FUJIWARA NO SHōSHI (藤原彰子, 988–1074), also known as
JōTōMON-IN (上東門院), the eldest daughter of Fujiwara no
Michinaga , was Empress of Japan from c. 1000 to c. 1011. Her father
sent her to live in the
By the age of 20, she bore two sons to Ichijō, both of whom went on
to become emperors and secured the status of the Fujiwara line. In her
late 30s she took vows as a
* 1 Empress * 2 Ladies-in-waiting * 3 Mother to two emperors * 4 Imperial Lady * 5 References * 6 Sources
In the middle of the 9th century
Fujiwara no Yoshifusa
Four years later Michinaga sent Shōshi, his eldest daughter, to Emperor Ichijō's harem when she was about 12. A year after placing Shōshi in the imperial harem, in an effort to undermine Teishi's influence and increase Shōshi's standing, Michinaga had her named Empress although Teishi already held the title. As historian Donald Shively explains, "Michinaga shocked even his admirers by arranging for the unprecedented appointment of Teishi (or Sadako) and Shōshi as concurrent empresses of the same emperor, Teishi holding the usual title of "Lustrous Heir-bearer" kōgō and Shōshi that of "Inner Palatine" (chūgū), a toponymically derived equivalent coined for the occasion". She went on to hold the title(s) of Empress Dowager (Kōtaigō) and Grand Empress Dowager (Taikōtaigō).
To give Shōshi prestige and to make her competitive in a court that
valued education and learning, Michinaga sought talented, educated and
interesting ladies-in-waiting to build a salon to rival that of Teishi
and Senshi (daughter of
Although she lived in the Imperial palace, Shōshi's main residence for was in one or another of her father's many mansions, particularly after the Imperial palace burned down in 1005. Shōshi was about 16 when Murasaki joined her court, probably to teach her Chinese. Japanese literature scholar Arthur Waley describes Shōshi as a serious young lady based on a passage from Murasaki who wrote in her diary: "As the years go by Her Majesty is beginning to acquire more experience of life, and no longer judges others by the same rigid standards as before; but meanwhile her Court has gained a reputation for extreme dullness, and is shunned by all who can manage to avoid it". Moreover, Murasaki describes advice Shōshi gave to her ladies-in-waiting to avoid appearing too flirtatious:
Her Majesty does indeed still constantly warn us that it is a great mistake to go too far, 'for a single slip may bring very unpleasant consequences,' and so on, in the old style; but she now also begs us not to reject advances in such a way as to hurt people's feelings. Unfortunately, habits of long standing are not so easily changed; moreover, now that the Empress's exceedingly stylish brothers bring so many of their young courtier-friends to amuse themselves at her house, we have in self-defence been obliged to become more virtuous than ever'.
MOTHER TO TWO EMPERORS
Shōshi gave Ichijō two sons, in 1008 and 1009. The births are
described in detail in Murasaki's
The Diary of Lady Murasaki
Ritual ceremonies were followed on specific days after the births. As was customary, Michinaga's first visit to Shōshi took the form of a lavish ritual 16 days after she gave birth. In her diary, Murasaki described the clothing of one woman in attendance, "Her mantle had five cuffs of white lined with dark red, and her crimson gown was of beaten silk". On the 50th day after the birth a ceremony was held in which the infant was offered a piece of mochi ; Michinaga performed the ritual offering of the rice cake to his grandson Atsuhira. In her diary Murasaki described the event that she probably attended.
Michinaga's influence meant that Shōshi's two sons had a better
chance of ascending the throne than Teishi's children—particularly
after Teishi's death in 1001. When Ichijō abdicated in 1011 and died
soon after, Shōshi's eldest son, the future
For many years Shōshi's power extended to selecting friends and relatives to fill court positions and to approving consorts—decisions that affected the imperial court. The consorts she selected were her father's direct descendants, thus she asserted control of her father's lineage for many years.
It was not uncommon for Heian aristocratic women to take religious
vows, become nyūdō, and yet remain in secular life. As her father
and her aunt Seishi had done before her, at 39 in 1026, Shōshi
underwent an ordination ceremony to become a
The first two empresses to take title of Imperial Lady were Seishi, later followed by Shōshi. With the title came a new residence and permission to hire men for the household. Shōshi's role as Imperial Lady, as documented in the Eiga Monogatari , was studied and emulated by imperial women who were to follow her as Imperial Ladies.
She died in 1074 aged 86.
* ^ Henshall (1999), 24–25 * ^ Bowring (2005), xiv * ^ A B C D Shively and McCullough (1999), 67–69 * ^ A B C McCullough (1990), 201 * ^ Bowring believes she was 10 years old when she was sent to court. See Bowring (2005), xiv * ^ A B C Meeks, 52–57 * ^ Shirane (1987), 58 * ^ Mulhern (1994), 156 * ^ A B Bowring (2005), xxiv * ^ A B Waley (1960), viii * ^ A B Mulhern, (1991), 86 * ^ Groner (2002), 281 * ^ qtd in Mulhern, (1991), 87 * ^ "Detached segment of the diary of Lady Murasaki emaki". National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties of National Museums, Japan. National Institutes of Cultural Heritage. Retrieved September 10, 2011. * ^ A B Adolphson (2007), 31 * ^ Shirane (1987), 221 * ^ Meeks, 58
* Adolphson, Mikhael; Kamens, Edward and Matsumoto, Stacie. Heian Japan: Centers and Peripheries. (2007). Honolulu: Hawaii UP. ISBN 978-0-8248-3013-7 * Bowring, Richard John (ed). "Introduction". in The Diary of Lady Murasaki. (2005). London: Penguin. ISBN 9780140435764 * Groner, Paul. Ryōgen and Mount Hiei: Japanese Tendai in the tenth century. (2002). Kuroda Institute. ISBN 978-0-8248-2260-6 * Henshall, Kenneth G. A History of Japan. (1999). New York: St. Martin's. ISBN 978-0-312-21986-4 * Meeks, Lori. "Reconfiguring Ritual Authenticity: The Ordination Traditions of Aristocratic Women in Premodern Japan". (2006) Japanese Journal of Religious Studies. Volume 33, Number 1. 51–74 * McCullough, Helen . Classical Japanese Prose: An Anthology. (1990). Stanford CA: Stanford UP. ISBN 978-0-8047-1960-5 * Mulhern, Chieko Irie. Heroic with Grace: Legendary Women of Japan. (1991). Armonk NY: M.E. Sharpe. ISBN 978-0-87332-527-1 * Mulhern, Chieko Irie. Japanese Women Writers: a Bio-critical Sourcebook. (1994). Westport CT: Greenwood Press. ISBN 978-0-313-25486-4 * Shirane, Haruo. The Bridge of Dreams: A Poetics of "The Tale of Genji". (1987). Stanford CA: Stanford UP. ISBN 978-0-8047-1719-9 , 58 * Shively, Donald and McCullough, William H. The Cambridge History of Japan: Heian Japan. (1999). Cambridge UP. ISBN 978-0-521-22353-9 * Waley, Arthur . "Introduction". in Shikibu, Murasaki, The Tale of Genji: A Novel in Six Parts. translated by Arthur Waley. (1960). New York: Modern Library.
* v * t * e
Japanese imperial consorts
This is a list of Japanese imperial consorts since Emperor Sushun 's reign.
Ōtomo no Koteko
Yamato Hime no Ōkimi