Taira no Korenaka (平惟仲)
Born in 944 and gone on May 1, 1005, TAIRA no Korenaka was a Court noble in the middle of the Heian period. His father TAIRA no Chinki served as Mimasaka no kuni no suke (Assistant Secretary of the Governor of Mimasaka Province), belonged to the Kanmu-Heisi (Taira clan) Takamune-O line, rose to Jushiinojo (Junior Fourth Rank, Upper Grade), and was given Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank) after death, and Korenaka was the first son of this Chinki. His mother was a daughter of Gunji (a local magistrate) of Aoga County in Bitchu Province. TAIRA no Narimasa was his younger brother. Korenaka rose to Junii (Junior Second Rank), Chunagon (vice-councilor of state) and Dazai no gon no sochi (Provisional Governor-General of the Dazai-fu offices).
Born as a child of today's 'genchi-zuma' (a local woman treated as a wife of a male legally married to another woman in his hometown), Korenaka later went to Kyoto with his younger brother Narimasa and entered Daigaku-ryo (Bureau of Education under the ancient administrative system). In 964, at the age of 20, he became monjosho (a student of literary studies in the Imperial University). And in the next year, he started his bureaucrat career at Gyobusho (Ministry of Justice), and then moved to Emonfu (Headquarters of the Outer Palace Guards) and became Kebiishi (the Police and Judicial Chief) at the same time. His smooth promotion is mainly attributed to his connection with FUJIWARA no Koretada, who assumed Sessho (Regent) who had a maternal relationship with the emperor, and the connection was brought by Korenaka's grandmother FUJIWARA no Genki (the daughter of FUIWARA no Sugane and the legal wife of TAIRA no Tokimochi), who worked in the Imperial Court as a court lady and served to foster both Emperor Rezei and Enyu in their childhood.
Afterwards he held Zuryo (the provincial governor) of Mimasaka Province, Chikugo Province, Sagami Province, and Higo Province in turn, and his diligent work bought the favor of Sessho FUJIWARA no Kaneie, the younger brother of Koretada, so he became the Keishi (household superintendent) in Kaneie's family. In 987, he was chosen as Ushoben (Minor Controller of the Right), and then Uchuben (Middle Controller of the Right), both the staff of Benkan (Oversight Department: division of the daijokan responsible for controlling central and provincial government offices), thereby working with his colleague FUJIWARA no Arikuni as Kaneie's eyes and ears.
Afterward, in 989, he was promoted from Sachuben (Middle Controller of the Left) to Udaiben (Major Controller of the Right), the high-ranking position in Benkan. In the next year, on Kaneie's death, Korenaka recommended FUJIWARA no Michitaka, the first son of Kaneie, for the heir, so Korenaka was kindly treated also by Michitaka, and in 992, Korenaka reached Sangi (Royal Adviser), a member of the cabinet. This could be said to be an extraordinary promotion for a man from a local province.
At that time, Korenaka married FUJIWARA no Shigeko (Kaneie's younger half sister and the ex-wife of Kaneie's second son FUJIWARA no Michikane) who served as a wet nurse of Emperor Ichijo,
In 994, Korenaka additionally assumed Sadaiben (Major Controller of the Left), the top position of Benkan. But after the death of Michitaka in 995, Korenaka, having smelled the signs of the Nakanokanpaku family's decline, approached FUJIWARA no Michinaga, Michitaka's youngest brother. This enabled Korenaka to be promoted to Gon Chunagon (a provisional vice-councilor of state) in 996, and then in 998, he reached Chunagon, the height of his career.
In the next year, he additionally assumed Chugu daibu (Master of the Consort's Household), and served FUJIWARA no Teishi, the Empress of Emperor Ichijo, but he resigned from it just a half year later, being reluctant to have a connection to the Nakanokanpaku family which was in decline.
(Afterward, in her "Makura no Soshi" (the Pillow Book), Seishonagon made a fool of Korenaka's brother Taira no Narimasa who was entrusted to take care of Teishi, which suggested that she was angry towards Korenaka for abandoning the Nakanokanpaku family.)
Nevertheless, "Gonki" (FUJIWARA no Yukinari's diary) proclaims that it was only Korenaka who handled verything at the funeral of Teishi following her death, so his intention was totally unclear.
In 1001, he succeeded the job of his former colleague FUJIWARA no Arikuni, the then Dazai no daini (Senior Assistant Governor-General of the Dazai-fu offices), and Korenaka was transferred to Dazai-fu (the local government office in Kyushu region) as Dazai no gon no sochi while holding Chunagon, though in reality Nobuo KUROITA said Korenaka was appointed to Dazai no sochi (Governor-General of the Dazai-fu offices). A prime example of Korenaka's ability can be seen in his obtaining support for himself from jinin (associates of Shinto shrines) of Usa-jingu Shrine and other people, whom past Dazai no gon no sochi and Dazai no daini had great difficulty to deal with. Two years later in 1003, Korenaka was honored with Junii. However, he collided with opposing forces within Usa-jingu Shrine, and he was dismissed between January and February of 1005 from Dazai no gon no sochi due to their accusations. After that, he lay on his sickbed, and on May 1, 1005, he passed away in Dazai-fu. He died at the age of 61; incidentally, "Mido Kanpakuki" (Diary of FUJIWARA no Michinaga) and "Shoyuki" (Diary of FUJIWARA no Sanesuke) says that Korenaka was cremated in Dazai-fu and that his ashes were brought back from there to Kyoto by his brother Narimasa.
Korenaka went up to Kyoto from a local province carrying nothing wth him, and he switched over from one place to another in the central political community having only his own wits which had been polished through study, and so he was promoted to high posts by influential persons such as Kaneie, Michitaka and Michinaga, until he finally reached the post of Junii Chunagon. This was an exception during this time, which may be proof that his outstanding talent attracted people's attention in those days.