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Fujiwara no Fuhito

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  • Born: 659
  • Died: 720
  • Titles: Ason (朝臣)
  • Ranks:
  • Father: Fujiwara no Kamatari
  • Japanese: 藤原朝臣史 (Fujiwara no Ason Fuhito)

Fujiwara no Fuhito (aka Fubito) was the son of Fujiwara no Kamatari, the founder of the Fujiwara lineage. He is found in both the Nihon Shoki and the Shoku Nihongi, and is generally accepted as Kamatari's son and heir.

His father died when he would have been only 10 years old, and he somehow managed to avoid the chaos and troubles of the Jinshin War of 672, which took a toll on the power of the Nakatomi and their kinsmen, such as the Fujiwara.

Fuhito first appears in the chronicles in Jito 3 (689), when he is made a judge (判事)--he is listed as being of Jiki-kwo-shi rank. Eight years later he is granted 50 retainers, and is listed as having attained Jiki-kwo-ni rank.

In 698 there is an intriguing passage indicating that the Fujiwara name was granted exclusively to the descendants of Kamatari (namely, Fuhito). Prior to this point other members of the Nakatomi had been using the

He is much more active in the chronicles three years later. By the 6th month of 700, Fujiwara no Ason Fuhito was Jiki-kwo-ichi when he received an Imperial edict, along with others, to "make punitive rules", for which each received various honoraria. In spring of the following year he is sent to the house of the late Dainagon, Ôtomo no Sukune Miyuki, of the rank of Sho-kwo-san, to confer the posthumous rank and title of Sho-kwo-ni, Minister of the Right (Udaijin). Then, when the rank system was reformed in the 3rd month he received Sho-sho-sammi (Proper Proper 3rd Rank) and he was promoted from Chunagon (an office which was abolished) to Dainagon.

The Emperor Mommu's favor towards Fuhito can be seen in his memorial in the middle of the 4th month of 707. Believing himself to be dying (which he did exactly two months later), the Emperor praised Fuhito and offered him a fief of 5,000 households "from now onwards." Fuhito declined, and the fief was decreased to only 2,000 households, with 1,000 being passed on to his descendants.

By the beginning of the following year, Fuhito had obtained Junior 2nd rank (juni'i), and when the reign name changed from Keiun to Wado he was promoted, along with similarly ranked Isonokami no Ason Maro to Senior 2nd rank (shoni'i). He would be made Minister of the Right (Udaijin) only two months later (Isonokami no Maro was made Minister of the Left, Sadaijin). Both were praised by the new Emperess Gemmei for their "equitable character."

In 709, Fuhito, in his capacity as Udaijin, met with Kim Shin Fuku and the other members of the embassy from Silla. According to the chronicles this was the first time a minister (rather than simply the Emperor) had officially met with envoys

As Udaijin, Fuhito stood at the heart of government. He was minister during the move to the new capital in Nara in 710, as well as many reforms in the government, including the Yōrō code in 719.

Fuhito died in 720, the same year the Nihon Shoki was completed.

References

  • Nihon Shoki
  • Shoku Nihongi
  • Piggott, Joan R. ed. Capital and Countryside in Japan, 300-1180, University of Cornell, NY, 2006.
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