Kujo Michiie (九条道家)

Michiie KUJO (July 1193 - April 8, 1252) was the kugyo (court noble) during the early Kamakura era. His father was Yoshitsune KUJO (Michiie was the eldest son). His mother was the daughter of Yoshiyasu ICHIJO and the niece of MINAMOTO no Yoritomo. His legal wife was Rinko, the daughter of Kintsune SAIONJI. He built Tofuku-ji Temple on Kujo-dori Street, Kyoto City.


He was deeply loved by his grandfather, Kanezane KUJO, from when he was little and was adopted to be raised by him. April 3, 1203: At the same time as when he underwent Genpuku ceremony (Japanese coming-of-age ceremony), he was given the court rank of Shogoinoge (Senior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade). He continued to be promoted to Jiju (chamberlain), Sachusho (major general of the inner palace guards, left division), Jusanmi rank (Junior Third Rank), and Gon chunagon (Provisional Middle Councilor). When his father, Yoshitsune, died suddenly during the spring of 1206, he inherited his position.

He made his older sister, Risshi KUJO, to marry Imperial Prince Morinari (later became Emperor Juntoku), who held the title of Crown Prince, as his empress in March 1209. He continued to be promoted to Sadaisho (General of the inner palace guards, left division), Gon dainagon (provisional major councilor), Naidaijin (Great Minister of the Center), and Udaijin (Minister of the Right) due to this fact. In addition, once Emperor Chukyo, who later became the emperor, was born between Emperor Juntoku and his older sister, he became the advisor to the crown prince. He assisted when his uncle Yoshisuke KUJO passed away and was promoted to Sadaijin (Minister of the Left) by December 1218. Since he became a close relative with the Imperial family, and his father-in-law, Kintsune, had a deep relation with the Kamakura bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by shogun), he received strong support from bakufu.

When MINAMOTO no Sanetomo, who had the title of the third shogun (general), was assassinated by Kugyo in January 1219, Yoshitoki HOJO, who was the regent to the shogunate, demanded the third son of Michiie, Yoritsune KUJO, as the fourth generation shogun since the mother of Michiie was the distant relative of Yoritomo. Michiie followed this order, and made Yoritsune to move to Kamakura City in June of the same year. In the following April, Emperor Juntoku passed his position to become the Retired Emperor, and Emperor Chukyo ascended to the throne that Michiie became Sessho (regent) due to him for being the relative. However, since the relationship between the Bakufu and the court fell due to the death of Sanetomo, this resulted in the Jokyu no Ran (Jokyu Disturbance) which was caused by the Retired Emperor Gotoba. This resulted in the victory for the bakufu army, and Emperor Chukyo was evicted from his office and Michiie was fired from being Sessho since he was related to him.

Since Masako HOJO who was the pulling the strings of the bakufu, passed away in 1225, his son, Yoritsune, who was in Kamakura since last January, was officially assigned to be seii taishogun (literally, "great general who subdues the barbarians"). After the Jokyu Disturbance, Michiie helped when Masako passed away and assisted the inauguration of Yoritsune as a shogun before he became Kanpaku (chief advisor to the Emperor) in December 1228, taking after Iezane KONOE since his father-in-law, Kintsune SAIONJI had a deep relation with the bakufu and had the strongest influence at the Imperial Palace. He made his eldest daughter, Sonshi KUJO, to marry into the Imperial Court and be a court lady of Emperor Gohorikawa.

He handed the Kanpaku position to his eldest son, Norizane KUJO in July 1231, but reigned as the strongest ruler of the Imperial Court and was promoted to Juichii rank (Junior First Rank). In addition, his eldest daughter, Sohekimonin gave birth to Imperial Prince Mitsuhito (later became Emperor Shijo), and when the Imperial Prince ascended the throne as the Emperor in October 1232, Michiie gained full power as maternal uncle and his eldest son, Norizane, became the Sessho. However, since Norizane died early in March 1235, Michiie became Sessho again. As a result, the Kujo family reigned as the most powerful family within the Imperial Court, but since the Konoe family vehemently opposed this, Michiie made his daughter, Jinshi, marry Kanetsune KONOE in 1237.

He became a Buddhist monk in 1238 and ruled as the Taiko (father of the Imperial adviser). He made his granddaughter (the daughter of the eldest son, Norizane), Genshi KUJO, to undergo judai (an Imperial Consort's bridal entry into court) as the Nyogo of Emperor Shijo. However, Emperor Shijo passed away at the young age of twelve in 1242. Michiie suggested his nephew (related to his wife), Prince Tadanari, who was the Imperial Prince of Emperor Juntoku as the next emperor, but this never realized since Yasutoki HOJO was opposed to ascending the bloodline of the ring leader of Jokyu Rebellion and promoted Prince Kunihito (Emperor Gosaga).

His second son Yoshizane NIJO had the support of his grandfather Kintsune and became the Kanpaku, but as could be seen from the support of his grandfather, the political power of Michiie started to weaken after declining relations with the Imperial family while Kintsune and Sadamichi TSUCHIMIKADO (the maternal uncle of the emperor) gained control of the government under Emperor Gosaga.

However, when Kintsune passed away, Michiie claimed without permission that it was the will of Kintsune and became Kanto moshitsugi (liaison with the east) (However, there is also a theory that he was assigned to the kanto moshitsugi post with Kintsune as 'the father of the shogun'), dismissed his second son Yoshizane (Michiie and Yoshizane were on bad terms, and Yoshizane was disowned by his father), and promoted his favored Sanetsune ICHIJO as the Kanpaku (He was reassigned to be Sessho after Emperor Gofukakusa ascended to the throne). He regained his power within the Imperial Court by making kanto moshitsugi a three person role and assigned Sanetsune and Kanetsune KONOE.

However, since he started to make independent decisions on his own the Imperial Court began to lose their trust in him. In addition, he started to become involved in government policies concerning the bakufu being the father of the shogun and gathered support from the Hojo clan and lower-ranking vassals in the Kamakura and Edo periods, who opposed the Tokuso family (of the Hojo clan). So he started to be seen as dangerous even from the bakufu.

However, his son Yoritsune was overthrown by Tokiyori HOJO, who had the title Shikken (regent for the shogun), and he lost his position as shogun in 1246. However, Michiie was dismissed from the Kanto Moshitsugi position (taken over by Saneuji SAINJI, who was the son of Kintsune) and Sanetsune from Sessho post since Yoritsune was involved with a conspiracy hatched by Mitsutoki NAGOE which happened immediately after and Imperial Prince Masanari (he was the Imperial Prince of Emperor Gotoba and was exiled to the Tajima Province after the Jokyu Rebellion), whom Michiie was close to, tried to ascended to the throne while he being granted a temporary return to Kyoto by getting rid of Gosagain (Retired Emperor Gosaga) and Emperor Gofukakusa. Due to this, Michiie completely lost his political position. It has been pointed out that Michiie himself was positively involved in the 'anti-Tokuso family' conspiracy as Mitsumura MIURA, who was also involved in the conspiracy of NAGOE, said, 'I should have assassinated Tokiyori by following Michiie's commands (during the conspiracy of NAGOE)' when he fell along with his older brother, Mitsumura MIURA, in the Hojo War.

The plan to overthrow the bakufu by his grandson, FUJIWARA no Yoritsugu (the fifth generation shogun) and the Ashikaga clan was revealed at the end of 1251, and Michiie became a suspect involved with the plan. However, Michiie passed away in midst of it, on April 8 of the following year. He died at the age of 60. The cause of his death was said to be illness, but there are theories that say he fainted when he heard the news of the dismissal of Yoritsugu and died, as well as stories which say that Michiie was assassinated by the bakufu since he secretly possessed had a strong influence.

The dating system used = old lunar calendar
April 3, 1203: He went through the Genpuku ceremony and received the court rank of Shogoinoge. He was given permission to wear Kinjiki (forbidden colors). April 22: He was assigned to be Jiju. August 23: He was reassigned to be Sakone no chujo (Middle Captain of the Left Division of Inner Palace Guards). January 30, 1204: He was promoted to Jushiinoge (Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade) and retained his position as Sakone no chujo.

February 22, 1204: He gained the additional post of Harima no suke (Assistant governor of Harima Province). The era changed to Genkyu and on May 21, 1204 he was promoted to Jushiinojo (Junior Fourth Rank, Upper Grade), and retained his position as Sakonoe no chujo and Harima no suke.

February 6, 1205: He was promoted to Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank) and retained his position as Sakonoe no chujo. April 6: He was reassigned to be Gon chunagon and retained his position as Sakonoe no chujo. September 30: He was promoted to Shosanmi (Senior Third Rank) and retained his position as Gon chunagon and Sakonoe no chujo.

February 22, 1206: He was promoted to Junii (Junior Second Rank) and retained his position as Gon chunagon and Sakonoe no chujo. July 14: He declared by imperial proclamation as the Tachibanashi choja (chieftain of the Tachibana family (an example of the Fujiwara clan having more than two occupations)). July 30: He gained an additional position of Sakonoe no daisho (general of the inner palace guards, left division). He left the post of Sakonoe no chujo.

February 10, 1207: He was promoted to Shonii (Senior Second Rank) and retained his position as Gon chunagon, Sakonoe no daisho, and Tachibanashi choja. March 17: He was reassigned to be Chunagon (Middle Councilor). He would have receive the additional post of Samaryo gogen (Inspector of the Samaryo, Left Division of Bureau of Horses). He retained his position as Sakonoe no Daisho and Tachibanashi choja.

August 28, 1208: He was reassigned to be Gon dainagon and retained his position as Sakonoe no daisho, Samaryogogen, and Tachibanashi choja.

August 4, 1212: He was reassigned to be Naidaijin and retained his position as Sakonoe no daisho, Samaryogogen, and Tachibanashi choja.

January 7, 1215: He was reassigned to be Udaijin and retained his position as Sakonoe no daisho, Samaryogogen, and Tachibanashi choja.

March 31, 1218: He retired from being the Sakonoe no daisho and Samaryogogen. December 22: He gained the additional position of Togu no fu (an official in charge of education of the Crown Prince). December 28: He was reassigned to be Sadaijin and retained his position as Togu no fu and Tachibanashi choja.

May 20, 1221: He declared by imperial proclamation as the Sessho. He declared by imperial proclamation as the Toshi choja (the head of Fujiwara clan). He would have stop being the Tachibanashi choja while he retired from Sessho and Toshi choja on August 4.

1222: He declared by imperial proclamation as the Tachibanashi choja.

January 27, 1229: He declared by imperial proclamation as the Kanpaku. January 30: He declared by imperial proclamation as the Toshi choja.
He would have stop being the Tachibanashi choja

August 11, 1231: He was promoted to Juichii (Junior First Rank) and retired from Kanpaku and Toshi choja positions.

April 24, 1235: He declared by imperial proclamation as Sessho. He declared by imperial proclamation as Toshi choja.

April 13, 1237: He retired from Sessho and Toshichoja positions.

June 15, 1238: He firmly declined to declare by imperial proclamation as Jusangu (highest court rank similar to the Imperial family). June 16: He became priest.

April 8, 1252: He passed away. He died at the age of 60.

[Original Japanese]