Fujiwara No Tanetsugu
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Fujiwara No Tanetsugu
Fujiwara no Tanetsugu
Died785 (aged 47–48)
FamilyFujiwara Shikike
FatherFujiwara no Kiyonari

Fujiwara no Tanetsugu ( , 737[1] - November 4, 785) was a Japanese noble of the late Nara period. He was the grandson of the sangi Fujiwara no Umakai, the founder of the Fujiwara Shikike. He reached the court rank of sh? san-mi () and the position of ch?nagon. He was posthumously awarded the rank of sh? ichi-i () and the position of daij?-daijin.


The Shoku Nihongi first mentions Tanetsugu in 766, when he was promoted from ju roku-i no j? (?) to ju go-i no ge (?). Two years later, in 768, he was appointed as governor of Mimasaka Province.

Thanks to the Shikike's staunch support of Emperor K?nin's ascension, the family was successful in his court. Tanetsugu held various positions as a provincial governor, as well as civil and military roles, and was steadily promoted through the ranks, reaching ju shi-i no ge (?) in 781. After the deaths of his uncles Fujiwara no Yoshitsugu and Fujiwara no Momokawa, Tanetsugu came to represent the Shikike as the oldest grandson of Umakai.

Along with the ascension of Emperor Kanmu in 781, Tanetsugu was promoted to ju shi-i no j? (?). With the Emperor's deep trust, Tanetsugu was promoted quickly, joining the kugy? with a promotion to sangi in 782. In 783, he was promoted to ju san-mi (), and in 784 was made ch?nagon.


In 784, Kanmu wanted to move the capital away from Heij?-ky?. Tanetsugu recommended the location of Nagaoka-ky? as the spot for the new capital. By the Emperor's command, Tanetsugu inspected the site along with Fujiwara no Oguromaro [ja], Saeki no Imaemishi [ja], Ki no Funamori [ja], ?nakatomi no K?yu [ja], and Sakanoue no Karitamaro. Later that year, Tanetsugu was put in charge of the construction of the new capital. His appointment may have had the backing of his mother's family, the Hata clan, whose base of operations in Yamashiro Province was near the new capital site. Several members of the Hata clan were later promoted into the aristocracy based on their meritorious service in the construction.


In 785, soon after the move of the capital, Tanetsugu was shot with an arrow while supervising the construction, and died the next day. Emperor Kanmu was absent at the time, visiting Yamato Province. ?tomo no Takeyoshi (?) was first arrested for the assassination, and after an investigation ten more people were executed, including ?tomo no Tsuguhito (?) and Saeki no Takanari (?). ?tomo no Yakamochi, who had died a month before the incident, was identified as the ringleader and removed from the register of past officials. Several more people were implicated and exiled.

Later, Prince Sawara was disinherited from his position as crown prince and exiled to Awaji Province, but died en route. There may have been discord between Sawara and Tanetsugu, but whether Sawara was actually involved in the assassination is not clear. A number of the officials involved in the assassination, including Takanari, were employed in the Crown Prince's Quarters. This incident, along with the fear of Sawara's vengeful ghost, contributed to the decision to move the capital again to Heian-ky? a short time later.

Tanetsugu's final rank was sh? san-mi (), and he held the positions of ch?nagon and director of the Shikibu-sh?. He was 49 when he died. Emperor Kanmu posthumously promoted him to sh? ichi-i () and sadaijin, and in 809 he was granted the additional posthumous position of Daij?-daijin.

Individuals punished in connection with the incident[2]

Person Position Punishment Pardon
Prince Sawara Crown Prince Disinherited and exiled to Awaji Province; died in transit Posthumously elevated to the throne as Emperor Sud? in 800
Haruhara no Ioe (?) ju shi-i no j? (?) and division chief in the imperial guard (?) Banished to Iyo Province Rank restored in 806
?tomo no Yakamochi ju san-mi () and ch?nagon Dead at the time, but stripped of his rank Rank posthumously restored in 806
?tomo no Tsuguhito (?) ju go-i no ge (?) and sadaiben () Death (Beheading) Rank posthumously restored in 806
?tomo no Mamaro () ju go-i no ge (?) and director of the tax bureau () Death (Beheading) Rank posthumously restored in 806
?tomo no Naganushi (?) ju go-i no ge (?) and assistant director of the Capital () Banished to Oki Province Rank restored in 806
?tomo no Takeyoshi (?) General in the imperial guard () Death (Beheading)
?tomo no Minatomaro () Yamato-taij? (?) Death (Beheading)
?tomo no Kunimichi (?) Banishment to Sado Province Pardoned and returned to the capital in 803
Saeki no Takanari (?) Assistant inspector in the Crown Prince's Quarters (?) Death (Beheading)
Ki no Shiromaro (?) ju go-i no j? (?) and assistant director of the Crown Prince's Quarters () Banished to Oki Province Restored to rank of sh? go-i no ge (?) in 806
Fujiwara no Oyori (?) sh? shi-i no ge (?) and director of the Ministry of the Treasury () Banished to Oki Province Restored to rank of ju shi-i no ge (?) in 806
Tajihi no Hamahito () Chief secretary in the Crown Prince's Quarters () Death (Beheading)
Hayashi no Inamaro (?) Outside (?) ju go-i no ge (?) and tutor to the Crown Prince (?) Banished to Izu Province Rank restored in 806
H?ki no Bachimaro () In the imperial guard () Death (Beheading)
Oshika no Kitsumimaro () In the imperial guard () Death (Beheading)


  • Father: Fujiwara no Kiyonari
  • Mother: daughter of Hata no Asamoto ()
  • Wife: daughter of Awata no Michimaro ()
  • Wife: daughter of Yamamoto no Nakamune ()
    • Son: Fujiwara no Yamahito (?)
  • Wife: daughter of Karidaka no Samimaro ()
    • Second son: Fujiwara no Kazuramaro (, 768-821)
  • Wife: daughter of Fujiwara no Tsugutada (?)
    • Son: Fujiwara no Yasutsugu (?), possibly instead a son of Kiyonari
  • Wife: daughter of Fujiwara no Tadanushi (?)
  • Other children:
    • Son: Fujiwara no Fujio (?)
    • Fourth son: Fujiwara no Yotsugu (?, 779-831)
    • Son: Ide no Yumori (?)
    • Daughter: Fujiwara no Kusuko (?, ?-810), court lady of Emperor Heizei
    • Daughter: Fujiwara no Azumako (?, ?-816), court lady of Emperor Kanmu


  1. ^ Based on age at death given in the Shoku Nihongi
  2. ^ Nihon Kiryaku


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  • Sakamoto, Tar?; Hirano, Kunio, eds. (1990). ? [Dictionary of Ancient Japanese Clans and Names] (in Japanese). Yoshikawa K?bunkan (). ISBN 4642022430.
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