Kujo Masamoto (九条政基)

Masamoto KUJO (June 21, 1445 - May 15, 1516) was a Kuge (court noble) and Kanpaku (chief adviser to the Emperor) from the end of the Muromachi period to the beginning of the Sengoku period (Period of Warring States). His father was Mitsunori KUJO. His mother was Aritoyo KARAHASHI. His older brother was Kanpaku Masatada KUJO. His children were Hisatsune KUJO, Sumiyuki HOSOKAWA, Gigyo (義堯) (an adopted child of Yoshitane ASHIKAGA), and Dogo (道悟).

Brief Personal History

In 1459 he celebrated his attainment of adulthood at the age of 15 and entered government service as Jushiinoge (Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade) Konoefu (Inner Palace Guards). At the New Year in 1460 of the following year, he became Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank) non-Councilor, raised to the rank of Court noble and was appointed Gon Chunagon (a provisional vice-councilor of state) in June of the same year. In 1461 he became Gon Dainagon (a provisional chief councilor of state) and was made Junii (Junior Second Rank) in 1462. In 1466 he inherited the headship of the Kujo family due to his older brother Masatada's retirement. In 1468 he became Shonii (Senior Second Rank) Minister of the Right at the age of 24, Minister of the Left in 1475, and Juichii (Junior First Rank) Kanpaku, Toshi choja (chief adviser to the Emperor, head of the Fujiwara clan) at the age of 32 in 1476. In 1479 at the age of 35 he resigned Kanpaku, Uji no choja (common clan chieftain) and gave up all government posts, and in 1582 he yielded the headship to his son Hisatsune. In 1491 he was proclaimed Jusangu (honorary rank next to the three Empresses: Great Empress Dowager, Empress Dowager, and Empress) by the Emperor at the age of 47.

When the Onin War broke out in 1467, Masamoto who was in center of the Kuge society unexpectedly became a living witness to the fall of the Kuge class following the war. During the War, he evacuated to Sakamoto (Otsu-city), and got Arikazu KARAHASHI who was his clerk (Keishi (household superintendent)) and cousin on his mother's side to cover 200 hiki for official matters, but in 1470, as a condition for being forgiven his debt, he ended up handing over Arikazu the nengu (land tax) of Iriyamada-mura, Hineno-sho from the little remaining territory he had until the generation of his son Hisatsune. The conflict between Masamoto and Arikazu lasted long afterwards, because the economy of the Kujo family was in a state of collapse, and eventually at New Year in 1496 Masamoto and his son Hisatsune killed Arikazu at their own house. Just after the incident, Masamoto wrote about the disloyality and negligence of Arikazu to Munetsuna MATSUNOKI,Tadatomi SHIRAKAWA, Saneatsu TOKUDAIJI, Nobutane NAKANOMIKADO, and he tried to defend himself. The court noble society was also at a loss over how to cope with this unusual incident, but it ended up adopting the opinion of Daijo-daijin (Grand minister of state) Fuyuyoshi ICHIJO, deciding that Masamoto and his son would be dismissed by the Emperor and their attendance at court would be stopped. In January 1499 this dismissal of Masamoto and Hisatsune by the Emperor led Masatomo to become a monk, during March in 1501 and December in 1504 he went to his territory Iriyamada-mura, Hineno-sho and controled shoen (manor in medieval Japan). The record "Masamoto Ko Tabi Hikitsuke" (the diary of Masamoto KUJO) about his direct rule written at that time is a precious historical source in order to know how a rural region was like in those days. Around the same period, he stayed at Jigen-in Temple and wrote "Jigenin Nikki"(diary at Jigen-in Temple) (stock of Imperial Household Ministry). In November 1505 he headed down to Ojio-sho in Yamashiro Province, but at this time a hikannin (low-level bureaucrat) of the Kujo family who had come for the night shift was killed by provincial forces. Moreover, on the request of the Shogunal Deputy Masamoto HOSOKAWA, he adopted his youngest son Sumiyuki HOSOKAWA. Passed away on May 15, 1516. Died at the age of 72. The posthumous Buddhist title, "Jigenin" and his grave is on the cemetery of the Kujo family at Sannai (precincts of the temple) of Tofuku-ji Temple.