Minamoto no Masasada (源雅定)

MINAMOTO no Masasada (1094-July 18, 1162) was a court noble and a poet during the late Heian Period. He was the second son of MINAMOTO no Masazane. He was ranked Shonii (Senior Second Rank) and was Udaijin (Minister of the Right). He used 'Chuin nyudo Udaijin' as his pseudonym.


Ushosho (minor captain of the Right Division of Inner Palace Guards) in 1105 (12 years old), Jugoinojo (Junior Fifth Rank, Upper Grade) in 1106, combined with Suo no suke (vice governor of Suo Province), ranked Shogoinoge (Senior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade) in 849, Jushiinoge (Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade) and Juishiinojo (Junior Fourth Rank, Upper Grade) in 1109, Shoshiinoge (Lower Senior Fourth Rank) combined with Mimasaku Gon no suke (vice governor of Mimasaku Province) in 1111, chujo (middle captain of the Right division of Inner Palace Guards) in 1115, combined with Bicchu no suke (vice governor of Bicchu Province) in 1116,Sangi (councilor) in 1119 (26 years old), combined with Mimasaku Gon no kami (governor of Mimasaku Province) in 1120, Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank) in 1121, Chunagon (vice-councilor of state) in 1122, Shosanmi (Senior Third Rank) in 1129, combined with Uemon no kami (captain of the Right Division of Outer Palace Guards) in 1130, Kebiishi no betto (superintendent of the Imperial Police) and Chunagon in 1131, Saemon no kami (captain of the Left Division of Outer Palace Guards) in 1132, Junii (Junior Second Rank) in 1134, Shonii (Senior Second Rank) and Dainagon (chief councilor of state) in 1136, Sadaisho (major captain of the Left Division of Inner Palace Guards) in 1140, combined with Kogogu-daibu (master of the Empress's household) in 1141, Minister of the Palace in 1149 (58 years old), Minister of the Right in 1150, and entering priesthood on July 17, 1154.

However, in August 29, 1155, when Emperor Konoe passed away, he took part in Oja Gijo (王者議定), a meeting to determine the successor to the Imperial Throne.

Personal Profile

He was ductile and bright, and had an attractive character, being far from stiffness. It is also said that he had academic ability and was well informed of the ceremonies and rituals in the Imperial Court.

Since his infancy, he was good at the court music of Japan, and he was praised when he danced Dobu at shigaku (rehearsal) at the age of 9 on April 16, 1101 to cerebrate Emperor Shirakawa's 50th birthday. About his father, Masazane, there remained an anecdote that he had confidence in his son Masasada's skill in dancing, and probably because of this, Masazane got angry when his son Masasada was not selected for the first dance at the Special Festival at Iwashimizu Hachiman-gu Shrinel cerebrated in 1106, and abandoned the festival in the middle of it and returned to Kyoto. According to an anecdote, when Suketada ONO, a musician upholding the music piece "Konju," was killed by Masatsura YAMAMURA, Masazane, who had already learned to play "Konju" from him, handed it down to Tadakata ONO (Suketada's son), and after Masazane's death, Masasada taught the music to Tadakata ONO.

He was also excellent in Sho (Japanese flute) that he learned from TOYOHARA no Tokimoto, and according to various records, on the occasion of gyoyu (music playing in the Imperial court) held in 1170, he stood out for the number of the performances, which was far the most numerous in comparison with FUJIWARA no Munetada who was in the second position.

He associated with FUJIWARA no Akisuke and MINAMOTO no Toshiyori as a poet, and some pieces of his poetry were incorporated in "Kinyo Wakashu" (Kinyo collection of Japanese poems) and other anthologies of Japanese poetry compiled by the Imperial command.

Kogogu-daibu (Master of the Empress's household)' who enlarged the edition of "Okagami" (Great Mirror)

Through the ages, there is a theory that supposes that 'Kogogu-daibu' was Masasada, and this theory is commonly accepted. This theory stands on the extensive support of the advocators who presume that Murakami-Genji (Minamoto clan) was in charge of editing this book, based upon the supposition that the original editor of this book could be the same person that enlarged the book, although the editor is said to be unidentified. However against this, there were researchers who assumed that the editor was of the Fujiwara clan, and they advocated other theories, including the one that FUJIWARA no Ietada, who also once served as 'Kogogu-daibu' should be the editor of the enlargement.

[Original Japanese]