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Astronomical archaeology: Seimei Abe and Teika Fujiwara

Yusuke Santamaria(Japanese actor) plays Seimei Abe in the currently airing "Hikaru Kimi e". Although his appearance and role were quite suspicious, he was a bureaucrat at a government office called Onmyo Ryo. His residence was located along Tsuchimikado Road near current Seimei Shrine, and it seems that he walked about 20 minutes from there to go to the government office. Onmyo-ryo has four functions (Onmyo-do, astronomy, calendar, and time), and it seems that each one was originally highly specialized, but when Michizane Sugawara stopped sending envoys to China, the latest information on the theory of Onmyo and Five Elements was not received from China. Since its disappearance, it has come to be valued at the imperial court for its unique Japanese interpretations and uses. Throughout the 10th century, it seems to have become an organization that comprehensively interpreted and undertook fortune-telling, exorcisms, and predictions of natural disasters. Seimei Abe seems to have learned Onmyodo from the father and son Tadayuki Kamo and Yasunori, but he was originally an astronomy expert, and from then on, the Kamo and Abe clans took turns serving as executives of Onmyoryo. Onmyoryo was established by Emperor Tenmu in the 7th century and was abolished in 1869 (Meiji 2), but although the organizations of the Imperial Court had almost lost their functions since the Middle Ages, it had exclusive authority over the calendar and time until the 19th century.

Last week's episode aired a story in which Kaneie and other court nobles worked together to make Seimei Abe put a curse on Empress Shishi to prevent the extremely tyrannical Emperor Kazan from creating a successor, but as a historical fact, one year later Within a short time, Emperor Kazan became a priest and abdicated after reigning for less than two years. At Okagami(history book), Kaneie's second son, Kanemichi, guided him in becoming a priest, and the next day, Emperor Ichijo ascended the throne, and Kaneie became the regent he had longed for. At that time, it is written that Seimei Abe saw the "natural change" in the sky in advance, grasped the signs of a change of emperor, and tried to report it to the Imperial Court, but cried out that it was already too late.

Kazuyuki Sakka's "Decipherers of Natural Disasters" discusses two theories regarding natural disasters (Jupiter's "crime" to Alpha Libra = the approach of a fellow celestial body, and the fact that the moon hid the Subaru). However, I believe that the ability to interpret the movements of the stars while looking at the night sky was similar to Onmyodo. The Great Mirror is a book that was written 100 years after this incident (during the Shirakawa Reign period), and we do not know whether Seimei actually foresaw the incident, but it does explain the power struggle that actually occurred and the efforts to justify it. I think it is possible that Onmyo Ryo was used in I'm looking forward to seeing how it will be portrayed in the drama. It was Professor Kuniji Saito who called paleoastronomy the study of examining past astronomical data from astronomical knowledge, and there seems to be an academic society dedicated to uncovering historical facts from solar eclipses, comets, and the shapes of ancient buildings.

As you know, Teika Fujiwara was a master of waka poetry, and he was responsible for compiling the imperial collection of waka poems and was selected as one of the Hyakunin Isshu poems. Emperor Reigen (1654-1732) also wrote, "On the spot where Hitomaro & Tsurayuki died, there is only Kyogoku's Komon." Komon was an official name in the Tang Dynasty and was Chunagon, and Teika was called Kyogoku Chunagon. If someone were to excel in waka poetry, one would have the impression that he was delicate and gentle, but he seems to have had a short temper and was vindictive. As he was from the Fujiwara family branch (Mikosa family), he was slow to rise in the ranks, but he persistently campaigned for the appointment of court nobles and lived a long life. Thanks to the Jokyu War, he became Chunagon. For that reason, he was the type of person who spoke out even to his superiors, and was once dismissed by the retired Emperor Go-Toba. He also kept a diary called Meigetsuki for 56 years from the age of 18 to 74, in which he recorded many astronomical events. The above-mentioned "Decipherers of Natural Disasters" includes a collection of episodes related to "guest stars." They are called "guest stars" because they appear suddenly, but they refer to comets and supernovae. Meigetsuki covers the years 1006, 1054 (Crab Nebula), and 1181, and he wrote what he heard from his contemporary Yasutoshi Abe(8 generations grandson of Seimei). The one in 1006 was one of the brightest, at magnitude -8 (the full moon was magnitude -12.7), making it the brightest star other than the sun and moon. In 1006, Michinaga was steadily climbing to the top of power, and two years later Shoshi would give birth to Prince Atsunari.


Although you may never see a supernova explode in your lifetime, there was talk at one point that Betelgeuse was about to explode. The distance from Earth is about 640 light years, so if it occurred during the time of Yoshimitsu Ashikaga, we might be able to see it soon. It will be difficult to see Halley's Comet in 40 years. Let's go for a health check.



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