Harusumi no Yoshitada (春澄善縄)

HARUSUMI no Yoshitada (797 - March 24, 870) was a scholar and a court noble who lived in the early Heian period. His official titles (called Uji-Kabane) were Inabetsukuri, Haruzumi no sukune, and Haruzumi no Ason, in this order. His azana (nickname for an adult male) was Meitatsu. He was the eldest son of INABE no Toyoo, who was the kokushi (Governor) of Suo Province, and also a member of a branch family of the Mononobe clan. He was Jusanmi Sangi (councilor at the Junior Third Rank).


His grandfather, INABE no Takaramaro, was Shoryo (district manager) of Inabe County, Ise Province, and his father, INABE no Toyoo, was the Juhachiinoge (Junior Eighth Rank, Lower Grade) kokushi (Governor) of Suo Province. Although they were not commoners, they were lowest-ranked officials. Yoshitada was cherished by his grandfather who recognized his grandson's talents, and Yoshitada entered a university dormitory in 816 to become a monjosho student of literary studies at the Imperial University. At that time, monjoka (later kidendo - historical studies) was one of the rare departments in which lower-ranked officials (called zonin) and young commoners were allowed to enroll. However, because aristocrats in monjoka increased their interest in official history and Chinese poetry, on December 23, 820, Daijokanpu (official documents from Daijokan to local governments) stated that the policy was changed and only 'children of good (kugyo) families' could become monjosho. In accordance with the document, the conventional monjosho who were commoners or lower-ranked officials were essentially deprived of the right to write taisaku (a type of examination for prospective government officials under the Ritsuryo legal codes) which was regarded as a graduation examination. Despite the situation, Harusumi kept working hard. During the Tencho era, Harusumi was encouraged his professors, such as MIYAKO no Haraaka, to write a hoshi examination in accordance with Emperor Junna's order. Harusumi passed the examination and was then appointed to shunshi (title conferred to monjosho), which had been created to replace monjo tokugosho (distinguished scholar of Letters) for which only children of good families were supposed to be qualified. When the original policy was restored in 828, he was reappointed to monjo tokugosho from shunshi and was given the nickname Sukune of the Haruzumi clan.

2 years later, in 830, he passed the taisaku examination. Naikikyoku had a shortage of people, and so Emperor Junna appointed Yoshitada to Shonaiki (an official working at Nakatsukasa, or the Ministry of the Central Office) in June, 830, because the Emperor highly valued his literary talent. In 832, he was appointed to Jugoinoge (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade). In 833, after Emperor Ninmyo ascended the throne, on April 6, Yoshitada was appointed to Togu gakushi (teacher of classics of the Crown Prince) for Imperial Prince Tsunesada (son of the Retired Emperor Junna). On February 23, 834, he was also appointed to Governor of Settsu Province. Imperial Prince Tsunesada was aware that his political position was unstable since he was still young, and for this reason, Yoshitada on behalf of the Imperial Prince wrote a statement to decline the offer for Crown Prince status ('Jijo no Hyo') in 838.

In 842, FUJIWARA no Yoshifusa committed the Imperial Prince Tsunesada Deposition Incident (the Jowa Incident) with the approval of Emperor Ninmyo. For being involved in the incident, Yoshitada was demoted to Director of Suo Province on September 4, but was appointed to Monjo hakase and called back to Heian-kyo (the ancient capital of Japan in current Kyoto) on March 14, 843. On February 12, 846, he was also appointed to Assistant Governor of Bicchu Province. Ironically, he won the trust of Emperor Ninmyo and FUJIWARA no Yoshifusa, who were behind the Jowa Incident, and on June 27, 847, he gave a lecture on "Soshi" at Seiryoden (literally the "Limpid Cool Hall," or the imperial summer palace) and received Sokushu no rei (a school entrance fee) from Emperor Ninmyo. Then, on July 13, he gave a lecture on "Historical records of the Han Dynasty" at Seiryoden. On March 22, 848, he was appointed to Shogoinoge (Senior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade) and became Bicchu no kami (governor of Bicchu Province) while he was still a Monjo hakese.

Meanwhile, in kidendo, SUGAWARA no Kiyokimi and then his son SUGAWARA no Koreyoshi served as Monjo hakase and privately established master and apprentice relationships with monjosho (called Kanke Roka), and there was an academic faction conflict with MIYAKO no Yoshika and KOSE no Fumio who opposed the idea of Kanke Roka. Yoshitada, preferring not to align with others and having a straightforward personality, rejected establishment of relationships with monjosho when they visited his residence and was able to avoid the factional conflict.

He was appointed to Jushiinoge (Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade) on May 31, 850, and on May 29, 851, he gave a lecture on "Monzen" (Wen-hsuan, ancient Chinese poems) to Emperor Montoku in the Kita-dono Palace. He was appointed to Governor of Tajima Province on February 8, 852, and then, he was given the family name Ason on November 15, 853. On October 18, 854, he was appointed to Gyobu no taifu (Senior Assistant Minister of Justice) while he was still serving as the Governor of Tajima Province, and on March 9, 855, he was ordered to compile a national history with FUJIWARA no Yoshifusa and TOMO no Yoshio. Afterwards, Yoshio fell from the position as a result of the Otenmon Incident, and at the end, Yoshifusa and Yoshitada were the only compilers (Yoshitada was in fact the one that compiled the history) and completed "Shoku Nihon Koki" (Later Chronicle of Japan Continued) on September 23, 869. On December 3, 856, he gave a lecture on "Jin shu" (History of the Jin Dynasty) to Emperor Montoku. From February 12, 857, he served also as Governor of Iyo Province, and on December 28, he was appointed to Ukyo no daibu (Master of the Western Capital Offices). On January 25, 858, he was appointed to Jushiijo (Junior Fourth Rank, Upper Grade).

On February 11, 860, he was appointed to Councilor, and from February 26, 861, he served also as Shikibu no taifu (Senior Assistant Minister of the Ministry of Ceremonials). On February 9, 862, he was appointed to Shoshiinoge (Senior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade). Although he started to serve also as Provincial Governor of Harima Province from March 3, 863, he was reassigned to Governor of Omi Province on February 26, 864. On March 1, 870, he was again reassigned to Governor of Sanuki Province, but around that time, his illness grew serious, and on March 12, he was suddenly promoted to Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank) court noble and received clothing as a condolence gift from Daijo-daijin (Grand Minister of State) FUJIWARA no Yoshifusa. He died on March 24, 870, while he was Jusanmi Councilor, Shikibu no taifu, and Governor of Sanuki Province.

Although he was called 'an officer with good knowledge of Confucianism' in "Fuso Ryakki" (A Brief History of Japan), he in fact had profound knowledge not only of Confucianism and history but also of 3 fields of Xuanxue (Neotaoism) that were "Shueki," "Roshidotokukyo," and "Soshi," and therefore, he had very good knowledge of yin-yang philosophy.

Although Yoshitada had two sons, neither of them achieved great success, and shortly after, the Harusumi clan disappeared from history. His daughter, HARUSUMI no Amaneiko, on the other hand, was appointed to Jusanmi like her father, served as Naishi no jo (a woman officer who carries the Emperor's sword when he goes out) and Naishi no suke (a court lady of the first rank), and served as a close aide to FUJIWARA no Onshi (the Emperor Uda's wife). She is known as an intelligent woman because one of her poems was included in "Kokin Wakashu" (A Collection of Ancient and Modern Japanese Poetry).

[Original Japanese]