Takatsukasa Sukehiro (鷹司輔煕)

Sukehiro TAKATSUKASA (his first name is written in kanji 輔凞 or 輔熈,, December, 5, 1807 - November 19, 1878) was a kugyo (the top court officials) during the late Edo period (last days of the Tokugawa shogunate). Served as Kanpaku during the age of Emperor Komei, he was the family head of the Takatsukasa family, one of the Sekkan-ke (the families which produced regents) of the Fujiwara clan. He was given Zuiraku of Homyo (Buddhist names), when he became a priest. His father was Masamichi TAKATSUKASA, Kanpaku. His chakubo (legitimate mother) was Kiyoko TOKUGAWA, a daughter of the lord of the Mito Domain, Harutoshi TOKUGAWA.

Biography
1807: He was born. March 1817: Had a genpuku (celebrate one's coming of age), and granted Joi (the conferment of a court rank). June 1818: Granted Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank) and appointed kugyo. April 1848: Promoted to Naidaijin (Minister of the Interior) and granted Juichii (Junior First Rank) in January, the following year. February 1857: Promoted to Udaijin (minister of the right).

Priest, Comeback, and Kanpaku
In 1858, when the Imperial court and the Edo bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) had an disagreement over an imperial sanction for the Treaty of Amity and Commerce between the United States and Japan, he was persuaded by statesman of the Mito clan and the Fukui clan to disagree on the Emperor's sanction for the treaty and to agree with the Hitotsubashi group on the successor matter of Seii taishogun (literally, "great general who subdues the barbarians"). Working with Sadaijin (minister of the left) Tadahiro KONOE and Naidaijin Sanetsumu SANJO, he played a key role in submitting a plan to the emperor to give the Mito clan an imperial decree (Bogo no mitchoku - a secret imperial decree). As the result, in a series of Ansei no Taigoku (suppression of extremists by the Shogunate) conducted by Naosuke II who was appointed Tairo (chief minister) in the same year, he was forced to resign in 1859 by an informal decision of the bakufu. He inevitably became a priest and was called his Buddhist name as 'Zuiraku' in June, the same year.

After Ii was assassinated in the Sakuradamongai Incident, he remained suspended as a priest for a while until forgiven in April 1862. He was ordered to return to the secular world in May, 1862, and restored to the government of the court as the new post, Kokuji goyogakari (a general official of the Imperial Household in charge of the State affair) in January 1863 (December in old calendar). He took over Tadahiro KONOE as Kanpaku in the following year, 1863.

Political Situation at the End of Edo Period and Sukehiro
During his service as Kanpaku, Sanetomi SANJO and Kintomo ANEKOJI, who were radical activists of the Sonno Joi (19th century slogan advocating reverence for the Emperor and the expulsion of foreigners) and connected to the Choshu clan, started to gradually increase their influence over the imperial court. Emperor Komei made gyoko (an imperial visit) to Kamo-jinja Shrine and Iwashimizu Hachimangu Shrine accompanied by Shogun Iemochi TOKUGAWA and, in addition, he was requested to make another imperial visit to Yamato Province and to make an imperial departure for the front in September, 1863. However, the Emperor Komei showed his unpleasant feelings about the growing power of the Sonno Joi party, and thereby Imperial Prince Kuninomiya Asahiko of kobu-gattai (integration of the imperial court and the shogunate) and others forced through the Coup of August 18, jointly with Katamori MATSUDAIRA of Kyoto Shoshidai (local governor of Kyoto) and the Satsuma clan. Sukehiro, though serving as Kanpaku, was not able to be involved in this political situation, and in addition, he planed to have Sanjo and his colleagues return to Kyoto. As the result, the government, receiving a proposal from Hisamitsu SHIMAZU, dismissed him from Kanpaku in January 1864 (December in old calendar).

In Kinmon Incident that occurred in August of the following year (1864), the Takatsukasa's residence was attacked by the armies of Aizu, Satsuma and the bakufu to burn down because samurai of the Choshu clan including Gensui KUSAKA and Chuzaburo TERASHIMA shut themselves inside it. This led the Takatsukasa family fall under suspicion of understanding with the Choshu clan and Sukehiro was banned from the court and suspended. Yoshinobu AOKI, Shodaibu (aristocracy lower than kugyo) was arrested by the town magistrates of Kyoto.

Later years
With a demise of Emperor Komei in January 1867 (December 1866 in old calendar) and Senso (ascend to the throne) of Emperor Meiji in 1867, he was given remission under an amnesty. However, the Sekkan shiki (the position of regents and advisers) were abolished in the Decree for the Restoration of Imperial Rule in December of the same year. With the abolishment, he was banned from the court again. However, after such a ban was lifted in the next month (January 1868), he assumed the position of gijo (official post) of the new government and appointed as Captain of institution secretariat. In May 1868, he assumed the position of governor of Jingikan chiji (Shinto commissioner), and reappointed gijo in October. In 1869, he took the post of rusu chokan (a person representing the chief officer during his absence). Then he was assigned to Jako no ma shiko (emperor's personal attendant in Jako room) in January 1870 (December in old calendar).

In September 1872, he retired. After his son Sukemasa TAKATSUKASA died young, Hiromichi TAKATSUKASA, a son of Hisatada KUJO, was adopted and succeed the TAKATSUKASA family. He died in July 1878. Died at the age of 72. He was buried at Nison-in Temple in Sagano.

Official Record

1817: Genpuku ceremony, Joi

1818: Jusanmi

1848: Naidaijin

1849: Juichii

1857: Udaijin

1859: Resignation and becoming a priest

1862: Returned and assumed the position of Kokuji goyogakari

1863: Kanpaku

1864: Resignation and suspension