Fujiwara no Michinaga (藤原道長)

FUJIWARA no Michinaga (966 - 1027) was a court nobility during the mid-Heian Period, Dajo-Daijin (held the position from December 4, 1017, to February 9, 1018, both in lunar calendar).

He was the 5th (the 4th according to another view) son of FUJIWARA no Kaneie, and his mother was Toki-hime, a daughter of FUJIWARA no Nakamasa, Lord of Settsu Province. He had older brothers and older sisters by the same mother, including: FUJIWARA no Michitaka, FUJIWARA no Michikane, FUJIWARA no Choshi/Toko and FUJIWARA no Senshi/Akiko. He had brothers and sisters by different mothers, including FUJIWARA no Michitsuna, Priest Kanetoshi and FUJIWARA no Suishi/Yasuko (Princess to Crown Prince Emperor Sanjo).

He gained career advancement when his father, Kaneie, became Regent and gained control of authority, but he had a low profile because he was the 5th son with powerful brothers, such as Michitaka and Michikane, but he got closer to the reins of power when Michitaka and Michikane, who became Regent and Senior Regent after Kaneie's death, died one after another due to illnesses. After he won the political power struggle against Michitaka's heir, FUJIWARA no Korechika, he became Sadaijin (Minister of the Left) and he became a dominant figure in the government by the Imperial Court. He sent his eldest daughter, FUJIWARA no Shoshi/Akiko, to the Court as a wife of Emperor Ichijo so that she could become an empress. He sent his second daughter, FUJIWARA no Kensi/Kiyoko, to Court as a wife of the succeeding Emperor Sanjo, so that she could also became an empress. However, Michinaga had a serious conflict with Emperor Sanjo, and he used the Emperor's eye illness as a reason and forced him to step down, and he became Regent by enthroning Emperor Go-Ichijo, whom Shoshi/Akiko bore. In about a year he passed down his position as Regent to his heir FUJIWARA no Yorimichi, and he solidified the system of succession.
He sent his third daughter, FUJIWARA no Ishi/Takeko, to the Court as a wife of Emperor Go-Ichijo so that she could become an empress, and he amazed those around him for having 'three empresses from one family.'
He became an ordained Buddhist monk after he achieved the highest position in the government by becoming Dajo-Daijin, but he continued to have tutelage over Yorimichi. In his late years he spent his energy in the construction of Hojo-ji Temple.

From birth to adolescence

He was born in 966 as the 5th (also known as the 4th) son of FUJIWARA no Kaneie.

His grandfather, FUJIWARA no Morosuke, was an influential figure who supported Emperor Murakami's reign as Udaijin (Minister of the Right), and when his daughter, Empress FUJIWARA no Anshi/Yasuiko, gave birth to Emperor Reizei and Emperor Enyu he strengthened his position as a maternal relative of the Imperial Family. Because of this, Morosuke's family, the Kujo Line, was placed in a more advantageous position than the descendants of his elder brother, FUJIWARA no Saneyori (Ononomiya Line), which should have been the main line of the family.

In 970, when Saneyori, who was Regent and Dajo-Daijin, passed away, Morosuke's eldest son, FUJIWARA no Koretaka, became Regent, but he died suddenly two years later. The second son, FUJIWARA no Kanemichi, and the third son, FUJIWARA no Kaneie, fought over the successor's position, but in the end, Kanemichi was announced as Kanpaku (chief advisor to the Emperor). Kanemichi and Kaneie did not get along, and Kaneie spent a period of unhappy days. In 977, just before Kanemichi died of an illness, he even downgraded Kaneie's rank.

On the last recommendation by Kanemichi, FUJIWARA no Yoritada of the Ononomiya Line became Kampaku, and in 979, Yoritada upgraded Kaneie's rank to Udaijin, which ended his unhappy days. He sent his second daughter, Senshi/Akiko, to the Court as Emperor Enyu's Nyogo (Emperor's concubine), and in 980, she gave birth to the First Prince, Emperor Ichijo.

On New Year's day of the same year, Michinaga was given his first Imperial Court rank of Jugoi (junior fifth court rank) at the age of 15. Later, he took a position in the Guard Office after serving as a chamberlain.

In 983, Emperor Enyu handed his throne to Emperor Kazan (Emperor Reizei's prince), and Prince Kanehito, whom Senshi/Akiko bore, was assigned as the Togu (Crown Prince). Because Kaneie wanted Prince Kanehito to ascend to the throne early, in June, 986 he and his second son, Michikane, concocted a scheme in which they abetted in taking Emperor Kazan from the Imperial Palace, and they retired him by making him become an ordained monk. Upon this incident, Michinaga served in the role of reporting to Kanpaku Yoritada that the Emperor was missing.

Young Prince Kanehito (Emperor Ichijo) was enthroned immediately, and his grandfather, Kaneie, was assigned as Regent. Kaneie quickly promoted his sons, and in 987, Michinaga was given the rank of Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank) as well as the position of Sakyo Daibu (Minister of Left Kyoto). On New Year's day in 988, he was selected as Chunagon (vice-councilor of state) without going through the position of Sangi (councilor).

Prior to this, Michinaga married MINAMOTO no Rinshi, a daughter of Sadaijin, MINAMOTO no Masanobu, and his eldest daughter, Shoshi/Akiko, was born in Masanobu's Tsuchimikado Mansion in 988. Subsequently, he took MINAMOTO no Meishi as a wife, who was a daughter of Sadaijin, MINAMOTO no Takaaki, who failed at Anwa Incident.

Struggle with Korechika

Kaneie passed away in July, 990, and his eldest son, Michitaka, became Kanpaku, and then Regent. In October of the same year, when Michitaka's eldest daughter, FUJIWARA no Teishi/Sadako, became an empress Michinaga was assigned as Chugu Daibu (Minister of the Palace of the Empress). He became Dainagon (chief councilor of state) in the following year, then he was given the rank of Junii (Junior Second Rank), and he also held a position in the Guard Office.

Michitaka's heir, FUJIWARA no Korechika, was assigned as Naidaijin and identified as his father's successor, bypassing Michinaga altogether. Furthermore, Emperor Ichijo deeply favored Teishi/Sadako, and because of this, he had an exceptionally strong trust and confidence in her older brother, Korechika.

In April, 995, Kyoto was plagued by 'akamogasa' (presently know as measles), and court nobles also died one after another. In the midst of this, Kampaku Michitaka was also struck down with an illness, but the illness was not because of the plague but because of heavy everyday drinking, and Michitaka begged the Emperor to allow Korechika to succeed him as Kanpaku, but this was not permitted, and only Nairan (Authority to review documents presented to Emperor) during his illness was allowed.
After Michitaka passed away his younger brother, Michikane, was assigned as Kanpaku, but he also died only a few days after he assumed his position, and he was called as 'Seven Days as Kampaku.'

According to "Okagami" Korechika himself wanted to become Kanpaku, and Emperor Ichijo also had Korechika in mind. However, Michinaga wanted to be Sekkan (regent-chancellor) himself because he thought that if Korechika administered politics then there would be chaos in the country. Emperor Ichijo's mother, Empress Higashi Sanjo-in (Senshi), had deeply cared about her younger brother, Michinaga, and conversely, she did not like her nephew Korechika so she strongly recommended Michinaga, but because the Emperor would not change his mind she cried and begged him, and it is said that because of this the Emperor finally decided to appoint Michinaga.

The standoff between Michinaga and Korechika continued, and on August 22, they had an acrimonious argument in front of various nobilities in Court, and 3 days later, two of their squires instigated a mass brawl in the capital. The Emperor gave Michinaga a permission to be a Nairan (Authority to review documents presented to Emperor), and then in September, he was assigned as Udaijin and became the Chief of the To (Fujiwara) family.

On New Year's day in 996, Korechika and his younger brother, FUJIWARA no Takaie, caused an incident in which an arrow was shot toward Kazan Ho'o because of their involvement with a woman. This incident was exposed immediately, and in April, Korechika was demoted to Dazai Gonnosochi and Takaie was demoted to Izumo Province and fell from power, and Empress Sadako/Teishi who became saddened by this cut off her hair and became a nun, but later, upon Emperor's order she returned to the Imperial Court (Chotoku Incident).

In July, Michinaga was promoted to Sadaijin and he became the leading figure in the Imperial Court both in name and in reality. Kanemichi's son, FUJIWARA no Akimitsu, was assigned as the next Udaijin, but Akimitsu was already regarded as an inept person.

Emperor Ichijo and Michinaga

Because he later built Hojo-ji Temple he is also called Mido Kanpaku, but in actuality, he never became Kampaku. At first, Emperor Ichijo gave Michinaga an order assigning him only as Nairan, and this was done so with Korechika in consideration but also, at the same time, because Michinaga lacked qualifications as Kanpaku for he was still only Dainagon and he did not have a position as a minister. However, even though he immediately became Udaijin and the Chief of the To (Fujiwara) Family Michinaga still did not assume the position of Kanpaku, and he continued to remain as the Minister of the Right (later the Minister of the Left) with the qualifications as Nairan and as Ichinokami (Head of Kugyo).

The official power of Kanpaku did not have the final authority, and the position only assisted the Emperor who had the absolute authority. For this reason, the nature of the authority was dependent upon the relationship with the Emperor (in reality, Michinaga and Emperor Sanjo were alienated from each other). Moreover, even if Regent or Kanpaku had a joint appointment as Daijin in Dajokan, the highest body of public government, the law prevented him from getting involved. Therefore, Michinaga did not assume the position of Regent or Kanpaku until his own grandson became the Emperor so that he was the Emperor's grandfather on the Emperor's mother's side, and he tried to exert his highest power of authority by holding a joint appointment as Sadaijin (Ichinokami), effectively the chief figure in Dajokan, and as Nairan, which had the authority close to that of Kampaku.

In 998, Michinaga suffered from a severe illness, which was serious enough that he begged the Emperor to let him become an ordained monk. The Emperor had to dissuade him several times, and eventually he recovered and returned to his administrative duties.

In November, 999, he sent his eldest daughter, Shoshi/Akiko, to Emperor Ichijo as Nyogo (Emperor's concubine). Her entrance into the Imperial Court was elaborate; lavish furniture were provided, including a 1.2 m long folding screen with poems composed by court nobilities and collected by MINAMOTO no Toshikata, the Councilor, and written by a talented calligrapher, FUJIWARA no Yukinari, and even Kazan Ho'o composed a waka poem as a gift on the occasion of Shoshi/Akiko's entrance into the Imperial Court. Among such people, only Chunagon FUJIWARA no Sanesuke refused to contribute a poem. Sanesuke was a successor in the Ononomiya Line (the family line of Saneyori), and at the time he was the foremost scholar who studied and had the knowledge of court rules, ceremonies, decorum and records of the past, and he maintained the attitude of not groveling to the authority.

In February, 1000, Michinaga made Shoshi/Akiko Chugu (Empress). Teishi/Sadako was the Emperor's wife already, and she had already given birth to the First Prince, Prince Atsuyasu, whom the Emperor favored, but Michinaga pushed Teishi/Sadako to become an Empress and he daringly implemented the system of One Emperor, Two Empresses. This was unprecedented, but Michinaga used his power to push through his agenda, and armed with FUJIWARA no Yukinari's logical reasoning, the support of Higashi Sanjo-in greatly helped him in his persuasion.

FUJIWARA no Senshi/Akiko

FUJIWARA no Junshi/Nobuko (FUJIWARA no Yoritada's daughter and Empress to Emperor Enyu)

Chugu (Empress), FUJIWARA no Teishi/Sadako

Three of the Emperor's wives came from the Fujiwara clan but they all became ordained nuns. The Empress who came from the Fujiwara family was supposed to serve at Oharano-jinja Shrine but there was no empress who could do so, and this was disrespectful to the gods. Therefore, Yukinari crafted an excuse to increase the number of empresses on this occasion so that they could serve at festivals, and he used this excuse to persuade Higashi Sanjo-in and Emperor Ichijo. Teishi/Sadako, who unwillingly became an Empress because of Michinaga, died in December of that year after giving birth to a princess.

In September, 1008, 10 years after entering the Imperial Court, Shoshi/Akiko gave birth to a prince, Emperor Go-Ichijo, at Michinaga's Tsuchimikado mansion, and in the following year, Emperor Go-Suzaku was also born. Michinaga's delirium of joy at the long-awaited birth of a grandson prince is detailed in "Diary of Murasaki Shikibu."

Emperor Ichijo, who became bedridden in June, 1011, handed over his throne to Crown Prince Emperor Sanjo (Prince of Emperor Reizei), and he passed away after he underwent tonsure and became ordained. It is said that there was a trusting relationship between Emperor Ichijo and Michinaga, but on the other hand, according to "Kojidan" and "Gukansho," although they are later records, when Michinaga was organizing the Emperor's belongings after his death he found the Emperor's handwritten note that said "even though the King desires righteous political administration the conniving ministers bring chaos to the land," and Michinaga became angry, ripped and threw away the note. On the other hand, there is an account in "Gonki," a diary of FUJIWARA no Yukinari which is a record from the same period, that notes that Emperor Ichijo, just prior to his death, consulted with Yukinari about supporting Prince Atsuyasu, whom Teishi/Sadako bore, as the next Crown Prince, but Yukinari, who was already deeply connected with Michinaga, instead urged the Emperor and made him agree to support Michinaga's grandson, Prince Atsuhira, whom Shoshi/Akiko bore, as the next Crown Prince. At the very least, it seems that there was a confrontation between Emperor Ichijo and Michinaga regarding the future of Prince Atsuyasu and Prince Atsuhira.

Confrontation with Emperor Sanjo

Emperor Sanjo named the 4-year old Prince Atsuhira as the Crown Prince. In February, 1012, Michinaga made his second daughter, FUJIWARA no Kenshi/Kiyoko an Empress, who was already in the Imperial Court when Emperor Sanjo was still the Crown Prince. At first, the Emperor requested Michinaga to assume the position of Kanpaku, but Michinaga declined and continued to hold his position as Nairan. Michinaga and Emperor Sanjo were uncle and nephew, but there was a little sense of common bonds between them because the Emperor lost his mother, Empress Choshi/Toko, while he was young and because he was enthroned after he became an adult and the Emperor wanted rule himself. Also, because Kenshi/Kiyoko gave birth to Princess Teishi/Yoshiko/Sadako, the relationship between him and the Emperor gradually worsened.

Aside from Kenshi/Kiyoko the Emperor had a concubine named FUJIWARA no Seishi (daughter of FUJIWARA no Narutoki) since his days as the Crown Prince, and she had given birth to the First Prince, Prince Atsuakira, and the Emperor decided to make Seishi an Empress. However, on the day of the ceremony to install the new Empress, Michinaga was absent because it was his day to visit the Imperial Palace to see Kenshi/Kiyoko, and the other court nobilities, in order to gain Michinaga's favor, also declined to attend the ceremony. Even though he was ill, Sanesuke, a person of sound judgment, made the decision to attend with Chunagon Takaie and managed the ceremony, but it ended up being a lonely ceremony. The following year, upon investiture of Seishi's older brother, FUJIWARA no Michito'o, as a reward for visiting Seishi at the Imperial Palace, Michinaga criticized the Emperor for rewarding Michito'o saying that under normal circumstances the eldest brother, FUJIWARA no Tameto'o, would be the who had the guardianship of Seishi, and in the end he had the Emperor promote Tameto'o.

Because of the conflict between Emperor Sanjo and Michinaga the governmental affairs stalled, but the political tide was advantageous to Michinaga. On the other hand, Emperor Sanjo secretly conveyed a message of relying on Sanesuke, but judicious Sanesuke, although he acted according to his principles, was not willing to confront powerful Michinaga head on. In 1014, the Emperor, who became isolated, developed an illness of the eyes that almost made him lose his eyesight, and it finally became difficult for him to conduct affairs of the state, and Michinaga used this as an excuse to urge the Emperor to pass on his throne. It was obvious that Michinaga wanted not only the enthronement of Prince Atsuhira but also assignment of Prince Atsunaga, also a son of Shoshi/Akiko, as the Crown Prince; the Emperor despised Michinaga and he resisted his request to step down, and he wished for the recovery from his illness of the eyes by frequently ordering various temples and shrines for incantations.

In October, 1015, under the pressure to pass down his throne the Emperor ordered Michinaga to be the Associate Regent and delegated the Jimoku ceremony (a ceremony for the periodical appointment of the government), and he declared that he would not be involved. In November, the newly constructed Emperor's residence was burned down. Michinaga used this as an excuse to further urge the Emperor to hand down his throne, and Emperor Sanjo, with his eye illness not at all getting better, finally gave in and he agreed to hand over the throne with the condition that his First Prince, Prince Atsuakira be the Crown Prince.

On New Year's day, 1016, he handed over the throne and Crown Prince Atsuhira was enthroned as the Emperor (Emperor Go-Ichijo). Michinaga received the Emperor's order to be Regent. As he had promised, Prince Atsuakira became the Crown Prince. However, Prince Atsuakira was not related to Michinaga through maternal relatives, and the family of his mother, Seishi, did not back him up and the Prince's father-in-law was Akimitsu, Udaijin, but he did not have much respect and was completely unreliable.

This World

In March, 1017, Michinaga passed on his positions as Regent and the chief of the family to his heir, Yorimichi, and he fixed the system of successors. Soon after Ex-Emperor Sanjo passed away in May, Prince Atsuakira made a request in August to resign from being the Crown Prince. Michinaga named Prince Atsuakira Deputy Retired Emperor (title was Sho-Ichijoin), and he treated him favorably by arranging his daughter, FUJIWARA no Kanshi/Hiroko, to marry him. As Michinaga had wished, Prince Atsunaga became the Crown Prince. In December, he was given a court rank of Juichii (Junior First Rank) and Dajo Daijin, and he achieved the highest rank in the government, but he soon resigned. It seemed like he retired from the political administration, but he continued to have guardianship over young Yorimichi who became Sessho (Regent) and gave him directions.

In March, 1018, when Emperor Go-Ichijo turned 11 years old he sent his third daughter, FUJIWARA no Ishi/Takeko to the Court as the Emperor's concubine, and in October he made her an Empress.
Sanesuke wrote words of admiration in his diary, "Ouki/Shoyuki," that read 'Three Empresses came from one family, how unprecedented.'
On the day Ishi/Takeko became an Empress (November 26) various court nobilities were invited to the banquet held at Michinaga's mansion, and Michinaga read an impromptu poem to Sanesuke, 'When I reflect, this world is indeed my world, nor is there any flaw in the full moon' ("Ouki/Shoyuki," original text in Chinese characters). Sanesuke very politely declined to give a poem in response, and instead, he suggested for everyone to recite this 'fine poem' together, and all the court nobilities recited this poem over and over again. The banquet held on this day was written in Michinaga's diary even though this poem itself was not included, but this poem was written in the diary of Sanesuke, who was critical of Michinaga, and it has passed on to the later generations.

In March, 1019, he became ill, and he underwent tonsure and became an ordained monk. He received the precepts half a year later at Todai-ji Temple. His priestly name was Gyokan (later Gyokaku).

In 1021, Michinaga's youngest daughter, FUJIWARA no Kishi/Yoshiko, served the Crown Prince, Prince Atsunaga, as Naishi no Tsukasa (Lady officials serving Emperor) so that she would also be an Empress in the future, but Kishi/Yoshiko died early in 1025 after she gave birth to Emperor Go-Reizei.

In his later years he spent his energy in the construction of grand Hojo-ji Temple. Man power and resources were funneled into the construction, and Juryo (local governors) of various provinces raced to contribute to this construction project for powerful Michinaga, even if that meant making the necessary payment to the government later. "Eiga Monogatari (The Tale of Glory)" describes the splendor of Hojo-ji Temple as the height of Michinaga's life in luxury. Michinaga lived in this Hojo-ji Temple, but many of his children died before him, and because he was sickly it can be said that he did not live peacefully.

He died of an illness in 1027. He was 63 years old. The definite cause of his death is not known, but it is said, based on the records, that he might have died of either a cancer of diabetes. According to one view, he might have had Hansen's disease. Michinaga built the glory days of the Fujiwara Hokke Family, and even after the collapse of the regency government, his descendents alone became Regents and Senior Regents by hereditary succession, and from the main line, the 5 Sekke Families and three families (Kazanin-ke, Oinomikado-ke, Daigo-ke) of the 9 Seigake Families developed.

National Treasure Diary of Mido-Kanpaku

Michinaga's diary between the age of 33 and 56 is called "Diary of Mido-Kanpaku" ("Diary of the Hojo-ji Temple Regent"), and 14 volumes written by himself and 12 volumes that were transcribed are kept at Yomei Library in Kyoto. Judging from the fact that mistakes in the characters and phonetic equivalents are scattered throughout, and that abusive languages and words of happiness and elation are used candidly Michinaga's easygoing and impulsive character can be seen very well. Further, he referred to his official wife, MINAMOTO no Rinshi, as 'Nyobo (my wife),' and it is worth noting that he used the word 'Nyobo' in the same sense as that used in the modern sense. It has been designated as a National Treasure in 1951 for being a first class historical resource related to the politics and the life of aristocrats back then.

Personal Profile

Michinaga was of large-hearted and pleasant character, and according to a story of his youth his father, Kaneie, envying FUJIWARA no Kinto, a talented son of Kanpaku Yoritada, said with a sigh of grief to his sons, 'my sons fall far short, they won't even be able to step on (Kinto's) shadow.'
Michitaka and Michikane didn't say a word, but Michinaga alone answered, 'I may not be able to step on his shadow, but I can step on his face' (Okagami).

At the funeral of the father, Kaneie, MINAMOTO no Yorimitsu, a renowned warrior who observed Michinaga's dignified demeanor, admired him saying that he had the caliber of a general, and he followed his example.

Also, he was an expert at archery, and when he had an archery contest with FUJIWARA no Korechika, heir to his older brother, Michitaka, and who later became his rival, he said, 'if my daughter weds the Emperor then let the arrow strike the target,' then he released the arrow and it hit the target, but Koretaka missed. Then Michinaga said 'if I am to become Regent and Senior Regent, let the arrow hit the target' and he released the arrow and it hit the target again. Michitaka was not happy, and he stopped the archery contest (Okagami).

Michinaga loved literature and he provided tutelage for female writers such as Murasakishikibu and Izumishikibu, and he not only attended essay-writing gatherings at the Emperor's residence but also hosted essay-writing gatherings and poetry contests at his own mansion. He was the first reader of "The Tale of Genji," and it is said that every time he visited Murasakishikibu's room he asked for her manuscript (it is also said that he was looking forward to reading about an aristocrat that appears in the story who is a tactician modeled after him).

He left a house collection, "Mido-Kanpaku collection," and he himself was a poet whose poem appears in the Emperor's collection after Shui Wakashu (Shui anthology of poetry). However, Michinaga seemed to have favored Chinese poetry over waka (Japanese) poetry (incidentally, it is said that he did not particularly like his famous poem, 'This world,' because it was composed on the spot, and therefore, it does not appear in "Diary of Mido-Kanpaku," but it is passed down in "Ouki/Shoyuki" by his political enemy, FUJIWARA no Sanesuke).

Furthermore, as a politician he took price stabilization measures by adjusting the commodity valuation system (after Michinaga and Sanesuke died court nobilities no longer worked on public policy, which became a remote cause for the effective control of political authority to be seized by Insei (Administration from the Office of the Retired Emperor) and by military regime by the warrior class). Incidentally, his hair was very thin. Also, he had a deep faith in Buddhism (Pure Land teaching in particular), and it is said that at his last moment he passed away in the middle of a ritual to pray for the Pure Land surrounded by many monks in front of the principal image of Hojo-ji Temple's Amitabha hall that he built himself.

Chronology of Government Positions

As described in "Kugyo Honin" (The appointment of court nobility) unless stated otherwise. () denote dates converted to the solar calendar. The years are converted to the solar calendar using the Julian calendar.

980
January 27: He was awarded the rank of Jugoinoge (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade).
982
February 6: He was allowed to enter the Court.
983
March 14: He was assigned as a chamberlain.
984
March 6: His position was reassigned to Uhyoe-gonnosuke. May 17: He was permitted to wear the Prohibited Color. May 31: He was permitted to visit the Crown Prince (Prince Morosada, later Emperor Kazan).
986
March 20: He was permitted to enter the Court. August 1st: He was permitted again to enter the Court because Emperor Ichijo was enthroned. August 30: He was promoted to the rank of Jugoinojo (Junior Fifth Rank, Upper Grade), and he was reassigned to Kurodo. Retained his position as Uhyoe-gonnosuke.

September 3rd: He was promoted to Shogoinoge (Senior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade), and his position as Kurodo and Uhyoe-gonnosuke remained unchanged. September 21: He was assigned to an additional post of Shonagon. November 19: He was transferred to Sakonoe-shosho and retained the position of Shonagon. December 21: He was promoted to Jushiinoge (Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade) and retained the position of Sakonoe-shosho. Court rank promotion was achieved by presenting the conferring fee to the Office of the Empress. He was re-permitted to visit the Court and to wear the Prohibited Colors.

987
February 7: He was promoted to Jushiinojo (Junior Fourth Rank, Upper Grade) while retaining the post of Sakonoe-shosho. February 27: He was also assigned to Sanuki Province.
987
August 8: He was also assigned to Bizen Province and left the office of Sanuki Province. September 29: He was also assigned as Kyoshiki (police chief of Kyoto) and retained the position of Sakonoe-shosho. October 15: He was promoted to Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank), retaining the position of Sakonoe-shosho. October 21: His position as Sakonoe-shosho ended, but he was permitted to wear a sword on his belt.
988
February 19: He was reassigned to Gonchunagon, retaining the permission to wear a sword on his belt.
989
April 12: He was also assigned as Uemonnokami (Minister of Right Guard).
990
February 5: He was promoted to Shosanmi (Senior Third Rank), retaining positions of Gonchunagon and Uemonnokami. October 26: He was also assigned to Chugu (daughter of FUJIWARA no Michitaka, Emperor Ichijo's Empress, FUJIWARA no Teishi/Sadako) Daibu.
991
October 17: He was reassigned to Gondainagon and he retained the position of Chugu Daibu.
992
May 31st: He was promoted to Junii, retaining the positions of Gondainagon and Chugu Daibu.
995
May 29: He was also assigned as Sakonoe-daisho. (Date missing): He was announced as Nairan. October 15: He was reassigned to Udaijin and he was announced as the Chief of Fujiwara clan. October 16: He remained as Sakonoe-daisho.
996
August 6: He was promoted to Shonii (Senior Second Rank) and reassigned to Sadaijin. He remained as Nairan.

August 7: His position as Sakonoe-daisho remained unchanged. September 24: He resigned from Sakonoe-daisho.
1015
December 11: He was assigned as an Associate Regent. His position as Sadaijin remained unchanged.

1016
March 10: He was assigned as Regent. His position as Sadaijin remained unchanged.

January 7, 1017: He resigned from the position of Sadaijin.
1017
April 16: He resigned from the position of Regent, and he was promoted to the rank of Juichii (Junior First Rank).
1017
December 24: He was awarded the position of Dajo Daijin.
1018
February 27: He resigned from Dajo Daijin.
1019
April 28: He became an ordained monk. Priestly name: Gyokan. Later he changed his name to Gyokaku.

Among adopted children and children considered as his, there are: MINAMOTO no Narinobu (son of Prince Munehira, nephew of Rinshi), whose father became an ordained monk and passed away so his relative, Michinaga, took guardianship; FUJIWARA no Nobumoto (Norimichi's son, later FUJIWARA no Michimoto) and FUJIWARA no Kaneyori (Yorimune's son), who were Michinaga's biological grandsons but Michinaga adopted them in order to facilitate their promotion; and the brothers adopted for the same reason, FUJIWARA no Kanetsune and Domyo (Betto of Shitenno-ji Temple), who were biological sons of Michitsuna, who was Michinaga's half brother by a different mother. Other than that, even though formal arrangements were not made, MINAMOTO no Tsunefusa (son of MINAMOTO no Takaaki; Meishi's biological younger brother and Michinaga acted as his guardian) and FUJIWARA no Kanetaka (Michikane's son) also were adopted in a similar manner.