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Origin[]

Fujiwara no Nariko, known better by the title Bifukumon'in, is one of the wives of the Emperor Toba of Japan. She gave birth to the Emperor's youngest son Naruhito.

The Emperor, by now having retired but still ruling under the Cloistered Rule system of the Heian Period, where an emperor would abdicate the throne in favor of a son, but still retain power as a retired emperor, forced the reigning Emperor Sutoku to abdicate in favor of Naruhito, who became the Emperor Konoe.

Emperor Konoe died young, and Emperor Sutoku hoped that his son would become the new Emperor, but Bifukumon'in intervened. She had raised Prince Morihito, one of Emperor Toba's grandsons, like her own child, and, using her considerable influence, she installed Prince Morihito's father Prince Masahito on the throne. (It was considered unseemly to let a child ascend when his father was still alive) as the Emperor Go-Shirakawa.

This sparked the conflict that eventually led to the Hogen rebellion, where Emperor Sutoku was defeated and exiled. The importance of samurai armies became apparent in those battles and led to the rise of the samurai class and the shogunate later.

The Legend of Tamamo-no-mae, one of Japan's three greatest Yokai, is said to be based off of her life, as she was said to have conspired to put Emperor Sutoku's mother, Empress Fujiwara no Tamako into disfavor in order to have her son ascend to the throne, as well as her intervention that led to the downfall of Emperor Sutoku and the passing of power from the imperial court to the samurai.

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