Saionji Saneharu (西園寺実晴)

Saneharu SAIONJI (1601 to February 27, 1673) was a kugyo (high court noble) in Edo period. He was the child of Kinmasu SAIONJI, Naidaijin (Minister of the Interior). He liked courtesy science and painting, and in 1667, he was promoted to the position of Sadaijin (Minister of the Left).

He participated in national administration in 1619, became Naidaijin (the Minister of the Interior), Udaijin (the Minister of the Right), and Juichii (Junior First Rank) Sadaijin successively. In 1651, the court decided to award a position of Shoichii (Senior First Rank) Dajo-daijin (Grand minister of state) and a posthumous name "Taiyuin" to Iemitsu TOKUGAWA, and sent Saneharu SAIONJI, who was the Minister of the Interior, to Nikko as an envoy. In 1672, he became a priest, titled Daichuin Nyudo with a posthumous Buddhist name Shoei.

His legal wife was Tokuhime (1605 to 1663), the eldest daughter of Tadataka HOSOKAWA (who called himself Kyumu NAGAOKA after being disinherited in 1604), who was a child of Tadaoki HOSOKAWA and Gracia HOSOKAWA. Financial assistance was given to the Saionji family every year by Kyumu, who lived in Kyoto. Moreover, Kyumu's estate, which totaled to 500 Koku of crop yield, was inherited by Tokuhime (the Saionji family) and became the financial foundation of Saionji family.

Among his children was Kinmitsu SAIONJI, who became the 23rd head of the family, as well as Kinsui SAIONJI, and Kinnobu SAIONJI (also called Kimiyoshi or Zuigi). His youngest child Kinnobu SAIONJI disliked the life of court nobles in Kyoto, moved to the Higo province, where he could rely on Tadaharu NAGAOKA (1622 to 1704, an ancestor of the Hosokawa-naizen family) who was a child of Kyumu NAGAOKA, and died in Kikuchi (presently Kikuyo-cho, Kumamoto Prefecture). However, Kinnobu's daughter (Princess Yasu or Yasuhime)who was born there returned to the capital, took a husband (Sanesuke SAIONJI)from the Takatsukasa family, and succeeded the Saionji family.