The Kyogoku School (京極派)

The Kyogoku school (Kyogokuha) was a school of waka poetry that existed from the middle of the Kamakura period into the beginning of the Muromachi period.

The poetic school of the Kyogoku family, known as a 'Waka family,' belonged to the Mikohidari lineage of the Northern House of the Fujiwara clan; Tamenori KYOGOKU, the commoner brother of Tameuji NIJO--the Mikohidari family's rightful heir--started the Kyogoku school together with his son Tamekane KYOGOKU, but in reality it was through Tamekane that the Kyogoku school came into true being as a prominent waka school. As the main lineage (i.e., from the eldest son) of the Mikohidari family, members of the Kyogoku school fell into conflict with adherents of the Nijo school, who had forged close ties with the Daikakuji imperial lineage (which would afterwards become the Southern Court); Tamekane, welcomed as Emperor Fushimi's tutor in the art of waka poetry, took advantage of his closeness with the Jimyoin imperial lineage (which later became the Northern Court) to create a waka circle at the Imperial Court, working to ensure his fresh new poetic style would become popular. Waka in this style, which treasured expression of true feelings as well as a delicate sensibility, were able to inject new freshness into the stagnant poetry circles of the late Kamakura period, but suffered severe castigation from the Nijo school for their eccentric and unconventional expressions. Tamekane wrote an essay on waka known as the "Excerpts on waka by Lord Tamekane."

Three sub-categories are covered under the umbrella term "poetry circles of the Kyogoku school": 1) members of the Kyogoku family itself, a family famous for its waka production (this would also include the Reizei family, since at this point it had not yet split away and become independent), 2) gatherings of poets who had adopted the Kyogoku poetic style, and 3) the literary salon at Emperor Fushimi's court; each of these aspects reinforced the other until the overall entity took shape as something that could be called 'the Kyogoku school.'
In general, the history of the Kyogoku school is broken into two periods, with the school during the Kamakura period dubbed the early period and all its history from the Northern and Southern Court period onwards being called the late period; its principal active poets included Tamekane KYOGOKU, Emperor Fushimi, Imperial Prince Hisaaki, Shoshi SAIONJI, Tameshi FUJIWARA (also known as Tameshi of Junior Third Rank), and Tamesuke REIZEI (whose daughter married Imperial Prince Hisaaki of the Jimyoin lineage), and Tamekane was also chosen (by order of Emperor Fushimi) to compile the 13th Imperial waka anthology, "Gyokuyo wakashu" (the Jeweled Leaves Collection). In the later period of the Kyogoku school's history, Shoshi SAIONJI (also known by her Buddhist name, Eifukumonin), Emperor Hanazono, and Emperor Kogon were its principal active poets, and Kogon (by order of Emperor Hanazono) was selected to compile the 17th Imperial waka anthology, "Fuga wakashu" (Collected Elegant Waka), but during the Kanno Disturbance, the most important members of the Jimyoin lineage imperial court such as Emperor Kogon were put under confinement by Southern Court forces, and as a result the Jimyoin lineage imperial court suffered a major blow to its power and prestige, and while Emperor Kogon was still under house arrest, Emperor Gokogon, the successor to both the Jimyoin lineage and to the poetic traditions of the Kyogoku school, switched his allegiance to the Nijo school, leaving the Kyogoku school facing extinction, without a suitable successor.

In the medieval period and into more recent times, no one rated the poetry of the Kyogoku school very highly and it consequently fell into a long period of obscurity, but closer to the present day, the Kyogoku school experienced a more positive reappraisal, with Shinobu ORIGUCHI and Zenmaro TOKI, in particular, offering strong praise of the Kyogoku poetic style. In the postwar period, research into the Kyogoku school has been progressing under Miyoko IWASA and her team, and little by little the complete picture of the Kyogoku school's attributes and activities is becoming clear.