Fujiwara no Sukehira (藤原資平)

FUJIWARA no Sukehira (986-January 18, 1068) was a court noble in the mid-Heian Period). His foster-father was Minister of the Right FUJIWARA no Sanesuke. The highest official rank he achieved was Dainagon (chief councilor of state).

He was born the second son of FUJIWARA no Kanehira, but he later became an adopted child of FUJIWARA no Sanesuke, who was Kanehira's little brother and was adopted by his grandfather FUJIWARA no Saneyori. As Sanesuke was adopted as the main line of the family of Saneyori (Ononomiya Line), Sukehira also benefitted to move up the promotional ladder as a government officer together with his elder brother by blood, FUJIWARA no Tsunemichi.

In 997, he was conferred Jugoinoge (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade) at the age of 12, and the next year he was appointed jiju (chamberlain), and afterwards he continued his advancement to higher official rank, and in 998 he took the post of Kurodo no to (head chamberlain), the second position after Kugyo (the top court officials). As Emperor Sanjo was at that time estranged from FUJIWARA no Michinaga, who presided over the imperial court, he tended to count on Sanesuke as an adviser, and at the occasion of Sukehira's promotion to Kurodo no to, the Emperor forced through his decision after having a vigorous argument with Michinaga.

During this period, because of Emperor Sanjo's worsening eye trouble, his abdication was anticipated, and therefore, Sukehira, who closely served the Emperor as Kurodo no to, sometimes witnessed important situations. In his diary, 'Shoyuki' (the diary of FUJIWARA no Sanesuke), Sanesuke wrote of an episode on May 25, 1015 (April 29 in old lunar calendar), by referring to a scene witnessed by Sukehira, to suggest that although Michinaga demanded Emperor Sanjo's abdication, the Emperor refused.

After Emperor Goichijo ascended the throne, following Emperor Sanjo's abdication, Sukehira was appointed Sangi (councilor) and became one of the Kugyo (top court officials). However, it seems that he continued conducting his duties in relation with Emperor Sanjo, and when the Emperor's Chugu (the second consort of the Emperor) FUJIWARA no Kenshi became Empress Dowager, he closely served her as Kotaigogu gon no daibu (provisional master of the Empress Dowager's Household).

Since he became Gon Chunagon (provisional vice-councilor of state) in 1029, he served in the Imperial Court for more than 30 years in the same official position, until he was appointed to Gon Dainagon (provisional chief councilor of state). During that period, Sanesuke, who was the Minister of the Right, died in 1046, and in continuation, Tsunemichi also died in 1051, and gradually Sukehira came to be obliged to assume a heavy responsibility as the legitimate successor of the main line of the Ononomiya Line. His first son, Sukefusa, became Sangi, and his elder brother's sons, Tsunesue and Akiie, also became Sangi successively; however, he was hit by a tragedy when Sukefusa died in 1057, leaving him behind.

On the other hand, he lived long, and when there was a personnel relocation followed by FUJIWARA no Yorimichi's transfer to the Grand Minister, in which Yorimichi moved over with the intention to let his own son, FUJIWARA no Morozane, be the Minister of the Interior, Sukehira became Gon Dainagon (provisional chief councilor of state) at the age of 76, and four years later, in 1065, he was raised to Dainagon (chief councilor of state). Two years later, he died while he was still in service. Although his grandfather FUJIWARA no Tadatoshi, died young at the age of 46, and his natural father, Kanehira and his brother, Tsunemichi, were not endowed with longevity, he could enjoy a long lifespan, as did his foster-father, Sanesuke. It seems that this was because Sanesuke was concerned about his health, as he himself wrote in 'Shoyuki,' and he also advised his son, Sukehira, to be health-conscious.

Although the Ononomiya Line had lost its strength, it seems to have still been recognized as a family with strong influence as a member of the upper noble class. There was a Kan-senshi (an edict from Dajokan (Grand Council of State) which had the status of a binding official document) issued in 1053 in Iga Province, which ordered discontinuing issuing the certificates to shoen (manors in medieval Japan), and admitted shoen's exemption from paying the tax backed by the authority of Honke (the owner of the highest-grade patches of land under the stratified land ruling structure of Shoen), and Sukehira's shoen was subject to this edict, as were those of the Michinaga's descendents (Mido Line), such as FUJIWARA no Norimichi, FUJIWARA no Yoshinobu, and FUJIWARA no Nobunaga.
From this, it can be seen that Sukehira's family had the sufficiently high Kakaku (family status) to be allowed to settle the matter of taxes in exchange for donation

Official court ranks

997: Jugoinoge (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade)
998: Suo no Gon no kami (provincial governor of Suo Province)
1001: Sahyoe no suke (assistant captain of the Left Division of Middle Palace Guards)
1004: Jugoinojo (Junior Fifth Rank, Higher Grade)
1006: Shonagon (lesser councilor of state)
1007: Shogoinoge (Senior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade)
1009: Jushiinoge (Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade)
1012: Tanba no suke (assistant governor of Tanba Province)
1013: Sachujo (middle captain of the Left Division of Inner Palace Guards)
1014: Bingo gon no kami (provincial governor of Bingo Province)
1015: Kurodo no to (head chamberlain)
1017: Sangi (councilor)
1020: Shuri no daibu (master of the Office of Palace Repairs)
1021: Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank), Kotaigogu gon no daibu (provisional master of the Empress Dowager's Household)
1022: Shosanmi (Senior Third Rank)
1023: Omi no gon no kami (provisional governor of Omi Province)
1026: Sachujo
1029: Gon Chunagon (provisional vice-councilor of state)
1035: Uemon no kami (captain of the Right Division of Outer Palace Guards)
1036: Junii (Junior Second Rank)
1037: Kogo no miya gon no daibu (provisional master of the Empress's Household)
1051: Kotaigogu gon no daibu
1053: Azechi (inspector of the provincial government)
1061: Gon Dainagon (provisional chief councilor of state)
1065: Dainagon (chief councilor of state)