Fujiwara no Kusuko (藤原薬子)

FUJIWARA no Kusuko (date of birth unknown - October 17, 810) was a female court official in the early part of the Heian period. She was a daughter of FUJIWARA no Tanetsugu of the Fujiwara shiki family.

She was the wife to Chunagon (vice-councilor of state) FUJIWARA no Tadanushi and mother to three sons and two daughters. Her eldest daughter became a kanjo (a lady serving at the Imperial Court) for the Crown Prince of Emperor Kanmu and started working as Togu Senji (high ranking lady serving at the Crown Prince's Palace), but she was involved in an illicit relationship with Imperial Prince Ate. It is believed that Kusuko was also involved with FUJIWARA no Kadonomaro. Emperor Kanmu became angry and ousted Kusuko from the Crown Prince's Palace.

In 806, Emperor Kanmu passed away, and when Imperial Prince Ate became the next Emperor (Emperor Heizei), Kusuko was again called back to serve at the Imperial Court and appointed to Naishi no Tsukasa (Palace Attendants Office). Her husband Tadanushi was sent to Kyushu as Dazai no daini (Senior Assistant Governor-General of the Dazai-fu offices). Receiving all the love of the Emperor, Kusuko gradually came to interfere with the politics. Together with her elder brother FUJIWARA no Nakanari, she dominated the Imperial government, which made their political rivals hate them very much. In 809, she had the Emperor posthumously grant the title of Daijo Daijin (Grand minister of state) to her deceased father FUJIWARA no Tanetsugu.

In the same year, Emperor Heizei abdicated the crown to Imperial Prince Kamino (Emperor Saga) because of his illness. The Retired Emperor Heizei moved to Heijokyo.

Since then, two Imperial Courts were established, one in Heiankyo and the other in Heijokyo. Kusuko and Nakanari attempted to change the capital from Heiankyo to Heijokyo for the purpose of reinstating the Retired Emperor Heizei, which made the split of the two courts definitive.

On October 15, 810, Emperor Saga arrested Nakanari, who happened to be in Heiankyo, and issued an Imperial order that deprived Kusuko of her rank and announced that she was a criminal. Retired Emperor Heizei headed east to raise his army together with Kusuko, but Emperor Saga moved faster and ordered SAKANOUE no Tamuramaro to lead his army to face the Retired Emperor's forces. Aware of the inability to win the battle, Retired Emperor Heizei returned to Heijokyo and took the tonsure, and Kusuko kiled herself by poisoning. Nakanari was also killed.
(Kusuko Incident)