Saionji Sanekane (西園寺実兼)

Sanekane SAIONJI (1249 – October 21, 1322): a kugyo (a court noble) of the late Kamakura period. His father was Kinsuke SAIONJI and his mother was a daughter of NAKAHARA no Morotomo. His wives were Kenshi NAKANOIN who was a daughter of Michinari NAKANOIN, and a daughter of Morotsugu KAZANIN, and so on. His children were Kinhira SAIONJI, Kinaki SAIONJI, Kanesue IMADEGAWA, Shoshi SAIONJI (the second consort of Emperor Fushimi), Eishi SAIONJI (the consort of Emperor Kameyama), and Kishi SAIONJI (the second consort of Emperor Godaigo).

In 1269, Sanekane succeeded to the family estate of his grandfather, Saneuji SAIONJI, and assumed Kanto Moshitsugi (a court-appointed liaison with the bakufu [Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun]). He negotiated with the Kamakura bakufu about some issues such as succession to the Imperial Throne by Daikakuji-to (imperial lineage starting with Emperor Kameyama) and Jimyoin-to (imperial lineage from Emperor Gofukakusa to Emperor Gokomatsu). In 1291 he gave the post of Kanto Moshitsugi to his son Kinhira SAIONJI, but assumed the post again due to Kinhira's death. At first he took the position near the Jimyoin-to and severely confronted with Daikakuji-to to devote to erection of Emperor Fushimi to the throne, but gradually turned to pro-Daikakuji-to due to strife with Tamekane KYOGOKU. He died In 1322. Also he was not only a famous waka poet whose poems were chosen in Shoku Shui Wakashu (12th imperial anthology), Gyokuyo Wakashu (Collection of Jeweled Leaves, an imperial poetic anthology), and Shoku Senzai Wakashu (Waka Collection of a Thousand Years Continued), but also a master of the biwa (a Japanese lute). By the way 'Snow Dawn' who appears as her love in Lady Nijo's (Gofukakusain no Nijo's) 'Towazugatari' (The Confessions of Lady Nijo, literally 'narrated without being asked') is said to be Sanekane.