Kawagoe Shigeyori (河越重頼)

Shigeyori KAWAGOE was a military commander and lord of Kawagoe Yakata, Iruma-gun, Musashi Province in the late Heian period. He was a "shokan" (estate officer) of Kawagoe no Sho which belonged to Ima Hie-sha Shrine. Commanded by MINAMOTO no Yoritomo, he gave his daughter (Sato Gozen) to MINAMOTO no Yoshitsune in marriage. This led him to get involved in the feud between the two brothers of the Minamoto clan. He was killed in a set-up.

He was a member of the Chichibu clan descended from the Kanmu-Heishi (Taira clan).
He was held in the hereditary office of the main branch of the Chichibu clan, 'the office of Sokengyo (general inspector) which was distinguished from the post of Zaicho kanjin (generic term for provincial officer) of Musashi Province.'
Assuming military control of Musashi Province, he was the most powerful man there. His wife was the second daughter of Hikinoama who was MINAMOTO no Yoritomo's wet nurse, and she was the wet nurse of MINAMOTO no Yoriie.

The Main Branch of the Chichibu Party

On September 21, 1155 Shigeyori's grandfather Shigetaka CHICHIBU was killed by MINAMOTO no Yoshihira, along with MINAMOTO no Yoshitaka. In July 1156, Shigeyori and his younger brother Shigetsune MOROOKA joined MINAMOTO no Yoshitomo's troops in the Hogen War. In the scene of Yoshitomo's making night attack on Shirakawa-dono Palace in "Hogen Monogatari" (The Tale of the Hogen War), the Kawagoe and the Morooka clan were identified as 'Koke' (honorable families), thereby distinguished from the other warriors.

In January 1159 Yoshitomo was defeated by TAIRA no Kiyomori in the Heiji War. In April 1160 Yoshitomo's eldest son and heir, Yoritomo (aged 14) was sent into exile to Izu Province. Yoritomo's wet nurse, Hikinoama, moved from Kyoto to Hiki-gun, Musashi Province with her husband Kamonnojo HIKI who was appointed as "daikan" (governor) of the place. She had sent money to Yoritomo for 20 years up to the autumn of 1180. Married to the second daughter of the Hiki clan, Shigeyori supported Yoritomo, together with Morinaga ADACHI and Sukekiyo ITO who were also Hikinoama's sons in law.

In 1160 the Kawagoe clan (either Yoshitaka or Shigeyori) donated their territory to Emperor Goshirakawa to become shokan. Donated further by the retired emperor to Ima Hie-sha Shrine in Kyoto, the territory came to be called "the Kawagoe no Sho of Ima Hie-sha Shrine." TAIRA no Tomonori was Kokushi (governor) of Musashi Province in that year. In the scene of the Battle of Ichinotani described in the chapter on 'Tomoakira's Death' in "Heike Monogatari" (The Tale of the Heike), Shigeyori's eldest son and heir Shigefusa KAWAGOE captures Inoueguro (Kawagoeguro), a fine horse escaping from TAIRA no Tomonori. This episode is explained by the connection between Shigeyori and Tomonori.

Shigeyori's Vassalage to Yoritomo

On September 15, 1180 Yoritomo raised an army in Izu Province. On September 24, 1180 Shigeyori complied with a request made by Shigetada HATAKEYAMA who was of the Chichibu clan and who took the side of the Ise-Heishi (Taira clan). Leading an army of several thousand warrior bands of Musashi Province, including Shigenaga EDO, he assailed Kinugasa Castle. He killed Yoshiaki MIURA (the Battle of Kinugasa Castle). When Yoritomo entered Musashi Province raising an army again with his renewed power on October 31, 1180, Shigeyori surrendered to him with Shigetada HATAKEYAMA and Shigenaga EDO. He had since then been appreciated as gokenin (a shogunal retainer).

On September 18, 1182 Yoritomo had his first son and heir Yoriie. Yorishige's wife (the daughter of Hikinoama) was called out to Yoshikazu HIKI's residence where the baby was born. She performed the ritual of first breast-feeding as the wet nurse. Her younger brother Shigetsune MOROOKA was in charge of "meigen"(plucking a bowstring to fend off evil).

Led by MINAMOTO no Noriyori and MINAMOTO no Yoshitsune as Yoritomo's surrogate, an army headed towards Heiankyo (the ancient capital of Japan in present Kyoto City) to search and kill MINAMOTO no Yoshinaka on March 11, 1184. Shigeyori joined the army with his eldest son and heir Shigefusa. On arriving at the capital, he and a few cavaliers including Noriyori, Yoshitsune, Shigeyori and Shigefusa hurried to Rokujodono where Cloistered Emperor Goshirakawa was under house arrest. They guarded Sento Imperial Palace.

After the Battle of Ichinotani, Yoshitsune was appointed as Kebiishi (an imperial police officer) by the court without Yoritomo's permission on September 19, 1184. This enraged Yoritomo. At the same time Shigeyori's younger brother, Shigetsune, was also appointed as Hyoe no Jo. He was severely condemned by Yoritomo.

On October 27, 1184 his daughter (Satogozen) was given in marriage to Yoshitsune in Kyoto at the behest of Yoritomo. He became father-in-law of Yoshitsune.

In 1185 antagonism developed between Yoritomo and Yoshitsune. When Yoshitsune was commanded by Emperor Goshirakawa to hunt down and kill Yoritomo, Yoritomo also became antagonistic to Shigeyori. On December 12, 1185 Shigeyori's territory, Katori Gokago in Ise Province, was confiscated for the reason of his being Yoshitsune's relative. It was given to Saneharu OI and the rest was entrusted with his old mother. His son-in-law, Masayoshi SHIMOKOUBE was held as an accomplice and his territory was confiscated.

He was then framed and murdered with his eldest son and heir Shigefusa, and the position of the head of the absentee office of Musashi Province which he had assumed was given to Shigetada HATAKEYAMA.

The Kawagoe Clan after Shigeyori's Death

On September 26, 1186 the Kawagoe family was apparently in the state of confusion as they were ordered by Yoritomo to pay unpaid annual tribute. 'Pitying' the plotted murder of Shigeyori, Yoritomo confirmed that his former territory of Kawagoe no Sho was in possession of his widowed Buddhist nun (daughter of Hikinoama) on November 13, 1187. He commanded the local "nanushi" (headman) and farmers who had not followed his order to comply with the widow's instructions.

"Azuma Kagami" (The Mirror of the East) mentions neither Shigeyori's second son Shigetoki KAWAGOE nor his third son Shigekazu KAWAGOE during the time of Yoritomo and Yoriie the second shogun. The first confirmed reference to them is the entry dated July 17, 1205 in which they appear among the army in charge of defeating Shigetada HATAKEYAMA who had risen against the shogunate during the time of MINAMOTO no Sanetomo the third shogun. Since Shigetada was killed Musashi Province had been governed by the Hojo clan as kokushi (governor of the province).

On May 5, 1226 the Kawagoe clan was restored as Shigekazu was appointed to the head of the absentee office of Musashi Province by the Kamakura Shogunate. Forty years had passed since the plotted murder of Shigeyori.