Minamoto no Masazane (源雅実)

MINAMOATO no Masazane (1058 - April 5, 1127 (February 15, 1127 by the old calendar)) was a noble of the Murakami Genji court during the latter years of the Heian Period. He was the first son of MINAMOTO no Akifusa. He is considered the founder of the Koga family. He was the first of the Minamoto clan to successfully reach the position of Daijo Daijin (Grand Minister), and he was also famous as a man of culture with knowledge and skill in court dance, music, and literature. He wrote "Koganosho Kokki." He was called Koganodaijodaijin (Grand Minister Koga).

In 1066, he was given permission for Warawa Tenjo (children of aristocratic families becoming apprentices and serving in the palace). The story of Masazane dancing the Konju for Emperor Goreizei and being presented with an imperial garment in November of 1067 has been told for generations. In 1068, he was made Jugoinoge (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade), and subsequently was appointed to positions such as Jiju (Chamberlain), Konoefu (Division of Inner Palace Guards), and Ukongon Chusho (Provincial Guard of the right), and in 1075 was appointed Kuroudo-no To (Emperor's personal secretary) to Emperor Shirakawa. He was promoted to Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank) in 1077 and appointed Sangi (Councillor) on December 26th of the same year. Thereafter, he was appointed successively as Gon-chunagon (Provisional Middle Councillor), Gon-dainagon (Provisional Major Councillor), and in 1100, he was appointed as Naidaiji (Minister of the Interior). In 1115, he became Udaijin (Minister of the right), reaching the position of Daijo Daijin (Grand Minister) in 1122. This made Masazane the first of the Minamoto clan to be appointed to the position of Daijo Daijin. In 1124, he became ill, which made him decide to enter the priesthood on August 25, under the posthumous Buddhist name of Renkaku. On April 5, 1127, he died at the age of 69. When Masazane died, people of the period said; "Promoted to the highest rank in this world, and having died on the same date as Buddha, he may be a person who will reach the top of both worlds." ('Chuyuki' (The Court Diary)), which is an indication of Masazane's fame. On April 7, his body was transferred to a mountain retreat in Kuga (Kuga, Otagi District, Yamashiro Province), and on April 13 it was buried in the western section of Kuga.

Masazane possessed outstanding skill in court dance and music, and there is a famous story that upon the unnatural death of Suketada ONO, who was supposed to pass down the court dance, Konju, Emperor Horikawa ordered Masazane to teach the dance to Tadataka ONO (Suketada's son).

Brief Personal History

1068 - Jugoinoge (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade)
1069 - Jiju (Chamberlain)
1069 - Genpuku (Coming of Age ceremony)
1072 - Ushosho (Right Lower General)
1073 - Jugoinojo (Junior Fifth Rank, Upper Grade), then to Shogoinoge (Senior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade)
1074 - Jushiinoge (Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade), Chugugon no suke (Assistant to Executive Provincial Administrator)
1074 - Jushiinojo (Junior Fourth Rank, Upper Grade), Oe gon no Kami (Provincial Administrator of Omi)
1074 - Shoshiinojo (Senior Fourth Rank, Upper Grade), Uchusho (Middle guard of the right)
1075 - Sachusho (Left Side General), Kuroudo-no-To, (emperor's personal secretary)
1077 - Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank)
1077 - Sangi (Councillor)
1078 - Bizen gon no kami (Provincial Administrator of Bizen)
1079 - Shosani (Senior Third Rank), then Junii (Junior Second Rank)
1083 - Gon Chunagon (Provisional Middle Councillor), Jiju (Chamberlain)
1085 - Shonii (Senior Second Rank)
1086 - Gon Dainagon (Provisional Upper Councillor)
1088 - Resigned as Jiju
1091 - Chugu Daibu (Chief surveyor of the palace apartments)
1093 - Resigned as Chugu Daibu
1093 - Udaisho, (Right Side General)
1100 - Naidaiji (Minister of the Interior)
1102 - Sadaisho, (Left Side General)
1106 - Kotaishifu (Imperial Prince Palace administrator)
1107 - Resigned Kotaishifu
1113 - Juichii (Junior First Rank)
1115 - Udaijin (Minister of the right)
1119 - Resigned as Sadaisho
1122 - Daijo Daijin (Grand Minister)
1124 - Entered priesthood at the age of 66 and adopted the posthumous Buddhist name of Renkaku
1127 - Died at the age of 69