Fujiwara Kanenaga (藤原兼長)

Kanenaga FUJIWARA (1138 - 1158) is a court politician during the late Heian period. Kanenaga was the eldest son of Yorinaga FUJIWARA. Kanenaga's mother was a daughter of Gon Chunagon (a provisional vice-councilor of state) Morotoshi Minamoto. Kanenaga's final position was Shonii (Senior Second Rank), Chunagon (vice-councilor of state), and Konoefu (palace guard).


Kanenaga's child name was Ayawaka. While he was once named as Tadatsune by his father Yorinaga in 1145, his name was changed to Kanenaga on the following day due to his grandfather Tadazane FUJIWARA's strong opposition. Tadazane cited, as the reason, the fact that the name is ominous because the pronunciation of the name is the same as that of Tadatsune TAIRA, who was killed as an enemy of the court.

At that time, Kanenaga's father Yorinaga was in the position to succeed the family fortune of the Fujiwara Regent Family from his elder brother Tadamichi FUJIWARA in the future. With such a background, Kanenaga, who was the eldest son of Yorinaga, was promoted rapidly in the court, and ranked as Goi (Fifth Rank) Konoefu when he was only eleven years old. Kanenaga was adopted by his uncle Tadamichi and Kanenaga's maturity ceremony was held at Tadamichi's house.

However, Tadamichi was reluctant to allow Yorinaga succeed the family fortune, because Tadamichi's eldest son Motozane FUJIWARA was born in 1143. As a result, the relationship between Tadamichi and Tadazane/Yorinaga became tense. Therefore, Kanenaga's promotion in the court after that time had nothing to do with Tadamichi and was achieved by his biological father Yorinaga's political power, who succeeded the family fortune of the Fujiwara Regent Family from Tadamichi in 1150. Kanenaga was promoted to Shonii (Senior Second Rank) and Chunagon (vice-councilor of state) in 1153, and came to also hold the post of Konoefu in 1154. In 1154, He was appointed as the chief of the spring festival of the Kasuga-taisha shrine and left Kyoto with a long procession of many attending nobilities and samurai, such as Tameyoshi MINAMOTO, under his command for the festival.

It is said that although he was fat, he was handsome and had a calm disposition. He received an appropriate education as a child of a high ranking nobility, including dancing lessons by Mitsuchika KOMA, for example.

However, the confrontation between Yorinaga and Tadamichi became increasingly serious in connection with internal struggles inside the Royal Family and finally lead to the Hogen Rebellion in 1156. Kanenaga stood by in Uji together with his brothers during the rebellion and surrendered after Yorinaga's defeat and death. His political life ended when he was banished to Izumo Province after the rebellion. Kanenaga died from a disease there only two years later when he was 21 years old.

[Original Japanese]