Fujiwara no Yukinari (藤原行成)

FUJIWARA no Yukinari (Kozei) (972 - January 9, 1028) was a courtier of the mid-Heian period and also known as a Noshoka (calligrapher). He was one of the Shinagon (the four councilors) for the court of Emperor Ichijo. He was the son of FUJIWARA no Yoshitaka, who had the title of Ukone no Shosho (Minor Captain of the Right Palace Guards), and his mother was the daughter of MINAMOTO no Yasumitsu, who had the title of Momozono no Chunagon (provisional middle councilor). He married two daughters of MINAMOTO no Yasukiyo, who had the title of Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank) (he was from the Daigo-Genji (Minamoto clan) and the son of Imperial Prince Ariakira). He was counted as one of the Sanseki (the three great calligraphers) as the Noshoka of that time, and his calligraphy was referred as 'Gonseki' (the meaning of 'brushstroke of Gon no dainagon (provisional major councilor)') by later generations. He was the patriarch of the Sesonji family as well as the Shodo (art of calligraphy), Sesonji school. His name is pronounced as 'Yukinari' but is often called 'Kozei' in Yusoku-yomi (expression of respect).

Brief Personal History
972: He was born as the son of FUJIWARA no Yoshitaka.
(He became the Yushi (adopted child) of his grandfather FUJIWARA no Koretada, who had the title of Ichijo Sessho regent and Kentokuko, but his grandfather passed away within the same year.)

974: His father, who was Ushosho (Minor Captain of the Right Palace Guards) passed away.

982: He underwent the Genpuku Ceremony (Coming of Age Ceremony).

991: He began writing his diary, "Gonki" (until 1011).

995: He was taunted by FUJIWARA no Sanekata, but did not pay attention to him, and was singled out to be the Kurodo no to (chief of the palace officer) of Emperor Ichijo. He participated as a close associate to the emperor since then.

1020: He gained the highest attainable position of Dainagon (major councilor) with the title of Shonii (Senior Second Rank).

1027: He passed away (on the same day as FUJIWARA no Michinaga).

His place in Political History
Although he was born into the Sekkan regent factions of the Northern House of the Fujiwara clan, he lost his father and grandfather just after he was born, and his days as a teenager were hard, due to the fall of his clan. However, luck was on his side when he was singled out as the Kurodo no to of Emperor Ichijo from the bottom due to a recommendation by his friend, MINAMOTO no Toshikata, and was trusted by both the Emperor (Ichijo) and Michinaga, who had the title of Shissei (consul), by his hardworking spirit. He became a skilled administrator and one of the Shinagon. However, while Emperor Ichijo hoped that Yukinari would become a conservative by promoting Imperial Prince Atsuyasu as the next Togu (Crown Prince) in his last days, Yukinari dismissed it and demanded Emperor Ichijo to perform the Imperial succession for Imperial Prince Atsuhira (Emperor Goichijo), who was the grandson outside of the Imperial family, by the will of Michinaga. His diary, "Gonki," is considered to be an important contribution as an important historical source for the Sekkan period (the period ruled by Seessho regent and chief adviser to the emperor). He made appearances in "Makura no soshi" (The Pillow Book) and "Okagami" (The Clear Mirror), and there were many anecdotes made about him.

Even FUJIWARA no Michinaga, who held power at that time, valued his calligraphy, and when Yukinari borrowed "Ojoyoshu" from Michinaga, he said, 'I give you this original book. I would like to have your manuscript of this book instead.'

Since he died on the same day as Michinaga, and as the public was in turmoil over the death of Michinaga, many did not pay attention to his death.

His evaluation within the Shodo arena
He was counted as one of the Sanseki along with ONO no Tofu and FUJIWARA no Sukemasa.

He was evaluated as the head of the family of Sensoji School, who tried to establish Japanese Calligraphy.

He was the only one who completed the Jodaiyo (a school of Japanese Calligraphy completed in Heian period).

His calligraphic style was elegant and more advanced in Japanese style than the those of ONO no Tofu or FUJIWARA no Sukemasa.

Shinseki (original handwriting)
"Hakurakuten shikan" (Hakushi shikan) (national treasure) is stored among the collection of Tokyo National Museum. "Honno-ji gire" (national treasure) is stored among the collection of Honno-ji Temple. "Gosaga-in hon Hakushi shikan" (national treasure) is stored among the collection of Masaki Art Museum. A document related to the Imperial Prince Atsuyasu ("Gyomotsu") was determined to be an original writing of Yukinari and a part of the diary, "Gonki."

Missive (important cultural assets) is stored in a personal library etc. All of them were written in Chinese characters and no Kana versions remains till today.

Literary Works

While he performed various jobs, he wrote the book of Yusoku-kojitsu (ancient practices and usages) called "Sinsen Nenchugyoji." This was used frequently by later generations and many anecdotes were known, but a complete work was not preserved, and it is believed that it was broken up. However, it was discovered in 1998 that two documents of Shinkan (original handwriting of the emperor) of Emperor Gobunko called "Nenchugyoji" (events within the year) stored in Higashiyama Gobunko of the Imperial Palace, Kyoto was the manuscript of "Sinsen Nenchugyoji" by contrasting with the little remaining manuscript, and came under attention of researchers.

984: He was given the Jugoinoge rank (junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade). 985: He became the Jiju (chamberlain). 986: He became the Sahyoe gonno suke (Junior Assistant Captain of the Left Watch). 987: He gained the rank of Jugoinojo (Junior Fifth Rank, Upper Grade). 990: He became the Bingo no kuni gonno kami (Senior Provincial Governor of Bingo). 991: He gained the rank of Shogoinoge (Senior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade). 993: He gained the rank of Jushiinoge (Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade). 995: He became the Kurodo no to. 996: He became the Minbu Gonno Taifu (Provincial Senior Assistant Minister of the Ministry of Popular Affairs), Gonno sachuben (Provincial Middle Controller of the left), and Sachuben (Middle Controller of the left). 997: He became the Bizen no kuni no kami (Provincial Governor of Bizen). 998: He gained the rank of Jushiinojo (Junior Fourth Rank, Upper Grade) and became the Udaiben (Major Controlled of the Right) and Higashisanjo-in Betto (Secretary in the office of the retired emperor). 999: He became the Bingo no kami (Provincial Governor of Bingo) and Yamato no kuni gonnno kami (Senior Provincial Governor of Yamato). 1000: He gained the rank of Shoshiinoge (Senior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade). 1001: He gained the rank of Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank) and became the Betto (Secretary in the office of the emperor) of Imperial Prince Atsuyasu family and Sangi (Royal Adviser). 1003: He gained the rank of Shosanmi (Senior Third Rank). 1004: He became the Mimasaka no kuni Gonnno kami (Senior Provincial Governor of Mimasaka) and Hyobu kyo (Minister of the Ministry of War). 1005: He became the Sadaiben (Major Controller of the Left) and Harima no kuni no kami (Provincial Governor of Harima). 1007: He gained the rank of Junii (Junior Second Rank) and became the gonno daibu (master of the office) of the palace of empress dowager. 1009: He became the Gon no Chunagon (Provisional Middle Councilor). 1013: He gained the rank of Shonii.
1017: He became the Chunagon (vice-councilor of state)
1019: He became the Dazai Gonnno Sochi (Viceroy of the Dazai-fu). 1020: He became the Gon no Dainagon (Provisional Major Councilor). 1026: He became the Azechi (Provincial Inspector).

[Original Japanese]