Takashina no Eishi (高階栄子)

TAKASHINA no Eishi (1151-1216) was a female politician, who lived between the end of Heian period to early Kamakura period. Her father is said to be the Hoin Choun or the Joza Shojin. Her popular name was Tango no tsubone.

She became the wife of TAIRA no Narifusa, who was a close associate of Cloistered Emperor Goshirakawa. She had several children including FUJIWARA no Norinari (the adopted child of FUJIWARA no Sanenori), who became the Gon no Chunagon (provisional middle councilor). However, when the Cloistered Emperor Goshirakawa was confined within his Toba-den (residence of Cloistered Emperor Goshirakawa), Narifusa, who was the close associate of Cloistered Emperor Goshirakawa was dismissed from his office and was exiled to Izu Province. However, since Narifusa attempted an escape, he was captured by a search party which infuriated Kiyomori and was executed at Fukuhara.

After the death of Narifusa, Tango no tsubone became the valet for Cloistered Emperor Goshirakawa, who was confined within Toba-den. She was supposedly beautiful from the beginning, and quickly gained the favor of the Cloistered Emperor. She gave birth to the Imperial Princess of the Cloistered Emperor, Senyomonin, in November 1181. Since Kiyomori passed away in March of the same year, Tango no tsubone became the person who received the trust and favor from the Cloistered Emperor and became involved in politics. "Gyokuyo" referred to Tango no tsubone as 'she is only the ruler of the Imperial Court,' but the power of Tango no tsubone was remarkable and is told that she was even compared with Princess Yang Kwei-Fei of Tang dynasty.

The Taira clan believed Emperor Antoku and left Kyoto when under the siege of MINAMOTO no Yoshinaka in July 1183. The Cloistered Emperor tried to dismiss Emperor Antoku to inaugurate the new emperor in August, and it is said that Tango no tsubone was the one, who told him to promote Emperor Gotoba. She became an influential person for MINAMOTO no Yoritomo of Kamakura from 1186, and negotiated many times with OE no Hirotomo. She was given the Jo (court rank) rank of Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank) in February 1187. When there was a Senge (imperial proclamation) for the ingo (a title of respect given to close female relatives of the Emperor or a woman of comparable standing) for the Imperial Princess born between her and the Cloistered Emperor, and became 'Senyomonin' in July 1191, Tango no tsubone gained the rank of Junii (Junior Second Rank).

When the Cloistered Emperor passed away, Tango no tsubone underwent Shukke (became a Buddhist priest) in 1192. However, Tango no tsubone, who was given the estate of Yamashina by the will of the Cloistered Emperor, she joined the Imperial Princess Senyomonin, who was also given the estate of Chokodoryo, to intervene with the politics. Kanezane KUJO, who was supported by Yoritomo gained power in the Imperial Ccourt after the death of the Cloistered Emperor, and those who opposed Kanezane allied with Michichika TSUCHIMIKADO and Tango no tsubone to go against him. However, it seemed as Tango no tsubone and Yoritomo had a strong relationship, she and Yoritomo sent each other gifts. Nevertheless, the attempts by Yoritomo to make his daughter, Ohime, to undergo Judai (marriage to the emperor) to Emperor Gotoba worked negatively, and she managed to dismiss Kanezane along with Michichika. Later, the power of Imperial Court was held by Tango no tsubone and Michichika in place of young Emperor Gotoba, but Michichika passed away in 1202 and when Emperor Gotoba started the Shinsei (direct Imperial rule) once he matured, the dignity of Tango no tsubone diminished fast.

Tango no tsubone later left the Imperial Court and resided at the Jodo-ji Temple in the estate of her diseased husband, Narifusa.
Due to this, she was given the nickname of 'Jodoji Nii.'

There were many different theories about when she died, but it was most likely to be in February - March, 1216.

Furthermore, Tango no tsubone (also known as Tango Naishi (maid of honor)) seen in "Azuma Kagami" was the wife of Morinaga ADACHI and the daughter of nursing mother of Yoritomo, and was a completely different person from Eishi.

[Original Japanese]