Sugawara no Tamenaga (菅原為長)

SUGAWARA no Tamenaga (1158 - April 22, 1246) was a Kugyo (the top court officials) who lived from the end of the Heian period to the beginning of the Kamakura period. His original name was Tadachika, he is also known as TAKATSUJI no Tamenaga.

He was born as a son of SUGAWARA no Nagamori (TAKATSUJI no Nagamori) who was at the rank of Jushiinojo (Junior Fourth Rank, Upper Grade) and assumed the position of Daigaku no kami (Chief of the Bureau of Education) in 1158.

In 1185, he became a Shusai (government official), then a Kensaku (government adviser) in 1187. He was given the rank of Jugoinoge (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade) in the same year. After that, he began to serve as a Keishi (the steward) for the Kujo family, one of the Gosekke (the five Sekke regent family) and during that period, he taught the children of the Kujo family about Kidendo (historical science), also called Monjodo (Chinese classics), which was their family business..

Later, he worked for Hyobusho (the Ministry of War), Nakatsukasasho (the Ministry of Central Affairs), then Shikibusho (the Ministry of Ceremonial) and, in 1204, he was promoted to the rank of Monjohakase (Doctor of Letters) which was successively assumed by the Sugawara clan. In the same year, he became a Jidoku (imperial tutor) for Emperor Tsuchimikado and from then on, he served as Jidoku for five generations of emperors: Emperor Juntoku; Emperor Gohorikawa; Emperor Shijo and Emperor Gosaga.

In 1211, he was promoted to the rank of Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank). He was raised to the Kugyo (the top court officials), which was the first time that this had happened in 200 years since SUGAWARA no Sukemasa who had died in 1009.
(Excluding the fact that SUGAWARA no Aritaka who was a Ujichoja (chieftain of the family) and one year younger than him was in the rank of Jusanmi.)

He was transferred to Okurasho (the Ministry of the Treasury) in 1215. After that, he remained in the same position until he died.
(Excluding the two years when he had been assigned to serve as Sangi (royal adviser).)

In 1221, he was promoted to the rank of Shosanmi (Senior Third Rank). Also, on October of the same year, he assumed the position of Shikibu no taifu (Senior Assistant Minister of the Ministry of Ceremonial) which was a position successively given to the Sugawara family as well as Monjohakase and Daigaku no kami. Finally, he was given the much coveted position of Sangi in 1235 (he also assumed the position of Kageyushi chokan (Secretary of the Office of Investigators of the Records of Outgoing Officials) in June of the same year). Tamenaga was the first Sangi in 226 years after SUGAWARA no Sukemasa and it was a much bigger incident than the fact that he was given the rank of Jusanmi, thus it caused much controversy.
("Azuma Kagami" bissextile December 2, 1221)

In 1237, he was resigned from the position of Sangi (royal adviser). He assumed the position of Okurakyo (Minister of the Ministry of the Treasury) and Kageyushi chokan until he died. He was promoted to the rank of Shonii (Senior Second Rank) in November, 1240. He died on April 22, 1240. His age at death was 89.

His effect on his descendents

The reason why SUGAWARA no Tamenaga was given the honor of being given the rank and position of Shonii, Sangi and Okurakyo was due in part of his vitality, (he lived to the ripe age of 89), but also the following factors.

The economic power that he built up over his 30-year tenure as Okurakyo. As shown by the fact that OE no Hiromoto assumed the position of the first Betto (secretary) in Mandokoro (government office) of the Kamakura bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun), the Oe clan who was a rival in his family business, Monjodo defected from the center of the Imperial Court.

The Kujo family for which Tamenaga served as Keisi, particularly Michiie KUJO was pro-Kamakura bakufu, thus he stayed at the center of the Imperial Court as Michiie KUJO's political adviser after Jokyu no Ran (Rebellion of Jokyu). The relationship between Tamenaga and bakufu can be seen by the fact that Masako HOJO asked him to translate "Joganseiyo" into Japanese ("Gyokuzui" February 19, 1235).

It is considered that his ability as the brains behind the Kujo family can be proven by the fact that he served Jidoku for five generations of Emperors, also FUJIWARA no Sadaie who served the Kujo family during the same period regarded his ability very highly. The public compliments, which included 'the master of Bumdo (literature),' 'brilliant of the day,' 'the most clever man of the day' and 'elder statesman of the country' were a great honor for his descendants and were a key factor in allowing them to persist as the Tosho family (one of the six court noble families such as the Takatsuji family, the Gojo family and the Higashibojo family).

His children were Nagashige TAKATSUJI (Shonii, Sangi) (1205 - 1281), Takanaga GOJO (Junii (Junior Second Rank), Shikibu no taifu) (1210 -1284) (patriarch of the Gojo family).

His major literary works include "Teikoku keizu"(defunct), "Bunposho" and "Kokushi koyo." He also left numerous Shibun (poems) and Ganmon (prayer) and contributed to the conservation of Kanseki (Chinese books). In addition, he left diaries such as "Kantaifuki" (defunct) and "Hengyoki" (or "Tamenagakyoki").

It is also considered that he was the author of "Jikkinsho."