harassment by the powerful FUJIWARA no Michinaga, and being responsible for the offices of Emperor Sanjo's Empress FUJIWARA no Seishi. In the reign of Emperor Sanjo, he voluntarily took up the position of Dazai gon no sochi in Dazaifu, Kyushu in order to receive treatment for an eye disease, and during his service in 1019, earning himself military fame for repulsing the attack of Toi invasion (the Joshin tribe attacked Japan). He was the first Japanese to repel an enemy invader from its shores. Later, upon completing his term as Gon no sochi, he returned to Kyoto in 1020, and smallpox was spreading throughout the capital. A rumor was circulated that the invading Toi (considered as Joshin tribe) carried smallpox to mainland Japan and it began spreading upon Takaie's arrival in the capital.

Takaie was famous for being 'Sagana mono' (a rough character), and many colorful anecdotes about him are related in the "Okagami" (the Great Mirror) and "Makura no soshi" (the Pillow Book), including his betting against the tyrannical Kazanin (also referred as Cloistered Emperor Kazan), and exchanging witty remarks with Sei Shonagon, nyobo (a court lady) of his sister chugu (the second consort of an emperor).

Descendants of Takaie

Takaie's second son FUJIWARA no Tsunesuke (1006 - 1081) Dainagon (chief councilor of state) of Shonii (Second Senior Rank), was called Minase Dainagon. Tsuneyuki's fifth grandchild, the daughter of Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank) Tadataka, was a wife to Motozane KONOE, the founder of the Konoe family, and gave birth to Motomichi KONOE, whose sibling FUJIWARA no Nobuyori was a favorite retainer of Emperor Goshirakawa and who became famous as the ringleader of the Heiji War. Another relation to fifth grandchild of Tsuneyuki, FUJIWARA no Shokushi was the daughter of Nobutaka of Shurishiki (Office of Palace Repairs)) and a real mother of Emperor Gotoba, and her brother was Nobukiyo BOMON, who rose to Naidaijin. The Takaie linage female bloodline carries through the Imperial Household and Sekke (line of regents and advisers), and the descendants Minase linage later branched into five Tosho-ke (the hereditary lineage of Court nobles occupying relatively high ranks); the Minase family, the Shichijo family, the Machijiri family, the Sakurai family, and the Yamanoi family, continuing up until the Meiji Restoration. Finally, the powerful Kikuchi clan of Higo Province, who supported Imperial Prince Kaneyoshi during the period of the Northern and Southern Courts (Japan) were self-styled descendants.

[Original Japanese]