Fujiwara no Takanobu (藤原隆信)

FUJIWARA no Takanobu (1142 - March 26, 1205) was an aristocrat who lived from the end of Heian period to early Kamakura period. Takanobu's father was FUJIWARA no Tametsune (Jakucho) who was the governor of Nagato Province. Takanobu's mother was a daughter of FUJIWARA no Chikatada who was the governor of Wakasa Province. Takanobu was raised by FUJIWARA no Toshinari who was the husband from a remarriage by Takanobu's mother (FUJIWARA no Teika, a tanka poet, was a half younger brother of Takanobu with the same mother). Takanobu's children included FUJIWARA no Nobuzane, a portrait painter, and Juntokuin no Hyoe no Naishi, a tanka poet.

Main activities

When Takanobu was young, he won fame as a tanka poet and served the Emperor Nijo and Emperor Gotoba.

One of Takanobu's most passed down achievements to later generations was his activity as a painter.

Takanobu was an excellent painter of portraits and it is described in "Jingo-ji Ryakuki" (An Abbreviated Record of Jingo-ji Temple) that the portraits such as those of MINAMOTO no Yoritomo, TAIRA no Shigemori, and FUJIWARA no Mitsuyoshi which are stored in Shingo-ji temple are national treasures which were painted by Takanobu. His portrait of MINAMOTO no Yoritomo wearing a kowa-shozoku (stiffly starched costume) shows the inner strength Yoritomo possessed as head of the military caste.

Takanobu sequentially fulfilled the roles of an assistant governor of Kozuke Province, the governor of Echizen Province, and the governor of Wakasa Province.

Takanobu became a Buddhism priest in 1202. Takanobu became a believer of Buddhism under a Buddhist priest Honen who started Jodo sect, a Buddhist faction.

Though it is thought that Takanobu wrote a story, "Ukinami" and a historical story, "Yasetsugi," no real books of such stories exist.

A privately edited tanka collection by Takanobu was Juei one-hundred tanka collection which was completed around summer in 1182 and another one which was completed around 1204.

The fact that Takanobu received Toshinari's education can be seen in pieces of tanka exchanged between Gojo no Sanmi Nyudo Toshinari and Takanobu, collected in a section for sedo-ka (a style of tanka) in a book completed around 1204.

[Original Japanese]