The connections to the Fujiwaras

From Claude Morita:

The Morita family tree in documents passed down starts with Fujiwara Kamatari and in direct lineage traces tie between the man himself to the Morita family in Okayama.

Among the names listed in the direct lineage are, for example, Kaneie, Michinaga, Nagaie, Motoie, Motomichi, Motokiyo, Motofusa, et al. These are all Fujiwara names.

11/10/04 From Claude Morita

This is the result of Fumiko's efforts at transliterating the family tree. The long
scroll has numerouos branches and some explanations of what
significant things were accomplished by the individual. This is the
explanation of the direct linkage.

Fujiwara is another reading of Fujihara -- same name.

From other sources, we will be able to put in the period of
each individual's life. I'll put in a few that I can find immediately from
reference books I have. We'll fill it out as we go.


Family Name Given Name Life Span



































Lived in Bitchu Province
Killed in war, 3rd year Eisei, May







Who are the Fujiwaras?

The following is taken from one of the standard history texts on Japan. East Asia: The Great Tradition, John S. Fairbank, Edwin O. Reischauer, and Albert M. Craig, pp. 502-503.

The Fujiwara Period

While these great changes were taking place in the central government and its financial foundations, the Fujiwara family, descended from Kamatari, was taking over most of the power and much of the prestige that had once belonged to the emperors. Kamatari's son, Fuhito (659-720), had been a leading statesman in his day, and the Emperor Shomu was his grandson, but the family's fortunes received a sudden check when Fuhito's four sons died in a smallpox epidemic in 737. However, their sons and grandsons, who constituted four rival branch families, proved very successful in the competition for high posts at court. By the ninth century the Fujiwara had secured an inordinate share of the higher offices and were gaining considerable influence over the imperial family by giving their daughters to its empresses or imperial concubines. This strong position at court was solidly based on the family's economic strength as the owner of many estates throughout the country.

The Supremacy of the Fujiwara Family. By the middle of the ninth century the Northern Branch (Hokke) of the Fujiwara family had outstripped the others and had established complete supremacy over the court. In 857 the head of this line, Yoshifusa, a descendant of Kamatari in the sixth generation, became Grand Minister of State - the first Grand Minister appointed since the monk Dokyo. In the next year he had himself assigned regent for the nine-year-old grandson, whom he had placed on the throne. This was the first instance of a small child being made emperor, as well as the first instance of anyone outside the imperial line serving as regent.

Yoshifusa was succeeded in the headship of the family in 872 by his nephew and adopted son, Mototsune, who in turn became the regent of another minor in 876. Two successive adults came to the throne in 884 and 887, but Mototsune went on acting in effect as regent. Thereafter the post of regent for an adult emperor came to be known as kampaku.

Once Yoshifusa had established the supremacy of the Fujiwara, members of this family continued to occupy nearly all the top posts in the government, to supply almost all the empresses and most of the imperial conncubines, and to place sons of Fujiwara mothers on the throne. In fact, they so dominated the central government that the three centuries from about 857 to 1160 are commonly called the Fujiwara period.

Actually the Fujiwara remained dominant at the Kyoto court most of the time from the ninth century until the nineteenth. From time to time vigorous emperors or newly risen families briefly challenged their authority, but, except for a few breaks, particularly between 891 and 1015, Yoshifusa's descendants occupied the post of regent for minors or that of kampaku for adult emperors until 1867. Moreover, they squeezed out most of the other noble families, with the result that the court aristocracy of later periods was almost was almost entirely of Fujiwara origin.

By the thirteenth century the Fujiwara had so proliferated that they began to be known by branch names, which were usually derived from the streets where their palaces were located or from some inherited titular post. Until the nineteenth century, regents and kampaku were almost always chosen from the five chief branch families (gosekke). There were the Konoe ("Imperial Guards") Kujo ("Ninth Avenue"), Nijo ("Second Avenue"), Ichijo ("First Avenue"), and Takatsukasa ("Falcon Office"). A Konoe was to serve as prime minister even in the modernized government of the twentieth century. The present descendants of the Fujiwara, tracing their line in great detail and with complete historical accuracy back to Kamatari and even a century or two before him, constitute, together with the various offshoots of the imperial line, the most ancient fully pedigreed aristocracy in the world.

Although the Fujiwara, as the chief owners of estates, were the richest and most powerful family in the whole country and completely dominated the emperors and the remaining machinery of the central government, they never made the slightest move to usurp the throne. Even when the emperors were clearly recognized to be their puppets and were entirely overshadowed in prestige and magnificence by the Fujiwara regents and kampaku, the family remained content with their theoretically secondary position. (more follows)

Interesting lineage to say the least. It gives you plenty of ideas for novels, historical research, day dreaming, and inspiration. It is no wonder that Grandma protected the family copy of the tree as one of the most important things in that Mazoroi house. It was also stolen for a period. She also had to give up some family heirloom swords during WWII because the Japanese war effort needed metal. They're probably in somebody's collection somewhere.


This is from Kodansha's Japan, An Illustrated Encyclopedia, 1, First Edition, 1993, published by Kodansha Ltd, 12-2, Otowa 2 chome, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 112. ISBN 4-06-206489-8 (Volume 1), ISBN 4-06-931098-3 (Set). Extracted from page 418; page 419 is the genealogical chart of the Fujiwara family.

The Fujiwara family was a courtier family that exercised great political power during much of the Heian period (794-1185), especially during the period of Regency Government in the 10th and 11th centuries. Its domination of the imperial court during this period was so complete and its influence on the culture of the years before and after was so pervasive that the last three centuries of the Heian period are commonly referred to as the Fujiwara period.

Origin - The family was founded in the 7th century by Fujiwara no Kamatari, a member of the influential Nakatomi family. When the authority of the ruling family was threatened by the rival Soga Family, it was to Kamatari that the imperial prince Naka no Oe turned for help. Between them they carried out a coup d'etat in 645 that saw the elimination of the Soga and the initiation of a series of sweeping changes in government known as the Taika Reform, modeled on Chinese political institutions and intended to strengthen the ruling family and the central government. In 669 the prince, now Emperor Tenji, conferred on Kamatari the new family name of Fujiwara.

Growth of Fujiwara Power - Kamatari's son Fujiwara no Fuhito (also known as Fubito; 659-720) gave daughters in marriage to Empeor Mommu and Emperor Shojmu, thereby initiating a practice that was to become the keystone of Fujiwra power-its attachment to the imperial family through the marriage of Fujiwara daughters to reigning and future emperors. As maternal grandfathers, uncles, and fathers-in-law of emperors, Fujiwara family heads wielded tremendous influence. Meanwhile, Fuhito's four sons each became the head of a branch family, of which the Hokke, or northern branch, grew to be the most powerful.

In 866 Fujiwara no Yoshifusa further advanced the family's cause by having himself appointed regent (sessho) for Emperor Seiwa (850-881; r 858-876), his grandson. It was the first time in Japanese history that someone not of imperial blood had assumed the regency. The Fujiwara had found a way of virtually usurping the throne without occupying it.

The only flaw in the system from the standpoint of the Fujiwara was that the regency had to be vacated when a young emperor came of age. Fujiwara no Mototsune (836-891), Yoshifusa's nephew and adoptive son established the new post of Kampaku in 887 to function as Emperor Koko's (830-887; r 884-887) spokesman even though the sovereign was already an adult. Mototsune was challenged by Koko's successor, Emperor Uda, and Mototsune's death only four years after Uda's accession gave Uda six years of rule free from Fujiwara interference.

If Uda and his successor, Daigo, had any illusions about restoring imperial authority over the Fujiwara, these were quickly dispelled by Tokihira (871-909), Mototsune's son, who successfully removed all opposition and reestablished Fujiwara supremacy. Among his victims was the celebrated scholar-statesman Sugawara no Michizane.

The most powerful Fujiwara of them all was Fujiwara no Michinaga (966-1028), father of four empresses and grandfather of three emperors, who dominated the imperial court for more than 30 years. His rule was marked by court life whose splendor was unmatched by any before or after him.

Decline of Fujiwara Influence - However, even before Michinaga's time, Fujiwara influence had begun to decline, especially in the provinces. There, the landed gentry, who had commended lands to the Fujiwara in the past, now tended to commend them to the rising military families, thus drastically reducing he economic basis of Fujiwara power (see shoen). Only 40 years after Michinaga's death, the Fujiwara could not prevent Gosanjo, who did not have a Fujiwara mother, from ascending the throne. The system of government by a retired emperor (see insei) established in 1087, also served as a base for effectively challenging Fujiwara power. Finally, in 1156, a succession dispute known as the Hogen Disturbance, the Taira family (a warrior family) emerged as the country's most powerful family. In 1160 when the Taira defeated a coalition of the Fujiwara and the Minamoto Family, the days of Fujiwara power had come to an end (see Heiji Disturbance). Although certain high offices continued to be filled by scions of he Fujiwara (see Gosekke), the family and ceased to be a factor in the policies of the country by the mid-12th century. Several members of the family, however, notably the poets Fujiwara no Sadaie, Fujiwara no Taemeie, and Fujiwara no Toshinari, acted as literary arbiters in later years.


Iwao, Seiichi, editor. Burton Watson, translator. Biographical Dictionary of Japanese History, Kodansha International Ltd., in collaboration with the International Society for Educational Information, p 26-39.

Fujiwara (Nakatomi) No Kamatari (614-669)

Court Official of the Asuka period. He was born into the Nakatomi family, a family of rather lowly status that served the Yamato court and had charge of affairs pertaining to the Shinto religion. From an early age he showed great fondness for learning and surpassed others in whatever he did. He studied under the Buddhist priest Min, who had been sent to China as a student and had remained there for over twenty years, and Min was said to have regarded him as a man of extraordinary ability. Even the most powerful minister of the time, Soga no Iruka, treated him with deference. Kamatari, angered at the excessive authority wielded by Soga no Iruka and at his lack of respect for Empress Kogyoku, the ruler at the time, began to consider ways to overthrow him. He first became friendly with Prince Karu but later transferred his attentions to Prince Naka no Oe, a person of superior ability, and together they plotted the downfall of the Soga family. In 645 they attacked and killed Soga no Iruka when he was in attendance at the palace and then succeeded in wiping out the other members of the family. It had earlier been agreed that Prince Naka no Oe should be made ruler, but Kamatari persuaded him to give way to Prince Karu so as to avoid antagonizing the older factions at court, and the latter accordingly ascended the throne to become Emperor Kotoku. He had no real power, however, all affairs of government being handled by Prince Naka no Oe and Kamatari.

In 645, Taika, the first formal nengo (era name) to be used by the Japanese court, was adopted, and in 646 the so-called Taika Reform Edict was promulgated, setting forth the principles for a new system of government. The main characteristics of this system are as follows:

  1. All land and persons were to become the property of the state.
  2. In order to implement this goal, appropriate machinery for administration, communication, and military control was to be set up.
  3. Population registers were to be drawn up and land allotted to the people in equal shares.
  4. All taxes were fixed by law.

Kamatari and the others of his party thereby created the so-called ritsuryo or penal and civil code system, a bureaucratic system designed to create strong centralized government with the emperor at its head, the kind of government that Min and others who had been to China had observed in operation there under the Sui and T’ang dynasties. The establishment of this new system of centralized government represents, along with the creation of the shogunate system by Minamoto no Yoritomo and the Meiji Restoration, one of the three most important political innovations in the history of the Japanese state.

In 653 Kamatari’s eldest son, a Buddhist priest whose religious name was Joe (born in 643), was sent to T’ang China as a student priest, ostensibly to study Buddhism but also to act as a hostage. At this time the T’ang dynasty was extending its power into the Korean peninsula, and eventually it conquered the state of Paekche, which had been strongly allied to Japan. Japan dispatched an army to go to the assistance of Paekche, but in 663 it was defeated, and all vestiges of Japanese control disappeared from the Korean peninsula. In order to guard the country from possible attack by Chinese or Korean forces, garrison troops known as sakimori were established along the coast of northern Kyushu. The T’ang government, however, only requested that Japan recognize its sovereignty over the Korean peninsula and did not attempt to send a military force against Japan. In 665 Joe, who until then had remained in China as a hostage, was sent home, thought the exact reason for this is unclear. On his return, he was poisoned by a man of Paekche who had taken refuge in Japan after the overthrow of his native country.

In 668 Prince Naka no Oe ascended the throne to become Emperor Tenji. The following year, when Kamatari fell ill, the emperor came in person to visit him and inquire about his condition, whereupon Kamatari asked that he be given a modest burial that would not impose a burden upon the common people. The emperor, in recognition of his achievements, bestowed on him the surname Fujiwara, and on the sixteenth day of the tenth month, Kamatari died.

The Fujiwara family, which began with Kamatari, continued in later ages to be very closely associated with the imperial family, an association exemplified as recently as the time of the Second World War in the person of Prime Minister Konoe Fumimaro, the Konoe being a chief branch of the Fujiwara family.

Fujiwara no Michinaga (966-1027)

Court official of the middle Heian period. He was born into the Fujiwara family, which earlier in the Heian period had produced the powerful ministers Fujiwara no Yoshifusa and Mototsune, and in 980 was given his first position at court. In 995 his elder brothers Michitaka and Michikane both died in an epidemic, and in the sixth month of the same year Michinaga was advanced to the post of daijin. He also held the position of uji no choga or head of the entire Fujiwara clan. In 996 his nephew Korechika, who up until this time had been an important rival for power, fell out of favor, and Michinaga advanced to a position of unprecedented authority. In 999 he married his daughter Fujiwara no Shoshi to Emperor Ichijo and the sons of this union in time became Emperor Gochijo (reigned 1016-35) and Emperor Gosuzaku (reigned 1036-45) respectively. His second daughter, Kenshi, he married to Emperor Sanjo, and in 1016 he forced Emperor Sanjo to relinquish the throne so that he could set up his own grandson as Emperor Gochijo. The following year he turned over the position of sessho, regent, to his son Yorimichi, while he himself assumed the highest of all ministerial ranks, that of dajodaijin. At the zenith of his power, he described his life in a poem of the time as being like the full moon shining in the sky. He was troubled by frequent illness, however, and in 1019 he retired from government service, became a monk, and founded a temple, the Hojo-hi. In 1027 he developed a swelling on his back that pained him greatly, and on the fourth day of the twelfth month he died. He is said to have been selfish and willful in behavior, and yet at the same time to have had a frank and forthright disposition. His diary written in his own hand is extant, the oldest Japanese diary to be preserved in the original. Known as the Mido Kampaku ki, it contains invaluable information on the politics and court life of the time and is regarded as one of the most important sources for the history of the period.

Fujiwara no Shoshi (988-1074)

Empress of the middle Heian period. She was the daughter of Fujiwara no Michinaga. In 999 she married Emperor Ichijo and the following year she was named kogo, empress. Emperor Ichijo already had an empress, Fujiwara no Teishi, but so great was Michinaga’s power that he was able to induce the emperor to depart from custom and name a second empress. Shoshi bore two sons, who in time became Emperor Gochijo and Emperor Gosuzaku. She is also noted for the unusual quality of the ladies-in-waiting who attended her, among whom was Lady Murasaki, the author of The Tale of Genji, and Lady Izumi, author of the Izumi Shikibu Diary. Her rival, Empress Fujiwara no Teishi,was attended by Sei Shonagon, author of the Pillow Book, this being the period when the women writers of the Heian were most active. In 1026 Empress Fujiwara no Shoshi was honored with the title Jotomon-in.

Ichijo Tenno (980-1011)

Emperor of the middle Heian period; sixty-sixth sovereign of Japan; son of Emperor En’ju and a daughter of Fujiwara no Kaneie. His reign, from 986 to 1011, saw the "Fujiwara culture," which centered around the person of Fujiwara no Michinaga, reach its zenith. The emperor himself had a taste for literature and gathered about him at his court such figures as Murasaki Shikibu, author of The Tale of Genji, and Sei shonagon, author of the celebrated Pillow Book. Politically, too, the reign is well known for the large number of able figures it produced. Personally, however, the emperor was politically ineffectual, since real power lay in the hands of his maternal grandfather, Kaneie, and his stepbrother Michinaga.

Roots: Fujiwawa side

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