Minamoto no Tokiwa (源常)

MINAMOTO no Tokiwa (812 - July 15, 854) was a court noble who lived in the early part of the Heian Period. His father was Emperor Saga, while his mother was of the Iitaka Clan.

In 814, he was granted the title of Asomi of the MINAMOTO, together with MINAMOTO no Makoto (a court noble) and MINAMOTO no Hiromu, and was registered at Sakyoichijobo. His father Emperor Saga particularly loved Tokiwa for his composure and fair demeanor.

In 828, he was promoted to Jushiinoge (Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade) and assigned to Hyobukyo (Minister of War) at the age of 17, and in 831 was promoted to Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank), and then in 832 was promoted to Chunagon without first becoming Sangi (councillor). He was only 21 years old at that time. Later, he served as Sakonoe no daisho (Major Captain of the Left Division of Inner Palace Guards) at the court rank of Shosammi (Senior Third Rank) and was promoted to Dainagon (chief councilor) in 838, Udaijin (Minister of the Right) and Togu no fu (official in charge of education of the Crown Prince) in 840, and Sadaijin (Minister of the Left) in 842. He stayed at the top of the government for the ensuing 10 years or so to form a major political group together with his brothers MINAMOTO no Makoto (a court noble), MINAMOTO no Sadamu, and MINAMOTO no Hiromu. In 850, he was promoted to Shonii (Senior Second Rank).

Known for his "elegant and sedate behavior and soft-spokenness," his ability to judge people, his willingness to promote people of excellent capability and avoid yes-men, Tokiwa was reputed to have what it takes to be the Regent. In 841, he completed Nihon Kouki (one of the Rikkoku-shi, the authentic chronicles of Japan compiled by the central government between the 8th and the 9th centuries), together with FUJIWARA no Otsugu.