Sho Ienaga (庄家長)

Ienaga SHO was a busho (a Japanese military commander) from Kodama party of Musashi Province (present Kurisaki, Honjo City, Saitama Prefecture) between the end of the Heian period and the beginning of the Kamakura period. His common name was Taro. He was the second owner of Kurisaki Yakata (mansion of the head family of the Sho clan). Later, he became a busho of Bicchu Province (present Okayama Prefecture) as well as the first lord of Sarukake-jo Castle in the province.

He is considered a son of busho, Iehiro SHO, who was thought to have built his own mansion in Kurisaki Village, Oyose-go, Kodama-gun, Musashi Province, and Ienaga's heroic stories can be seen in "Azuma Kagami" (The Mirror of the East) and Genpei Seisuiki (The Rise and Decline of the Minamoto and Taira clans).
(Ienaga is chronologically thought to have been brothers with Hirotaka SHO and researchers assume that Hirotaka was the second son of Iehiro.)
Ienaga was born as a legitimate son of Iehiro, who was the fourth lord of the head family of the Kodama party, and became a military commander as the fifth lord of the family.

The Kodama party's expansion to Joshu
According to the article dated November 14, 1175 of ''Gyokuyo (Diary of Kanezane KUJO), Ise Jingu Shrine complained the Kodama party's violent conduct against Takayama mikuriya (manors of Imperial family and powerful shrines) in Midono County, Kozuke Province; therefore, the Imperial Court were investigating the allegations of the party. Since Kodama no sho and Takayama mikuriya were neighboring regions bordering Kanna-gawa River, the conflict might have been brought about because of this. At that time, the leader of the Kodama party is thought to have been Ienaga Taro SHO. In the "family tree of the seven groups of samurai warriors in Musashi Province," there is a mention that 'Takayama misho of Kozuke Province' was in the shoryo (territory) of Sanetaka ASAMI (one of the sons of Hirokata or Ienaga's nephew); the description indicates that Takayama mikuriya was sacked by the Kodama party later despite the inquiry of the Imperial Court. It suggests that the Kodama party spread its power over the border of Musashi Province into the southern part of Kozuke Province at the end of the twelfth Century.

Military exploits of the Battle of Ichinotani and the subsequent years
On March 18, 1184, two Shoguns of the Minamoto clan arrived in Settsu Province and MINAMOTO no Noriyori became Daishogun (command in chief) of the Ote army. The SHO family, which consisted of sons of the head family of the Kodama party, followed the Shogun and on March 20, they joined the Battle of Ichinotani. Ienaga defeated TAIRA no Tomomasa, and working with Kagesue KAJIWARA (or his father Kagetoki), he captured the beaten vice-shogun or Sanmi no chujo (Junior Third Rank) of Ikuta no mori, TAIRA no Shigehira, however, his oldest son Yoriie SHO was killed in the battle and Ienaga lost the direct line taking over as head of the family. Because of that, he adopted Ietsugu SHO, Yoriie's younger brother, but eventually, the successor of the SHO family became Tokiie HONJO, who was Ietsugu's younger brother (Later, Ietsugu's family became Bicchu-Sho clan). Then, Tokiie, who replaced Yoriie to take over the Kodama Sho clan, took the name, the Honjo clan. Ienaga got the position of Jitoshiki (manager and lord of manor) in Kusakabe no sho (manor), Bicchu Province as a reward for his military exploits and this is thought to have led to forming the Honjo clan.

"The Tale of the Heike" says that it was Takaie SHO who captured Shigehira alive while "Genpei Seisui ki" (Rise and Fall of the Minamoto and the Taira clans) and "Shokemonjo" of Okayama Prefecture shows that it was Ienaga. Moreover, "Azuma Kagami" says that it was 'Iekuni' who captured Shigehira, however, there is no other description of a man named Iekuni in the document; therefore, the name is probably a misspelling of the name Ienaga gathered from the description of "Genpei Seisui ki" and other historical materials. Many researchers think that it was Ienaga who captured Shigehira alive; this is because he was granted rewards that matched his military exploits (Refer to Others also).

Feud with Tan party and the peace
According to "Azuma Kagami", on March 13, 1193, the feud arose in Musashi Province between the Tan party (in the southwest) and the Kodama party (in the northwest) and their relationship worsened to the brink of a battle. Hearing of the feud, Shigetada HATAKEYAMA came to the province for arbitration; then on 22, he succeeded in the settlement.
This means that the strained relationship between the parties continued for about ten days; if their bad mood hadn't changed and they had started a battle, it would have greatly influenced on the power balance of the local samurai groups (at that time, it is thought to have been Ienaga or his son who led the Kodama party.)

Afterwards, at the beginning of the fifteenth Century, War of Zenshu UESUGI happened and both the Tan party and the Kodama party sided with Ujinori UESUGI (another name of Zenshu before becoming a monk); eventually, both parties were beaten and lost their territories. In 1418, Saemon HONJO (seems to have changed his name into 西号, 本庄元朝, or Genno after becoming a monk) seized Aguhara Village, however, Mochiuji ASHIKAGA, Kamakura Kubo (Governor-general of the Kanto region) ordered him to return the land to the previous lord.
(the Aguhara Village used to be home to the Kodama party and the HONJO clan originated in the village; therefore, they must have been unbearably disappointed when they were deprived of their land.)

History of family crest
At the time of Jisho-Juei War (the Genpei War), the Kodama party, which was the biggest samurai group in Musashi-shichito Parties, showed 'Touchiwa' on their battle flag and later, this became known as 'Gunbaidanuchiwa-mon' (There is a description of the Kodama party's battle flag in "Genpei Seisui ki"). That means that it has the oldest history as a crest of the samurai family (in terms of bibliographic consideration). Each branch family had different pattern of the Gunbaidanuchiwa-mon.
Samurai used family crests to identify themselves on the battlefields; at first, they were created to bring big samurai groups together and strengthen the local solidarity (As branch samurai families were given their own land, they took the name of their places and added modifications to the original design of their family crest to identify themselves.)

Family structure
Ienaga SHO had four brothers: Hirotaka, Tadaie, Takaie, and Hirokata. Each of the brothers delivered great performance at war such as the battle of Uji-gawa River, Battle of Awazu, the Battle of Ichinotani, the battle of Oshu, and Jokyu War.
(Some traditions say that Takaie once sided with MINAMOTO no Yoshinaka.)
Ienaga had five sons: Yoriie, Ietsuna (later changed into Sadatsuna), Ietsugu, Tokiie, and Tokinaga (As described above, Yoriie was killed in the Battle of Ichinotani; Ietsugu left and settled down in Bicchu Province; and Tokiie took the name of HONJO and remained.)

"Azuma Kagami" says that on March 20, 1184, Shigehira was captured alive in Akashi by Kagetoki KAJIWARA (father of Kagesue KAJIWARA) and Iekuni (Ienaga). Considering that this material has lots of writing errors and mix-ups of names, there is the possibility of Kagesue being mistaken for Kagetoki. Another tradition delivers that Suburo Tadaie captured Shigehira alive; in this way, there are various theories as to the samurai who caught Shigehira. Still, the fact remains that it was the achievement of the KAJIWARA clan and the SHO clan.

"Azuma Kagami"reported Kanemitsu HIGUCHI as "a person who had a close relationship with members of the Kodama clan in Musashi Province". Although it is not clear who was close to Kanemitsu HIGUCHI in the clan, there is the mention of Ienaga in the following section.

On December 5, 1190, when MINAMOTO no Yoritomo went to the capital Kyoto, Taro SHO was the thirteenth in the leading unit following the commander (strangely, the name Taro also appears in the document as twenty-eighth in the following unit with armed force) and then, on April 21, 1195, Taro SHO was a member of the army following shogun at the time of the memorial service of MINAMOTO no Yoritomo in Todai-ji temple.

It is not known exactly where Ienaga died or his grave is. Also, it remains even unclear that he died in Musashi Province or in Bicchu Province; there is no report of his death. However, it is assumed that his cremains were returned to Musashi from the fact that the family temple of the SHO clan, Yusho-ji Temple, was built at the beginning of the thirteenth Century.
(Before the temple was established, his cremains might have been placed in the KODAMA clan's temple, Saiko-ji Temple.)

In 1190, the name of Saburo SHIHODEN (Hirotaka SHO) can be found behind Taro SHO while the name of Shiro SHO (Takaie) can be found in the document as thirty-first in the following unit with armed force. The name of Saburo SHIHODEN also followed Taro SHO at the time of the memorial service in Todai-ji Temple in 1195. Based on this, Ienaga was an older brother of Hirotaka, who is thought to have been Jiro Hirotaka SHIHODEN instead of Saburo SHIHODEN. For details, please refer to the item of Hirotaka SHO; however, various studies have revealed that there are some mistakes in "Shokemonjo" of Okayama Prefecture.