Minamoto no Mareyoshi (源希義)

Or in 1152.

MINAMOTO no Mareyoshi who lived during the late Heian Period was a military commander of the Kawachi-Genji (Minamoto clan) family. He was the fifth son of MINAMOTO no Yoshitomo and his mother was Yura-gozen, a daughter of FUJIWARA no Suenori who was a Daiguji (the supreme priest) of Atsuta-jingu shrine. He was a younger brother-uterine of MINAMOTO no Yoritomo and his younger sister-uterine was the lawful wife of Yoshiyasu ICHIJO, Princess Bomon.


After his father and his oldest brother died during the Heiji War in 1159, he was taken to the Imperial Court by his maternal uncle, FUJIWARA no Noritada, in Kanuki in Suruga Province (present day Kanuki-cho, Numazu City, Shizuoka Prefecture). On March 11, 1160, the same day when his brother, Yoritomo, was exiled to Izu, he was exiled to Keranosho in Tosa Province (present day Kera, Kochi City, Kochi Prefecture). Since then he called himself Tosakajya and grew up in the place of exile.

In August 1180, the Heike clan issued an order to track down and kill Mareyoshi because they felt doubts that Mareyoshi might support his brother, Yoritomo, in response to Yoritomo's uprising against the Heike clan. It is said that although Mareyoshi tried to ask help to dogo (a local clan), Yukimune YASU, before he carried out it, he was detected by kenin (retainers) of TAIRA no Shigemori, Ietsuna HASUIKE and Toshio HIRATA, encountered a surprise attack, and was killed (The Twenty Fifth Day of the Ninth Month of the First Year of Juei in "Azuma Kagami" [The Mirror of the East]). It is said that Mareyoshi's priestly teacher, Rinyu-shonin (Rinyu priest), who came from Tosa Province, claimed Mareyoshi's body which was discarded without holding a funeral service because people were afraid to do it under the eye of the Heike clan, and Rinyu-shonin held a memorial service. On March 27, 1185, hanging Mareyoshi's benpitsu (the hair on the sides of the head) from his neck, Rinyu-shonin visited Kamakura and met Yoritomo. Yoritomo gave unreserved praise to Rinyu-shonin, saying that "Your visit is as if the dead Mareyoshi's spirit visited me again."

The story about his death written in "Heiji Monogatari" (The Tales of Heiji) was slightly different from the story written in "Azuma Kagami" (The Mirror of East). According to "Heiji Monogatari," in 1880, under siege by the forces of the Heike clan who had received the report that Yoritomo raised his army, Mareyoshi killed himself after he performed a Buddhist memorial service for his father, Yoshitomo.

Some say that in 1880, Mareyoshi was trying to establish his own territory for anti-Heike force in the southern sea by working in alliance with the forces such as Kumano who had power over the sea.

Grieved deeply over his brother's death, Yoritomo, an older brother-uterine of Mareyoshi, dispatched a massive army and annihilated the enemies, such as Hasuike and Hirata. After that, he built Saiyo-ji temple as Mareyoshi's graveyard and prayed for the repose of his brother's soul. Yoritomo also supported an orphaned child of Mareyoshi, MINAMOTO no Mare, and gave him Kiraso (present day Haruno-cho, Kochi City, Kochi Prefecture). It is said that a descendant was one of the seven local ruling families in Tosa Province, the Kira clan (the Tosa-Kira clan), who lived during the Warring States period.

About the year of Mareyoshi's death

The data about the year of Mareyoshi's death is different from each documentary record.

According to "Azuma Kagami," he was dead on August 1182 (The Twenty Fifth Day of the Ninth Month of the First Year of Juei). According to "Enkyo-bon Heike Monogatari" (The Enkyo Text of The Tale of the Heike Written During the Oei Era), he was dead on December 1, 1180. The exact date cannot be found in "Sonpi Bunmyaku" (a text compiled in the 14th century that records the lineages of the aristocracy) and "Heiji Monogatari" (The Tale of Heiji), but there's a description that he was killed in 1180.

Some say that he was tracked down and killed himself on September 8, 1180.