Sanjonishi Saneeda (三条西実条)

Saneeda SANJONISHI (March 8, 1575 - November 22, 1640) was a noble who was active from the Azuchi-Momoyama Period to the beginning of Edo Period. He was also known as Kounin.

He was the family head of the Sanjonishi family (with a social rank of daijinke – or minister's household). His father was Kinkuni SANJONISHI, who was Naidaijin (the Minister of the Interior). His grandfather was Saneki SANJONISHI. Kinhiro SANJONISHI was his younger brother.

Brief Personal History
He was born in 1575 as the first son of Kinkuni SANJONISHI. Next year, he was ennobled. He was appointed Jiju (Imperial Household Agency staff). In 1597, he became Sangi (councillor) and ranked among nobles. Next year, he was promoted to Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank). With the beginning of the Edo bakufu (Edo shogunate), the posts of buke tenso (liaison officers who communicate requests from the military government to the imperial court) were established just as in the Muromachi Period. On August 26, 1613, Saneeda was appointed buke tenso and was put in charge of negotiations with the shogunate. In 1623, on the occasion of the appointment of the third Seii Taishogun of the bakufu, Iemitsu TOKUGAWA, he played the role of shokei (one who verbally conveys an informal message from the Emperor). Kasuga no Tsubone (Fuku SAITO), who was Iemitsu's wet nurse, was on friendly terms with Saneeda from their early childhood, because, after her father, Toshimitsu SAITO went with the army in the Honnoji Incident, which was initiated by his master, Mitsuhide AKECHI, and died in the battle of Yamazaki, she was taken in by Kinkuni SANJONISHI, who was a relative on her mother's side, and grew up in the mansion at Sanjonishi. In 1629, when Kasuga no Tsubone visited Kyoto as a representative of Iemitsu, who was ill, she had no credentials to access to the imperial court. An arrangement of adoption was made to make her a sister-in-law of Saneeda, who had become naidaijin (minister of the interior) that same year, and she entered the imperial court as a lady from the Sanjonishi family and was allowed to meet the Emperor Gomizunoo. In response this aggressive posturing, Emperor Gomizunoo, upset by pressure from the bakufu surrounding the Shie Incident, abdicated the throne in favor of his second daughter, Imperial Princess Okiko (Emperor Meisho). Seeing such discord between samurai and the imperial court, Saneeda faithfully obeyed the commands of the bakufu; this was in contrast to Michimura NAKANOIN, who like Saneeda held the position of bukedenso (liaison officers between the imperial court and the military government), but acted in accordance with the intentions of Emperor Gomizunoo (Michimura was dismissed the following year). In 1635, he was promoted to Juichii (Junior First Rank) and, in June 1640, through reporting by Iemitsu, he was appointed to udaijin (minister of the right) that was quite exceptional for the Sanjonishi family.
(The kyokkan - the highest rank - for a Daijinke, or ministerial household, was usually Naidaijin and in early modern times only Saneeda and Michimi NAKANOIN were appointed to udaijin.)
However, he excused himself from the position of udaijin three months later, in October. In the same month, he died while still in the position of buke tenso. His children included Kimikatsu SANJO, Kimitane MUSHANOKOJI and Saiko Jitugo.

Waka poetry
The family business of the Sanjonishi family was waka poetry, and the family head in the beginning of the Sengoku Period (Period of Warring States), Sanetaka SANJONISHI (grandfather of Saneeda), was considered the best existing waka poet.
Three successive generations, Sanetaka, Kineda SANJONISHI and Saneki SANJONISHI, were good at waka poetry and kept up the family business. (Kokin denju - the secret transmissions of the "Kokinshu," Anthology of Old and New Japanese Poems)
However, because Saneeda's son, Kinkuni, was too young, the waka poetry tradition was carried on by Yusai HOSOKAWA, who was Saneeda's pupil. After Kinkuni grew up, Yusai tried to turn it over to him, but Kinkuni died young. Yusai once again passed the tradition on to Kinkuni's son, Saneeda, to keep his promise to his teacher.

History of official position and rank