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The Fujiwara clan (藤原) was a clan of regents who monopolized the title of Sekkan, Sessho and Kampaku. The founder Nakatomi no Kamatari was given the surname Fujiwara by Emperor Tenji.
During the Nara period Fujiwara clan established their political influence. Fujiwara no Fuhito, the son and heir of Kamatari was prominent at the court of several emperors and empresses. He made his daughter Miyako a concubine of the Emperor Mommu. Her son, Prince Obito became the Emperor Shomu. Fuhito succeeded in making another of his daughters, Komyoshi, the empress of Shomu. She was the first empress of Japan who didn't derive from the imperial family. Fuhito had four sons and each of those four founded a family. Among them, Hokke (North family) seized the power and was considered the leader of the entire clan.
During Heian periods of Japanese history, the Fujiwara clan, precisely Fujiwara Hokke managed to establish a hereditary claim to the position of regent, either for an underage emperor (Sessho) or for an adult one (Kampaku). Some prominent Fujiwaras occupied these positions more than once, and for more than one emperor. Lesser members of the Fujiwara were court nobles, provincial governors and vice governors, members of the provincial aristocracy, and samurai.
During the 13th century, the Fujiwara northern house was split into the five regent houses (五摂家): Konoe, Takatsukasa, Kujo, Nijo and Ichijo. They monopolized the offices of Sessho and Kampaku in turn.
Last updated: 08-17-2005 05:43:22