Saionji Kinmune (西園寺公宗)

Kinmune SAIONJI (born 1310, died August 28, 1335) was a court noble from the end of the Kamakura Period to the Kenmu Restoration. His father was Naidaijin (Minister of the Palace) Sanehira SAIONJI. His mother was Shokunmonin Kasuga no Tsubone (a daughter of Tameyo NIJO, who served as Gon Dainagon (provisional chief councilor of state)). His lawful wife was Meishi HINO (a daughter of Gon Dainagon Sukena HINO). His children included Sanetoshi SAIONJI and others. He was awarded Shonii (Senior Second Rank), and served as Gon Dainagon.

The Saionji family, who had served as moshitsugi (court-appointed liaisons with the bakufu), lost their post with the defeat of the Kamakura bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun). In 1334, in an attempt to restore his status, Kinmune liaised with the remnants of the Hojo clan after the fall of the shogunate and harbored Yasuie (Tokioki) HOJO, the younger brother of Takatoki HOJO. Kinmune and Yasuie plotted to overthrow the new government by inviting Emperor Godaigo to a Saionji family's mountain villa (which later became Rokuon-ji Temple) for assassination, and by helping Emperor Gofushimi achieve the throne. However, Kinshige SAIONJI, the half brother of Kinmune, betrayed them and revealed the plot, resulting in the arrest of Kinmune and Ujimitsu HINO. On his way to deportation to Izumo Province (Shimane Prefecture), he was killed by Nagatoshi NAWA (this was believed to be the first execution of an incumbent court noble since the Heiji War in 1159).


Tokiyuki HOJO later revolted in the Nakasendai War in Shinano Province (Nagano Prefecture). Kinshige also went to Yoshino after the fall of the Kenmu Restoration. His son, Sanetoshi SAIONJI, was then appointed to 'bukeshisso (an intermediary between the Northern Court and the Ashikaga government)' for the Muromachi bakufu; his descendants went on to become the main branch of the Saionji family.

His descendant, Kinmochi SAIONJI, assumed a key government post. His opponents were said to libel him by repeatedly citing the case of Kinmune.