Kujo Kanezane (九条兼実)

Kanezane KUJO (1149 - May 3, 1207) was a court noble who lived from end of the Heian period to the beginning of the Kamakura period. He was also called Tsukinowa-dono (月輪殿, Lord of the Moon Ring) and Hosshoji-dono (後法性寺殿). He was the patriarch of the house of Kujo, one of the Gosekke (the five Sekke regent families).

Biography

Kanezane KUJO was born in 1149 as the third son of FUJIWARA no Tadamichi. His mother was Kaga, the daughter of FUJIWARA no Nakamitsu who held the title of Taikotaigogu daishin (officer of the institution for serving to the grand empress dowager). He was the eldest child among four maternal siblings. His maternal younger brothers included FUJIWARA no Kanefusa (who held the title of Daijo-daijin (Grand Minister of State)), Jien (who was chief priest of the Tendai Buddhist sect), and his paternal younger brother was Shinen of Kofuku-ji Temple betto (the head priest of Kofuku-ji Temple). He underwent the Genpuku Ceremony (Coming of Age Ceremony) in 1158 and received the court rank of Shogoinoge (Senior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade) and was assigned as Sakone gon no chujo (Provisional Middle Captain of the Left Division of Inner Palace Guards). He gained the rank of Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank) in 1160 and came in line with Kugyo (court noble). He was promoted to Shosanmi (Senior Third Rank) in the same year and was assigned the additional duties as Gon Chunagon (a provisional vice-councilor of state) and Sakone gonno chujo. In 1161 Kanezane was promoted to Gon Dainagon (provisional chief councilor of state) and assigned the additional position of Ukone no daisho (Major Captain of the Right Division of Inner Palace Guards). He was promoted to Shonii (Senior Second Rank) in 1162, and in 1164, when he was 16, he became Naidaijin (Minister of the Center). In 1166 he became Udaijin (Minister of the Right), and in 1174 was promoted to Juichii (Junior First Rank). At that time, the central political world was occupied by the conflict centered around TAIRA no Kiyomori from the Taira family, who had deposed, and Cloistered Emperor Goshirakawa, who planned to create a powerful Insei (rule by a retired emperor); Kanezane continued to view both parties with a critical eye. Since he was not cooperative with the Taira clan, he had to take a stance as a bystander, slightly distant from the central core of the government. When the Taira clan fled from Kyoto to the western countries from the Kinki district in 1183, Kanezane was assigned as an advisor to Goshirakawa-in (the government of the Retired Emperor Goshirakawa) and suggested that Emperor Gotoba should ascend to the throne, but other than this occasion, Kanezane and Goshirakawa-in were not harmonious with each other.

When MINAMOTO no Yoritomo established the Kamakura bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) after the Battle between the Minamoto and Taira clans, he received Senge (an imperial proclamation) for the position of Nairan (document inspector who inspects documents presented to the Emperor in advance) in 1185 with strong support from Yoritomo, and became the Sessho regent of Emperor Gotoba and Fujiwarashi choja (chieftain of the Fujiwara family) in 1186. In 1187 Kanezane established Kirokusho (a place to keep records) from the Sosei (ratification) of Yoritomo. He became Daijo-daijin (Grand Minister of State) in 1189 and made his daughter Ninshi KUJO marry the emperor to become Chugu (Empress) in 1190; it seemed that he turned into a powerful presence in the Imperial Court, but he could not easily control the government until 1192, perhaps due to the influence of Goshirakawa-in, and he was inevitably left out in the Imperial Court despite building a cooperative relationship with Yoritomo.

Cloistered Emperor Goshirakawa passed away in 1192, and Kanezane issued Senge, making Yoritomo a Seii taishogun (literally, "great general who subdues the barbarians"), and performed reconstruction work in Nara; what seemed to be the most flourishing time of the political life of Kanezane came but lasted a short time. Yoritomo schemed to make his eldest daughter, Ohime, marry the emperor to enter Kokyu (the palace where the emperor's wife and concubines lived); this created a latent hostility against Kanezane himself and his daughter Ninshi, leading to a distant relation between Kanezane and Yoritomo. In addition, Kanezane went against MINAMOTO no Michichika and FUJIWARA no Norisue within the Imperial Court, and with the political change in 1196, lost his position as Kanpaku (chief advisor to the emperor).

Kanezane lost his position, but rose up in position within the Buddhist region as the conservator of his younger brother Jien. Since his promising eldest son Yoshimichi KUJO, who was a Naidaijin (Minister of the Center), had passed away at a young age, Kanezane put his efforts toward his second son, Yoshitsune KUJO, who was under his tutelage while Kanezane grieved for his loss. Yoshitsune became Sessho and Daijo-daijin but died suddenly at the young age of 38; Kanezane put all of his efforts towards raising his grandson, Michiie KUJO. Michiie established the KUJO family, and his children established the houses of Nijo and Ichijo. Kanezane started to strongly believe in Nenbutsu (Buddhist prayer) and especially in Honen.

He had a strong interest in waka (Japanese poetry) from an early age and tried to improve waka, and as well served as the patron of FUJIWARA no Toshinari and FUJIWARA no Teika (Sadaie). "Gyokuyo," a diary which he continued to write for 40 years, is a well-known primary historical source to learn about the situation back then. He wrote "Gyohisho," "Sessho Shinsaiho," and "Haru no Jimoku Ryakusho."

He became a priest in 1202 and took the go (byname) of Ensho. He passed away on May 3, 1207 at the age of 59. He was buried in Kyoto Hossho-ji Temple, and his grave is located in Tofuku-ji Temple.

Chronology of government posts and ranks

Dates follow the lunar calendar. On January 29, 1158, he underwent Genpuku (Coming of Age ceremony). He was given official rank of Shogoinoge, was allowed to wear Kinjiki (forbidden colors), and was allowed access to the Imperial Court. On March 13, he was assigned as Sakone gon no shosho (Provisional Minor Captain of the Left Division of Inner Palace Guards). On April 2, he was reassigned as Sakone gonno chujo. On October 21, he was promoted to Jushiinoge (Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade) and retained his position as Sakone gonno chujo.

On January 3, 1159, he was promoted to Jushiinojo (Junior Fourth Rank, Upper Grade) and retained his position as Sakone gonno chujo. On January 29, he was assigned additional position as Harima no suke Harima no suke (assistant governor of Harima Province). On April 6, he was promoted to Shoshiinoge (Senior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade) and retained his position as Sakone gonno chujo.

On February 8, 1160, he was promoted to Jusanmi and retained his position as Sakone gonno chujo. On June 20, he was promoted to Shosanmi and retained his position as Sakone gonno chujo. On August 11, his position was changed to Gon Chunagon. On August 14, he retained his position as Sakone gonno chujo. On October 11, he was promoted to Junii (Junior Second Rank) and retained his positions as Gon Chunagon and Sakone gonno chujo.

On August 19, 1161, he was assigned additional position as Ukone no daisho. Retired from Sakone gonno chujo. On September 13, his position was changed to Gon Dainagon. On September 15, he retained his position as Ukone no daisho.

On January 10, 1162, he was promoted to Shonii (Senior Second Rank) and retained his positions as Gon Dainagon and Ukone no daisho. On February 19, he was assigned additional position as Chugu daibu (Master of the Consort's Household) (for Emperor Nijo's Chugu FUJIWARA no Muneko (Ikushi)).

On October 23, 1164, he was reassigned as Naidaijin. On leap October 26, 1164, he retained his position as Ukone no daisho.

On August 27, 1166, he was assigned additional post as Sakone no daisho (Major Captain of the Left Division of Inner Palace Guards). He retired from Ukone no daisho. On October 10, he was assigned additional position as Togu no fu (attendant of Imperial Prince (Imperial Prince Norihito, who later became Emperor Takakura)). On October 21, he retired from Sakone no daisho. On November 11, his position was changed to Udaijin. On November 14, he retained his position as Togu no fu.

On February 19, 1168, due to Sensho (Imperial succession), he was stripped of title as Togu no fu.

On January 7, 1174, he was promoted to Juichii and retained his position as Udaijin.

On December 28, 1185, Senge was issued to appoint him as Nairan. He retained Udaijin position.

On March 14, 1186, Senge was issued to appoint him as Sessho. Senge was issued to appoint him as Fujiwarashi choja. He retained his position as Udaijin. On October 17, he retired from Udaijin position.

Oon December 14, 1189, Senge was issued to appoint him additional post of Daijo-daijin.

On April 19, 1190, he retired from Daijo-daijin. On December 17, 1191, Senge was issued to appoint him as Kanpaku. Senge was issued to appoint him as Jun-Sessho (associate Sessho regent).

On November 25, 1196, he retired from Kanpaku. On January 28, 1202, he entered priesthood. His Homyo (Buddhist name): Ensho (圓證).

On April 5, 1207 (May 3, 1207 in the modern calendar), Kanezane passed away. He died at the age of 59.

His reputation as a shoka (calligrapher)

His calligraphy has been noted for its narrow and unconstrained brush strokes, despite being powerful and dignified.

Shinseki (original handwriting)

Nakayamagire,

Shobunjoan (a clause to get rid of),

Kyogire (short copy of a Buddhist scripture)

Works in which he makes an appearance

"Shinran" (1960, Toei Company, LTD., Director: Tomotaka TASAKA, portrayed by Koreya SENDA). "MINAMOTO no Yoshitsune (NHK Taiga drama series)" (1966, NHK Taiga drama series, portrayed by Matagoro NAKAMURA Ⅱ). "Kusa moeru" (Grass Burns) (1979, NHK Taiga drama series, portrayed by Masaya TAKAHASHI (actor)). "Homura tatsu (Standing Flame) (NHK Taiga drama series)"(1993, NHK Taiga dram series from July 1993 - March 1994, portrayed by Yosuke SAITO).