The Japanese poet Fujiwara no Shunzei (1114-1204) was born into the Mikohidari family, a minor branch of the northern Fujiwara clan.

Shunzei was a member of clostered Emperor Sutoku's (1119-1164) salon, and developed affiliations with the powerful Kujo family, who became important patrons for most of his life.

Despite these connections his status as the third son of a minor family made it difficult for him to succeed in competition for high office. Thanks to his literary talent, he was finally awarded senior third rank in 1167. In 1176, he became seriously ill and decided to take the tonsure as a Buddhist lay monk. He lived another 28 years, during which time he became respected at court as a poet, literary critic, and arbiter of style. He was appointed the sole compiler of the Senzaishu ("Collection of a Thousand Years", 1188) and was judge for many of the greatest poem contests of the era of cloistered Emperor Gotoba.

He was a teacher to most of the great poets of the day, including his son Fujiwara no Teika and Princess Shikishi.

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