Shibuya Shigekuni (渋谷重国)

Shigekuni SHIBUYA (year of birth and death unknown) was a samurai in the closing years of the Heian period and the early years of the Kamakura period. Son of Shigeie KAWASAKI. A family of Chichibu clan originated from Kanmu-Heishi (Taira clan). His sons include Takashige SHIBUYA and Shigesuke SHIBUYA.

According to "Hatakeyama Keizu" (Hatakeyama Family Tree), his father Shigeie and his grandfather Motoie KAWASAKI lived in Musashi Province and called themselves Kawasaki clan. In the years of Shigekuni in the Oho era, his clan reigned an area covering from Ebara-gun, Musashi Province, to Shibuya-sho Manor, Takakura-gun, Sagami Province, and used the title shoji (administrator of a manor) of the Shibuya clan.

Biography

Shigekuni joined the army of MINAMOTO no Yoshitomo in the Heiji War. After Yoshitomo lost, Shigekuni had Hideyoshi SASAKI, who lost his feud and was about to flee to Mutsu Province, and his sons remain at Shibuya-sho, supported them and had Hideyoshi marry his daughter. When MINAMOTO no Yoritomo raised his army in August 1180, Hideyoshi's sons joined Yoritomo's army, and Shigekuni was asked by Yoritomo to also join his army, but Shigekuni participated in the army of Kagechika OBA, who took sides with Taira clan, in the Battle of Ishibashiyama out of his moral debt to Ise-Heishi (Taira clan). When Yoritomo lost in the Battle of Ishibashiyama, Kagechika visited Shigekuni on September 26 and requested him to arrest the wives and children of the Sasaki brothers who followed Yoritomo.
Shigekuni rejected the request, saying 'I had no reason to stop them from joining the army of Minamoto clan out of their moral debt to them. I joined your army at Ishibashiyama together with my grandson Yoshikiyo SASAKI in reply to your request, but you ignored what we did for you and ordered me to arrest the wives and children of Sadatsuna SASAKI and his brother. That is not what I can accept.'
Kagechika left Shigekuni's residence with no more action. At night, the Sasaki brothers returned to the residence of Shigekuni together with Zenjo ANO whom they met on their way back. It is recorded that Shigekuni sheltered and supported them.

Later Shigekuni came to serve Yoritomo, who in return allowed them to maintain their own feud, and Shigekuni and his son Takashige became vassals of Yoritomo. In the New Year's day of 1184, he and Takashige joined the army of MINAMOTO no Noriyori sent to hunt down MINAMOTO no Yoshinaka. Shigekuni went to the Rokujoden Residence, where Emperor Goshirakawa was confined, together with Noriyori and MINAMOTO no Yoshitsune and guarded the residence. In February, Shigekuni took in custody Kanemitsu HIGUCHI, one of the retainers of the captive Yoshinaka, and Shigekuni's retainers tried to behead Kanemitsu but failed, so Shigekuni killed him instead.

Although Takashige greatly impressed himself to Yoritomo for his valor and personality, the other son of his, Shigesuke, provoked the wrath of Yoritomo for his involvement in unauthorized rank appointment by Yoritomo's vassals in April 1185 (in old calendar).

The last record on Shigekuni in "Azuma Kagami" is the article of December 15 (in old calendar), 1194, recording allocation of horses to welcome Buddhist priests. The tomb tower reported to be Shigekuni's is located in Chosen-ji Temple, Ayase City, Kanagawa Prefecture.