Hojo Masamura (北条政村)

Masamura HOJO belonged to the Hojo clan, and lived in the early to mid-Kamakura period. His father was Yoshitoki HOJO, the second regent of the Kamakura bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun). His mother was Iga no kata, Yoshitoki's second wife. He assumed the post of the seventh regent (from 1264 to 1268) as a substitute for infant Tokimune HOJO of the Tokuso family (the direct line of the regency Hojo family). After resigning from regent, he supported the direct-line Tokuso family as chief vassal of the clan by working as rensho (assistant to regents) and also handling the Mongol invasion of Japan.

Brief Personal History

After his genpuku (coming of age) ceremony with setting Yoshimura MIURA as eboshi-oya (a person who puts an eboshi [formal headwear for court nobles] on a young man's head in the ceremony), he called himself Masamura. In 1224, when Masamura was 20 years old, his father Yoshitoki died suddenly; then Masamura's mother Iga no kata plotted to make him regent, and the Incident of the Iga clan occurred. Her attempt ended in failure, and Iga no kata was exiled to Izu Province by the order of ama shogun (nun shogun) Masako HOJO. However, Masamura was not affected through the good offices of his older brother, Yasutoki.

In 1239, he became hyojoshu (a member of the Council of State), and hitto (head, highest rank) in the next year. In 1249, he assumed the post of Hikitsuke tonin (chairman of the court of justice), and in 1256, he assumed the post of rensho as his older brother Shigetoki became a priest and retired. Since Nagatoki HOJO, the second son of Masamura's older brother Shigetoki and the sixth regent became a priest due to illness in July 1264, Masamura assumed the post of the seventh regent in August. It is considered that Masamura was involved in the personnel affairs, decisions of dismissing and sending Imperial Prince Munetaka to Kyoto and so on, supported by Tokimune HOJO who served as rensho.

When the Mongol letter reached in January 1268, Masamura who assigned his regency to Tokimune HOJO in March of the same year assumed the post of rensho again to assist Tokimune HOJO, and also held the office of Samurai-dokoro betto (the superior of the Board of Retainers). In May 1273, Masamura became a priest with setting Tokiwa Shonin as kaishi (the priest who imports the Buddhist commandments), and called himself Tokiwain Kakushu. He died at the age of 69 in the same month. Masamura was an educated person who was familiar with waka (a traditional Japanese poem of thirty-one syllables), ceremonies and rituals; he was adored by court nobles in Kyoto, being called 'old retainer of the East,' and they grieved over his death. The post of rensho was succeeded by Yoshimasa HOJO, who was a son of Masamura's older brother Yoshitoki. There is no other case that a person who has been a regent held the office of rensho.

Career
*Dates are based on the old lunar calendar. January 13, 1230: He was appointed Hitachi no daigo (Senior Secretary of Hitachi Province). Leap January 4: He was reassigned to Shikibu shojo (Junior Secretary of the Ministry of Ceremonial). October 15: He was conferred Jugoinoge (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Graded). Retained his position as Shikibu shojo (Junior Secretary of the Ministry of Ceremonial).

March 4, 1236: He was appointed Umanosuke (Assistant Captain, Right Division of Bureau of Horses). April 14: He was reassigned to Uma no gon no kami (Provisional captain of the Right Division of Bureau of Horses).

September 15, 1237: He was promoted to Jugoinojo (Junior Fifth Rank, Upper Grade). Retained his position as Uma no gon no kami (Provisional Captain of the Right Division of Bureau of Horses).

August 28, 1238: He was promoted to Shogoinoge (Senior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade). Retained his position as Uma no gon no kami.

1239: He assumed the post of hyojoshu of the government.

June 22, 1244: He was promoted to Jushiinoge (Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade). Retained his position as Uma no gon no kami.

1249: He concurrently held the office of Hikitsuke tonin.

March 30, 1267: He assumed the post of rensho. April 5, 1267: He was appointed Mutsu no kami (the governor of Mutsu Province).

June 12, 1257: He was appointed Sagami no kami (the governor of Sagami Province).

August 11, 1264: He assumed the post of regent.

February 21, 1265: He was promoted to Jushiinojo (Junior Fourth Rank, Upper Grade). Retained his position as Sagami no kami. March 28, 1265: He was reassigned to Sakyo no gon no daibu (Provisional Master of the Eastern Capital Offices).

March 2, 1266: He was promoted to Shoshiinoge (Senior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade). Retained his position as Sakyo no gon no daibu.

March 5, 1268: He assumed the post of rensho, and concurrently held the office of Samurai-dokoro betto.

May 18, 1273: He became a priest. Called himself "Tokiwain Kakushu." May 27: He passed away. Died at the age of 69.

Reputation

In "Dainihonshi" (Great history of Japan), Masamura was reputed to be a silent, temperate and elegant person. Ukichi TAGUCHI, a historian in the Meiji period, criticized the reputation that the achievement of avoiding Mongol invasion had attributed to the regent, Tokimune, and insisted that Masamura had took the initiative in the negotiation between Japan and Mongolia, from the viewpoints of age, human network and so on. However, Hiroyuki MIURA disproved this. Furthermore, Harumi WATANABE presented the results of full-fledged research on the theme of Masamura in "Hojo Masamura no kenkyu" (Research on Masamura HOJO).