Fujiwara no Michisue (藤原通季)

FUJIWARA no Michisue (1090 - July 12, 1128) was a Kugyo (top court official) in the late Heian period. The son of Dainagon (Chief Councilor of State) FUJIWARA no Kinzane, he was descended from the Kanin line of the Northern House of the Fujiwara clan. He attained the rank of Shosanmi (Senior Third Rank) and the post of Chunagon (Vice-Councilor of State). He called himself Omiya. As the forefather of the Saionji family, he sometimes appears as Michisue SAIONJI.

Career

He became Ecchu no kuni kokushi (Provincial Governor of Ecchu Province) in 1099, Uhyoe no Suke (Assistant Captain of the Right Division of Middle Palace Guards) in 1100, Jugoi (Junior Fifth Rank) in 1102, Shogoi (Senior Fifth Rank) in 1103, Sashosho (Minor Captain of the Left Division of Inner Palace Guards) and Mimasaka no kami (Governor of Mimasaka Province) in 1104, Jushii (Junior Fourth Rank) in 1105, Jushiijo (Junior Fourth Rank, Upper Grade) in 1107, Shoshii (Senior Fourth Rank) in 1108, Sachujo (Middle Captain of the Left Division of Inner Palace Guards) and Kurodo no to (Head Chamberlain) in 1111, Bizen gon no kami (Provisional Governor of Bizen Province) in 1112, and Sangi (Councilor) in 1115.

He shared the positions of Kurodo no to and Sangi with his elder paternal half-brother, Saneyuki, but Michisue had superiority due the policy of Chakusho-no-jun (where children of a legal wife have precedence over the children of concubines) that had been established by his father, Kinzane. From Kinzane, he inherited the 'gissha' (ox-drawn carriage) that had been handed down to legitimate children of the Kanin line for generations.

He became Omi no gon no kami (Provisional Governor of Omi Province) in 1116, Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank) in 1117, Chugu-shiki daibu (Master of the Consort's Household) in 1118, Chunagon (Vice-Councilor of State) and Saemon no kami (Captain of the Left Division of Outer Palace Guards) in 1122, and was promoted to Shosanmi (Senior Third Rank) in 1128 but died at the young age of 39 that same year.

After Michisue's death, the descendants of Saneyuki and Saneyoshi strengthened their influence within the Kanin line for a while. However, Michisue's great-grandson, Kintsune SAIONJI, was promoted to Daijo-daijin (Grand Minister of State) in the early Kamakura period and founded the Saionji family. After that, his descendants flourished as one of Seiga families (one of the highest ranks for noble families) and produced many Kugyo and Nyoin (female relatives of the Emperor or women of comparable standing).