Fujiwara no Kanemichi (藤原兼通)

FUJIWARA no Kanemichi (925-December 25, 977) was a high court official during the mid-Heian period. He was posthumously awarded the title, Lord Chugi (the Loyal Lord). His father was FUJIWARA no Morosuke. His mother was FUJIWARA no Moriko. FUJIWARA no Koretada and FUJIWARA no Kaneie were among his brothers. His children included FUJIWARA no Akimitsu, FUJIWARA no Asateru, FUJIWARA no Masamitsu and FUJIWARA no Koshi. He was also known as Lord Horikawa. Although he enjoyed political advantages as the second son of FUJIWARA no Morosuke, an influential politician of the time, he had possessed a bitter hatred against his brother, Kaneie, and ever since he was appointed as Kanpaku (Chief Adviser to the Emperor) under the will of Empress Anshi, Kanemichi's younger sister and Emperor Enyu's mother when his elder brother, Koretada, who was the Imperial Regent, who died at an early age, Kanemichi tried to prevent the success of Kaneie on every possible occasion. Kanemichi and Kaneie never reconciled with each other, and even on the verge of death, Kanemichi forced himself to preside over an appointment ceremony at the Imperial Palace in order to relegate Kaneie and passed away.

Biography

FUJIWARA no Kanemichi was born as the second son of FUJIWARA no Morosuke, the Minister of Right who yielded power as an influential official of Emperor Murakami's government. He was awarded the rank of Jugoinoge (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade) in 943. In 946, he was appointed as the Governor of Suo Province. At the end of the Tenryaku era, he was promoted to the post of Sakone no shosho (assistant commander of the left inner palace guard division) and was also appointed as Togu no suke (a member of the staff in charge of the Palace of the Imperial Prince). In 967, he became Kurodo no to (Chief Imperial Secretary).

Morosuke married his eldest daughter, Anshi, to Emperor Murakami, and Anshi who was deeply favored bore Imperial Prince Norihira (later Emperor Reizei) and Imperial Prince Morihira (later Emperor Enyu), who both succeeded to the throne, giving Morosuke's sons, Koretada, Kanemichi and Kaneie great political disadvantages.

In 967, as Emperor Reizei ascended the throne after the death of Emperor Murakami, FUJIWARA no Kanemichi succeeded his younger brother, Kaneie, as the Chief Imperial Secretary. In 969, he was appointed as an imperial councilor and was awarded the rank of Jusani (Junior Third Rank). However, his brother, Kaneie, who was appointed as Dainagon (Chief Councilor of State) and Ukone no daisho (commander of the right inner palace guard division), achieved an even greater success. Some people believe that this was due to the fact that Kanemichi's son, Masamitsu, having married MINAMOTO no Takaakira's daughter, Nakahime (see "Eiga Monogatari (Story of Glory)," etc.), Kanemichi was treated coldly as the only supporter of Takaakira among brothers during the Anna Incident. Disappointed by the cold treatment, Kanemichi started to neglect his duty as a court official. Emperor Enyu, who succeeded Emperor Reizei as the emperor, did not think well of his uncle, Kanemichi, either. In 971, his elder brother, Koretada, was appointed as the Imperial Regent and Prime Minister. Meanwhile, Kanemichi was promoted only to the post of Gon Chunagon (Deputy Junior Councilor of State) in 972.

While Kanemichi aspired to become the Chief Advisor to the Emperor and the Imperial Regent, he was also afraid that his younger brother, Kaneie, might be appointed to these posts before himself. Therefore, he always carried a note with him, which was written by his younger sister, Empress Anshi, during Emperor Murakami's reign, ordering that her brothers should be appointed to the post of Adviser to the Emperor or Imperial Regent in the order of their ages.

In 972, when his elder brother, Koretada fell seriously ill, Kanemichi visited the Imperial Palace in order to take advantage of the opportunity. Emperor Enyu, who was sitting in a room with a painting of a devil being defeated by an ancient Indian king and who always kept Kanemichi at arm's length, tried to leave the room upon seeing him. However, hearing Kanemichi's words that he had an important message to the emperor, Emperor Enyu went back to his seat, while Kanemichi showed him Anshi's note. Reading the note, which was written in the handwriting of his mother, Anshi, who died while he was a child, Emperor Enyu made the decision to obey her will.

The emperor first allowed Kanemichi to audit documents submitted to the court and then promoted him from Gon Chunagon (Deputy Junior Councilor of State) to Naidaijin (Minister of the Interior) at once, finally proclaiming him the Chief Advisor to the Emperor (he was promoted from Auditor to Chief Advisor to the Emperor either in 972 or 974). In his diary, FUJIWARA no Naritoki bitterly criticized the fact that Kanemichi was appointed as Naidaijin without consultation with Dainagon, Emperor Enyu who was responsible for the appointment and FUJIWARA no Yoritada, who did not stop the emperor from making the appointment ("Naritokiki (Diary of FUJIWARA no Naritoki)"). In 974, Kanemichi succeed FUJIWARA no Yoritada as the head of the Fuji clan, was awarded the rank of Shonii (Senior Second Rank) and was appointed as Dajo Daijin (Prime Minister). In 975, he was awarded the rank of Juichii (Junior First Rank). In 976, due to a fire that broke out in the Imperial Palace, Emperor Enyu moved to Kanemichi's residence, Horikawa-tei, as it was called by people at the time "Imadairi (real imperial palace)."

Kaneie, who was seriously at odds with Kanemichi, no longer had prospects for promotion, with even his half brother, FUJIWARA no Tamemitsu, appointed as the master prime minister, a post superior to Kaneie's. Meanwhile, whereas Kanemichi sent his daughter, FUJIWARA no Koshi, to the Imperial Palace of Emperor Enyu as a court lady, who later became his empress, Kaneie sent his eldest daughter, FUJIWARA no Choshi, to Emperor Reizei as a court lady and was also plotting to send his second daughter, FUJIWARA no Senshi, to Emperor Enyu as a court lady. However, fiercely denouncing Kaneie, Kanemichi obstructed his plot. Emperor Enyu, suspecting that Kaneie did not send Senshi to his Imperial Palace because Kaneie was wishing that a child born by Choshi might succeed to the throne, began to estrange Kaneie and strengthen his relationship with Kanemichi.

Visitors to Kaneie's residence, Higashisanjo-tei, which was located adjacent to Horikawa-tei, were threatened by Kanemichi and were forced to visit Higashisanjo-tei late at night.

When Choshi bore Imperial Prince Okisada (later Emperor Sanjo) of Emperor Reizei, Kanemichi became even more irritated and viciously slandered Kaneie in front of Emperor Enyu.

Kanemichi was normally on friendly terms with FUJIWARA no Yoritada, the Minister of the Right, whom Kanemichi succeeded as the head of the Fuji clan and whom Kaneie considered as his successor. Meanwhile, MINAMOTO no Kaneakira, the Minister of the Left (Sadaijin), had power equal to that of Kanemichi as the commander of imperial government officials (the court's custom forbade the Prime Minister to perform official duties of court officials, which made the Minister of the Left the de facto commander in chief). Therefore, Kanemichi appointed Yoritada as Ichinokami (first minister), commander in chief, to strip Kaneakira of political power and deposed Kaneakira to his former position of Imperial Prince (custom forbade imperial princes to be engaged in political affairs) in order to appoint Yoritada as the Minister of the Left.

In November 977, Kanemichi fell severely ill. Thereupon Kanemichi was told by his family members that there was a wagon coming from Higashisanjo tei. Thinking that Kaneie, having heard about his illness, was coming to visit him, Kanemichi had things tidied up to receive his guest. However, Kaneie's wagon went past his gate to the Imperial Palace. Thinking that Kanemichi was already in his deathbed, Kaneie was on his way to the Imperial Palace to file a petition to appoint Kanemichi's successor to the emperor. Enraged by Kaneie's action, Kanemichi rose from his bed and supported by four people, he visited the Imperial Palace. Kanemichi appeared before the emperor just as Kaneie was filing his petition; appalled at the sight of Kanemichi, Kaneie fled elsewhere.

Kanemichi declared that he was going to hold his last appointment ceremony, and appointed Yoritada, the Minister of the Left, as the person to succeed him as the Councilor of State. He then dismissed Kaneie from the post of Commander of the Right Inner Palace Guard Division, deposing him to Jibukyo (Director of the Ministry of Civil Administration). Even the emperor was unable to oppose Kanemichi's fierce determination. Looking over at court officials, Kanemichi asked whether anyone wished to be appointed as Ukone no taisho (Commander of the Right Inner Palace Guard Division). Among the high court officials, who remained speechless, FUJIWARA no Naritoki, the Junior Council of State, came forward to be appointed as Ukone no taisho.
("Okagami")

Kanemichi died shortly later. He died at the age of 53. He was posthumously awarded the rank of Shoichii (Senior First Rank) and the tile, Lord Chugi (loyal lord).

Meanwhile, Kaneie remained in an obscure position for a while, but eventually returned to politics and rose to power; making Imperial Prince Yasuhito (Emperor Ichijo or children of Enyu born by Senshi) ascend the throne and wielded power as a maternal relative of the imperial family. The lineage of Kaneie subsequently continued to hold the posts of the Chief Adviser to the Emperor and Regent, achieving the greatest prosperity of all Fujiwara families.

Official Record
* Dates are all based on the old lunar calendar. On January 7, 943, Kanemichi was awarded the rank of Jugoinoge (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade).

On February 20, 946, he was appointed as Gonnokami (Viceroy) of Suo Province. On July 24, he was allowed to attend official meetings held in the inner palace. On September 16, he was transferred to the post of Palace staff.

On May 29, 948, he was appointed as Sahyoe no suke (Assistant Director of the Left Imperial Police Division).

On January 7, 950, he was promoted to the rank of Jugoinojo (Junior Fifth Rank, Upper Grade), retaining his post as Sahyoe no suke.

On January 16, 952, he was concurrently appointed as the Deputy Viceroy of Yamato Province.

On February 23, 955, he was concurrently appointed as a deputy governor of Kii Province and was dismissed from the post of Deputy Viceroy of Yamato Province. On July 29, he was transferred to the post of Assistant Commander of the Left Inner Palace Guard Division. He retained his post as the Deputy Viceroy of Kii Province.

On January 27, 956, he was appointed as the Deputy Viceroy of Omi Province and was dismissed from the post of Deputy Viceroy of Kii Province.

On November 27, 957, he was promoted to the rank of Shogoinoge (Senior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade), retaining his post as Assistant Commander of the Left Inner Palace Guard Division.

On July 29, 958, he was allowed to wear clothes bearing colors of high court officials. On October 27, he was appointed as Chugunosuke (Assistant Director of the Empress Division) for the empress (FUJIWARA no Morosuke's daughter, FUJIWARA no Anshi, who was Emperor Murakami's empress).

On January 7, 960, he was promoted to the rank of Jushiinoge (Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade). On January 24, he was appointed as Chugu Gonnodaibu (Deputy Chief of the Empress Division). On September 4, he was concurrently appointed as the Assistant Director of the Imperial Prince Division (for Imperial Prince Norihira, i.e. later Emperor Reizei).

On September 4, 963, he was concurrently appointed as the Deputy Governor of Mino Province.

On April 29, 964, he was dismissed from the post of Chugu Gonnodaibu.

On January 20, 967, he was appointed as Kuranokami (Chief Imperial Accountant). On January 25, he was concurrently appointed as Kurodo no to (Chief Imperial Secretary). On May 25, he was dismissed from the post of Chief Imperial Accountant and was disallowed to attend meetings held at the inner palace. On June 26, he was allowed to attend meetings held at the inner palace. On September 1, he was allowed to attend meetings held at the Imperial Prince's palace. On October 11, he was promoted to the rank of Jushiinojo (Junior Fourth Rank, Upper Grade).

On November 23, 968, he was promoted to the rank of Shoshiinoge (Senior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade).

On January 23, 969, he was appointed as the Imperial Regent. On the 21st of the leap month May, he was concurrently appointed as Kunaikyo (Director of the Imperial Household Department). On September 27, he was awarded the rank of Jusani (Junior Third Rank), retaining his post as Regent and Kunaikyo.

On January 25, 970, he was appointed as the Deputy Governor of Sanuki Province. On January 28, he was appointed as the Deputy Governor of Mino Province and was dismissed from the post of Deputy Governor of Sanuki Province.

On the 29th of the leap month February, 972, he was transferred to the post of Deputy Junior Council of State. On November 27, he was proclaimed to be the Chief Councilor of State by the emperor. He was concurrently appointed as the Interior Minister.

On January 7, 973, he was promoted to the rank of Shosani (Senior Third Rank), retaining his post as Chief Councilor of State and Interior Minister.

On January 7, 974, he was promoted to the rank of Junii (Junior Second Rank), retaining his post as Chief Councilor of State and Interior Minister. On February 8, he was proclaimed to be the head of the Fuji clan by the emperor. On February 28, he was proclaimed to be the Prime Minister by the emperor. He retained his post of Chief Councilor of State.

On January 7, 975, he was promoted to the rank of Juichii (Junior First Rank), retaining his post as Chief Councilor of State and Prime Minister.

On October 11, 977, he resigned as the Chief Councilor of State and Prime Minister. On November 4, he was proclaimed a quasi-imperial family member. He passed away on November 8. He died at the age of 53. On November 20, he was awarded the rank of Shoichii (Senior First Rank). He was posthumously awarded the title of the Lord of Totomi Province.