Ki no Natsui (紀夏井)

KI no Natsui (years of birth and death unknown) was a nobleman and a statesman who lived in the early Heian period. Natsui was a great grandson of Dainagon (Major Counselor) KI no Kosami. Natsui's father was KI no Yoshimine who was a Kokushi (which was also called Kuni no tsukasa or Kunizukasa, which was a provincial government officer) of Mino Province. Natsui had an official court rank of shogoi (Senior Fifth Rank) and was a Benkan (a Controller of the Oversight Department which was a division of the Daijokan responsible for controlling central and provincial governmental offices).


KI no Natsui was the Governor of Sanuki Province in 858 and the Governor of Higo Province in 865, and the both provinces did he govern wisely and the subject people admired him. Not only as a statesman, Natsui was also famed for his skillful hand, and particularly in the field of kaisho (basic, block style of writing Chinese characters) was he called a Shosei (who was a greatly talented and respected calligrapher). In addition, Natsui achieved national prominence in the field of the game of go, whose name thus became gradually well-known as a multi-talented and able official in the central government.

In 866, however, the Otenmon incident occurred, in which KI no Toyoki who was Natsui's half-brother with a different mother was arrested as a main culprit, which resulted in implicating Natsui, who was thereby removed from the position of the Governor of Higo and banished to Tosa Province. It is said that as Natsui was escorted to Tosa Province, some peasants and the other subjects of Higo Province, on one hand, attempted to prevent Natsui from being transferred out of the province, and on the other hand, peasants and the other subjects of Sanuki Province followed Natsui from inside Sanuki Province to the border of Tosa Province, regretting at parting. The aftermath of Natsui's banishment is unclear, but he is believed to have died in exile. Natsui was a personal magnetism regardless of where he was, in the capital or in the provinces, and therefore his downfall became a decisive factor to bring about the ruin of the Ki clan in politics, even if the house of Ki had been important since the time of Takeshiuchi no sukune (who was also called Takenouchi no sukune or Takeuchi no sukune, where the term 'sukune' is the title of honor in ancient Japan). After the downfall in politics, the Ki clan changed the scene of their activities into the fields of religion and poetry.

After more than two decades passed since KI no Natsui had gone, SUGAWARA no Michizane was appointed Governor of Sanuki Province where its peasants remembered Natsui's good politics, and Michizane is said to have faced difficulties in running government affairs due to the people who wanted to contrast Michizane with Natsui in every aspect.


N.B. The date below is according to old lunar calendar.
In 850
Appointed Shonaiki (which was an officer in charge of preparing imperial edicts and keeping a record of events at court and belonged to the Nakatsukasa-sho [Ministry of Central Affairs]).

In 854
Concurrently served as Mino-shojo (Junior Secretary of Mino Province).

Resigned as the Mino-shojo within the same year.

In 855
Transferred to Dainaiki (Senior Secretary of the Ministry of Central Affairs).

September 27: Granted a court rank of jugoinoge (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade) and transferred to Ushoben (Minor Controller of the Right).

In 857
January 7: Raised to a court rank of jugoinojo (Junior Fifth Rank, Upper Grade), remaining in the position of Ushoben.

January 14: Concurrently served as Harima no suke (Assistant Governor of Harima Province).

May 8: Concurrently served as Shikibu no sho (which was also called Shikibu no shofu, Shikibu no shoyu and Shikibu no sunainosuke, meaning Junior Assistant Minister of the Ministry of Ceremonial).

June 19: Transferred to the position of Uchuben (Middle Controller of the Right). Remained in the position of the Shikibu no sho and the Harima no suke.

In 858
November 25: Appointed Governor of Sanuki Province.

In 862
At the expiration of his term of office of the Governor of Sanuki Province, the term was extended for two more years at the subject peasants' earnest request.

In 865
January 27: Appointed Governor of Higo Province.

In 866
September 22: Banished to Tosa Province for allegedly being implicated in the Otenmon incident due to blood relationship with a main culprit.

[Original Japanese]