Miya Sodo (Palace Disturbance) (宮騒動)

Miya sodo (palace disturbance) is the incident in which Mitsutoki HOJO attempted a rebellion, and the former Seii taishogun (literally, "great general who subdues the barbarians"), FUJIWARA no Yoritsune, was banished from Kamakura, and returned to Kyoto in 1246 in the Kamakura period. It is also called Kangen War or Kangen Coup after the name of the era. There were a conflict for the leadership inside the Hojo clan who exclusively possessed shikken no shiki (title of the regent) as the backdrop, and the dissatisfaction of gokenin (immediate vassals of the shogunate in the Kamakura and Muromachi through Edo periods) who felt antipathy to the Hojo clan's tyranny, and tried to increase the power of the shogun as one of the factors. This incident helped to establish the regent Tokiyori HOJO's power, and paved the way for the dictatorship of Tokuso (the main branch of the HOJO clan).

Background

In 1242, Yasutoki HOJO, who was called excellent regent, died. As his legitimate son, Tokiuji HOJO, and his next son, Tokizane HOJO, had died, it was decided Tokiuji's son, Tsunetoki HOJO, would succeed the shikken no shiki. However, there were a number of branch families established in the Hojo clan, and many were dissatisfied at Tsunetoki's succession. Particularly, the NAGOE family which was the descendent of Tomotoki HOJO, was in strong rivalry with the main branch of the Hojo clan (later called Tokuso), and Mitsutoki NAGOE and others aggravated discontent.

Meanwhile, the 4th shogun, FUJIWARA no Yoritsune, who had left the capital for Kamakura in his early years, and worked as a puppet of the regent HOJO family, came of age, and wanted to hold the reigns of government, trying to organize the anti-regent power. Realizing the danger, Tsunetoki dismissed Yoritsune from the post of shogun, and helped his son, FUJIWARA no Yoritsugu, to the throne of shogun in 1244. However, Tsunetoki later had a serious illness, and immediately after he gave the shikken no shiki to his brother, Tokiyori, in March, 1246, he died at the young age of 23 in May.

Progress of the Incident

Taking Tsunetoki's death as a good opportunity, Mitsutoki NAGOE allied with Yoritsune, and anti-regent gokenin, such as Yoritsune's close advisers and hyojoshu (members of Council of State), Mototsuna GOTO, Hidetane CHIBA, and Yasumochi MIYOSHI, and planned the overthrow of Tokiyori, but Tokiyori's side forestalled it. An incident occurred in which for three nights in a row from the midnight of June 10, armored samurai assembled in groups in the city of Kamakura, and rumors were circulated. It threw Yoritsune and Mitsutoki's group into disorder. On the morning of July 16, one day after an earthquake occurred in the small hours in July 15, Tokiyori blocked communications between Kamakura and outside. When through these movements, Mitsutoki and others noticed the disclosure of their plot, he entered the priesthood together with his brother, Tokiyuki HOJO, and surrendered.

On the following day, Masamura HOJO, Sanetoki HOJO, and Yoshikage ADACHI came to Tokiyori's private residence, and discussed how to deal with the gokenin of Yoritsune's group, but they could not take prompt actions, because the movement of Yasumura MIURA, Daigozoku (a big local ruling family) who had not clarified his attitude was unknown. On July 22, Tokiyuki NAGOE killed himself, and on July 27, Yasumura's younger brother, Iemura MIURA visited Tokiyori's residence, and showed the will of deference. Thereby, the victory of Tokiyori's group became definite.

Yoritsune's close advisers, Mototsuna GOTO, Hidetane CHIBA, Yasumochi MIYOSHI, and others were dismissed, and Mitsutoki, whose shoryo (territory) was confiscated, was banished to Izu Province. As in August, Yoritsune was banished from Kamakura, and went back to Kyoto, Tokiyori's authority was established in the Kamakura bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun). Tokiyori's autocracy was completed by destroying the Miura clan in the Battle of Hoji in the following year. However, as the Nagoe family, with Tokiaki HOJO, a younger brother of Mitsutoki, as its center, remained as the anti-Tokuso power inside the Hojo clan, it stood against Tokuso in Nigatsu-sodo (February rebellion) after Tokiyori's death.