Taira no Tokiie (平時家)

TAIRA no Tokiie (? - June 17, 1193) was a busho (Japanese military commander) and a noble during the late Heian period and early Kamakura period. He was the second son of TAIRA no Tokitada. After the fall of the Taira family, he changed his name to Nobutoki. Though he was a member of the Taira family he sided with MINAMOTO no Yoritomo and served him as a close retainer.

He was appointed to Rokui Kurodo (a position in the the court chancellery with the Sixth Rank) in 1168, and he continued to move up the ranks as the Taira gained prestige. In 1176 he was appointed to Ukone no Gon no shosho (Provisional Minor Captain of the Right Division of Inner Palace Guards) and Kokushi (governor) of Hoki Province, and the following year he was promoted to Jushiinoge (Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade).

However, in December in 1179, he was suddenly exiled to Kazusa Province. Officially, this was part of the punishment, related to the house arrest of Cloistered Emperor Goshirakawa earlier that year, of anti-Taira kuge (court nobles) (known as 'Coup of the Third Year of Jisho'), but the exile took place when the punishment was almost finished, and there was no reason for Tokiie, who was a nephew of TAIRA no Kiyomori's wife, to be involved in such a matter. In fact, Tokiie and Tokiie's stepmother, FUJIWARA no Muneko, who was Tokitada's second lawful wife, were not on good terms, and she took this opportunity to give a slanderous account to her husband, Tokitada, who believed it, as did Kiyomori.

Tokiie, in exile in Kazusa, found favor with a local prominent samurai, Hirotsune KAZUSA, eventually becoming his son-in-law. Later, MINAMOTO no Yoritomo raised an army and occupied Kazusa, which Hirotsune went along with. In 1182, in response to Hirotsune's recommendation Tokiie decided to serve Yoritomo in Kamakura.

Even though Tokiie was a member to the Taira family, he found favor with Yoritomo because he was skilled in kemari (a game played by aristocrats in the Heian period), Kangen (gagaku piece without dance) and court manners, and since Tokiie himself also held a grudge because of the earlier incident, he decided to faithfully serve Yoritomo, who should have been his enemy.

Even though his father-in-law, Hirotsune KAZUSA, was later purged, and the Taira family fell, Yoritomo's trust in Tokiie remained unchanged, and since he held the highest position among the members of Yoritomo's vassals, he was honored by those in the Shogunate, as well as those who were not. He was active as a political adviser during the early Kamakura bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun), and it is said that he spent his final years peacefully in Kamakura.