Taira no Kiyotsune (平清経)

TAIRA no Kiyotsune (1163 - April 11, 1183) was the third son of TAIRA no Shigemori. His mother was FUJIWARA no Keishi (the fourth daughter of FUJIWARA no Ienari), a daughter of FUJIWARA no Ienari. His wife was FUJIWARA no Narichika's daughter. He was Sakone gon no chujo (Provisional Middle Captain of the Left Division of Inner Palace Guards) of Shoshiinoge (Senior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade). He was known as an excellent flutist.

When Prince Mochihito took up arms in 1180, he joined the attack on Onjo-ji Temple. After the Taira family fled from Kyoto in 1183, he gradually became pessimistic. He was dislodged from Dazai-fu (local government office in Kyushu region) by his former retainer Koreyoshi OGATA, and it led him to throw himself into the sea at Yanagi ga ura Bay in Buzen Province to his death. Died at the age of 21. In the section of 'Rokudo no sata' (matters of six posthumous worlds) in "The tale of the Heike" [the Taira family], Kenreimonin spoke reminiscently that Kiyotsune's death was 'the beginning of depressing events' for the Taira family.

It is said that today the point where Kiyotsune threw himself into the sea is off the Yakkan-gawa River in Yanagi ga ura district, Usa City, Oita Prefecture. Based on this story, gorinto (a gravestone composed of five pieces piled up one upon another) and a memorial monument were built on a mound, which is called Komatsu-zuka Mound, near the Yakkan-gawa estuary. ('Komatsu' of the mound's name came from the fact that Kiyotsune's father Shigemori was also known as Komatsu dono [dono: an honorary term of address]). In addition, the bridge by Komatsu-zuka (which is the closest to the Yakkan-gawa estuary) is also named Komatsu-bashi Bridge.
Noh (traditional masked dance-drama)

A representative Noh program 'Kiyotsune' was written by Zeami in later years based on the episode of Kiyotsune's suicide by drowning. Kohei HATA also published "Kiyotsune Jusui" (Kiyotsune's suicide by drowning) based on the same episode in 1969.

[Original Japanese]