Fujiwara no Yoritada (藤原頼忠)

FUJIWARA no Yoritada (924 - August 5, 989) was a court noble who lived in the mid Heian period. He was the second son of FUJIWARA no Saneyori. His mother was a daughter of FUJIWARA no Tokihira. He had together with a daughter of Imperial Prince Yoakira, FUJIWARA no Kinto, FUJIWARA no Junshi (Nobuko), who was a court lady for the Emperor Enyu, FUJIWARA no Teishi, who was a court lady for the Emperor Kazan and the wife of MINAMOTO no Shigenobu, who was the sadaijin (minister of the left). His posthumous name was Rengi-ko. He worked as kanpaku (chief advisor to the Emperor) for the Emperor Enyu and the Emperor Kazan and later was appointed to Daijodaijin (Grand minister of state), but he could not become a maternal relative of the emperor and was defeated in a political dispute with FUJIWARA no Kaneie and resigned as kanpaku during the enthronement of the Emperor Ichijo and died a disappointed man.


He was born as the second son of Saneyori who was a direct descent of the Northern House of the Fujiwara clan (the Ononomiya family). Saneyori worked as the kanpaku for the Emperor Reizei and the sessho for the Emperor Enyu, but this was because Saneyori's younger brother, who was the maternal grandfather of the Emperor Reizei and the Emperor Enyu had died and, therefore, Saneyori could not lead politics as he intended although he became the sessho.

At the beginning, it was planned to make Yoritada an adopted son of FUJIWARA no Yasutada ("Sonpi Bunmyaku," Lineage Sects of Noble and Humble), but it was called off because of Yasutada's early death and as his elder brother, FUJIWARA no Atsutoshi, Yoritada became the heir of the Ononomiya family. In 956, he was appointed to Gon Sachuben (Provisional Middle Controller of the left) and then after working as Udaiben (Major Controller of the right) and Sadaiben (major controller of the left) and appointed to Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank) Chunagon (vice-councilor of state) working as a benkan (officials of the dajokan), until he was ranked as a court noble for 13 years. Although his promotion was slow, he worked for a long time handling practical works of Daijokan (Grand Council of State) as a benkan and, during this period, he brushed up his knowledge, becoming a court noble who was good at historical facts and practical works. In 963, he was appointed to a sangi (councilor). In 970, he was promoted to Dainagon (chief councilor of state) and appointed to Sakone no daisho (Major Captain of the Left Division of Inner Palace Guards) concurrently. In 971, he was appointed to the udaijin (minister of the right).

When FUJIWARA no Koretada (the first son of Morosuke and the maternal uncle of the Emperor Enyu), who became the sessho succeeding his father Saneyori, suddenly died in 972, he was named as candidate for kanpaku (In "Chikanobu-kyo ki," it is recorded that the Emperor Enyu intended not to appoint any sessho or kanpaku and appoint Yoritada to the nairan (a position similar to the sessho and kanpaku) and notified Yoritada in private). Finally, an imperial proclamation for the nairan was given to Koretada's younger brother FUJIWARA no Kanemichi (later, kanpaku), but Yoritada worked as the Toshi choja (the head of the Fujiwara clan). In 974, when Kanemichi became Daijodaijin, the Toshi choja was assigned to Kanemichi.

Although Kanemichi was on very bad terms with his younger brother FUJIWARA no Kaneie, he was very close to Yoritada and they consulted with each other in affairs of state in details. In December 976, Kanemichi appointed Yoritada to Ichi no kami (top court noble). If no ichi no kami was specified, the court noble with the top rank other than the sessho and kanpaku, at that time, MINAMOTO no Kaneakira, sadaijin customarily carried out jobs of the ichi no kami, but because of appointment by Kanemichi, political powers of Kaneakira, who was very popular as a sisei kozoku (a member of the Imperial Family conferred with a family name) was divested. In April 977, Kanemichi made MINAMOTO no Kaneakira return as an Imperial Prince and appointed Yoritada to sadaijin. Kanemichi, who hated his younger brother, Kaneie, intended to make Yoritada his successor fearing that Kaneie who had a higher official rank than Kanemichi's children would occupy the position of the kanpaku after Kanemichi's death.
On August 2 in this year, a joi for merits of construction of the Imperial Palace was carried out and its scale was so large the entire ceremony could be completed in the morning, and the next day, under management of Yoritada as the ichi no kami, the whole ceremony was carried out without delay. ("Chushisho")

In November of the same year, Kanemichi, who fell seriously ill, pushed himself to visit the Imperial Palace in order to prevent Kaneie from becoming his successor and carried out the last jimoku, assigning the position of the kanpaku to Yoritada telling him Yoritada had the capability to work as kanpaku and demoted Kaneie. On the same day, Yoritada became the kanpaku and was reinstated to the Toshi no choja. Before long, Kanemichi died.

Kaneie was in adverse circumstances for some time, but Yoritada could not leave his maternal uncle the emperor as he was and, in 979, reinstated him by promoting to udaijin. In the same year, Yoritada was promoted to Daijodaijin.

Although Yoritada became Kanpaku Daijodaijin, his weak point was that he did not have a maternal relation to the emperor. In addition, as the emperor did not leave all affairs of state to Yoritada and made MINAMOTO no Masanobu work as the ichi no kami, the political powers were decentralized and Yoritada's political ground was unstable. Therefore, in the same year, he made FUJIWARA no Junshi/Nobuko enter the Imperial Court as a nyogo for the Emperor Enyu. On the other hand, Kaneie also made his daughter FUJIWARA no Senshi enter the Imperial Court as a nyogo for the Emperor Enyu. In 982, Junshi was chugu (empress), but she did not give birth to any imperial prince and was ridiculed by the general public as 'empty womb empress' (Eiga Monogatari). On the other hand, Senshi gave birth to the Emperor Ichijo and the situations became more favorable to Kaneie. The political capacity of Yoritada as the kanpaku, who could not establish close connection with Masanobu or Kaneie, became limited, and political power was divided into four among the Emperor Enyu, FUJIWARA no Yoritada, MINAMOTO no Masanobu and FUJIWARA no Kaneie and the political situation was stagnated so that it was conveyed to future generations as 'at the end of the era of the Cloistered Emperor Enyu, political situations under the government by the Imperial Court fell into disorder,' "Godansho" (Tales of Master Oe).

In 983, the Emperor Enyu abdicated the throne in favor of Emperor Kazan (Imperial Prince of the Emperor Reizei). As the maternal grandfather of the new Emperor, Koretada, had already died, Yoritada stayed as the kanpaku and Imperial Prince Yasuhito was chosen as the crown prince. Yoritada wanted to become a maternal relative of the Emperor and send FUJIWARA no Teishi as a nyogo for the Emperor Kazan, but was unable to gain Kazan's favor or bear children. As FUJIWARA noYoshikane (the fifth son of Koretada and uncle of Kazan), who was still young, obtained the qualification of the future daijin and kanpaku by being selected as being the chunagon, assistant to the new emperor, Yoritada's position was compromised even further. Under these situations, discord between the Emperor, who wanted to further the direct administration aggressively as well as Yoshikane who supported the Emperor and Yoritada deepened, and in 'Reijohojisho' issued on December 28 of this year (recorded in "Honchomonzui" (a collection of Chinese poetry edited by FUJIWARA no Akihira), known as the most important work of YOSHISHIGE no Yasutane who wrote this), noted 'daijin juroku fukan' in which daijins including Yoritada as being accused by the Emperor.

Kaneie wished to see the Imperial Prince Yasuhito enthroned, and in 986, he carried out a scheme to turn the Emperor Kazan into retiring and becoming a priest. The young Imperial Prince Yasuhito ascended the throne (the Emperor Ichijo). As far as Kaneie as a maternal grandfather existed, Yoritada had no other way but to resign as the kanpaku and Kaneie became the sessho and gained complete control over affairs of state.

Although Yoritada maintained the position of Daijodaijin, he had a nominal existence and died in 989 a disappointed man. He was 66 years old.

Yoritada wore a hogo whenever he visited the Imperial Palace. Hogo was a formal cloth next to sokutai (traditional ceremonial court dress) and, as other nobles visited the Imperial Court usually wearing noshi, which was everyday clothes, when they visited the Imperial Court, it shows that Yoritada was a conscientious person.

Official Career
* Date = Lunar Calendar

On February 10, 941, he was conferred Jugoinoge (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade).

On January 23, 943, he was appointed to jiju (chamberlain).


On June 4, he was allowed shoden (access to the imperial court).

On October 22, he was shifted to Uhyoe no suke (assistant captain of the Right Division of Middle Palace Guards).


On February 24, he was promoted to Jugoinojo (Junior Fifth Rank, Upper Grade)

On March 18, he was shifted to Ukone no shosho (Minor Captain of the Right Division of Inner Palace Guards).

On March 1, 949, he was appointed to Bizen no suke (Assistant Governor of Bizen Province) concurrently (some says Iyo no gon no suke (provisional vice governor of Iyo Province)).

On February 10, 952, he was promoted to Shogoinoge (Senior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade) and he retained his position as Ukonoe shosho.

On February 24, 954, he was appointed to Iyo gon no suke (some says it was on March 6. Also, some says it was Bizen gon no suke).


On March 8, he was promoted to Jushiinoge (Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade). Retained his position as Ukone no Gon no shosho (Provisional Minor Captain of the Right Division of Inner Palace Guards).

On March 18, he was allowed to access to the Imperial Court.

On August 19, he was appointed to Ukone no Gon no chujo (Provisional Middle Captain of the Right Division of Inner Palace Guards).

On May 12, 956, he was appointed to Sachuben (middle controller of the left), concurrently.


On February 11, he was promoted to Jushiinojo (Junior Fourth Rank, Upper Grade) and retained his position as Ukone no Gon no chujo and Sachuben.

On May 25, he worked as Udaiben (Major Controller of the Right) concurrently and left Sachuben.

On September 29, 963, he was appointed to a sangi. Retained his position as Udaiben.

On March 14, 964, he was appointed to Bizen no kami (Governor of Bizen Province).

On January 23, 966, he was appointed to Kageyu no kami (chief investigator of the records of outgoing officials) concurrently.


On February 5, he was promoted to Shoshiinoge (Senior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade); retained his position as Sangi, Udaiben, kageyushi no kami and Bizen no kami.

On Nobember 7, he was appointed to sadaiben concurrently and left the udaiben.

On March 11, 968, he was promoted to Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank) and shifted to chunagon (some say it was on June 8).


On March 2, he was appointed to Saemon no kami (captain of the Left Division of Outer Palace Guards), concurrently.

On December 27, he was appointed to Ukone no daisho (Major Captain of the Right Division of Inner Palace Guards) concurrently and left Saemon no kami.


Month and date not known: He was appointed to Sakone no daisho concurrently and left Ukone no daisho.

On September 13, he was shifted to Gon Dainagon (provisional major counselor); retained his position as Sakonoe no daisho.


On November 27, he was promoted to Shosanmi (Senior Third Rank) and shifted to the udaijin.

On December 3, retained his position as Sakonoe no daisho.

On December 30, 972, he received imperial proclamation for Fujiwarashi choja (the head of the Fujiwara clan).

On February 17, 973, he was promoted to Juniinoge (Junior Second Rank); retained his position as Udaijin, Sakone no daisho, Fujiwarashi choja.

On March 9, 974, he resigned as Fujiwarashi choja.


On May 19, he was promoted to Shonii (Senior Second Rank) and shifted to Sadaijin.

May 20, retained his position as Sakone no daisho.

On June 7, he was appointed to Kurodo dokoro no betto (Superintendent of the Chamberlain's Office) concurrently.

On November 23, he received imperial proclamation for the kanpaku.
Imperial proclamation for Fujiwarashi choja
Retained his position as Sadaijin and Sakone no daisho.

On December 20, he resigned as the sakonoe taisho.

On November 10, 978, he received imperial proclamation for Daijodaijin. Retained his position as Kanpaku and Fujiwarashi choja.

On February 19, 981, he was promoted to Juichii (Junior First Rank); retained his position as Kanpaku, Daijodaijin, and Fujiwarashi choja.

On August 6, 986, he resigned as the kanpaku and Fujiwarashi choja.


On August 5, he died. He was 66 years old.

On August 28, he was conferred with Shoichii (Senior First Rank)
He was appointed to Suruga Province and his posthumous name was Rengiko.

[Original Japanese]