Kanezane organised the compilation of the Kitano Tenjin Engi, the history of the Kitano Shrine. At the age of 38 he became regent and in 1189 was appointed Chief Minister.
A descendant of Fujiwara Michinaga's line, he was the son of Fujiwara Tadamichi, and his brother, Jien was the author of the historical work Gukanshō. He had at least two children, Yoshitsune and Taeko, who was at one point a consort of Emperor Go-Toba.
Among his sons were , , and Yoshitsune.