Ashikaga Tadatsuna (足利忠綱)

Tadatsuna ASHIKAGA (1164? - date of death unknown) was a military commander who lived towards the end of the Heian period. He was a son of Toshitsuna ASHIKAGA of the Ashikaga clan (a branch of the Fujiwara clan) of Shimotsuke Province. He was commonly know as Matataro. He was called Ohoshi (王法師) in his younger days. He was a courageous warrior who fought for the Taira family during the Genpei War. In the historical chronicle "Azuma Kagami" (literally, "Mirror of the East"), written by his opponents (who later became the Kamakura bakufu, Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun), he is described as follows. A hero such as will never be seen again. He exceeded everyone in three ways. First, he was as strong as 100 people. Second, his voice could be heard ten 'ri' (about 6.6km) away.
Third, his teeth were one 'sun' (about 3cm) long.'

In 1180, at Prince Mochihito's command, MINAMOTO no Yorimasa and others raised an army to subjugate TAIRA no Kiyomori. The Oyama clan, also from Shimotsuke and related to the Ashikaga clan, received the Prince's order, but the Ashikaga clan did not. Feeling insulted, the Ashikaga clan aided Kiyomori. Tadatsuna immediately led his troops to the capital to fight Yorimasa. Tadatsuna was said to be only 17 years old at that time. At the Battle of Uji-gawa River, however, he impressively distinguished himself, arriving as the vanguard, urging his men across the river and leading them to victory (Yorimasa died in the battle).

This win raised his status as a warrior. And he requested that TAIRA no Kiyomori give him, as the reward, the Osuke-shiki (governorship) of the sixteen counties of Kozuke Province and the Nitta no sho (manor), gaining both of which had been a long-cherished ambition of this family since his father, Toshitsuna. Kiyomori accepted the request. However, he changed his mind several hours later after Tadatsuna's retainers appealed to Kiyomori that the reward should be divided equally among them. According to the "Genpei Seisuiki" ("The Rise and Decline of the Minamoto and Taira Clans"), Tadatsuna was derided and nicknamed 'Umano-suke,' (Governor of Noon) because he was Osuke (governor) of Kozuke Province only for the hours of Uma no koku (around noon) between Mi no koku (around 11 am) and Hitsuji no koku (around 1 pm).

After that, when MINAMOTO no Yoritomo started a rebellion in Izu Province, Tadatsuna retuned to his territory and fought against Yoritomo. In March, 1183, he joined forces with MINAMOTO no Yoshihiro (SHIDA Saburo Senjo) of Hitachi Province to fight against Tomomasa OYAMA of Yoritomo's army at Nogimiya, but was defeated miserably and fled to Kozuke (the Battle at Nogimiya).

The entry for April 17, 1181 in "Azuma Kagami" includes the description that, after his defeat, he went to Saikai (in western Japan) via the Sanin-do Road on the advice of Rokuro KIRYU, one of his retainers, but nothing about him after that is known.