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Tachibana clan (kuge)

Tachibana clan (kuge)

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This article is about the Tachibana (橘) clan of court nobles. For the Tachibana (立花) samurai clan, see Tachibana clan (samurai).


The Tachibana clan (橘氏) was one of the four most powerful kuge
Kuge
The was a Japanese aristocratic class that dominated the Japanese imperial court in Kyoto until the rise of the Shogunate in the 12th century at which point it was eclipsed by the daimyo...

(court nobility) families in Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

's Nara
Nara period
The of the history of Japan covers the years from AD 710 to 794. Empress Gemmei established the capital of Heijō-kyō . Except for 5 years , when the capital was briefly moved again, it remained the capital of Japanese civilization until Emperor Kammu established a new capital, Nagaoka-kyō, in 784...

 and early Heian period
Heian period
The is the last division of classical Japanese history, running from 794 to 1185. The period is named after the capital city of Heian-kyō, or modern Kyōto. It is the period in Japanese history when Buddhism, Taoism and other Chinese influences were at their height...

s. Members of the Tachibana family often held high court posts within the Daijō-kan (Ministry of State), most frequently Sadaijin
Sadaijin
, most commonly translated as "Minister of the Left", was a government position in Japan in the late Nara and Heian periods. The position was consolidated in the Taihō Code of 702. The Asuka Kiyomihara Code of 689 marks the initial appearance of the Sadaijin in the context of a central...

(Minister of the Left). Like the other major families at court, they also constantly sought to increase and secure their power by marrying into the imperial family
Imperial House of Japan
The , also referred to as the Imperial Family or the Yamato Dynasty, comprises those members of the extended family of the reigning Emperor of Japan who undertake official and public duties. Under the present Constitution of Japan, the emperor is the symbol of the state and unity of the people...

. However, as the Fujiwara clan gained power over the course of the 9th and 10th centuries, the Tachibana were eclipsed and eventually became scattered across the country. Though serving in high government posts outside the capital, they were thus denied the degree of power and influence within the court at Kyoto
Kyoto
is a city in the central part of the island of Honshū, Japan. It has a population close to 1.5 million. Formerly the imperial capital of Japan, it is now the capital of Kyoto Prefecture, as well as a major part of the Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto metropolitan area.-History:...

 (Heian-kyō) which they once enjoyed. They bore no direct relation to the samurai Tachibana clan (立花) from the 14th century, who traces their lineage to the Fujiwara clan.

The name of Tachibana was bestowed on Agata-no-Inukai no Michiyo by Empress Gemmei
Empress Gemmei
, also known as Empress Genmyō, was the 43rd emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession.Gemmei's reign spanned the years 707 through 715....

 in 708
708
Year 708 was a leap year starting on Sunday of the Julian calendar. The denomination 708 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.- Asia :* Byzantine Empire: March – The Umayyads...

. She was the wife of Prince Minu, a descendant of Emperor Bidatsu
Emperor Bidatsu
was the 30th emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession.Bidastsu's reign spanned the years from 572 through 585.-Traditional narrative:Bidatsu was called in the Nihonshoki....

 and mothered Princes Katsuragi and Sai. She later married Fujiwara no Fuhito
Fujiwara no Fuhito
Fujiwara no Fuhito was a powerful member of the imperial court of Japan during the Asuka and Nara periods...

 and bore Kōmyōshi (Empress Kōmyō
Empress Komyo
was the Nara period consort of Japanese Emperor Shōmu .A member of the Fujiwara clan, her father was Fujiwara no Fuhito and her mother was Agata Inukai no Michiyo . During her life she was also known as Asukabehime 安宿媛, Kōmyōshi 光明子, and Tōsanjō 藤三娘...

). In 736, Princes Katsuragi and Sai were given the surname Tachibana, renouncing their imperial family membership. They became Tachibana no Moroe
Tachibana no Moroe
was a Japanese Imperial prince and official and Empress Kōken.He was the father of Tachibana no Naramaro.* 738 : Moroe was created Udaijin in the Imperial court....

 and Tachibana no Sai respectively.

Over the course of the Heian period, they engaged in countless struggles with the Fujiwara family for domination of court politics, and thus essentially for control of the nation; on a number of occasions this developed into outright violent conflict. One of these conflicts was the uprising of Fujiwara no Sumitomo
Fujiwara no Sumitomo
was a Japanese Heian era court noble and warrior. From 939 to 941 he aided the Taira clan in a series of revolts.Sumitomo built his power base in Northern Kyushu. After making a secret agreement with Taira no Masakado, who was leading a revolt in Shimōsa Province, Sumitomo led his own revolt in Iyo...

 in 939-941. Though the rebellion was ultimately suppressed, the Tachibana family was scattered in the process, and lost much of its power.

Tachibana no Kimiyori (877-941) was among those who pursued Sumitomo to Kyūshū; he settled there and established himself as an official representative of the court. He or his descendants likely gave their name to Tachibana castle
Tachibana castle
was a Japanese castle in Chikuzen Province, in the north of Kyūshū; it is located at the peak of Tachibana Mountain, extending in part into the Higashi-ku in Fukuoka...

, after which the later Tachibana clan of the 14th century onwards was named. Another branch family developed in Iyo province
Iyo Province
was an old province of Japan in the area that is today Ehime Prefecture on Shikoku. Iyo bordered on Awa, Sanuki, and Tosa Provinces. It was sometimes called ....

, becoming known as the Iyo Tachibana family. Tachibana Tōyasu, who executed Fujiwara no Sumitomo, was the progenitor of this branch; Kusunoki Masashige
Kusunoki Masashige
was a 14th century samurai who fought for Emperor Go-Daigo in his attempt to wrest rulership of Japan away from the Kamakura shogunate and is remembered as the ideal of samurai loyalty.-Tactician:...

, a celebrated pro-Imperial commander of the 14th century, claimed descent from Tōyasu.

Significant members of the Tachibana clan

  • Inukai no Michiyo
  • Tachibana no Moroe
    Tachibana no Moroe
    was a Japanese Imperial prince and official and Empress Kōken.He was the father of Tachibana no Naramaro.* 738 : Moroe was created Udaijin in the Imperial court....

     (橘諸兄) - Son of Michiyo; also known as Katsuragi no Ō-kimi (葛城王)
  • Tachibana no Sai (橘佐為) - Son of Michiyo; also known as Sai no Ō-kimi (佐為王)
  • Muro no Ōkimi (牟漏女王) - Daughter of Michiyo; wife of Fujiwara no Fusasaki
    Fujiwara no Fusasaki
    Fujiwara no Fusasaki was a member of the Fujiwara clan and the founder of the Hokke branch of the Fujiwara.-Career:Fusasaki was a Sangi in the Daijō-kan....

  • Tachibana no Naramaro (橘奈良麻呂) - Eldest son of Moroe
  • Tachibana no Shimadamaro (橘島田麿) - Son of Naramaro
  • Tachibana no Kiyotomo (橘清友) - Son of Naramaro
  • Tachibana no Kachiko
    Tachibana no Kachiko
    , also known as , was a Japanese empress. She was the chief consort of Emperor Saga. She was the daughter of .The empress was a devout Buddhist. She founded the Buddhist Danrin-ji temple complex, and for this reason, she came to be called Danrin-kōgō....

     (橘嘉智子) - Daughter of Kiyotomo, Empress to Emperor Saga
    Emperor Saga
    was the 52nd emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession. Saga's reign spanned the years from 809 through 823.-Traditional narrative:...

  • Tachibana no Ujikimi (橘氏公) - Son of Kiyotomo
  • 橘岑継 - Son of Ujikimi
  • Tachibana no Hayanari
    Tachibana no Hayanari
    was a Heian period Japanese government official, calligrapher, and member of the Tachibana family. He travelled to China in 804, returning in 806. He died while traveling to exile in Izu Province for supposed participation in an imperial succession controversy. His most famous remaining...

     (橘逸勢) - Poet, calligrapher; one of the Sanpitsu
    Sanpitsu
    The term Sanpitsu or "three brushes" is used in Japanese to refer to a group of three famous Heian period calligraphers:*Emperor Saga 嵯峨天皇, 786–842.*Kūkai 空海, 774–835.*Tachibana no Hayanari, 橘逸勢 c...

  • Tachibana no Hiromi (橘広相) - Scholar, five generations from Moroe; Served Emperors Yōzei
    Emperor Yozei
    was the 57th emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession.Yōzei's reign spanned the years from 876 through 884.-Traditional narrative:...

    , Kōkō
    Emperor Koko
    was the 58th emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession.Kōkō reigned from 884 to 887.- Traditional narrative :Before his ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne, his personal name was or Komatsu-tei. He would later be identified sometimes as "the Emperor of...

    , and Uda
    Emperor Uda
    was the 59th emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession.Uda's reign spanned the years from 887 through 897.-Name and legacy:Before his ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne, his personal name was or Chōjiin-tei....

  • Tachibana no Kimisai (?)(橘公材) - Second son of Hiromi
  • Tachibana no Kimiyori (橘公頼) - Fifth son of Hiromi; Dazai Gonnosochi (a post akin to Governor of Kyūshū); fought Fujiwara no Sumitomo
    Fujiwara no Sumitomo
    was a Japanese Heian era court noble and warrior. From 939 to 941 he aided the Taira clan in a series of revolts.Sumitomo built his power base in Northern Kyushu. After making a secret agreement with Taira no Masakado, who was leading a revolt in Shimōsa Province, Sumitomo led his own revolt in Iyo...

    's younger brother Fujiwara no Suminori
  • Tachibana no Kern (源久直) - Member of the Saga Morimoto line of the Ochi clan
  • Tachibana no Toshimichi (橘敏通) - Third son of Kimiyori; played an important role in fighting Fujiwara no Sumitomo and Suminori; lord of Chikugo province
    Chikugo Province
    is the name of a former province of Japan in the area that is today the southern part of Fukuoka Prefecture on Kyūshū. It was sometimes called , with Chikuzen Province...

     and founder of the Chikugo (Kyūshū) branch of the Tachibana
  • Senkan (千観) - Fourth son of Kimiyori; preacher of Jodo Shu
    Jodo Shu
    , also known as Jōdo Buddhism, is a branch of Pure Land Buddhism derived from the teachings of the Japanese ex-Tendai monk Hōnen. It was established in 1175 and is the most widely practiced branch of Buddhism in Japan, along with Jōdo Shinshū....

     (Pure Land Buddhism)
  • Tachibana no Yoshiyuki
    Shoku
    , sometimes called was a disciple of Hōnen, founder of the Jōdo shū Buddhist sect. Shoku later succeeded another disciple of Hōnen, Jōhen as the head of a former Shingon Buddhist temple, Eikandō, established a separate branch of Jōdo shū called the Seizan branch , and completed the transition of...

     (橘善行) - Also known by the Buddhist name Shōkū; founder of Enkyō-ji
  • Zōga (蔵賀) - Lived on Tōnomine
  • Kōkei (皇慶) - Priest of Esoteric Buddhism
  • Tachibana no Nagayasu
    Noin
    Nōin 能因 . Japanese poet and monk of the late Heian period. Lay name: Tachibana no Nagayasu 橘永愷. Along with Izumi Shikibu, Nōin is one of "Thirty-six Medieval Poetry Immortals" of waka poetry selected by Fujiwara no Norikane 藤原範兼 ....

     (橘永愷) - Poet; also known by Buddhist name Nōin
  • Tachibana no Michisada (橘道貞) - worked with Fujiwara no Michinaga
    Fujiwara no Michinaga
    represents the highpoint of the Fujiwara regents' control over the government of Japan.-Early life:He was the fourth or fifth son of Fujiwara no Kaneie by his wife Tokihime, daughter of Fujiwara no Nakamasa...

  • Ko-shikibu no Naishi (小式部内侍) - Poet; daughter of Michisada
  • Tachibana no Tamenaka (橘為仲) - Poet
  • Tachibana no Tōyasu (橘遠保) - Formerly of the Ochi clan, founder of the Iyo Tachibana branch; played an important role in fighting Fujiwara no Sumitomo
  • Tachibana no Isamu (橘 勇)- artist, son of Sachiko
  • Tachibana no Tōshige (橘遠茂) - mokudai (governor) of Suruga; descendant of Tōyasu (Iyo branch)
  • Tachibana no Kiminaga (橘公長) - executioner of Taira no Munemori
    Taira no Munemori
    was heir to Taira no Kiyomori, and one of the Taira clan's chief commanders in the Genpei War.As his father Taira no Kiyomori lay on his deathbed, Kiyomori declared, among his last wishes, that all affairs of the clan be placed in Munemori's hands...

  • Tachibana no Kiminari (橘公業) - Son of Kiminaga; founder of Kokajima clan
  • Tachibana no Narisue (橘成季) - Served Kujō Michiie
    Kujo Michiie
    Kujō Michiie was a Japanese regent in the 13th century. He was the father of Kujō Yoritsune and grandson of Kujō Kanezane . He was the father of Norizane and Yoritsune...

  • Minamoto no Hisanao (源久直) - Member of the Saga Genji line of the Minamoto clan
    Minamoto clan
    was one of the surnames bestowed by the Emperors of Japan upon members of the imperial family who were demoted into the ranks of the nobility. The practice was most prevalent during the Heian Period , although its last occurrence was during the Sengoku Era. The Taira were another such offshoot of...

    ; founder of Kamachi family from the Chikugo Tachibana branch