Takatsukasa Masamichi (鷹司政通)

Masamichi TAKATSUKASA (August 22, 1789 - November 29, 1868) was Kuge (court noble) and a statesman of Edo period. His father was Chancellor Masahiro TAKATSUKASA and his mother was Noriko HACHISUKA: Masahiro's lawful wife. Masamichi's lawful wife was Rinhime (Kiyoko): Harutoshi TOKUGAWA's daughter.

He was born in 1789 as the first son of Chancellor Masahiro TAKATSUKASA. He took office as the chancellor in 1823 and the Grand Minister in 1842. Although other chancellors of those days had customarily resigned in about five years, he remained in office for an exceptionally long period. He stayed in his post as the chancellor for over 30 years until his resignation in 1856 and was highly influential in the Imperial Court.

When Emperor Ninko died suddenly in 1846, it was kept secret and Masamichi was appointed to Jun-Sessho (associate regent) to save the difficult situation. Emperor Komei reposed trust in Masamichi so that he had authorization for Nairan (a preliminary inspection of official documents submitted from the Great Council of State to the Emperor) even after his resignation from his post as the chancellor (which was succeeded by Hisatada KUJO) and remained as a background influence in the Court Council. On December 9, 1856, Emperor Komei unprecedentedly conferred the title of Taiko on Masamichi (usually the term 'Taiko' refers to the last chancellor who was succeeded to the post by his son). He constantly received information on the situation overseas from his younger brother-in-law (his wife's younger brother) Nariaki TOKUGAWA (the lord of the Mito Domain) and reported it to Emperor Komei.

At first he was on the side of the opening of Japan and supported the policy of conclusion of Japan-U.S. Treaty of Peace and Amity. However, he suddenly changed his position when he was criticized by young Kugyo (the top court officials) and joined Joi-ha (supporters of expulsion of the foreigners). This attitude incurred the wrath of the Edo Shogunate, so that he was tonsured to become a priest.

After that he died in 1868.