Minamoto no Yoritsuna (源頼綱)

MINAMOTO no Yoritsuna (1025 - February 17, 1097) was a busho (Japanese military commander) and a tanka poet in the latter days of the Heian period. He was the fifth son of MINAMOTO no Yorikuni, the eldest son of MINAMOTO no Yorimitsu. His mother was a daughter of FUJIWARA no Nakakiyo. His brothers included MINAMOTO no Yorisuke, MINAMOTO no Yorizane, MINAMOTO no Sanekuni, MINAMOTO no Kunifusa, MINAMOTO no Moromitsu, and Rokujosaiin no senji, and Moromitsu was his maternal half brother. One theory says he was a child of MINAMOTO no Yorinori, younger brother of Yorimitsu. Also known as TADA no Yoritsuna.

He inherited the direct line of descent of the Settsu-GENJI, as his elder brothers died young or were exiled. Like his grandfather, Yoritsuna also established close ties with the Sekkanke Families (Fujiwara families who traditionally assumed Sessho and Kanpaku posts). For instance, he served as a chamberlain for the then Regent FUJIWARA no Morozane. He rose to the rank of Jushiinoge (Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade), assumed such posts as Kurodo, Kebiishi, and Kokushu (local governor) of Mikawa Province and Shimotsuke Province, and defended Kyoto together with MINAMOTO no Nakamura and TAIRA no Masahira against the goso (forceful petition) of Enryaku-ji Temple in 1079 as one of the military nobles in Kyoto.

An excellent waka poet, Yoritsuna sang many poems at waka competitions to which he was invited, and eight poems of his are recorded in chokusen wakashu (anthology of Japanese poetry compiled by Imperial command), namely "Goshui wakashu," "Kinyo wakashu," "Shika wakashu" and "Zoku kokin wakashu." It is said that during the period of Yoritsuna he donated his homeland Tadasho to the Sekkanke Families, and he adopted "Tada," a prestigious name used by his family since his great-grandfather MINAMOTO no Mitsunaka (aka TADA no Manju), as his vernacular family name and was called Tada Kajin, or poet of Tada.

Having successfully deepened ties with the Imperial Court, he sent one of his daughters to the Inner Court of Emperor Shirakawa, made another daughter a concubine of Kanpaku FUJIWARA no Moromichi, and made other daughters marry Dainagon (Chief Councillor of State) MINAMOTO no Yoshiari and Kokushu of Tosa Province FUJIWARA no Morizane (aka MINAMOTO no Moriko). Because of those relationships, when Yoritsuna became a priest in 1096, it is said that Moromichi himself visited his residence to give the greeting.

The name of Tada was inherited by his eldest son MINAMOTO no Akikuni (aka TADA no Akikuni). His second son, MINAMOTO no Nakamasa (aka BABA no Nakamasa), was known as the father of MINAMOTO no Yorimasa, while his fourth son, MINAMOTO no Kuninao (aka Kuninao YAMAGATA), became the founder of the Yamagata clan and the Nose clan.