Minamoto no Rinshi (源倫子)

MINAMOTO no Rinshi (964 - June 25, 1053) was the aristocratic lady of the mid-Heian period and was the legal wife of FUJIWARA no Michinaga. Her father was MINAMOTO no Masanobu, who had the title of Sadaijin (Minister of the Left), and her mother was FUJIWARA no Bokushi (also known as FUJIWARA no Atsuko). Her siblings were MINAMOTO no Tokinaka, MINAMOTO no Tokimichi, MINAMOTO no Sukeyoshi, MINAMOTO no Tokikata, MINAMOTO no Michiyoshi, and Saijin, who had the title of daisojo (a Buddhist priest of the highest order). Her homyo (a name given to a person who enters the Buddhist priesthood) was Shojoho.

Career

She was born in the Tsuchimikado residence of her father, Masanobu. Masanobu was planning to make Rinshi as the prospective Empress, but Emperor Kazan retired with a short career, and the following Emperor Ichijo did not match in age with her therefore, she married Michinaga in 987 with a strong support from her mother, FUJIWARA no Bokushi. Rinshi was 24 and Michinaga was 22 at that time, and the relationship between this couple was good and they were gifted with many children, especially daughters that led to the later fortune of her husband, Michinaga.

She gave birth to the eldest daughter, FUJIWARA no Shoshi (Later Chugu (the second consort of an emperor) of Emperor Ichijo and called Jotomonin) in 988 and eldest son, FUJIWARA no Yorimichi in 992 (at this time, Michinaga married MINAMOTO no Akiko). She gave birth to her second daughter, FUJIWARA no Kenshi (later Chugu of Emperor Sanjo) in 994 and FUJIWARA no Norimichi in 996. She gained the rank of Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank) in 998 and gave birth to FUJIWARA no Ishi (later became the Chugu of Emperor Goichijo) in 999. She fell ill after giving birth to FUJIWARA no Kishi (later Empress of Togu (the Crown Prince) Imperial Prince Atsunaga and the mother of Emperor Goreizei) in 1007.

She gained the rank of Juichii (Junior First Rank) with the birth of the Imperial Prince Atsuhira (Emperor Goichijo) in 1008. She gained the rank of Jugo (honorary rank next to the three Empresses: Great Empress Dowager, Empress Dowager, and Empress) along with Michinaga in 1016, but Michinaga passed away in 1027. Her three daughters, excluding her eldest daughter Akiko, passed away before her, and she became a Buddhist priest in 1039 and gained the go (Buddhist name) of Shojoho. She later prayed to Buddha for the happiness of the dead, and passed away at the age of 90 during the reign of her great grandchild, Emperor Goreizei, in 1053.