Minamoto no Yoshiyasu (源義康)

MINAMOTO no Yoshiyasu (Yoshiyasu ASHIKAGA) was a Japanese military commander from the Kawachi-Genji in the end of the Heian period. He was the second (or third) son of MINAMOTO no Yoshikuni. He was the founder of the Ashikaga clan. He was a grand child of MINAMOTO no Yoshiie who gained a reputation as the leader of samurai family.


Although he was the second (or third) son, he inherited the Ashikaga no sho (Ashikaga manor) in Shimotsuke Province owned by the Ashikaga clan (the Fujiwara clan) from his father, Yoshikuni and then claimed the Ashikaga clan. While his older paternal half-brother, Yoshishige reclaimed the land of Nitta sho (Nitta manor) in Kozuke Province with his father and became the founder of the Nitta clan, Yoshiyasu's descendants who were based in the Ashikaga manor inherited from his father were developed as the Ashikaga clan in the future generations.

In October, 1142, Yoshiyasu donated the Ashikaga manor to the Anrakuju-in Temple built by Emperor Toba, which became Honjo (the administrative headquarter) of the Ashikaga manor, and then became Shokan shiki (officer entrusted with local management by the lord of the private estate). In addition, he won the competition for the post of Jinushi shiki (landlord) of Yanada mikuriya (manors of Imperial family and powerful shrines in Yanada) against Ietsuna ASHIKAGA from the Ashikaga clan of the Fujiwara family.

He went up to Kyoto around the time between 1145 and 1151, served the retired Emperor Toba as Hokumen no bushi (the Imperial Palace Guards for the north side) through the donation of his manor, and then held the posts of Kurodo (Chamberlain) and Keibiishi (officials with judicial and police powers). Then, he became Mutsu no kami (governor of Mutsu Province) and was called 'Mutsu hangan' (magistrate of Mutsu Province). He married an adopted daughter of FUJIWARA no Suenori, Atsuda Daiguji (the highest priest serving at the Atsuta-jinja Shrine in Owari Province) and allied with MINAMOTO no Yoshitomo who became a brother-in-law.

In 1156, the retired Emperor Toba, who was close to death, left future affairs to five specially-trusted commanders including Yoshiyasu. In the Hogen War occurred immediately after that, he joined the war with Yoshitomo on the Emperor Goshirakawa side and were responsible for defending the northernmost inner palace, bringing 100 horsemen with him after TAIRA no Kiyomori with 300 horsemen and Yoshitomo with 200 horsemen. After the war, he executed the surrendered enemy general, TAIRA no Iehiro and his son. As the grant of honors, he was allowed to access to the imperial court and appointed to Jugoige Taifunojo (Major lieutenant with Junior Fifth Rank).

His future was promising, but he died young of illness at the age of 31 the following year.

[Original Japanese]