SOKENDAI Review of Cultural and Social Studies


vol.16 (2020)

Minamotono Akifusa’s Waka

—Collection and Investigation—

HANAUE Kazuhiro

Department of Regional Studies,
School of Cultural and Social Studies,
The Graduate University for Advanced Studies, SOKENDAI

Key words:

Minamotono Akifusa, kenmonkajin, the Insei perid, the Imperial family, the Sekkanke (regent house)

Minamotono Akifusa was the second son of Tsuchimikado Udaijin, Minamotono Morofusa. He became an udaijin (the third adviser to the Emperor) and was called Rokujo-Udaijin, because he lived on the 6th Street of Kyoto.

He had an older brother Toshifusa who became a sadaijin (the second adviser to the Emperor), and a younger sister Reishi who married Morozane.

Morozane adopted Akifusa’s daughter Kenshi, who became the Empress of Emperor Shirakawa. Empress Kenshi had three children, the imperial prince Atsufumi, the imperial princess Teishi, and the imperial prince Taruhito (Emperor Horikawa). Akifusa was a maternal relative of Emperor Horikawa. He was also a kenmonkajin (a poet from an influential family).

He lived from the Emperor Shirakawa period to the Emperor Shirakawa Insei period. At that time Emperor Shirakawa came to take the reins of government personally.

The purpose of this paper is to study his activity as a kenmonkajin and discuss his position as a poet in the Insei period, through examination of each of the 23 waka Akifusa wrote.

What I found noteworthy through the research may be summarized as follows.

1. It is important to examine Akifusa’s ghostwriting in Utaawase (a poetry contest). He had Jijunomenoto (a court lady) compose a waka poem, when he was 15 years old. After he grew up, however, he came to compose waka for other people. As a kenmonkajin, he had the responsibility to compose waka poems on many occasions.

2. Akifusa and Minamotono Tsunenobu (an excellent poet and bureaucrat) worked together in various situations. At one time Akifusa was the boss and Tsunenobu was his subordinate at the Empress Kyoshinaishinno’s house. After the Empress retired from the Saiin, she lived in Morofusa’house. Whenever they had a banquet, they composed and exchanged waka poems, according to Dainagontsunenobu-shu (Tsunenobu’s personal waka anthology).

3. Of his 23 waka poems, four waka poems were included in the Goshuiwakashu (an imperial waka anthology) and another 4 waka poems were chosen to be in the Kinyowakashu (an imperial waka anthology). This is especially worth noting since there was no other instance where one poet had 8 waka poems chosen.

4. Some studies have claimed that the Imperial family and the Sekkanke (regent house) at this time were not on good terms with each other. His waka poems appear to have a deep relationship with the Imperial family, and he had a strong connection with the Sekkannke (regent house), exchanging waka poems. This indicates that he had a good relationship with both the Imperial family and the Sekkanke (regent house) as a kenmonkajin.