Fujiwara no Toshikane (藤原俊兼)

FUJIWARA no Toshikane (dates of birth and death unknown) was a government official in the early Kamakura Period. He was the initial Yuhitsu (amanuensis) of MINAMOTO no Yoritomo. He was Gon no kami (provisional governor) of Chikugo Province.

The first appearance in "Azuma Kagami" (The Mirror of the East) is the article dated April 23, 1184, and Masayoshi SHIMOKOBE made a request through Toshikane, and Toshikane wrote gosho (writings/letters of superior) for mokudai (deputy kokushi, or a deputy provincial governor) by order of Yoritomo. He appeared frequently together with FUJIWARA no Kunimichi, but on the contrary, Kunimitsu was thrown into the shade as Yuhitsu (amanuensis). In the article dated October 20, at the east side of the gotei (residence) of Yoritomo was used as a monchujo (a court of justice) and MIYOSHI no Yasunobu, FUJIWARA no Toshikane, Moritoki TAIRA (Chikeji[an official working under mandokoro betto, or a director of the admimistrative board]) of Mandokoro of the Kamakura bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun)) judged arguments of people.

However, the most famous anecdote is the article dated November 21 in the same year. Although Toshikane was originally showy, he was dressed gorgeously when he was called by MINAMOTO no Yoritomo, wearing a dozen kosode (a kimono with short sleeves worn as underclothing by the upper classes) with colorful hems of sleeves. Yoritomo cut the hem of kosode of Toshikane, and said 'you have versatile talents, but do not know thrift,' and 'stop magnigicence from now on,' quoting the simplicity and frugality of Tsunetane CHIBA and Sanehira DOI. OE no Hiromoto and FUJIWARA no Kunimichi who attended the scene were also struck by terror.

It is known that, according to the article dated March 6, 1186, Toshikata inquired Shizuka Gozen about whereabouts of MINAMOTO no Yoshitsune, and the article dated August 15 in the same year described the famous scene of appearance of Saigyo, the beginning of yabusame (the art of shooting arrows on horseback), and Yoritomo made Toshikane write the secrets of the art of yabusame told by Saigyo. Compared with civil officers in Kyoto, such as OE no Hiromoto, MIYOSHI no Yasunobu, and Yukimasa NIKAIDO, he was not a top class official of administrative affairs, but always served Yoritomo as bugyonin and yuhitsu (amanuensis).

[Original Japanese]