Fujiwara clan (藤原氏 Fujiwara-uji or Fujiwara-shi ), descending from the Nakatomi clan, was a powerful family of regents in Japan. The clan originated when the founder, Nakatomi no Kamatari (614–669), was rewarded by Emperor Tenji with the honorific "Fujiwara", which evolved as a surname for Kamatari and his descendants. In time, Fujiwara became known as a clan name. The Fujiwara dominated the Japanese politics of Heian period (794–1185) through the monopoly of regent positions, sesshō and kampaku. The family's primary strategy for central influence was through the marrying of Fujiwara daughters to emperors. Through this, the Fujiwara would gain influence over the next emperor who would, according to Japanese family tradition, owe loyalty to his grandfather. As abdicated Emperors took over power by exercising insei (院政, cloistered rule) at the end of 11th century, then followed by the rise of warrior class, the Fujiwara gradually lost its control over mainstream politics.
Beyond the 12th century, they continued to monopolize the titles of sesshō and kampaku for much of the time until the system was abolished in the Meiji era. Though their influence declined, the clan remained close advisors to the succeeding Emperors.