Konoe Sakihisa

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Konoe Sakihisa was the 16th head of the Konoe family, one of the five "regent" houses (gosekke) among the court nobility. He is known for both his calligraphy and his waka.[1]

The son of Konoe Taneie, he was raised alongside Shoguns Ashikaga Yoshiteru and Ashikaga Yoshiaki. He was named Kampaku in 1554 (during the reign of Emperor Go-Nara), but later had a falling out with Yoshiaki and was forced out of the capital; Sakihisa spent some years in Echigo province as a guest of Uesugi Kenshin before returning to Kyoto in 1565, where he composed the Saga-ki.

Sakihisa developed good relations with Oda Nobunaga (who had entered Kyoto in 1568), but by 1573, these relations had soured, and Nobunaga sent Sakihisa to faraway Satsuma province, in response to requests that he do something to end disputes between the Itô and Shimazu clans. Sakihisa was unable to achieve a rapprochment between the two clans, but during his time in Satsuma shared the poetry and courtly customs of the capital with Shimazu Yoshihisa and his karô Uwai Satokane. When members of the Shimazu clan later visited Kyoto, Sakihisa served as intermediary.

Thanks in part to the intervention of Hashiba (Toyotomi) Hideyoshi, Sakihisa was able to retun to Kyoto in 1575. He repaired his relations with Nobunaga and acted as a go-between when Oda and Kennyô Kosa were negotiating the surrender of the Ishiyama Honganji in 1580. He changed his name to Ryûzan in 1582 and took up the tonsure but remained active in court life. Following the death of Nobunaga and destruction of his regime in the 1582 Honnô-ji Incident, Sakihisa accepted an invitation from Tokugawa Ieyasu to spend some time with him in Mikawa province.

Sakihisa adopted Toyotomi Hideyoshi into the Konoe family in 1586 in order to provide the latter with a link to the Fujiwara. Hideyoshi in turn adopted Sakihisa's daughter Konoe Sakiko, who later became a consort to Emperor Go-Yôzei. Sakihisa's son Konoe Nobutada became prominent in Imperial affairs as well, succeeding him as kanpaku.

Sakihisa traveled considerably in the 1580s-1590s, beginning with his time with Ieyasu in Mikawa. In his last years, he retired to Ginkaku-ji, dying in Kyoto in 1612.


  • Initial text from Sengoku Biographical Dictionary (Samurai-Archives.com) FWSeal & CEWest, 2005
  • "Konoe Sakihisa," Satsuma Shimazu-ke no rekishi, Shôkoshûseikan official website.
  1. Ono Masako, Tomita Chinatsu, Kanna Keiko, Taguchi Megumi, "Shiryô shôkai Kishi Akimasa bunko Satsuyû kikô," Shiryôhenshûshitsu kiyô 31 (2006), 252.