Konoe Masaie (近衛政家)

Masaie KONOE (1444 - July 30, 1505) was a Kuge (court noble), who lived between the mid-Muromachi period to the early the Sengoku Period (Period of Warring States) (Japan). He held the title of Kanpaku (chief adviser to the Emperor) and Daijo-daijin (Grand minister of state). He was the 13th head of the Konoe family of Sekke (regent family), the Northern House of the Fujiwara clan. His one character name was Kasumi (Haze). His go (Buddhist name) was Gohokoin.


He was born in 1444 (there were theories stated that he was born in 1445 or 1446) as the second son to Fusatsugu KONOE, who served as the Kanpaku and Daijo-daijin. His older brother was Norimoto KONOE (Udaijin (Minister of the Right)). There were Doko (Sojo (high-ranking Buddhist priest), Jusango (honorary rank next to the three Empresses: Great Empress Dowager, Empress Dowager, and Empress)), Zoun (daisojo (a Buddhist priest of the highest order) and Jusango), Masazuka (政深) (Gonsojo (the lowest grade that can be held by one who has reached the highest rank in the hierarchy of Buddhist priests), Hoin (the highest rank in the hierarchy of Buddhist priests)), and Masasuke (政弁) (Daisojo) as his younger brothers.

Due to the death of his older brother Norimoto, he took over the Konoe family in 1462. He was given the Jo (court official rank) Rank of Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank) in the following year and was assigned to serve Konoefu (Division of Inner Palace Guards). He continued receiving promotions and became Dainagon (chief councilor of state) in 1467 and the Naidaijin (Minister of the Interior) with the rank of Shonii (Senior Second Rank) in 1472. After the end of the Onin War in 1479, he became the Kanpaku and Sadaijin (Minister of the Left) (he retired two years afterwards). After he retired from the Kanpaku position in 1483, he was assigned to be Daijo-daijin in 1488 (He left the position two years later). He gained the rank of Jusangu (honorary rank next to the three Empresses: Great Empress Dowager, Empress Dowager, and Empress) in 1497. He passed away in 1505. Died at the age of 62. His child was Hisamichi KONOE.

Perspective as a Man of Culture

Masaie was highly skilled in waka (Japanese poem), and his poems were compiled among "Shinsen Tsukubashu" (New Selection of Renga Poetry of Tsukuba). It is widely known that Masaie was invited to Lake Biwa on September 16, 1500 by Takayori ROKKAKU, who was Omi no kuni shugodai (provincial governor of Omi Province), and he read eight waka concerning Omi Hakkei (Eight Sceneries of Omi) impromptu became the origin of Omi Hakkei, but it is believed that Hakkei (Eight Sceneries) was not started by Masaie (there was a powerful theory that Masaie did not travel down to Omi at this time).

The Konoe Family inherited important documents, diaries such as the diary of FUJIWARA no Michinaga called "Mido Kanpakuki," and records of the imperial court ceremonies, and Masaie transferred many of these ancient documents to Iwakura located at the northern edge of Kyoto to avoid damage from the battle fires arising from the Onin-Bunmei Wars. As a result, while the palace of Konoe family fell into ashes by the wars, the ancient documents escaped from being damaged to be passed down to different generations (For details, please refer to 'Yomei Bunko' (the Yomei Bunko Library)).

The dairy left by Masaie called "Gohokoinki Diary" is also regarded as the important historical document to study the imperial court of the mid-Muromachi period.

Career and Job Grades

1463: Gained the rank of Jusanmi and was assigned to Konoefu.

1464: Gained the rank of Chunagon (vice-councilor of state) and also assigned to Emonfu (Headquarters of the Outer Palace Guards).

1465: Gained the rank of Shosanmi (Senior Third Rank).

1466: Gained the rank of Junii (Junior Second Rank) and Sakone no chujo (Middle Captain of the Left Division of Inner Palace Guards).

1467: Gained the rank of Dainagon (chief councilor of state).

1472: Gained the rank of Shonii.

1475: Became the Naidaijin.

1477: Sakone no daisho (Major Captain of the Left Division of Inner Palace Guards).

1478: Left the position.

1479: Became the Kanpaku and Sadaijin.

1481: Retired from the Sadaijin position.

1483: Retired from the Kanpaku position.

1488: Became the Daijo-daijin.

1490: Retired.

1497: Became Jusangu.

[Original Japanese]