Horikawa Michitomo (堀川通具)

Michitomo HORIKAWA (1171-October 20, 1227) was a poet in the early Kamakura period. His father was MINAMOTO no Michichika. His mother was the daughter of TAIRA no Motomori. He was referred to as Horikawa Dainagon (chief councilor of state) and regarded as the founder of the Horikawa family of Murakami-Genji (Minamoto clan). It is also known that he was the foster father of Dogen, the younger paternal half-brother (Recently, there is another theory which states that Michitomo was Dogen's real father). He married the adopted daughter of FUJIWARA no Toshinari (Toshinarikyo [Shunzeikyo] no musume); however, he divorced her later. After that, however, he kept in touch with FUJIWARA no Sadaie, the son of Toshinari (It is said that when Sadaie found about the death of Michitomo, he mourned over his death).

He mainly flourished in Gotobain poetry circle and became a Wakadokoro yoryudo (a key member of waka house) and betto (a chief administrator of Gotobain) in 1201. Although he was selected as one of the compilers of "Shinkokin Wakashu" (New Collection of Ancient and Modern Japanese Poetry), it strongly implies that he was just a substitute for his father, MINAMOTO no Michichika. He participated in 'Sengohyaku ban Utaawase' (One thousand and five hundreds Set of Poetry Match); however, he was not highly evaluated as a poet by the Retired Emperor Gotoba and Sadaie, the best friend of Michitomo.

His work was collected in 'Shinkokin Wakashu,' one of the Chokusen wakashu (anthology of Japanese poetry compiled by the Imperial command).