Department of Japanese Literature
Fujiwara Moromichi, Fujiwara Morozane, the Insei period, Kanpaku, Waka, poetry composition meetings
Fujiwara Moromichi was the son of the Kyougoku Kanpaku, Fujiwara Morozane. He was the great-grandchild of the highly powerful Midouryu, Fujiwara Michinaga, and himself became a kanpaku (chief adviser to the Emperor), but died on June 28, 1099 (Kowa gannen) at the age of thirty-eight years old.
Moromichi lived during the Insei period of Japanese history, when Shirakawa, the already-retired Emperor, was in charge. During this age, the retired Emperor Shirakawa promoted emperor-led politics, and arranged that, Fujiwara Michitoshi a subordinate of his, would edit “Goshuiwakashu, an imperial waka anthology”.
I believe it is important to conduct a thorough study of Moromichi’s waka, considering his waka contributions throughout his life. In this paper, I consider each of the thirteen waka Moromichi wrote in turn, finding out about the place and time where it was composed, about other waka composed by different people at the same time, and about the people he associated with socially. Based upon a consideration of these factors I made a summary of Moromichi’s waka activities throughout his life.
From this, it is discovered that the number of waka poems composed by Moromichi during periods of his adult life, as defined by his professional capacities, are as follows.
1) 11–21 years old (January 1072, to 1082): 4 waka poems
(Moromichi’s coming of age ceremony to the month before becoming Naidaijin)
2) 22–33 years old (January 1083, to February 1094): 7 waka poems
(Moromichi’s assumption of the role of Naidaijin to the month before becoming Kanpaku)
3) 33–38 years old (March 1094 to 1099): 1 waka poem
(Moromichi’s assumption of role of Kanpaku to his death)
4) Waka whose year of composition is unknown: 1 waka poem
Moromichi produced very few waka poems after assuming the role of kanpaku. I divided the situations which he composed waka into three categories.
Daieika (waka written around a particular subject): 2 waka poems
Utakainouta (waka composed at a party): 5 waka poems
Zoutouka (waka composed with another person, in a call-and-response style): 6 waka poems
For someone who assumed high profile positions such as elder of his clan and that of kanpaku, he did not compose a lot of waka during official waka-composing parties. It seems that the reason that there are so many of Moromichi’s zoutouka surviving is that waka composed by Moromichi in tandem with others were included in poetry collections created by his freiends.
Moromichi would surely have been compelled to show his worth in literary circles, composing waka as part of various social meetigs. There is evidence that in such situations, he placed more importance on Chinese poems more than Japanese waka. According to his diary, during the period from 1083 (Eiho sannen) when he became Naidaijin, until 1099 (Kowa gannen) when he died, he held parties for composing Chinese poems at his house on sixteen occasions. In comparison, he held parties for composing waka only twice.
Looking at the people with whom Moromichi exchanged waka, it is my surmise that most of his waka-related activity was carried out with the party associated with his father, Morozane. The female members of this party were Yasusukeounohaha who served Morozane’s sister the Empress Shijounomiya, and Higo, who served the Imperial Princess Reishi, while the male member was Minamoto no Tsunenobu.