Minamoto no Tsunemoto (源経基)

MINAMOTO no Tsunemoto (year of birth unknown - December 25, 961?) was an Imperial family member and busho (Japanese military commander) in the middle of the Heian period. The first family head of the Seiwa-Genji (Minamoto clan) of the Tsunemoto line.

According to "Hogen Monogatari" (The Tale of the Hogen War), he was the son of Emperor Seiwa's sixth Imperial Prince Sadazumi, and his mother was Udaijin (minister of the right), MINAMOTO no Yoshiari's daughter. It is said he was named 'Rokuson-o' when he was an Imperial member, however there was no written documents from this period. His residence was called Roku no Miya as well as being called Hachijo Gosho. His Ikai (Court rank) was zoi shoichii (Senior First Rank, posthumously conferred). His shingo (literally, "shrine name," which is the title given to a Shinto shrine) was Rokuson-o Daigongen. His younger brother was MINAMOTO no Tsuneo, his children were MINAMOTO no Mitsunaka, MINAMOTO no Mitsumasa, MINAMOTO no Mitsusue, MINAMOTO no Mitsuzane, MINAMOTO no Mitsuyoshi, MINAMOTO no Mitsuo, MINAMOTO no Mitsushige, and MINAMOTO no Mitsuyori.


He became Musashi no kuni no kami (Governor of Musashi Province) in 938 and was sent to Musashi Province. As soon as he was sent to there, he conducted kenchu (land survey) together with Prince Okiyo, who was also sent to Musashi Province as Governor, MUSASHI no Takeshiba, who was Gozoku (local ruling family) in the local area as well as Adachi gunji and local governer for judicial decision, refused the survey since he insisted it was custom not to do the survey before the official appointment of senior provincial governer, after this incident, Tsunemoto and others raised an army and attacked Takeshiba's gunke (public office) and plundered everything from there.

When TAIRA no Masakado took his private soldiers to visit Takeshiba's place after hearing this incident, Tsunemoto re-arranged his army and took his wife and children and confined himself, together with his soldiers, to Safuku Mountain of Hiki County. After this, although Prince Okiyo went down the mountain to meet Masakado and Takeshiba in government of Musashi Province, Tunemoto was too suspicious about the situation to remain in the mountains. Although after both parties came to an agreement and there was a party held cheerfully for cerebration in Musashi Province, during the party some solders from Takeshiba surrounded Tsunemoto's residence without permission, so Tsunemoto thought he would be killed by Masakado and his solders and rushed to escape to Kyoto, he then reported to the Imperial Palace that Masakado, Prince Okiyo, and Takeshiba plotted treason together. However Masakado sent proof that came from five Kokufu (provincial office) of Hitachi Province, Shimosa Province, Shimotsuke Province, Musashi Province, Kozuke Province, dated May 28, 939, to Dajo daijin (imperial regent and grand minister), FUJIWARA no Tadahira, in which said 'there was no proof that there was a plan to plot treason,' then Masakado's pleading was accepted, on the other hand, Tsunemoto was detained in Left division of palace gate guards for punishment of his slander.

In November 939, Masakado surrounded Hitachi Province, and kept on attacking and surrounding other provinces after that, he then placed a 'new Emperor' in Kozuke Province without permission and had a Jimoku ceremony (ceremony to appoint government officials at the Imperial Palace) of the countries in Bando, not only Tsunemoto was set free since his previous false accusation became true, but also he was awarded for his report and was appointed to Jugoinoge (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade). After that, he was appointed one of the vice-shogun seito taishogun (literally, "great general who subdues the eastern barbarians") of FUJIWARA no Tadabumi, and went to suppress Masakado's rebellion, however he came back to Kyoto after knowing Masakado was already hunted down and killed. He became Tsuibu Kyozokushi (Chief of the police officers who subdue the barbarians) in 941 and went to suppress FUJIWARA no Sumitomo's War with ONO no Yoshifuru, however the war was already suppressed by Yoshifuru and Tsunemoto only caught Sumitomo's aides, but this time as well, he was considered as Bukun (deeds of arms). He successively held the position of kokushi (provincial governors) of Musashi Province, Shinano Province, Chikuzen Province, Tsushima Province, Iyo Province, and finally he was promoted to Chinju-fu shogun (Commander-in-Chief of the Defense of the North).

It was said he was furious that he was demoted from nobility to a subject in his later years, but there was a record of FUJIWARA no Tadahira's diary, who was Sessho Daijo daijin (Regent and the Grand Minister) at that time, "Teishinkoki" (diary of FUJIWARA no Tadahira) dated March 31, it said 'MINAMOTO no Tsunemoto reported about Musashi.'
There was a question raised even whether there was a period when Tsunemoto was Imperial family or not. However there was another story that Tadahira's child, FUJIWARA no Saneyori added the Minamoto family name when he excerpted the record.

It is enshrined in Rokusonno-jinja Shrine (Minami Ward, Kyoto City, (Kyoto City)) which was said to be built by the successor of the family, MINAMOTO no Yoshinaka.

The arguments over the issue of genealogy

According to "Sonpi Bunmyaku" (a text compiled in the fourteenth century that records the lineages of the aristocracy) and other records, it is said there was a copy of the Imperial instructions (ganmon (prayer)) in the documents of the Tanaka family of Iwashimizu Hachiman-gu Shrine (the documents of the Tanaka family of 'MINAMOTO no Yorinobu Komonan' (old manuscripts)), which was said to be enshrined by Tsunemoto's grandchild, MINAMOTO no Yorinobu to Konda Hachiman-gu Shrine. Due to the above, it said MINAMOTO no Yorinobu respected Hachiman Daibosatsu (Great Bodhisattava Hachiman), or in other words, Emperor Ojin as 22th ancestor, and he recorded his ancestor from Emperor Seiwa, followed by Emperor Yozei, Imperial Prince Motohira, Tsunemoto (the ancestors before Emperor Seiwa were omitted).
Therefore, Tsunemoto's father was Emperor Yozei's Prince, Imperial Prince Motohira, not Emperor Seiwa's Prince, Imperial Prince Sadazumi

When this record was found in 1897, there was another theory advocated by Hisashi HOSHINO that what was called Seiwa-Genji (Minamoto clan) was in fact Yozei-Genji (Minamoto clan). Hoshino's theory was almost ignored after that, however it came back once that theory was supported by Rizo TAKEUCHI, still now there are some researchers who support Hoshino's theory. However his document is a manuscript that said that the document was proofread on the back of the Imperial instruction, some people say the document lacks credibility. Also there is another theory that the content of the Imperial instruction was only the inheritance order of Kawachi-Ishikawa sho estate, or some people say the old theory is good enough since Buke-Genji (Minamoto clan as samurai families) was considered as the descendants of Emperor Seiwa according to Okagami (The Great Mirror) written in the beginning of 12th century.

Tsunemoto's birth and death year

According to "Sonpi Bunmyaku" (a text compiled in the fourteenth century that records the lineages of the aristocracy), since it said Tsunemoto died in 961 when he was 45 years old, counting backward from this, his birth year could have been 917. In "Chokusen Sakusha Burui" (a list of the anthologists who compiled the Imperial collections of waka poems), it said he died in 958 when he was 45 years old (same as "Sonpi Bunmyaku"), although it was said he was born in 914, in any case, he was decided to be born before the eldest son, Mitsunaka. In "Keizu sanyo" (pedigree charts of Edo period), it said he was born in 897, and he had Mitsunaka when he was fifteen years old if this theory is correct and it seems this can be appropriate, however it was unusual if he was not appointed as goi (Fifth Rank) when he was over 40 even though he was the second generation of the Minamoto clan according to this. "Keizu sanyo" was edited at the end of the Edo period and there is a possibility that some genealogists might have been edited if there was an inconsistency of the information, this record can not be treated as the base of history as far as the ordinary historian's research technique is concerned. After considering there was a record that Tsunemoto showed his existence only for seven or eight years in the history although he was the originator of Seiwa-Genji (Minamoto clan), his correct birth and death year was unknown.

[Original Japanese]