Taira no Moritsugu (平盛嗣)

TAIRA no Moritsugu (year of birth unknown-1194) was a busho (Japanese military commander) of the Ise-Heishi (Taira clan) during the end of Heian period. He won a name for himself as a retainer of the Taira family, as his father, TAIRA no Moritoshi had done. His common name was Jiro Hyoe Moritsugu of Ecchu province.


He was referred to as 'Jiro Hyoe Moritsugu of Ecchu province' in "The Tale of the Heike" and he was a great commander in the Taira family. He took part in many battles against the Minamoto clan and left an anecdote of a mockery battle against Yoshimori ISE, who was a retainer of MINAMOTO no Yoshitsune, in the Battle of Yashima.

In the naval battle of Dannoura in 1185, he did not feel comfortable to commit suicide so he escaped to Kyoto and kept himself hidden in Tajima province. Moritsugu disguised himself as Michihiro KUSAKABE (Michihiro Kehi), whose domicile was in Kehisho, Kinosaki Gun, and served as a horse breeder. Later on, he became Michihiro's adopted son-in-law and spent a peaceful life.
However, the Minamoto clan pursued Moritsugu's whereabouts harshly and "The Tale of the Heike" mentions that MINAMOTO no Yoritomo presented to everyone that 'there will be praise and encouragement to those who capture Jiro Hyoe Moritsugu of Ecchu province, even if he needs to be tied or killed.'
There are various theories regarding Moritsugu's capture but he was caught by the Minamoto clan and sent to Kamakura. When Moritsugu faced MINAMOTO no Yoritomo, he voiced his opinion fairly and squarely; 'I have run out of luck and there is nothing I can do under captivity. Tell me what you are going to do' and he was beheaded at Yuigahama in the end.