Minamoto no Morotoki (源師時)

MINAMOTO no Morotoki (1077 - May 15, 1138) was a Kugyo (high court noble) and poet during the late Heian period. As a descendant of Murakami-Genji (Minamoto clan), he was the second son of the Sadaijin (Minister of the Left) MINAMOTO no Toshifusa. Morotoki was a Chunagon (vice-councilor of state) of Shosanmi (Senior Third Rank).


In 1088, Motoki was conferred a peerage at the age of 12. He was allowed access to the Imperial court at the age of 17. In 1107 he became a Kogogushiki (officer of the Empress's household), and in 1123 became the Kurodo no to (Head Chamberlain) and Sangi (Royal Advisor). At the age of 47 he served as Kogogu Gon no Daibu (Provisional Master of the Empress's Household) as a second post. In 1126 he was granted Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank). In 1134, he took the post of Taikotaigogu Gon no Daibu (Provisional Master of the Grand Empress Dowager's Household) and was granted Shosanmi (Senior Third Rank) in the following year when he was 59 years old.

Morotoki won the trust of Retired Emperor Shirakawa and Retired Emperor Gotoba as their parliamentary advisory, and was also engaged in building the Toba Rikyu (Toba Imperial Villa) and Rikusho-ji Temple. He served Imperial Princess Reishi (junbo (a woman who was given the status equivalent to the emperor's biological mother) of Emperor Toba) for around 30 years as Kogo no Miya Gon no Suke, Kogo no Miya no Gon no Daibu and Taikotaigogu Gon no Daibu. On May 15, 1136 he entered priesthood and died at the age of 60.

His diary that started at the age of around 11 and ran until his death has been handed down as an important historical material on the insei period (during the period of the government by the retired Emperor) in the reprint name of "Choshuki" (The Diary of MINAMOTO no Morotoki).

Personal Profile

He was prominent in composing poetry: his four poems were selected for "Kinyo Wakashu" (Kinyo Collection of Japanese poems), three poems for "Senzai Wakashu" (Collection of a Thousand Years), and one poem for "Shin Kokin Wakashu" (New Collection of Ancients and Modern Poems). He was listed as a poet of "Horikawa hyakushu" (One hundred poems in the reign of the Emperor Horikawa), so was his brother MINAMOTO no Moroyori. Within the field of Chinese-style poems as well, Morotoki received the words of praise in "Imakagami" (The Mirror of the Present), "Morotoki has a good command of poetry and composes them well."

Allegedly he had six to seven wives, each of whom he visited every night, so he would often sleep until noon. In another anecdote, his wives were said to be close to each other and had good relations through their conversations ("Imakagami").