Kujo Yoshitsune (九条良経)

Yoshitsune KUJO (1169 - April 23, 1206) was a court noble who lived from the end of the Heian period to the early Kamakura period. He is also called Yoshitsune GOKYOGOKU. His father was Kanezane KUJO. His mother was a daughter of FUJIWARA no Sueyuki. His wife was a niece of MINAMOTO no Yoritomo and daughter of Yoshiyasu ICHIJO. His children were Michiie KUJO and Risshi KUJO who was the empress of Emperor Juntoku.

Biography

He went through genpuku (ceremony of attaining manhood) in 1179. In 1185, he was given the rank of Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank). In 1188, he became the progeny of Kanezane since his older brother, Yoshimichi KUJO died young. After that he rose through the ranks from Gon chunagon (provisional middle councilor), Shonii (Senior Second Rank), Gon dainagon (provisional major councilor) to Naidaijin (lord keeper of the privy seal) in 1195.
However, in November 1196, he and his father were expelled from the Imperial Court and confined to their house due to a counter-move by TAKASHINA no Eishi and MINAMOTO no Michichika who were anti-Kanezane

In 1199, he came back as Sadaijin (minister of the left) and later, became Nairan (private audience). In December 1202, he became the regent of Emperor Tsuchimikado, then in 1204, he was promoted to the rank of Juichii (Junior First Rank) and assumed the position of Daijo daijin (grand minister). However, Yoshitsune was killed by someone in his sleep during the night of April 23, 1206. He was at the age of 38. It is said that the criminal was SUGAWARA no Tamenaga or anti-Kujo group who were bitter about the relationship between Yoshitsune and the Kamakura bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun).

Yoshitsune was a person of culture who was excellent in waka (Japanese poem), calligraphy and Chinese poetry.
Particularly, he was talented in calligraphy and his style which possessed an inflectional and dynamic stroke was later called 'Gokyogoku school.'

Also, his activities in poetry circles became more pronounced from around 1190 through the support of his uncle, Jien and he hosted "Kagetsu hyakushu" in the same year and "Roppyakuban utaawase" (The Poetry Match in 600 Rounds) in 1193. His activities were performed under a strong bond with the Mikohidari family, also he interacted with Rokujo ke Kajin. Yoshitsune's poetry circle played a large role as a basis for a new style waka which was later developed into "Shin Kokinshu"(Japanese literary anthology). After that, they moved to the poetry circle of Gotobain and the group of Mikohidari family including Yoshitsune played a central role.

In 1190, he became a Yoriudo hitto when the Office of Waka was founded and wrote 'kanajo' (Japanese preface) relating to the editing of "Shin Kokin Wakashu" (New Collection of Poems from Ancient and Modern Times). His selection called "Akishino gesseishu" is one of the Rokkashu. "Gokyogoku dono onjikaawase" is also considered to be an excellent reference on learning his style.

In addition, he had many literary works including a diary called "Donoki" and each of them are famous as valuable historical data.

Career
Lunar calendar used for the dates. June 1, 1179, went through genpuku and given the rank of Jugoinojo (Junior Fifth Rank, Upper Grade). October 5, allowed to wear the forbidden colors and access to the Imperial Court. November 16, assigned to serve as Jiju (chamberlain).

May 24, 1180, promoted to the rank of Shogoinoge (Senior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade) and retained his position as Juju.

January 17, 1182, transferred to the position of Ukone no shosho (Minor Captain of the Right Division of Inner Palace Guards).

December 21, 1182, transferred to the position of Sakonoe no chujo (general of the left).

February 8, 1183, promoted to the rank of Jushiinoge (Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade) and retained his position as Sakonoe no chujo.

January 30, 1185, promoted to the rank of Shoshiinoge (Senior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade) and retained his position as Sakonoe no chujo.

February 14, 1185, promoted to the rank of Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank) and retained his position as Sakonoe no chujo. February 28, also assumed the position of Harima no gon no kami (director of Harima Province).

February 2, 1187, promoted to the rank of Shosanmi (Senior Third Rank) and retained his position as Sakonoe no chujo and Harima no gon no kami.

March 11, 1187, promoted to the rank of Junii (Junior Second Rank) and retained his position as Sakonoe no chujo and Harima no gon no kami.

February 11, 1188, promoted to the rank of Shonii (Senior Second Rank) and retained his position as Sakonoe no chujo.

May 31, 1189. transferred to the position of Gon chunagon and retained his position as Sakonoe no chujo. August 30, transferred to the position of Gon dainagon. February 13, 1190, also assumed the position of Sakonoe no taisho (western commander).

December 9, 1190, also assumed the position of Chugu (Takako KUJO, the empress of Emperor Gotoba and daughter of Kanezane KUJO) daibu (chief surveyor of palace apartments).

December 14, 1195, transferred to the position of Naidaijin. December 22, retained his position as Sakonoe no taisho.

March 5, 1198, resigned from the position of Sakonoe no taisho.

July 23, 1199, transferred to the position of Sadaijin.

January 18, 1203, assigned to serve as Nairan by the Emperor. Retained his position as Sadaijin. February 15, assigned to serve as regent by the Emperor. Retained his position as Sadaijin. He ranked second following FUJIWARA no Yorizane who was in the rank of Shonii no kami and position of Daijo daijin. He did not achieve the top rank.

February 14, 1204, promoted to the rank of Juichii (Junior First Rank) and retained his position as regent and Sadaijin. December 15, resigned from the position of Sadaijin. January 5, 1205, became the top rank due to the resignation of FUJIWARA no Yorizane who was in the rank of Juichii and position of Daijo daijin. January 12, assigned to serve as Daijo daijin by the Emperor. Retained his position as regent.

May 24, 1205, resigned from the position of Daijo daijin.

April 23, 1206, died. The age at death was 38 when he was in the position of regent and rank of Juichii (Junior First Rank).