Anna Incident (安和の変)

The Anna Incident was a case of ostracism caused by the Fujiwara clan against other clans that occurred during the Heian period in 969. Sadaijin (minister of the left) MINAMOTO no Takaakira was ousted based upon a tip-off that he committed treason.

On May 25, 967, Emperor Murakami dies, and the Crown Prince, Imperial Prince Norihira (Emperor Reizei), succeeds to the throne. FUJIWARA no Saneyori took office as Grand Minister of State and Chief Adviser to the Emperor, MINAMOTO no Takaakira as Sadaijin, and FUJIWARA no Morotada as Udaijin (minister of the right). Emperor Reizei had no child at the time, and was in poor health (suffering mental illness), so the Crown Prince had to be promptly appointed. In line to the throne were Imperial Prince Tamehira and Emperor Enyu, who were the maternal brothers of Emperor Reizei, the son of Emperor Murakami and Empress FUJIWARA no Anshi. Imperial Prince Tamehira, who was the oldest, was assumed to become the Crown Prince, but in fact, Imperial Prince Morihira became the Crown Prince.

This was due to the fact that the father of the princess of Imperial Prince Tamehira was Sadaijin MINAMOTO no Takaakira, and the Fujiwara clan feared that if Imperial Prince Tamehira became Crown Prince and assumed the Imperial Throne, MINAMOTO no Takaakira would become a maternal relative and could be placed in a dominant position. MINAMOTO no Takaakira was deeply trusted by Emperor Murakami, and he also had close relations with Udaijin FUJIWARA no Morosuke, the father of Empress Anshi whose daughter he married, both Emperor Murakami and FUJIWARA no Morosuke had already passed away and he was becoming isolated in the Imperial Court.

On March 25, 969, Sameryo (trainer of the left of horses owned by the imperial court), MINAMOTO no Mitsunaka, and former Suke (assistant director) of Musashi Province FUJIWARA no Yoshitoki, reported an act of treason committed by Nakatsukasa (ministry of central affairs) Shosuke (assistant director), TACHIBANA no Shigenobu, and Sahyoe (guards of the left) Taii (captain) MINAMOTO no Tsuranu. Udaijin Morotada and other court nobles immediately gathered at the palace to close the gates and to hold a meeting, and they sent a letter on the tip off to the Grand Minister of State Saneyori, and ordered the kebiishi (statutory office in the Heian and Kamakura periods) to capture and interrogate TACHIBANA no Shigenobu, and monk Renmo. Furthermore, Kebiishi MINAMOTO no Mitsusue, (the younger brother of Mitsunaka), captured and imprisoned former Suke of Sagami Province FUJIWARA no Chiharu, (son of FUJIWARA no Hidesato), and his child FUJIWARA no Hisayori as conspirators. Guards were dispatched to man the checking stations, and the situation seemed to be identical to that the war of Johei-Tengyo erupted.

The incident did not end there, and Sadaijin MINAMOTO no Takaakira was considered to have been involved in the treason, and a decision was made to degrade him to Dazai-gonnosochi (deputy commander in dazaifu, a governmental office in Chikuzen Province). Takaakira's requests to become a priest with his eldest son MINAMOTO no Tadataka and remain in Kyoto was not accepted, and on the 26th, his residence was surrounded by kebiishi and he was captured and sent to Kyushu.

For their loyalty in providing the tip-off, MINAMOTO no Mitsunaka and FUJIWARA no Yoshitoki were both promoted. Sadaijin was replaced by Morotada, and Dainagon (chief councilor of state) FUJIWARA no Arihira was promoted to Udaijin. Meanwhile, TACHIBANA no Shigenobu, Renmo, and FUJIWARA no Chiharu, were exiled to Tosa Province, Sado Province, and Oki Province respectively, and all provinces were ordered to track down and kill MINAMOTO no Tsuranu and TAIRA no Sadatoki.

The content of the tip-off and how MINAMOTO no Takaakira was involved remains unknown. According to the 'Genpei Seisuiki' (The Rise and Decline of the Minamoto and Taira Clans) written years later, MINAMOTO no Takaakira intended to invite Imperial Prince Tamehira to the eastern provinces to start a war and then place Prince Tamehira on the throne, but this is not credible but this is not credible. However, this incident clearly aimed at ousting MINAMOTO no Takaakira from the start, and became the last case of ostracism against other clans by the Fujiwara clan. In addition, some say that Takaakira may have become embroiled in a feud inside the Fujiwara clan between Saneyori and Morotada's side and Morosuke's side. According to this theory, the original goal was to oust not only Takaakira, but if circumstances allowed, to oust the FUJIWARA no Koretada brothers (sworn brothers of Takaakira) who were the children of Morosuke, but because the Koretada brothers, (who were estranged from Takaakira after the death of Takaakira's wife, the daughter of Morosuke) actively participated in casting aside Takaakira, expecting to be promoted if successful, the Fujiwara clan lost the opportunity to cast out the FUJIWARA no Koretada brothers. Furthermore, some point out that there was a connection between the declining health of FUJIWARA no Saneyori and this incident. At the time, Emperor Reizei had a 'maddening illness' and was not in condition to attend to governmental affairs, while the declining health of Saneyori, who was the Grand Minister of State and Chief Adviser to the Emperor, due to his old age was of concern. If something should happen to Saneyori, the closest maternal relative in line to become the next grand minister of state was Koretada who was merely a supernumerary Dainagon and did not have the qualifications to become grand minister of state. Under such circumstances where the absence of the grand minister of state would be unacceptable, the possibility of Takaakira, who had been conducting governmental affairs for years as chief of daijokan, temporarily being appointed to Grand Minister of State could not be denied, and this would disrupt the years of dominance in sekkan (regents and advisers) by the Fujiwara clan. This is why some say there was a plot to eradicate the possibility of Takaakira's appointment to Grand Minister of State.

Later, Takaakira was allowed to return to Kyoto after only a year following the Anna Incident.

FUJIWARA no Chiharu who was competing with MINAMOTO no Mitsunaka on the strength of their samurai, was also deported during this incident, removing the FUJIWARA no Hidesato lineage from the central government, while Seiwa-Genji (Minamoto clan) gained power in Kyoto and built strong ties with the sekkan-ke (line of regents and advisers).