Kiyohara no Sanehira (清原真衡)

KIYOHARA no Sanehira (year of birth unknown - 1083) was a Busho (Japanese military commander) who lived during the late Heian period. He was a child of KIYOHARA no Takesada, Gozoku (local ruling family) of Oshu (Northern Honshu, the region encompassing Mutsu and Dewa provinces). There is an influential theory that he was the same person as KIYOHARA no Sadahira, on whom historical materials indicate that he was Jugoinoge (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade) and the Chinju-fu shogun (Commander-in-Chief of the Defense of the North) and actively engaged in the Battle of Enkyu against the Ezo (Japanese northerners) and other battles which occurred in the Enkyu era (1069-1074).

After the death of Takesada, he succeeded to the head of the Dewa Kiyohara clan and adopted KIYOHARA no Narihira, the alleged second son of TAIRA no Yasutada, a family of the Taira clan, who was the Kokushi (provincial governor) of Dewa Province. He is thought to have attempted to raise the family status of the Kiyohara clan by getting Narihira married with a daughter of MINAMOTO no Yoriyoshi, the Toryo (leader) of the Minamoto clan.

However, while he carried out these series of political marriages, he expanded his authority as Toryo (leader) and promoted the subordination of the other families to the Kiyohara clan. That caused his uncle, KIMIKO-no-Hidetake, his younger brothers, FUJIWARA no Kiyohira and KIYOHARA no Iehira to break away from him. The above is a background of the Gosannen no Eki (the Later Three Years' War) which started in 1083.

The origin of the Gosannen no Eki is described below. Hidetake visited Mutsu Province from Dewa Province to attend the marriage ceremony for Narihira and was waiting to see Sanehira holding a gift of Sakin (gold dust) above his head. Nevertheless, Sanehira forgot the Hidetake's visit being immersed in the game of go with a Nara Hoshi (Buddhist priest from Nara) and ended up keeping Hidetake waiting for a long time. Humiliated Hidetake threw out the Sakin in a fury and went back to Dewa unannounced.

Sanehira got angry with that conduct, organized a troop to attack Hidetake and left for Dewa. On the other hand, Hidetake attempted to attack Sanehira from behind by urging troops to be raised byIehira, younger paternal brother of Sanehira and Kiyohira, younger stepbrother (a child by a previous marriage of Iehira's mother) of Sanehira, who had always been displeased with Sanehira as Hidetake himself had. The troops of Iehira and Kiyohira closed in on the residence of Sanehira, but Sanehira came to know it and tried to counterattack Iehira and kiyohira, who withdrew to their bases.

In fall of the same year, MINAMOTO no Yoshiie came down to the province to fill the position of Mutsu no kami (the governor of Mutsu Province), then Sanehira gave Yoshiie a warm reception for three days called Mikkakuriya in the Kokufu (ancient provincial capital). After then, Sanehira again went to the front to attack Hidetake, however, suddenly died from a disease on the way to the front.