Matano Kagehisa (俣野景久)

Kagehisa MATANO (year of birth unknown – 1183) was a samurai in the Heian Period.
His given name was also written in different kanji character such as '景尚.'
He was commonly referred to as Goro.

Kagehisa was an illegitimate child of Kageyasu OBA, who was a lower ranking officer of Oba mikuriya. Kagehisa lived in Matano Village, Kamakura County, Sagami Province (the area covering the present Totsuka Ward, Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture and Fujisawa City) and referred to himself as the Matano clan.


The known achievements of Kagehisa were extrapolated mainly from Heike Monogatari (the Tale of the Heike) (Genpei Seisui Ki (Rise and Fall of the Minamoto and Taira clans)). In Soga Monogatari (the Tale of Soga), it is said that Kagehisa and Sukeyasu KAWAZU had a sumo match where he was the first one to receive 'Kawazu-gake' (one of the Sumo techniques). Joining in with his older brother Kagechika OBA, Kagehisa participated in the Battle of Ishibashiyama as a Heike (the Taira clan) force to subdue MINAMOTO no Yoritomo and put him to rout. On that occasion, Kagehisa was engaged in a life-and-death combat against Yoshitada SANADA, who was a favorite of Yoritomo, and he survived the combat with the help of Sadakage (Shinroku) NAGAO.

Kagechika was subsequently captured by the Genji soldiers and was executed. Kagehisa, however, escaped and, later on, joining the army of TAIRA no Koremori that had been retreated to the Hokuriku region, continued to fight. During the battle of the Kurikara Pass, however, Koremori's army fought against the army of MINAMOTO no Yoshinaka and Kagehisa was killed in action in Shinohara, Kaga Province (but, some say that it was Iiyama, Shinano Province).

Historic Sites and Folklores

According to a lore passed down in his birthplace Matano, nearing his end, Kagehisa made a dying wish that his nenjibutsu (a small statue of Buddha kept beside the person) be enshrined in his hometown. Today, Juichimen Kannon-zo; Juichimen Kannon-zo (the statue of Eleven-faced Kannon) is enshrined in Matano Kannon-do Hall.

According to the Tale of the Heike, attempting to find out true feelings of warriors in the Heike camp, Sanemori SAITO said, 'At present, since Genji has the momentum and it seems that it is a matter of time before Heike is defeated, why don't we join MINAMOTO no Yoshinaka?'
In response on that occasion, 'I am a well-known man of reputation in Togoku (Kanto region). It will be disgraceful to change sides just because the other party seems to have advantage. I do not speak for others. I am prepared to die in this battle as a member of the Heike army,' said Kagehisa.

A personal name which seems to be that of Kagehisa's descendant has been passed down at Shojoko-ji Temple, the head temple of the Jishu Sect.