Kawagoe Shigefusa (河越重房)

Shigefusa KAWAGOE (1169? - December 12, 1185) was a military commander who lived in the Kawagoe Yakata, Iruma County, Musashi Province during the last days of the Heian period. He was an heir of Shigeyori KAWAGOE. His common name was Kotaro. His sister, Sato Gozen, was the legal wife of MINAMOTO no Yoshitsune. Shigetoki KAWAGOE and Shigekazu KAWAGOE were his younger brothers.

Career

At the time of hunting down Yoshinaka KISO in February 1184, he went to Kyoto belonging to the troops of MINAMOTO no Noriyori and MINAMOTO no Yoshitsune together with his father Shigeyori KAWAGOE. After arriving at Kyoto, Noriyori, Yoshitsune, Shigeyori, Shegefusa and other several horsemen rushed to the Rokujo Palace where Emperor Goshirakawa was confined and guarded the Sento Imperial Palace. According to "Genpei Seisuiki," Shigefusa was 16 years old at that time and he fought hard with the troops of Yoshinaka by leading 300 horsemen. He introduced himself in front of the Cloistered Emperor together with Yoshitsune.

In 1185, MINAMOTO no Yoritomo and MINAMOTO no Yoshitsune were opposed each other and when Yoshitsune received an imperial decree to search and kill MINAMOTO no Yoritomo from the Cloistered Emperor Goshirakawa, his father Shigeyori also came to be regarded as an enemy by Yoritomo because Shigeyori was the father-in-law of Yoshitsune. On November 23 of the same year, Shigefusa was excluded from the group of soldiers who were in charge of guarding the dedication ceremony at the main hall of Shochoju-in Temple in Kamakura for the reason that he was a relative of Yoshitsune. On December 12 of the same year, the territory of Shigeyori was forfeited and he and Shigefusa were killed for punishment before long.

Anecdote

In "Heike Monogatari" (The Tale of the Heike), there is a scene in which Shigefusa felled TAIRA no Tsunemasa in the Battle of Ichi no Tani and also a scene in which he captured a fine horse Inoueguro (Kawagoeguro) that TAIRA no Tomonori failed to catch and it is said that he dedicated the horse to the Cloistered Emperor Goshirakawa. After the fall of the TAIRA clan, TAIRA no Yoshimune, an eight-year-old son of TAIRA no Munemori, was captured and transferred to Shigefusa from Yoritomo; a scene, in which he shed tears before he executed Yoshimune, is also depicted in the book.