Okura no Yoshiyuki (大蔵善行)

OKURA no Yoshiyuki (832 - 921?) was a scholar who lived in the Heian period. His kabane (hereditary title) was changed from 忌寸 (Imiki) to 伊美吉 (also pronounced as Ikimi), and he was awarded the kabane of Ason later. He and SUGAWARA no Michizane were the two greatest authorities in the academic community, with Michizane called 'ten-jin' (a god in heaven) and Yoshiyuki 'Chi-sen' (a wizard on ground). His Chinese name was Zozaishibaibu.

Brief personal history

In 872, he became Kurodo (a chamberlain), doing the work of checking documents, and then became naiki (secretary of the ministry of central affairs) on MIYAKO no Yoshika's recommendation. In the era from 885 to 931, he continued working as the senior secretary of the Council of State without interruption, being engaged in drawing up confidential documents. While working in this way, he also assumed Jibushoyu (a Junior Assistant Minister of the Ministry of Civil Administration), vice minister of Kageyushicho (the office for checking records of out-going officials), Mikawa no Gon no suke (a provisional vice governor of Mikawa Province) additionally, and participated in compiling "Nihon Sandai Jitsuroku" (the sixth of the six classical Japanese history texts), "Engi-kyaku Code" (code in the Engi era), and " Engi-shiki" (the book for code and procedures on national rites and prayers in the Engi era). In addition, operating a private school, he taught many persons, including FUJIWARA no Mototsune, FUJIWARA no Tokihira, FUJIWARA no Tadahira, TAIRA no Korenori, MIMUNE no Masahira, and KI no Haseo. Members of his clan occupied many posts in the political and academic worlds, furiously competing, for success in these worlds, with those of SUGAWARA no Michizane's clan.


It is said that he fathered a child at the age of 87 and lived a long life of up to the age of 90 or more.

There is a possibility that he participated in conspiracies.

In the era of 889 - 923, members of SUGAWARA no Michizane's clan, the rival of Okura's clan, met with misfortunes in succession, as in the followings: SUGAWARA no Michizane was relegated to Sanuki-no-mori (a governor of Sanuki Province), use of the term of Ako was disputed, Michizane was appointed to the chief of the Japanese envoy to Tang Dynasty China, and the Shotai Incident (in which Michizane was relegated to a post at Dazaifu in Kyushu) occurred. In addition, the persons who caused these misfortunes were followers of Yoshiyuki. While these misfortunes occurred, Michizane was unprecedentedly promoted from Kurodo no to (head chamberlain) to Udaijin (minister of the right), but Yoshiyuki remained Daigeki (a senior secretary). It would be certain that Yoshiyuki was jealous at least.

The following was also an interesting incident: In October of 901, soon after Michizane was relegated to a post at Dazaifu in the Shotai Incident, Yoshiyuki was celebrated for turning 70 years old, by his followers, including FUJIWARA no Tokihira.

[Original Japanese]