Konoe Motomichi (近衛基通)

Motomichi KONOE (1160 - July 15, 1233) was a noble who lived from the later Heian period to the early Kamakura period. His father was Motozane KONOE. His mother was a daughter of FUJIWARA no Tadataka. His stepmother was Mitsuko, the fourth daughter of TAIRA no Kiyomori. His legal wife was Sadako, the sixth daughter of TAIRA no Kiyomori. His children included Iezane KONOE, Kanemoto TAKATSUKASA, Motonori KONOE, and Michitsune KONOE.

His father, Motozane, died of illness at the age of 24 when Motomichi was 6. His stepmother, Moriko (though aged 11), adopted Motomichi, serving as his conservator when she was awarded Jusango (a title awarded to Imperial family members, nobles, and ministers for their meticulous services) and became the Junbo (the stepmother of an emperor) of Emperor Takakura in the following year.

In April 1170, he was awarded the rank of Shogoinoge (Senior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade) and appointed as Jiju (chamberlain) and Ukone no shosho (Minor Captain of the Right Palace Guards). In August 1174, he was given the rank of Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank), and after having the genpuku ceremony (a ceremony of attaining manhood), he made Sadako, the sixth daughter of Kiyomori, his lawful wife.

In 1179 when Jisho-sannen no Seihen (Rebellion of the third year of the Jisho era) took place, where Insei (rule by a Retired Emperor) by Emperor Goshirakawa was put to a halt and all the Anti-Taira nobles were ousted from the Imperial Court, Motomichi was designated as Naidaijin (minister), private audit, and Kampaku (chief adviser to the Emperor). In February of the following year, he became the Sessho (regent) of Emperor Antoku and awarded Juichii (Junior First Rank).

He worked hard to prevent monk-solders (armed priest) at Kofuku-ji Temple from revolting against the Taira family.

When the Taira clan, who had been in rapid decline since TAIRA no Koyomori died in February 1181, was forced to leave the Capital, Kyoto before an upcoming attack by MINAMOTO no Yoshinaka in 1183, Motomichi rejected TAIRA no Nobumoto's persistent requests to leave Kyoto together with the Taira clan despite of his and his family's close relationship with the Taira clan in the past, and eventually opted to stay in Kyoto. He served Cloistered Emperor Goshirakawa as one of his close associates thereafter, and helped Emperor Gotoba ascend to the throne. He was dismissed from all his posts when Yoshinaka staged a coup d'eta against the Cloistered Emperor, who had been on increasingly bad terms with Yoshinaka, but was reinstated to the post of Sessho when Yoshinaka was defeated in 1184. Although he was trusted by Cloistered Emperor Goshirakawa as his closest associate, he came under constant criticism from nobles including Kanezane KUJO, his uncle, due to the close relationship he and his family had maintained with the Taira clan, and in March 1186, he was eventually dismissed from all his posts and forced into retirement as he was regarded as the person who had advised the Cloister Emperor to issue a decree that ordered MINAMOTO no Yoshitsune to defeat his elder brother, MINAMOTO no Yoritomo. Then, although Kanezane took the post of Sessho, which had been undertaken by Motomichi, the Cloistered Emperor is said to have continued to patronized Motomich thereafter.

In November 1196, he was again appointed as Kampaku by Emperor Gotoba and Anti-Kanezane clique, including Michichika TSUCHIMIKADO, who opposed to alliance with the bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun). In January 1198, he was appointed as Sessho as Emperor Tsuchimikado rose to the throne. In December 1202, however, he resigned from all his posts, and retired from the politics thereafter.

In October (or July, according to other sources) 1208, he became a priest and named himself "Kori." On July 15, 1233, he died at the age of 74.

It is said that Motozane KONOE and Motomichi KONOE, a father and a son, were on extremely bad terms with Kanezane KUJYO, and they are depicted as being "incompetent" by Jien, Kanezane's younger brother, who ascended to Tendaizasu (the head of Tendai sect) (and was close to Kanezane), in his history book, "Gukansho."

His career
On May 17, 1170, Motomichi had a ceremony of attaining manhood and was awarded the rank of Shogoinoge. He was permitted shoden (access to the throne) and to wear kinjiki (forbidden colors). On May 23, he was appointed as Jiju. On January 19, 1171, he was transferred to the office of Ukone no shosho.

On March 3, 1171, he was appointed as Omi no suke (Assistant Provincial Governor of Omi).

On February 7, 1172, he was awarded a higher rank of Jushiinoge (Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade). On February 25, he was transferred to Ukone no shosho (although it is unconvinced that he retained his position as Jiju and Omi no suke). On November 20, he was transferred to Ukonoe no chujo (although it is unconvinced that he retained his position as Jiju and Omi no suke). It is unconvinced that he retained his position as Omi no suke.

In January 3, 1174, he rose to the rank of Jushiinojo (Junior Fourth Rank, Upper Grade) and retained his position as Ukonoe no chujo.

In September 6, 1174, he rose to the rank of Jusanmi and retained his position as Ukonoe no chujo.

In February 21, 1175, he was appointed as Mimasaka gonno kami (Senior Provincial Governor of Mimasaka) as well. On January 28, 1176, he rose to Shosanmi (Senior Third Rank) and retained his position as Ukonoe no chujo and Mimasaka gonno kami. On April 23, 1176, he rose to Junii (Junior Second Rank) and retained his position as Ukonoe no chujo and Mimasaka gonno kami.

On December 24, 1179, he rose to Shonii (Senior Second Rank) and was proclaimed as Kanpaku by the Emperor. He was appointed as Naidaijin as well. In the Imperial Court, he was seated in a place ranked higher than FUJIWARA no Tsunemune, who had been awarded Juichii (Junior First Rank) and appointed as Sadaijin (minister of the left). He became Ichiza (the highest rank among court nobles, as shown in the order of seats in the Imperial Court).

On March 25, 1180, he resigned from the post of Kanpaku, and was proclaimed as Sessho by the Emperor. On May 24, he rose to the rank of Juichii and retained his position as Sessyo and Naidaijin.

On August 6, 1182, he resigned from the post of Naidaijin.

On January 12, 1184, he left the post of Sessho and Fujiwarashi choja (chieftain of the Fujiwara family).

On March 3, 1184, he was proclaimed as Sessho and Fujiwarashi choja.

On April 10, 1186, he left the post of Sessho and Fujiwarashi choja.

On December 23, 1196, he was proclaimed as Kanpaku.

On February 25, 1198, he left the post of Kanpaku and was proclaimed as Sessho by the Emperor.

On February 15, 1203, he resigned from the post of Sessho.

On August 24, 1208, he became a Buddhist priest. His Buddhist name was Kori.

On July 15, 1233, he demised at the age of 74.