Minamoto was a son of Emperor Montoku, although he was granted the surname Minamoto which removed him from the Imperial lineage. He was a successful courtier, being appointed as a court consultant at the age of 28 and rising to the post of middle counsellor by 883.
He held various positions at court including Grand Counsellor in 891, General of the Left in 893, Mentor to Crown Prince Atsuhito and Inspector of Mutsu and Dewa. In 891 he was appointed Grand Counsellor. At the behest of Emperor Uda, Minamoto was assigned to the work of compiling a National History covering the period from the reign of Emperor Seiwa to that of Emperor Koko. This was an unusual appointment, in that custom dictated a member of the Fujiwara clan should have held the post of Chief compiler; it is thought that this was an attempt by Emperor Uda to undermine the increasingly-influential Fujiwara.
- Robert Borgen (1994). Sugawara No Michizane and the Early Heian Court. University of Hawaii Press. pp. 201–. ISBN 978-0-8248-1590-5. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
- Tarō Sakamoto (1 June 1991). The Six National Histories of Japan. UBC Press. pp. 169–170. ISBN 978-0-7748-0379-3. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
- "The History of the Takeda School Kyuubadou". The Japan Equestrian Archery Association. 2010. Retrieved May 22, 2012.