Fujiwara no Toshiyuki (藤原敏行)

FUJIWARA no Toshiyuki (year of birth unknown - 907) was a Kajin (a waka poet) and Shoka (a calligraphy artist) who lived in the early Heian period. Some say that he died in the year 901.

His father was FUJIWARA no Fujimaro (a Mutsu-Dewa Azechi (local inspector of Mutsu and Dewa Provinces)) and his mother was a daughter of KI no Natora.
His wife was a daughter of KI no Aritsune (a sister of ARIHARA no Narihira's wife)
His children include FUJIWARA no Suekata, FUJIWARA no Ariyoshi (藤原有快), FUJIWARA no Koretsura (藤原伊辛), FUJIWARA no Korehira and FUJIWARA no Koremochi. He was born in the Southern House of the Fujiwara clan and eventually attained the rank of Jushiinojo (Junior Fourth Rank, Upper Grade), assuming the position of Uhyoe no kami (Captain of the Right Division of Middle Palace Guards).
He was numbered among the Thirty-six Master Poets of his time, and there is a collection of his poems called 'Toshiyuki-shu.'

Sanzetsu no Kane (bell of the three masters)

Along with Kukai, he was a renowned calligrapher in his day; however, only the following signed examples of his works have been preserved.

Shomei (temple bell inscription), Jingo-ji Temple
Although work on this inscripition was started at the behest of Shinsho, of the Zenrin-ji Temple, he passed away before the mold was completed, bequeathing the task to Tsunenori WAKI, who then hired Umitsugu SHIKABE on September 30, 875 to complete the mold. The inscription includes a total of 32 lines, with a total of 245 characters. It is a solemn inscription, which was written in the standard script, rendered as a relief engraving. The style of the calligraphy is dynamic, showing the influence of the work of ONO no Takamura and KI no Natsui, who were often commissioned to write inscriptions by the Buddhist clergy. Note that the reason this this been called 'Sanzetsu no Kane' (bell of the three masters) since ancient times is because the inscription comprises the work of three masters active at that time: the preface was composed by TACHIBANA no Hiromi; the text of the inscription by composed by SUGAWARA no Koreyoshi; and the calligraphy by done by Toshiyuki. This temple bell of Jingo-ji Temple has been designated a national treasure.


According to the "Uji Shui Monogatari"(a collection of the Tales from Uji), Toshiyuki was asked often asked to transcribe text of the Hoke-kyo Sutra, and is said to have made over 200 copies; however, because he did such work under impure conditions, such as consuming fish, and hte like, it is also said that he went to hell and suffered.

Representative Poems

The waves are gathered on the shore of Sumi Bay, and in the gathered night, when in dreams I go to you, I hide from people's eyes (Kokin Wakashu (A Collection of Ancient and Modern Japanese Poetry), Hyakunin Isshu (one hundred waka poems by one hundred poets) 18).

Nothing meets the eye to demonstrate beyond doubt that autumn has come - yet suddenly we are struck just by the sound of the wind (Kokin Wakashu, Aki no Uta Jo (the first volume of Autumn Poems), 169).

How might it happen that dewdrops of purest white, all single colored, bring forth a myriad hues in the leaves of autumn trees.

[Original Japanese]