Kujo Tanemichi (九条稙通)

Tanemichi KUJO (March 4, 1507 - February 24, 1594) was a Kanpaku and classical scholar who lived during the Sengoku period (Japan) and the Azuchi-Momoyama period. His father was Kanpaku Hisatsune KUJO and his mother was Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank) Yasuko SANJONISHI (daughter of Sanetaka SANJONISHI). His siblings included Iesuke KAZANIN, Jinen (Kofuku-ji betto [the head priest of Kofuku-ji Temple]) and Keishi KUJO (wife of Tadafusa NIJO). His adopted child was Kanetaka KUJO (child of Haruyoshi NIJO). His pseudonyms included 玖山, Shoo, and Kano Konan. His one character names were 玖 and 身 (Shin).

In 1514, at the age of 8, he celebrated his coming of age and he was promoted from Shogoinoge (Senior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade) to Jushiinojo (Junior Fourth Rank, Upper Grade). Further, he was promoted to Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank) non-Councilor and was assigned to the Division of Inner Palace Guards. In 1516, he was promoted to Shosanmi (Senior Third Rank), to Junii (Junior Second Rank) in 1517, and in 1521 he became Gon Chunagon (a provisional vice-councilor of state), and in 1522, he became Shonii (Senior Second Rank) Gon Dainagon (a provisional chief councilor of state). In 1524, he was appointed as Sadaisho (Major Captain of the Left Division of Inner Palace Guards). In 1528, he became Naidaijin (minister of the center) and in 1533, he became Kanpaku Toshi choja (Chief Advisor to the Emperor and the head of the Fujiwara clan) at the age of 27. In the following year he resigned from Kanpaku Toshi choja without making greetings in return for the conferment of the Court rank, he ran away to Settsu Province and stayed there for 12 years. In 1544, he moved to Harima Province. In 1555, he was conferred Juichii (Junior First Rank), and at the age of 49 he entered into priesthood and adopted the posthumous Buddhist name Gyoku (later changed to Eku).

After becoming a priest, he made remarkable achievements as an expert of Yusoku kojitsu (court and samurai rules of ceremony and etiquette) and classical studies. He studied under his grandfather Sanetaka SANJONISHI and inherited secret teachings of "Tale of Genji" from him. He also took a course with Haruyoshi NIJO in "Tale of Genji" from his uncle Kineda SANJONISHI. "Genji monogatari kyoenki" was the kyoenki (record of the banquet held after the course) and in 1575, he wrote 54 volumes of commentaries "Genji monogatari moshinsho" which was the fruit of his study for many years (also known as "Kuzensho"). In addition, Tanemichi created literary works including "Shokyoin ufu (Kineda SANJONISHI) shichijunogaki," and "Chogenin wo itameru ji" (Tribute to Chogenin), he also wrote "Sagaki," a travel diary of the Rakuseisaga area (Kyoto City). All the while, he devoted himself to the financial prosperity of the Kujo family but it did not work, and the reason for his failure to make greetings in return for the conferment of the position of Kanpaku was the financial hardship.

On June 10, 1574, 68-year-old Tanemichi handed over all the territories and the records of family traditions to his adopted son Kanetaka. In his letter he expressed his disappointment over not having realized family restoration despite his efforts through several decades. In his late years he lived at Kantei-in in front of the gate of Tofuku-ji Temple. He did not ease his hard-line stance when Nobunaga ODA went up to Kyoto, arguing against Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI's changing the surname to FUJIWARA and disapproving Hideyoshi's assumption of the post of Kanpaku. On February 24, 1594, he died at the age of 88. His posthumous Buddhist name was Toko-in or Tozan-in.

[Original Japanese]