Tsuchimikado Sadamichi (土御門定通)

Sadamichi TSUCHIMIKADO (1188 – November 4, 1247#) was a court noble in the Kamakura period. He was MINAMOTO no Michichika's fourth son and succeeded him as the foster child of his eldest son, MINAMOTO no Michimune. His mother was Gyobukyo (Minister of Justice) FUJIWARA no Norikane's daughter, FUJIWARA no Noriko (nurse to Emperor Gotoba), and his sister was Shomeimoin MINAMOTO no Zaishi (Emperor Tsuchimikado's mother). His wife was the daughter of the second regent of the Kamakura bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) Yoshitoki HOJO, who was the sister sharing the same mother of Rokuhara tandai (agents of the Kamakura bakufu stationed in Rokuhara, Kyoto) Rensho (assistant of the regent) Shigetoki HOJO. He was called Gotsuchimikado Naidaijin. He is considered the founder of the Tsuchimikado family of the Murakami-Genji (Minamoto clan).

#-His actual date of death is said to be November 2, two days before the official announcement).

He received a rank the year after he was born and was appointed to Shoshiinoge (Senior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade) at the age of 14 due to his father's achievements. He rose quickly through the ranks, being appointed to Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank) the next year and Shosanmi (Senior Third Rank) two years later. During this time, he became his half-brother Michimune's foster child. Michimune's daughter MINAMOTO no Tsushi was Emperor Tsuchimikado's Naishi no suke (maid of honor) and gave birth to Prince Kunihito (later Emperor Gosaga).

He participated in the core of the Retired Emperor Gotoba's Office as his sister, Shomeimoin's Steward, and was promoted to Gon Chunagon (provisional vice-councilor of state) in 1209, Junii (Junior Second Rank) in 1211, Shonii (Senior Second Rank) in 1214 and Gon Dainagon (provisional chief councilor of state) in 1218. On the other hand, he strengthened ties with the buke government by marrying a wife from the Hojo clan, who were top administrators in the Kamakura bakufu but much lower in family class.

His destiny changed radically because of the Jokyu Disturbance in 1221. Sadamichi was not directly involved in the incident but lost his position as a related person to the office of the Retired Emperor Gotoba. On top of this, his nephew, the Retired Emperor Tsuchimikado was exiled and the empress, his sister-in-law, Tsushi, died of disease, leaving him without his political base.

Later, he returned to power through his ties with the Hojo clan, and although he became Naidaijin (Minister of the Center) in 1236, he had already lost political influence and was only the guardian of Shomeimoin and Prince Kunihito, who had become forgotten within the court. In such a situation, in 1227, Sadamichi was enjoying river fishing with his vassals in the Rakunan (south of Kyoto) near Kissho-in Temple, which had a prohibition on killing living things, when an incident arose involving a fight with the monks affiliated with the temple. When Kanpaku (chief adviser to the Emperor) Iezane KONOE tried to press charges on Sadamichi, who was Shonii (Senior Second Rank) Dainagon (chief councilor of state) at that time, Sadamichi made a rebuttal, saying that it was not fair that the monks accused himself, a court noble, when the present Rokuhara tandai Yasutoki HOJO (Sadamichi's brother-in-law) had fished at the same place without knowing about the prohibition and the monks did not complain about the bushi Yasutoki, and demanded punishment of the monks in stead by saying "I am a bushi as well." The term 'Bushi' was sometimes used to refer to someone who had the right to punish with power, and this also was a sarcastic comment towards the aristocracy (including Sadamichi) who had become ubiquitous to the bushi class.

However, when Emperor Shijo suddenly died in 1242, Sadamichi sent a secret messenger to Kamakura for the Regent Yasutoki HOJO who was his brother-in-law and worked towards the ascension of Prince Kunihito. Yasutoki agreed to this plan and sent the Toshi (messenger from the Kamakura bakufu to the Imperial Court in Kyoto) Yoshikage ADACHI to work with Sadamichi to allow Prince Kunihito (Emperor Gosaga) to ascend the throne. Since Emperor Gosaga took charge of administration, even though Sadamichi had no official court position, he held power as the guardian of the new emperor and battled with Michiie KUJO and Yoshizane NIJO over power.
On the other hand, he worked with the bakufu to start court reforms and changed the posthumous Buddhist name of Kentokuin in to Tobain (various theories exist about the reason for this change), leading to the evaluation as a 'talented noble of the end of the world' and 'talented and well-read person.'