Konoe Nobuhiro (近衛信尋)

Nobuhiro KONOE (June 24, 1599 - November 15, 1649) was a court noble and Toshichoja (representative of the Fujiwara family) who lived in early Edo period. His official rank was Juichii Kanpaku (Junior First Rank, chief adviser to the Emperor). His childhood name was Ninomiya. His hogo (posthumous Buddhist name) was Ozan.


He was born as the fourth son of the Emperor Goyozei on June 24, 1599. His childhood name was Ninomiya. His mother was Sakiko KONOE, a daughter of Sakihisa KONOE.

In 1605, he celebrated his coming of age, was given the rank of Shogoi (Senior Fifth Rank) and given access to the court. On July 3, 1606, he was promoted to the rank of Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank) and raised to court noble. In 1607, he assumed the position of Chunagon (Councilor), then Dainagon (Chief Councilor) in 1611, Naidaijin (Minister of the Center) in 1612.

In 1614, he advanced to the position of Udaijin (Minister of the Right), then Sadaijin (Minister of the Left) in 1620, and Kanpaku in 1623.

On April 7, 1645, he became a priest and took the name Ozan. He died on November 15, 1649. His age at death was 51 years old. He was buried in Daitoku-ji Temple in Kyoto, the family temple of the Konoe family. His homyo (posthumous Buddhist name) was 本源自性院応山大云 (its pronunciation is unclear).

Personal profile and anecdotes

He inherited the quality of Sakihisa KONOE and Nobutada KONOE, becoming a person of culture familiar with various arts. He took over the Sanmyakuin school of calligraphy established by his adopted father, Nobutada, and was a prominent calligrapher. He learned tea ceremony from Shigenari FURUTA. He excelled at renga (linked verse). Together with Imperial Prince Ryojoho and Akiyoshi ICHIJO, he played a central role in the court culture and literary movements centered on his older brother, Emperor Gomizunoo. Also, he worked as a bridge between artists like Shojo SHOKADO and the Imperial court.

There is an anecdote that he and Shoeki HAIYA fought over Yoshino Tayu, the most famous geisha in Rokujo-misuji-machi (later moved to Shimabara). It is said that he was really disappointed when Shoeki bought Tayu's freedom and they got married.

[Original Japanese]