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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

Who afterwards reigned as Kwazan


THE

SIXTY-THIRD SOVEREIGN, THE EMPEROR REIZEI (A.D. 968-969)

THE SIXTY-FOURTH SOVEREIGN, THE EMPEROR ENYU (A.D. 970-984)

The reigns of Reizei and Enyu are remarkable for quarrels among the members of the Fujiwara family--quarrels which, to be followed intelligently, require frequent reference to the genealogical table (page 203). Fujiwara Morosuke had five sons, Koretada, Kanemichi, Kaneiye, Tamemitsu, and Kinsuye. Two of these, Koretada and Kaneiye, presented one each of their daughters to the Emperor Reizei, and Koretada's daughter gave birth to Prince Morosada, who afterwards reigned as Kwazan, while Kaneiye's daughter bore Okisada, subsequently the Emperor Sanjo. After one year's reign, Reizei, who suffered from brain disease, abdicated in favour of his younger brother, Enyu, then only in his eleventh year. Fujiwara Saneyori acted as regent, but, dying shortly afterwards, was succeeded in that office by his nephew, Koretada, who also had to resign on account of illness.

Between this latter's two brothers, Kanemichi and Kaneiye, keen competition for the regency now sprang up. Kanemichi's eldest daughter was the Empress of Enyu, but his Majesty favoured Kaneiye, who thus attained much higher rank than his elder brother. Kanemichi, however, had another source of influence. His sister was Murakami's Empress and mother of the reigning sovereign, Enyu. This Imperial lady, writing

to his Majesty Enyu at Kanemichi's dictation, conjured the Emperor to be guided by primogeniture in appointing a regent, and Enyu, though he bitterly disliked Kanemichi, could not gainsay his mother. Thus Kanemichi became chancellor and acting regent. The struggle was not concluded, however. It ended in the palace itself, whither the two brothers repaired almost simultaneously, Kanemichi rising from his sick-bed for the purpose. In the presence of the boy Emperor, Kanemichi arbitrarily transferred his own office of kwampaku to Fujiwara Yoritada and degraded his brother, Kaneiye, to a comparatively insignificant post. The sovereign acquiesced; he had no choice. A few months later, this dictator died. It is related of him that his residence was more gorgeous than the palace and his manner of life more sumptuous than the sovereign's. The men of his time were wont to say, "A tiger's mouth is less fatal than the frown of the regent, Kanemichi."

THE SIXTY-FIFTH SOVEREIGN, THE EMPEROR KWAZAN (A.D. 985-986)

THE SIXTY-SIXTH SOVEREIGN, THE EMPEROR ICHIJO (A.D. 987-1011)

Eldest son of the Emperor Reizei, Kwazan ascended the throne in 985. His mother was a daughter of Fujiwara Koretada, and Yoritada, whose appointment as regent has just been described, continued to act in that capacity. Kaneiye's opportunity had now come. Kwazan having succeeded Enyu, nominated the latter's son to be Crown Prince, instead of conferring the position on his own brother, Prince Okisada (afterwards Sanjo). Now the Crown Prince was the son of Kaneiye's daughter, and that ambitious noble determined to compass the sovereign's abdication without delay. Kwazan, originally a fickle lover, had ultimately conceived an absorbing passion for the lady Tsuneko. He could not be induced to part with her even at the time of her pregnancy, and as there was no proper provision in the palace for such an event, Tsuneko died in labour. Kwazan, distraught with grief, was approached by Kaneiye's son, Michikane, who urged him to retire from the world and seek in Buddhism the perfect peace thus alone attainable. Michikane declared his own intention of entering the "path," and on a moonlight night the two men, leaving the palace, repaired to the temple Gwangyo-ji to take the tonsure. There, Michikane, pretending he wished to bid final farewell to his family, departed to return no more, and the Emperor understood that he had been deceived.


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