Minamoto no Yoshitoki (源義時)

MINAMOTO no Yoshitoki was a busho (Japanese military commander) from the Kawachi-Genji (the Minamoto clan of Kawachi Province) and active in the late Heian period. He was the sixth son of MINAMOTO no Yoshiie; according to another opinion, he was the fifth son.

He inherited the base of the Kawachi-Genji.

When his father Hachimantaro Yoshiie died, his right older brother (the fifth son or the forth son of his father) MINAMOTO no Yoshitada succeeded to the family head and became the toryo (leader) of the Minamoto clan. When his brother Yoshitada returned to the capital, Yoshitoki began to guard Ishikawa of Kawachi Province, the base of the Kawachi-Genji for Yoshitada (the oldest brother MINAMOTO no Yoshimune had died young, the second oldest brother MINAMOTO no Yoshichika had been killed for raising a rebellion, and the third oldest brother MINAMOTO no Yoshikuni had been being confined by the Imperial order for having a battle against his uncle MINAMOTO no Yoshimitsu in the Kanto region. After the death of Yoshitada, Yoshitoki wished to succeed to his brother to become the toryo of the Minamoto clan in vain. It is known that he was not appointed any government post and that his last official rank was Rokui (Sixth Rank) (as for the rank, it is a matter which was said later and cannot be confirmed in historical materials of that time). He was also called himself Mutsu Goro or Mutsu Rokuro, however he had been never appointed Mutsu no Kami (governor of Mutsu Province) (this is not confirmed in historical materials), so probably it was derived from that his father Yoshiie had served as Mutsu no Kami.

Kawachi-Genji and Ishikawa-Genji

Yoshitoki inherited Ishikawa-no-sho (manor in Ishikawa), which had been the base of the Kawachi-Genji (the Minamoto clan of Kawachi Province) since his father Yoshiie had located it; and MINAMOTO no Yoshimoto was his son, and his grandson MINAMOTO no Yoshikane, who served as Hogandai (secretary) of Ishikawa, was called 'the best Minamoto clan in Kawachi Province' by MINAMOTO no Yoritomo. His descendants called themselves Ishikawa-Genji (the Minamoto clan of Ishikawa) and included the Ishikawa clan, Kondo clan, Hiraga clan, Manriki clan, and Kumata clan.

In the Genpei War in the Jisho era, he was attacked by TAIRA no Kiyomori who considered that the Ishikawa-Genji could be a threat since they were powerful Minamoto clan who had continued since Hachimantaro Yoshiie, and the clan's base Kawachi Province was near to the capital. The army led by commanders supporting Heike (the Taira family) including Taifu Hangan (or Taifu Hogan, inspector at the fifth rank) MINAMOTO no Suesada and Hogan (inspector) of Settsu Province TAIRA no Morizumi fought against the Minamoto clan including MINAMOTO no Yoshimoto and MINAMOTO no Yoshikane in the outskirts of Kyoto and in the base of the Ishikawa-Genji, Ishikawa-no-sho of Kawachi Province; since the army of Heike was too big to be beaten, a lot of members of the Ishikawa-Genji were killed in the battles and the power of the clan declined greatly.

The particularly important thing in this battle was that one of the commanders supporting Heike was MINAMOTO no Suesada who was a descendant of MINAMOTO no Yoshiie as well as Yoshitoki, and was an elder second cousin of MINAMOTO no Yoshikane. It was not strange that MINAMOTO no Suesada was appointed the commander to subjugate the same clan since his father and he had served Heike, however, according to another opinion, it was because Minamoto no Yoshitoki had organized the conspiracy against the life of MINAMOTO no Yoshitada, the great-grandfather of Suesada, or had been associated with the murder in some degree (considering that after the murder of MINAMOTO no Yoshitada, his brother Yoshitoki had aimed at the position of the leader of the Kawachi-Genji).

Ishikawa-Genji in the Kamakura Period

The Ishikawa-Genji (the Minamoto clan of Ishikawa), who had located the clan's base at Ishikawa of Kawachi Province, certainly wielded their influence in the Kamakura period, and made efforts to build and rebuild many Buddhist temples. However, within the Ishikawa-Genji's territory, the Kusunoki clan who are famous for Masashige KUSUNOKI had developed power since the end of the Kamakura period, and Ishikawa-Genji gradually became weak. According records, after that, the Ishikawa clan became vassal of the Hatakeyama clan who was Shugo (provincial governor) of Kawachi Province, however it seems that they already lost the power they had once demonstrated. And it is considered that the Ishikawa clan fell together with the fall of the Hatakeyama clan.

Kazumasa ISHIKAWA and the Ishikawa Clan

Some clans including the Ishikawa clan (vassal of the Tokugawa clan), a daimyo (Japanese territorial lord) of the Edo period who are famous for Kazumasa ISHIKAWA, called themselves descendants of Yoshitoki, however it is not clear because there are many theories (as for the Ishikawa clan, persons of two generations are not confirmed). Some scholar says that they just used other clan's name for some reason, so anything definite cannot be said.

The Ishikawa clan of Mutsu Province including Akimitsu ISHIKAWA in the Mutsu was from a different family line; they were the descendants of the Yorichika line (Yamato-Genji [the Minamoto clan of Yamato Province) of Seiwa-Genji (the Minamoto clan from the descendants of Emperor Seiwa). Like them, the Ishikawa clan of Mutsu Province including Takanobu ISHIKAWA belonged to another clan, the Nanbu clan of the Yoshimitsu line (Kai-Genji [the Minamoto clan of Kai Province) of Seiwa-Genji.

[Original Japanese]