Koga Michiteru (久我通光)

Michiteru KOGA (1187 to February 21, 1248) was a Kugyo (top court official) and kajin (waka poet) who lived during the Kamakura period. Although he was the third son of MINAMOTO no Michichika, who held the title of Naidaijin (minister of the center), he was acknowledged as the heir after his elder maternal half-sister, MINAMOTO no Zaishi, gave birth to Emperor Tsuchimikado. It is generally believed that he was the founder of the Koga family. He is regarded as one of the New 36 Immortal Poets. His children were Michihira KOGA, Michitada KOGA, Nobumichi KOGA, Michiyoshi KOGA, Masamitsu KOGA, Masatada NAKANOIN, Michiari ROKUJO, Docho, and a girl (Shikikenmonin no mikushige).

In 1202, the year his father died, he became a Kugyo and in 1219 was promoted to Naidaijin (minister of the center), which was then a higher rank than that held by his elder paternal half-brother, Michitomo HORIKAWA. On the breaking of the Onin War, he was forced to retire on orders of the Kamakura bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) because he was the father-in-law of the Imperial Prince Masanari, the Prince of Emperor Gotoba. But it is said that he stayed secretly in touch with Retired Emperor Gotoba who was in Oki Province. Later, he gained power with his brother, Sadamichi TSUCHIMIKADO, as a grand-uncle of the Emperor Gosaga. On February 8, 1247, he was promoted to Juichii Daijo-daijin (Junior First Rank, grand minister of state), and took over the position of Saneuji SAIONJI.

He was a renowned person of enormous talent, as a waka poet representing the era and was allowed to participate in the Uta-awase ('Sengohyaku ban Uta-awase' - One thousand and five hundreds Set of Poetry Match) at the age of 15 and his poems were included in chokusen wakashus (anthologies of Japanese poetry compiled by Imperial command) including "Shinkokin Wakashu" (New Collection of Ancient and Modern Japanese Poetry), and was a virtuoso player of the biwa (Japanese lute).