Tokudaiji Kinito (徳大寺公純)

Kinito TOKUDAIJI (December 22, 1821-November 5, 1883) was Kugyo (the top court officials) in the end of the Edo period (Dainagon [Major Counselor] and later Naidaijin [minister of the center] and Udaijin [minister of the right]). His official court rank was Juichii (Junior First Rank) and he was a son of Masamichi TAKATSUKASA. His mother was Rinhime, a daughter of Harutoshi TOKUGAWA. He was an adopted son of Sanemi TOKUDAIJI. His children were Sanetsune TOKUDAIJI (Imperial Household Minister), Kinmochi SAIONJI (the 12th and 14th Prime Minister), Takemaro SUEHIRO (a director of Ritsumeikan Foundation), Tomoito SUMITOMO (the 15th Kichizaemon SUMITOMO), Michinori NAKANOIN (中院通規), Fukuko (福子)(a wife of Yasuaki KATO), Ei (a wife of Yoritomo SAGARA), Nakako (中子)(a wife of Yoritsugu SAGARA [相良頼紹]), Teruko (a wife of Masakoto ABE) and so on. In addition, since Kinito did not marry formally through his life, the reason of which is not clear, these children were all treated as children born out of wedlock.

His childhood name was Yukun (祐君). In 1850 he was assigned to Dainagon. In 1857 he was assigned to giso (a position conveying what the congress decides to the Emperor).

When Treaty of amity and commerce between the United states and Japan was concluded in 1858, he was arrested as 'a person who plotted' in Ansei no Taigoku (suppression of extremists by the Shogunate) by Naosuke II because he was against the Imperial sanction for the treaty and was punished with house arrest of 50 days. However, he was forgiven one month later.

After that, he promoted Kobu Gattai (Union of Court and Camp) movement and was active with Nariyuki NIJO and others. However, since he was against the marriage of Imperial Princess Kazunomiya Chikako to Iemochi TOKUGAWA, he was overthrown under pressure of bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun). Later, he returned to the Imperial Court and was assigned to administration. In such political change, Kinito was also plotted to assassinate and his retainer Umanojo SHIGA (滋賀右馬允) was killed by roshi (masterless samurai) who were against Kobu Gattai in 1863.

After the Meiji Restoration, he maintained his pride as kuge (a court noble) supporting the principle of excluding foreigners and stayed in Kyoto. He never met a guest who put on Western clothes even if the guest was his relative. However, it seems that he did so only because of his belief. It is said that it was Kinito who secretly made efforts to make his son Kinmochi SAIONJI go to France for study.

In 1883 he died at the age of 63.