Iga Kanemitsu (伊賀兼光)

Kanemitsu IGA (year of birth and death unknown) was a gokenin (an immediate vassal of the shogunate in the Kamakura and Muromachi through Edo periods) and a governmental official responsible for practical works in the late Kamakura period through the period of the Northern and Southern Courts. The son of Mitsumasa IGA, Yamashiro no kuni Kokushi (Governor of Yamashiro Province), who was the Ossotonin (the head of legal institutions of Kamakura bakufu [Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun] and Muromachi bakufu) in the Rokuhara Tandai (an administrative and judicial agency in Rokuhara, Kyoto). He was also referred to as Kanemitsu YAMASHIRO after his father's name of a government office.

Brief Personal History

The Iga clan is said to be the Northern House of the Fujiwara clan, the line of FUJIWARA no Hidesato. It is said that the clan began to use the family name Iga since IGA no Tomomitsu who was the Iga no kuni no Kami (Governor of Iga Province) in the early Kamakura period. Although the clan had been senior vassals of the Kamakura bakufu as maternal relatives of the Hojo clan, they lost their power due to the Incident of the Iga clan, and then they worked as governmental officials responsible for practical works such as Hyojoshu (a member of Council of State) and Hikitsukeshu (Coadjutor of the High Court).

Kanemitsu himself became Hikitsuke tonin (chairman of the court of justice) and Hyojoshu at the Rokuhara Tandai in the late Kamakura period. Although his shoryo (territory) at this time is unknown, a historian Yoshihiko AMINO assumes that FUJIWARA no Kanemitsu as follows was Kanemitsu IGA; the former Governor of Ise Province who took over the position of Jitoshiki (manager and lord of manor) of the Jisei-kyo Village and Hyugaura in Wakasa Province in December 1265 as the heir of Mitsumune IGA, great grandfather of Kanemitsu, and a donor and former Ise no kami (Governor of Ise Province) who appears on Monju Bosatsuzo Bokushomei (statue of Manjusri [bodhisattva], ink inscriptions) of the Hannya-ji Temple in Yamato Province dated in April 1324. According to this theory, Kanemitsu had engaged in secret communication with the Emperor Godaigo before the Kenmu Restoration because Shuon (a priest, also known as Monkan) is listed in the Monju Bosatsuzo Bokushomei as a petitioner, and 'Konrinshoshu migonjoju' (realization of an ambition of being Gold Wheel holy lord) is thought to suggest the success of the Shochu Disturbance which was raised by the Emperor Godaigo. Further, there is a theory that Kanemitsu mediated between the Emperor Godaigo and Masashige KUSUNOKI.

When the Kenmu Restoration started, Kanemitsu concurrently served as Shugo (Military Governor) and kokushi (provincial governors) of Wakasa Province, and Zusho no kami (Director of the Bureau of Drawings and Books), Tosa no kami (Governor of Tosa Province), and Okura no shofu (Junior Assistant Minister of the Ministry of the Treasury) as additional posts. Meanwhile, he concurrently served as Zasso-Ketsudansho (agency of Kenmu government to file lawsuits) (in charge of Gokinai capital region), Kubodokoro (a court of justice), Kirokujo (land record office) and Onshogata (the Reward Office which was the administrative organ of the Kenmu Restoration, responsible for granting military awards called 'onsho'), and played an important role as the top official of the Restoration. Shinichi SATO evaluates that his favorite retainers were appointed unusually to destroy the hereditary government office system.

However, the Restoration collapsed in two and half years, and the whereabouts of Kanemitsu afterward is unknown.