Sono Motonari (園基音)

Motonari SONO (September 16, 1604 - March 24, 1655) was a Kugyo (court noble) during the early Edo period. He was a maternal grandfather of Emperor Reigen. He was a retainer of the Imperial Court who served four emperors and an empress, mainly from the time of Emperor Goyozei (107th) to Emperor Gokomyo (110th) and was promoted to Shonii Gon Dainagon (Senior Second Rank, Provisional Chief Councilor of State); the court rank he was conferred posthumously was Sadaijin (Minister of the Left). His father was Mototo SONO, Sangi (Councilor); the court rank he was conferred posthumously was Sadaijin (Minister of the Left). His mother is unknown. His younger sister was Mibuin (nyogo, a high-ranking lady in the court of Emperor Gomizunoo and the biological mother of Emperor Gokomyo). His wife was a daughter of Moritomo TANI, the lord of Yamaga Domain. His sons were Motoyoshi SONO, Jun Daijin (Vice Minister), Motooki MIBU, Sakone Gon no Chujo (Provisional Middle Captain of the Left Division of Inner Palace Guards), and Mototaka HIGASHIZONO, Gon Dainagon (Provisional Chief Councilor of State). His daughters were Shinkogimonin, Naishi no suke (a court lady of the first rank) of Emperor Gomizunoo and the biological mother of Emperor Reigen, and the wife of Tamekiyo REIZEI, Sakone Gon no Chujo (Provisional Middle Captain of the Left Division of Inner Palace Guards).

He was conferred a peerage in 1608. He had his coming of age ceremony (Genpuku) in 1612. He was appointed to Jiju (Imperial Household Agency staff) in the same year. Later, he became Sakone no Shosho (Minor Captain of the Left Division of Inner Palace Guards) and Kurodo no To (Head Chamberlain), and he joined Kugyo as he became Sangi (Councilor) in 1631. He became Toka no sechie (Circle-Dancing Banquet: the last of the First Month's three great banquets [sechie] which formerly took place from the fourteenth to the sixteenth of January in the Shishinden [the Throne Hall] of the Imperial Court under the moonlight) Geben (a Kugyo who supervised the Imperial Court Ceremony outside of Jomei Gate) and Gon Chunagon (Provisional Vice-councilor of State), and was promoted to Gon Dainagon (Provisional Chief Councilor of State) in 1648. He served as Gon Dainagon until 1650.

After Motonari's younger sister, his daughter was also received at the court as the consort to Emperor Gomizunoo and had four princes and two princesses. One of the princes succeeded to the throne and became Emperor Reigen. After the enthronement, Emperor Reigen, the grandson of Motonari, posthumously conferred the court rank of Sadaijin (Minister of the Left) on Motonari. Originally, Gon Chunagon (Provisional Vice-councilor of State) was Kyokkan (the most highest rank which the family members were appointed) of the Sono family, but their position in the Imperial Court was raised as Mototo and Motonari, for two consecutive generations, became the maternal grandfathers of the emperors, and Motoyoshi, a son of Motonari, was unprecedentedly appointed to Jun-daijin. After Motoyoshi's appointment, most of the heads of the Sono family were promoted to Gon Dainagon, which raised the family rank and practically made Gon Dainagon Kyokkan of the family.

He was also a maestro of calligraphy of Jimyoin-ryu (the Jimyoin school).