Minamoto no Yoshitsuna (源義綱)

Yoshitsuna no MINAMOTO was the busho (Japanese military commander) of Kawachi-Genji (Minamoto clan) during the latter part of the Heian period. A son of MINAMOTO no Yoriyoshi. He was born in a Kawachi-Genji house in Koroho of Tsuboi, Ishikawa County, Kawachi Province (currently Tsuboi, Habikino City, Osaka Prefecture). His mother was the daughter of TAIRA no Naokata, and his older brother was MINAMOTO no Yoshiie and younger brother MINAMOTO no Yoshimitsu. Following his coming of age ceremony at Kamo-jinja Shrine in Kyoto, he took the name Jiro KAMO.

Biography

With his father and older brother, he fought in the Zen Kunen no Eki (Former Nine Years' Campaign), where his distinguished service led to his appointment to the rank of Uemon no jo (the third ranked official of the Right Division of Outer Palace Guards) on March 28, 1058. Poor relations with older brother Yoshiie almost led to battle with the retainers surrounding Kawachi Province in May, 1091.

In 1093, kokushi (provincial governor) of Dewa Province, Saneakira (his last name was unknown but in the "Gonijo Moromichi ki" (Diary of FUJIWARA no Moromichi) Dewa no kami (the governor of Dewa Province) of that year is said to be MINAMOTO no Saneakira), was attacked and killed by TAIRA no Morotae and the son TAIRA no Morosue. Yoshitsuna was ordered to hunt down and kill the perpetrators by the kokushi of neighboring Mutsu Province. Yoshitsuna, yonin (remote appointments) of provincial governor, personally dispatched retainers before leaving the capital. These retainers killed Morotae and suppressed the rebellion. Based on this success, Yoshitsuna was appointed Jushiinoge (Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade) and reassigned as kokushi of Mino Province.

In 1095, a brief skirmish with temple officials ensued over a letter from the Emperor ordering the confiscation of Enryaku-ji Temple Manor territory in Mino Province, resulting in a monk being hit and killed by an arrow. This angered those at Enryaku-ji Temple and Hiyoshi-jinja Shrine, who released a petition. Kanpaku (chief adviser to the Emperor) FUJIWARA no Moromichi dispatched MINAMOTO no Yoriharu, as well as Yoshitsuna, to repel the enemy, but on this occasion arrows hit the portable shrine and Shinto priests and it is said that the early death of Moromichi some years later was Buddha's punishment for this action.

On August 8, 1106, Yoshitsuna's older brother Yoshiie died. Yoshiie had appointed his fourth son, MINAMOTO no Yoshitada, his successor. On the night of March 13, 1109, an incident occurred in which Yoshitada was attacked, and he died five days later. Yoshitsuna and son, suspected in the death of Yoshitada, fled but were captured in the mountains of Omi Province by MINAMOTO no Tameyoshi, and upon surrender they became priests and were banished to Sado Province. At this time, his six sons met unfortunate ends. Yoshitsuna's oldest son MINAMOTO no Yoshihiro and second son MINAMOTO no Yoshitoshi committed suicide by throwing themselves into a valley, his third son MINAMOTO no Yoshiaki was named the ringleader in the death of Yoshitada and died in battle while being hunted down, his fourth son MINAMOTO no Yoshinaka jumped into a fire and was burned to death, his fifth son MINAMOTO no Yoshinori did seppuku (committed suicide by disembowelment), and his sixth son MINAMOTO no Giko (源義公) committed suicide.

During his exile in Sado in 1132, Yoshitsuna was again hunted down by MINAMOTO no Tameyoshi and committed suicide. Following this it came to light that his being accused of killing Yoshitada was a false charge and that the true perpetrator was MINAMOTO no Yoshimitsu.

Along with his grandfather MINAMOTO no Yorinobu, father MINAMOTO no Yoriyoshi, and older brother MINAMOTO no Yoshiie, MINAMOTO no Yoshimitsu deified Tsuboi Gongen as the local Shinto deity of the Minamoto Clan, established at the Tsuboi Hachimangu Shrine.