Hirayama Sueshige (平山季重)

Sueshige HIRAYAMA was a busho (Japanese military commander) of the west party (the Himatsuri clan), one of the seven west parties of Musashi Province that existed during the late Heian period to the early Kamakura period. He was the son of Naosue HIRAYAMA. As he had an estate in Hirayama-go Village, Funakita no sho (manor), Tasai Country (present Hirayama, Hino City, Tokyo Prefecture) and lived in In no Mushadokoro (place where Samurai of guard of the Retired Emperor's Palace is staffed), he was called HIRAYAMA no mushadokoro.

Biography

He was born in Hirayama, Musashi Province (near the present Hirayamajoshi-koen Station). During the Hogen Disturbance in 1156, he followed MINAMOTO no Yoshitomo, and during the Heiji Disturbance in 1159, he was with MINAMOTO no Yoshihira, Yoshitomo's first son, and fought against TAIRA no Shigemori's forces of five hundreds horsemen, leading only seventeen horsemen in the fight at Taikenmon. After Yoshitomo was defeated to death, he followed the Ise Heishi (Taira clan), and after that he was living a peaceful life as a local lord. However, when Yoshitomo's bereaved son, MINAMOTO no Yoritomo, who was deported in Izu Province, rose an army in 1180, he joined the army and went to the front in the Battle of Fuji-gawa River and the conquest of Satake clan, following Yoritomo's younger brother MINAMOTO no Yoshitsune. During the conquest of Satake clan, he especially rendered remarkable service in the Battle of Kinsa-jo Castle together with his colleague Naozane KUMAGAI.

In 1184, Sueshige went up to Kyoto with the army to search and kill MINAMOTO no Yoshinaka lead by MINAMOTO no Yoshitsune. He defeated Yukichika NENOI and Chikatada TATE in the Battle of Uji-gawa River and proceeded into Kyoto. In the Battle of Ichinotani of the same year, took part in the brigade of commando, following MINAMOTO no Yoshitsune. In cooperation with his colleague, Naozane KUMAGAI, he broke through the army of Taira clan which was deployed at Ichinotani, and seized the momentum for victory. In the Battle of Yashima as well as in the Battle of Dannoura, both of which occurred in 1185, he always took the lead and fought valiantly. After the war period, he was appointed as Uemon no jo (the third ranked official of the Right Division of Outer Palace Guards) by Emperor Goshirakawa, however, this appointment, which was done without MINAMOTO no Yoritomo's prior consent, provoked Yoritomo's outrage.
In "Azuma Kagami" (The Mirror of the East), there remains an anecdote that Yoritomo cursed him and other appointees who received the conferment without Yoritomo's previous consent, saying, 'Sueshige HIRAYAMA, he looks woolly-minded, and his appointment is outrageous.'
Around this time, he gained the position of jito (manager and lord of manor) at the Harada no sho (manor) in Mikasa Country, Chikuzen Province.

In 1189, he took part in the Battle of Oshu with his son, Kotaro Shigemura HIRAYAMA. He also got the credit there, and he was raised to Genro (elder statesman) of Kamakura bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun). In 1192, when MINAMOTO no Sanetomo was born, he played a major role in charge of meigen (resounding bowstrings).

It is said that in 1212 he died from illness, but the details are unknown.

Family line

The Hirayama clan was a family belonging to the west party of Musashi Province, with its ancestor Muneyori HIMATSURI, who was assigned to present Musashifuchu City (Tokyo Prefecture), from Kyoto as Kokushi (provincial governor). Muneyori did not return to Kyoto even after his service and settled there. It is supposed that around the time in which TAIRA no Masakado Rebellion broke out in the mid-Heian period, his family began to be active, forming an armed group.

Mausoleum

Soin-ji Temple: Graveyard of Sueshige HIRAYAMA and his wooden seated statue. Sango (the temple's title) is Mt. Osawa. Hotei (pot-bellied god of good fortune) out of Hino Shichifukujin (Seven Deities of Good Luck in Hino). Hirayama 6-chome, Hino City, Tokyo Prefecture.

Sueshige-jinja Shrine: In the past, it was called Himatsurimyo-jinja Shrine, and currently it is still called Himatsuri-jinja Shrine, as well. In addition to the theory that says Sueshige HIRAYAMA was enshrined there, there is a theory that Sueshige HIRAYAMA enshrined the spirit of the Himatsuri family. Hirayama 6-chome, Hino City, Tokyo Prefecture.

Remarks

He seemed to be a religious person, and he constructed Daihigan-ji Temple, Komiya-jinja Shrine (present Akiruno City), and Hozo-ji Temple (present Hinohara-mura), after the establishment of Kamakura bakufu.

As his biography shows, he has a very closely relationship with Naozane KUMAGAI, and it is said that they were good rivals with each other.

He was closely connected with MINAMOTO no Yoshitsune, and thanks to his efficient and unassuming personality that Yoshitsune appreciated, the Hirayama clan succeeded in its persistence.

His descendents had survived the purge by the regent Hojo clan, and during the Sengoku period (period of warring state), they followed the Gohojo clan. The conquest and siege of Odawara in 1590, Ujishige HIRAYAMA entrenched himself in Hinohara-jo Castle, but the castle fell. The Hirayama clan was destroyed, and remaining family members were brought to ruin. However, even at present there are many people who proclaim themselves as descendents of the Hirayama clan in Tama area of Tokyo.

In the summer of 2006, 'Hirayama Sueshige Festa' was held in Hino City (Tokyo), and to the present, he has been talked about as a local hero, contributing to the development of the city.