Kujo Naozane (九条尚実)

Naozane KUJO (July 29, 1717 - November 1, 1787) was a Court noble who lived during the middle of the Edo period. He was the third son of Kanpaku (chief adviser to the Emperor) Sukezane KUJO. His mother was Imperial Princess Masuko, who was the 10th daughter of Emperor Gosai. His elder brothers were Morotaka KUJO and Yukinori KUJO, and his elder sister was Princess Suke, who later became the lawful wife of Yoshimichi TOKUGAWA, the load of the Owari Domain. His sons were Michisaki KUJO and Tadataka MATSUDONO.

He initially called himself Gyogen, and after he entered the priesthood at his monzeki (temple whose chief priest is an imperial prince) called Zuishin-in Temple, he was appointed to be a Gonsojo (the lowest grade that can be held by one who has reached the highest rank in the hierarchy of Buddhist priests). As his elder brother Yukinori's son Tanemoto KUJO died, he quitted the priesthood on June 30, 1743 to succeed to the head of the Kujo family. On May 24, 1744, he was granted the rank of Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank). When the the Horeki Incident occurred, he pulled down royalistic Court nobles who were close to Emperor Momozono including the Seiga family in cooperation with some Court nobles from families eligible for regents such as Kanpaku Michika ICHIJO, Uchisaki KONOE, and Sukehira TAKATSUKASA, and he succeeded in maintaining the social superiority of such families eligible for regents. He served as the Sadaijin (Minister of the Left) from 1759 to 1778, and then he served Emperor Gomomozono as the Kanpaku from 1778 to 1779.

In 1779, Emperor Gomomozono died suddenly at the premature age of 22. Court nobles agreed with the plan that a newborn princess called Imperial Princess Yoshiko would marry the new emperor, but the Retired Emperor Gosakuramachi and the former Kanpaku Uchisaki KONOE, who was regarded as a senior member among Court nobles, supported Imperial Prince Fushiminomiya Sadayoshi, who was four years old at that time and was a child of Imperial Prince Fushiminomiya Kuniyori. However, Naozane proposed Prince Morohito, who was nine years old at that time and was the sixth son of Imperial Prince Kaninnomiya Sukehito, who had been already chosen as the head priest of Shogo-in Temple. In those days, the Fushiminomiya family had the highest status among four Miyake (families allowed to have the status of Imperial family), but this family was the most distant from the Imperial lineage. The Kaninnomiya family was the closest from the Imperial lineage. They discussed it for more than 10 days, and eventually, Prince Morohito from the Kaninnomiya family was chosen as the new Emperor. He changed his imina (personal name) to Tomohito and ascended the throne. Afterward, Naozane served Emperor Kokaku as the Sessho (regent), Kanpaku, and Grand Minister of State, and he was also granted the title of Jusango (an honorary rank next to the three Empresses: Great Empress Dowager, Empress Dowager, and Empress).

[Original Japanese]