The Yoshimi Clan (吉見氏)

The Yoshimi clan was a samurai clan in Japan. Their original family name was Ganji (Minamoto clan). The family line started from Mikawa no kami (Governor of Mikawa Province) MINAMOTO no Noriyori, who was a step-brother of the first Seii Taishogun (commander-in-chief of the expeditionary force against the barbarians, great, unifying leader) of Kamakura Shogunate MINAMOTO no Yoritomo, and the sixth son of the head of Kawachi-Genji, a branch family of the Seiwa-Genji (Minamoto clan originated from Emperor Seiwa), MINAMOTO no Yoshitomo.

Summary

Noriyori was respected as the lord of Yoshimigo of Yoshimi District and called 'Yoshimi Gosho' (the Emperor of Yoshimi). Although Yorinori committed suicide when attacked at the Shuzen-ji temple in Izu on suspicion of organizing a rebellion, Yoshiminosho, Yoshimi District, Musashi Province was distributed to his second son MINAMOTO no Yorien and third son MINAMOTO no Akira by their maternal great-grandmother Hiki Zenni. Yorien's son Tameyori chose 'Yoshimi' as his family name. His descendants survived as Gokenin (shogunal retainers) and they all called themselves 'Yoshimi'. One of the descendants, Yoriyuki YOSHIMI was from a branch family of the Noto-Yoshimi clan and left the capital when he was appointed as a Jitoshiki (manager and lord of an estate) of Kanoashi District, Iwami Province. The Iwami-Yoshimi clan expanded its power by putting local lords under its control in Kibe, Tsuwano and Yoshika regions, developing into an influential lord equally matching in strength with the Masuda clan, a powerful lord in neighboring regions. During the Sengoku period (the Warring States period), the clan was under the influence of Ouchi and Mori clans, and in the Edo period, it was purged soon after it became vassals of the Mori clan.

The Rise and Fall of the Direct Descendants of the Yoshimi Clan

After the fall of the Heike family, Yoritomo executed many members of the Minamoto families on charge of rebellion including Noriyori, the first head of the Yoshimi clan, but Noriyori's descendants managed to survive as a distinguished family of the Minamoto clan. The clan kept surviving after the Regent Hojo clan took over power of the Shogunate. However, Yoshiyo YOSHIMI, the third generation of Tameyori, plotted to overthrow the Hojo clan probably because of Hojo clan's cold treatment of local powers, and he was executed after the plot came to light. Yoshiyo's brothers were all exiled on charge of a privy to Yoshiyo's plot, and the lineage of the direct descendant of the Yoshimi clan came to an end; the family headship and territories of Musashi Province were handed down to the family line of the Noto Province resident Yoritaka YOSHIMI who was a son of Yoshimune YOSHIMI, a brother of the second family head Yoshiharu YOSHIMI (therefore a nephew of Yoshiharu). These clans were called Noto-Yoshimi and Musashi-Yoshimi.

The Iwami-Yoshimi Clan

The Iwami-Yoshimi clan is a family line of a illegitimate child of MINAMOTO no Yorien, but its family tree before Raien's generation is not known. The Yoshimi clan fought on the side of the Imperial Court when the Emperor Godaigo raised his army. The head of the family at that time is believed to be Yorinao YOSHIMI. However, when a rift in the relationship between the Emperor Godaigo and Takauji ASHIKAGA developed into the period of the Northern and Southern Courts (Japan), Yoshinao YOSHIMI sided with the Northern Court Ashikaga clan and ordered kokujin (local lords) of the Bingo Province to dispatch their troops; this is the reason why he is believed to have been in a higher position as a Minamoto clan.

For generations, the clan kept their territory in Tsuwano, Iwami Province and was known as one of the two most powerful kokujin in the Province together with the Masuda clan. At the fight over the status of the head of the family between Yoshitane ASHIKAGA and Yoshizumi ASHIKAGA, Yorinori YOSHIMI followed Yoshioki OUCHI and fought hard at the Battle of Funaokayama, Kyoto. However, the most famous members of the clan in the Sengoku period (Japan) were the father-and-son pair, Yorioki's son Masayori YOSHIMI and Hiroyori YOSHIMI. Being from a branch family of the Yoshimi clan, they were regarded as a powerful kokujin and Masayori became an adopted son-in-law of Yoshioki OUCHI. For this son-in-law-relationship, when Yoshitaka OUCHI was killed in the rebellion by Shugodai (deputy military governor) Takafusa SUE and replaced by Yoshinaga OUCHI as head of Ouchi family, Masayori raised his own army to fight against the Sue's army.

Later on, the Yoshimi clan had worked under the Mori clan until the family head Hironaga YOSHIMI was killed in the early Edo period for suspicion of plotting a rebellion. After this incident, Hiroie KIKKAWA's son Nariyori MORI succeeded the Yoshimi family, but Nariyori returned his family name to Mori and established the Ono-Mori clan, bringing the Yoshimi clan to an end.