Jitsuya Nishiyama: Taiki Character List

Taiki Character List
By Jitsuya Nishiyama
USC Kambun Workshop 2019

Fujiwara no Yorinaga (1120-1156)

One of the highest-ranking officials at the imperial court in the late Heian period. His father, Fujiwara no Tadazane, favored him over the regent and his brother Fujiwara no Tadamichi. When his father disowned his brother Tadamichi, Yorinaga became the clan head of the Fujiwara in 1150 and then he became document examiner (nairan no senji) in the following new year. This created serious tension between Yorinaga and Tadamichi. After losing the favor of Ruling Retired Monarch Toba, Yorinaga conspired with Junior Retired Monarch Sutoku, who was dissatisfied with his brother's succession of the throne, causing the Hōgen Rebellion. Yorinaga was injured by a stray arrow in battle and died in Kizu of Yamashiro province. His diary is called Taiki. He was an outstanding scholar of Chinese classics and history, but had an abrasive character. (See Kadokawa kogo daijiten). 

Fujiwara no Narisuke, dates unknown. 

Narisuke's family did not traditionally contain Chinese scholars, but Narisuke seems to have been a frequent visiting scholar of the Regency house. As seen in Taiki, he served in close attendance to Yorinaga as his teacher and a fellow scholar. Yorinaga praised Narisuke's talent and highly regarded him. See Hashimoto Yoshihiko, Fujiwara no Yorinaga (Tokyo: Yoshikawa kōbunkan, 2012), 41-42. According to an entry in Sonpi bunmyaku, Yorinaga studied under Narisuke around 1142. Later, Yorinaga assigned Narisuke as his household official (Kyūan 3 2.5 Entry, Taiki), and later strongly recommended him to become a provisional deputy commissioner of ceremonial (式部権少輔) skipping over twelve senior officials. (See Taiki and Honchō seiki).  

Ruling Retired Monarch Toba (1103-1156, r. 1107-1123) 

After Horikawa passed away, Toba succeeded the throne under the Ruling Retired Monarch Shirakawa. After the death of Shirakawa in 1129, Toba ruled for the three eras of Sutoku, Konoe, and Goshirakawa, for 28 years in total. After the early death of Konoe, Toba enthroned Go Shirakawa, and this caused Hōgen rebellion. Toba was familiar with music and the classics, and so devoted to Buddhism that he visited Kumano Grand Shrine twenty-two times. He was enthusiastic about founding temples and completed Rokushō Temple. (See Kadokawa kogo daijiten).  

Junior Retired Monarch Sutoku (1119-1164, r. 1123-1142) 

Sutoku was the 75th monarch and the first prince of Toba. After the death of Ruling Retired Monarch Toba, Sutoku fought with Goshirakawa. He lost in the Hōgen Rebellion and was sentenced to exile in Sanuki province. His mother was Taikenmon’in, or Shōshi. His name was Akihito. He was enthroned at the age of 5. Sutoku was enthusiastic about waka poetry and ordered to compile Shikashū or repeatedly called for submitting one hundred poems. Junior Retired Monarch Toba forced Sutoku to yield his throne to Konoe. After Konoe passed away, he was dissatisfied with the enthronement of Go Shirakawa, who was his younger brother. So, Sutoku conspired with Fujiwara no Yorinaga to cause the Hōgen Rebellion. But, he lost in battle and was sent exile to Matsuyama in Sanuki province and passed away in grief. (See Kadokawa kogo daijiten). 

Kita no Mandokoro (1070−1149)

Kita no Mandokoro was an office for managing domestic affairs in the family of the regent's line of the Fujiwara clan, which was located in the northern part of their residence. It also referred to the primary wife of the regent family. (See Kadokawa kogo daijiten). In Taiki, it refers to Fujiwara no Shishi, who was the wife of Yorinaga’s father Fujiwara no Tadazane. For Yorinaga, she was his mother-in-law. Her name can also be read “Moroko” and “Motoko.” (See Nihon jinmei daijiten). 

Fujiwara no Tadamichi (1097-1164) 

Tadamichi was considered to be first-class in his day at poetry, music, and calligraphy. His calligraphy was particularly well-known as a superior model for others to imitate, and his powerful calligraphy was called “The Hosshō Temple School.” This calligraphy school was highly regarded not only by aristocrats but also by warriors after the Kamakura period. He wrote a collection of Chinese poetry, Hosshōji kanpaku gyoshū; a collection of Japanese poetry, Tadamichi shū; and a diary, Hosshōji kanpakuki. (See Kokushi daijiten). In Hōgen monogatari, Yorinaga criticized Tadamichi's skills in poetry and calligraphy and stated that poetry was a pastime when one had time to kill, further saying that it was not necessary in court politics. Yorinaga may not have been good at poetry because there was an occasion that his teacher Narisuke composed a poem on his behalf. However, Yorinaga had some experience in Chinese poetry composition appropriate as a family member of the regent line. See Yanagawa Hibiki, Fujiwara no Yorinaga (Tokyo: Waseda University Press, 2018). 

Taikenmon’in (1101-1145)

The dharma name of Fujiwara no Shōshi, the wife of Toba. Her father was Fujiwara no Kinzane. In 1118, she became the wife of the monarch and gave birth to both Sutoku and Go Shirakawa. See Digital daijisen. She received her dharma name in 1124. She was devoted to Buddhism and founded Enshō Temple and Hōkonkō Temple in Ninna Monastery. She became a nun in 1142. She died in 1145 at the age of 45. (See Nihon jinmei daijiten). 

Fujiwara no Michinori (1106-1160) 

One of the highest-ranking officials at court and scholars of the late Heian period. The eldest son of Fujiwara no Sanekane. He gave up on his court career when he was a junior counselor. He took the tonsure, left government with a few words, and left home. He became cloistered when 39 years old in 1143 or 1144. (See Kokushi daijiten). He served in close attendance to Junior Retired Monarch Toba and Go Shirakawa. After he won the Hōgen Rebellion, he was an active politician. Later, when there was a conflict between Michinori and Fujiwara no Nobuyori, he was captured by Nobuyori's side in the Heiji Rebellion and was killed in 1159 at the age of 54. He was well-read with multiple skills and edited Honchō seiki and Hōsō ruirin. His dharma name was Shinzei. (See Nihon jinmei daijiten).