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Longevity family: Shoshi Fujiwara, Kanshi Fujiwara and Sadako Shijo

In order to become the Regent and Kanpaku, it was necessary to become a maternal relative of the Emperor, that is, to have one's daughter enter the throne and give birth to the next Emperor. Emperor Ichijo ascended the throne at a young age (in 986), and Kaneie Fujiwara became regent, but he had three sons born to his legal wife (Michitaka, Michikane, and Michinaga), who were candidates for his successor.

First, the eldest brother Michitaka sent his daughter Teishi to the Empress (in 990), and soon after her father Kaneie passed away, he took over the position. Teishi gave birth to Imperial Prince Atsuyasu, and if things had continued as they were, the Nakanokanpaku family of Michitaka would have continued as the direct line of the Sekkan family, but five years later, Michitaka and Michikane passed away one after another, and the bowl was handed to Michinaga. Michinaga waited for Shoshi to turn 12 years old and placed her in Emperor Ichijo's inner palace and made her the Empress the following year (in 1000), creating a system of one emperor and two queens for the first time in history, but sooner or later Teishi died of difficult childbirth. While it became clear that the position of regent would not be returned to the Nakanokanpaku family, at that time Michitaka's eldest son Korechika was still looking for his next successor.

The situation changed when Shoko gave birth to Imperial Prince Atsuhira (Emperor Goichijo) and Imperial Prince Atsunaga (Emperor Gosuzaku) in succession (1008-1009), and with the downfall of Korechika, but such murky political struggles within the kinship ranks will be one of the highlights of the taiga drama ``Hikaru Kimi e''. The only refreshing thing about this story is that Shoshi did not take kindly to Michinaga's schemes, and showed pity and gratitude toward Teishi, Imperial Prince Atsuyasu, and the Nakanokanpaku family. Shoshi passed away at the age of 87 during the reign of her great-grandson, Emperor Shirakawa, and historically, she witnessed the end of the Sekkan period at its peak and the beginning of the Insei period.


Michinaga's son Yorimichi made his daughter Kanshi the Empress of Emperor Go-Reizei, but he could not have a prince, and his younger brother Norimichi, who succeeded him, could not become a maternal relative of the Emperor, so the foundation of the direct line of the Sekkan family was started to waver. Kanshi passed away at the age of 92, making her the oldest empress in history, until Empress Kojun (empress of Emperor Showa, who passed away at the age of 97).

The longevity of the Michinaga lineage, which enjoyed the heyday of Sekkan, is surprising, but I will list the main characters below.

Father: Kaneie, 61 years old (eldest brother: Michitaka, 42 years old, second brother: Michikane, 34 years old)

Person: Michinaga, 62 years old Legal wife: Rinshi Minamoto, 90 years old

Eldest son: Yorimichi, 82 years old; second son: Norimichi, 79 years old; eldest daughter: Shoshi, 87 years old (Emperor Ichijo Empress)

Yorimichi's daughter: Kanshi, 92 years old, Empress Goreizei

Norimichi's daughter: Kanshi, 82 years old, Empress Goreizei

Looking at it this way, Michinaga probably had a strong vitality, but I think his wife Rinshi Minamoto (great-granddaughter of Emperor Uda) had a much stronger DNA for longevity. The influence of the Sekkan family may also be found in their longevity.  

However, there was a woman named Sadako Shijo (1196-1302) who lived for three centuries, almost throughout the Kamakura period, and lived to be 107 years old. The Shijo family branched off from the Fujiwara Kita family in the 8th century, and survived through the Insei era and the Heike's heyday. She married Saneuji Saionji, who became the liaison between the shogunate and the imperial court during the Kamakura period and raised the family name, and her two daughters became the middle court of the two emperors (Emperor Gosaga and Emperor Gofukakusa), but their father Takahira Shijo whose mother was the daughter of Kiyomori Taira, and she was also a valuable female heir to the lineage of the Heike family, which perished at Dan-no-ura. In this case as well, Takahira is 83 years old, his younger brother Takachika is 77 years old, and his daughters are 67 and 72 years old, respectively, making me sigh and wonder if longevity is largely due to genetic factors.


Murasaki Shikibu was the leading lady who served Shoshi, and Teishi's was Sei Shonagon, so I'm looking forward to seeing the duo finally start, but unfortunately Teishi passed away at the age of 28. In the drama, Teishi will be played by Mitsuki Takahata, but be sure to watch it before she leaves.



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