Fujiwara no Takasue (藤原隆季)

FUJIWARA no Takasue (1127 - February 12, 1185) was a kuge (court noble) during the latter Heian period. His father was Chunagon (vice-councilor of state) FUJIWARA no Ienari, his mother was the daughter of Kaga no kami (the governor of Kaga Province), TAKASHINA no Muneaki, his wife was the daughter of FUJIWARA no Tadataka, and his children were FUJIWARA no Takafusa, Takayasu and Takamasa.


He was born as the heir to FUJIWARA no Ienari, who was Emperor Toba's most favorite retainer. He served as a kinju (attendant) of Tobain from an early age, and in 1133, at the age of 7, he was given a courtly rank of Jugoinoge (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade). He later served successively as a governor in Tajima, Sanuki, Echigo and Tosa provinces, then Uhyoe no suke (Assistant Captain of the Right Division of Middle Palace Guards) and Sama no kami (Captain of Samaryo, Left Division of Bureau of Horses). He was transferred to Sakyo no daibu (Master of the Eastern Capital Offices) in July of 1156, because MINAMOTO no Yoshitomo, who demonstrated distinguished achievement in Hogen Disturbance, was appointed to Sama no kami. In 1158, he was promoted to Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank) and to kuge.

Motion toward the TAIRA clan

Ienari was a cousin of FUJIWARA no Muneko (Ikenozenni), who was the legal wife of TAIRA no Tadamori, and TAIRA no Kiyomori, in his youth, often visited Ienari's residence, and there was a close relationship between the two families. Takasue attempted to maintain his status by forming an amicable relationship with the Taira clan. Takasue's younger sister was the wife of Kiyomori's biological son, TAIRA no Shigemori, and Takasue himself also took Kiyomori's daughter as the wife of his own biological son, Takafusa. Furthermore, Takasue was treated in the same manner as a family member, such as being selected to become a Chugu daibu (Master of the Consort's Household) when Kiyomori's daughter, TAIRA no Tokuko, became an empress through marriage to the Emperor, and after he became a Sangi (Councilor) in 1161 he quickly rose through the ranks of Kebiishi no betto (Superintendent of the Imperial Police), Gon Chunagon (a provisional vice-councilor of state) and Chunagon (a vice-councilor of state), and in 1168, he finally surpassed his father's kyokkan (the highest rank to which his father was appointed) and became Gon Dainagon (a provisional chief-councilor of state). Even though he was an In no Kinshin (the retired Emperor's courtier) belonging to the head of governors of major provinces, he was talented in practical business affairs and was called 'the influential individual of the time' ("Kikki" - a diary of Tsunefusa YOSHIDA), and he was assigned to be a Shitsuji-betto (chief officer) of Emperor Goshirakawa, and he held power within the Imperial Household.

During that time, in 1163, he was in political peril, such as his banishment from the clan (as a part of the direct petition by Kofuku-ji Temple, Kofuku-ji betto (the head priest of Kofuku-ji Temple) notified the uji no choja (the head of the clan) of the banishing of the clan member who disadvantaged the Uji-dera Temple (temple built for praying clan's glory) and Uji-sha Shrine (shrine built for praying clan's glory), and unless the banishment was rescinded the banished clan member was not allowed to serve in the Imperial Court and the execution of his youger step brother, FUJIWARA no Narichika (his mother was a daughter of FUJIWARA no Tsunetada), for participating in Emperor Goshirakawa's scheme to bring down the Taira clan (the Shikagatani Plot), because he angered Kofuku-ji Temple for supporting the pro-Taira clan Enryaku-ji Temple at gijo no ba (the site where an agreement was to take place) during Kofuku-ji Temple and Enryaku-ji Temple Feuding Incident, but Takasue, who maintained an amicable relationship with the Taira clan, stood firmly on his ground.

Jisho Coup d'Etat and Government by Cloistered Emperor Takakura

After the death of TAIRA no Shigeko, discord that existed between Goshirakawa and Kiyomori finally ended their relationship in November in 1179. Once Kiyomori brought Kyoto under his military control he dismissed and banished Motofusa MATSUDONO (Kanpaku, chief adviser to the Emperor), removed from office 39 anti-Taira kuge and trusted vassals, confined Cloistered Emperor Goshirakawa in Toba-dono Palace and put an end to government by the retired emperor (Coup of the Third Year of Jisho). Kiyomori's younger step brother, TAIRA no Yorimori, and the husband of the daughter, Kanemasa KAZANIN, were also included among them. At this time, Takasue was appointed to Dazai no sochi (Governor-General of the Dazai-fu offices), as the successor for Dazai no daini (Senior Assistant Governor-General of the Dazai-fu offices) FUJIWARA no Chikanobu, and he received public criticism. This is because this position was 'a government position that should be assumed by a Prince' ("Gyokuyo" - Diary of Kanezane KUJO), and it was customary that the candidate become Gonnosochi (Provisional Governor-General) or Daini (perhaps because of complications, in the end he settled for the position of Dazai gon no sochi - Provisional Governor-General of the Dazai-fu offices). The fact that he was put in charge of Dazai-fu (local government office in Kyushu region), which was an important political base to the TAIRA clan, implies that Kiyomori had a strong trust in Takasue.

On February, 21 in 1180, Emperor Takakura abdicated his throne to his Crown Prince, Prince Tokihito (Emperor Antoku), and government by Cloistered Emperor Takakura began. Takasue became the retired Emperor Takakura's Shitsuji-betto (chief officer), and he accompanied him on the Emperor's visit Itsukushima in March. However, in May, immediately after returning to Kyoto, Prince Mochihito's plot to subjugate the Taira clan was uncovered (Rising of Prince Mochihito). Receiving the report that Prince Mochihito fled to Kofuku-ji Temple, on the 27th, Takakura gathered kuge to discuss the countermeasures. While the majority suggested that cautious measures should be taken against the Kofuku-ji Temple movement, Takasue, along with Michichika TSUCHIMIKADO, forcefully maintained their opinion for an immediate subjugation of Kofuku-ji Temple and confiscation of its branch temples and shoen (manors in medieval Japan), and he had a vehement argument with Kanezane KUJO.
Kanemitsu, writing in his diary criticized that 'Takasue and Michichika's suggestions pander to the Taira family.'
He accompanied Takakura upon the Emperor's visit to Fukuhara-kyo (capital of Fukuhara), to which the transfer of the capital was planned, but because of the retired Emperor Takakura's deteriorating health, rebellions in Togoku (the eastern part of Japan, particularly in the Kanto region) and strong urging by the pro-Taira clan Enryaku-ji Temple, Heiankyo kanko (the Emperor's return to Kyoto) took place. In January of the following year, the retired Emperor Takakura passed away, and as a trusted vassal, Takasue received sofuku (white clothes). Eventually, Kiyomori also passed away, and the Taira clan government lost its central figure and began down the path to its demise.

In 1182, Takasue resigned from Gon Dainagon and Dazai gon no sochi, and he entered the priesthood, and died in 1185. Influence by Rokujo Toke (the Rokujo Fujiwara family), of the same lineage, Takasue was talented in waka (traditional Japanese poem of thirty-one syllables), and his work was entered into the Chokusenshu (anthology of poems collected by Imperial command) such as shika wakashu (shika collection of Japanese poems). His son, Takafusa, did not go down the same path with the Taira clan, who was exiled from the capital, he served as Cloistered Emperor Goshirakawa's trusted vassal and succeeded in maintaining his power within the Imperial Court.

Record of office and rank

*The dates = old lunar calendar.
In 1133 (age 7)
September 18, Kurodo (chamberlain)
September 20, Jugoinoge (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade) (conferred by Empress FUJIWARA no Seishi)
September 21, Tajima no kami (the governor of Tajima Province)

In 1134 (age 8)
February 22, additionally appointed to Uhyoe no suke (assistant captain of the Right Division of Middle Palace Guards)
Leap month of December 5, Jugoinojo (Junior Fifth Rank, Upper Grade, conferred by Taikenmonin)

In 1136 (age 10)
April 7, Shogoinoge (Senior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade)

In 1137 (age 11)
January 4, Jushiinoge (Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade, conferred by Cloistered Emperor Toba)
January 30, Sama no kami (Captain of Samaryo, Left Division of Bureau of Horses)

In 1138 (age 12)
December 29, Sanuki no kami (the governor of Sanuki Province)
Position of Sama no kami retained

In 1140 (age 14)
February 26, Shoshiinoge (Senior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade)

In 1146 (age 20)
December 29, Echigo no kami (Provincial Governor of Echigo)
Position of Sama no kami retained

In 1154 (age 28)
March 11, suspended from his position as Sama no kami (he did not serve at Iwashimizu-rinji-matsuri)
May 16, returned to his position as Sama no kami

In 1155 (age 29)
January 28, Tosa no kami (the governor of Tosa Province)
Position of Sama no kami retained

In 1156 (age 30)
July 11, transferred to Sakyo no daibu (Master of the Eastern Capital Offices)
Resigned from Sama no kami (even though there was no request, he passed on the position to MINAMOTO no Yoshitomo).

In 1158 (age 32)
November 26, Jusanmi

In 1161 (age 35)
January 23, Shosanmi (Senior Third Rank)
September 13, appointed to Sangi (Councilor)

In 1162 (age 36)
January 27, additionally appointed to Sanuki gon no kami (provisional governor of Sanuki Province)

In 1165 (age 39)
August 17, Sahyoe no kami (Captain of the Left Division of Middle Palace Guards)
Kebiishi no betto (Superintendent of the Imperial Police)

In 1166 (age 40)
April 6, Uemon no kami (Captain of the Right Division of Outer Palace Guards)
June 6, Gon Chunagon (a provisional vice-councilor of state)
Retained his position as Uemon no kami

June 8, retained his position as Kebiishi no betto
July 15, Saemon no kami (captain of the Left Division of Outer Palace Guards)

In 1167 (age 41)
January 28, Junii (Junior Second Rank)
February 11, Chunagon
Retained his positions as Saemon no kami and Kebiishi no betto

In 1168 (age 42)
July 3, resigned from Saemon no kami and Kebiishi no betto
July 30, taiken (to wear a sword) was permitted
December 13, Gon Dainagon (a provisional chief councilor of state)

In 1171 (age 45)
January 6, Shonii (Senior Second Rank)

In 1172 (age 46)
February 10, additionally appointed to Chugu daibu (Master of the Consort's Household)

In 1178 (age 52)
July 4, resigned from Chugu daibu (death of his daughter)

In 1179 (age 53)
November 20, additionally appointed to Dazai gon no sochi (Provisional Governor-General of the Dazai-fu offices)

In 1180 (age 54)
February 21, Shinin (newly retired emperor, the retired Emperor Takakura) betto

In 1182 (age 56)
March, resigned from Gon Dainagon and Dazai gon no sochi
May 24, entered into priesthood (due to illness)