Hiraga Tomomasa (平賀朝雅)

Tomomasa HIRAGA was a gokenin (an immediate vassal of the Shogunate) of the Kamakura bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) and was active from the late Heian period to the early Kamakura period. He was the second son of Yoshinobu HIRAGA who proved useful to MINAMOTO no Yoritomo, as one of the Genji monyo (relatives of Genji) of the line of MINAMOTO no Yoshimitsu. His mother was the third daughter of Hikinoama, who was a nanny of Yoritomo.


He was appointed to Kokushi (an officer of local government) of Musashi Province, after his father Yoshinobu (1184 - 1195) and his older brother Koreyoshi (1195 - ?), although his term of office is unknown. In 1203, soon after the second Shogun MINAMOTO no Yoriie was expelled owing to the Conspiracy of Yoshikazu HIKI and the third Shogun MINAMOTO no Sanetomo was backed up, Tomomasa was dispatched to Kyoto as Kyoto Shugo (Kyoto provincial constable) to prevent the possible insurrections that might be provoked taking advantage of the agitated situation of the Kamakura bakufu.

In January 1204, seizing the opportunity of the political unrest in the bakufu, the rebellion by the survivors of the Taira family broke out in Ise and Iga Provinces, and as the shugo Tsunetoshi YAMAUCHISUDO ran away, Tomomasa was ordered to suppress the rebellion. In May 1204, Tomomasa suppressed the rebellion, and was appointed to the shugo of Iga and Ise Provinces for his achievement (Three Days War of the Taira Clan: Kamakura period). According to "Meigetsuki" (Chronicle of the Bright Moon), to facilitate the suppression of the rebellion, he was appointed to chigyo-kokushu (provincial proprietor) of Iga Province by Emperor Gotoba, and received an unexceptional treatment for a gokenin. Afterwards, he became tenjobito (a high-ranking courtier allowed into the Imperial Palace) of In (the retired Emperor), proving useful to Gotobain (the Retired Emperor Gotoba).

In November 1204, he took charge of negotiations with the Imperial Court and the Imperial nobles, to receive the Midaidokoro (shogun or minister's wife) of the third Shogun MINAMOTO no Sanetomo from Kyoto. In that occasion, Tomomasa had a discussion with a gokenin of Musashi Province, Shigeyasu HATAKEYAMA, who was staying in Kyoto to receive the Midaidokoro. At that instance, their conflict was calmed down by the intercession of the people around them, but in June 1205, the Shigetada HATAKEYAMA War broke out, triggered by this discussion between Shigeyasu and Tomomasa, and Shigetada HATAKEYAMA and Shigeyasu HATAKEYAMA, father and son, were subdued as they were suspected to be conceiving an uprising. According to "Azumakagami" (The Mirror of the East), this happened because Tomomasa reached out to his wife's mother Maki no kata (Lady Maki), Tokimasa HOJO's wife, about the conflict with Shigeyasu, and Maki no kata gave her husband Tokimasa a slanderous information against Shigeyasu. The Hatakeyama clan (whose original family name was Taira) was the most powerful gokenin in Musashi Province, and had a close relationship with Tomomasa who was the kokushi of Musashi Province. Tomomasa's father in law, Tokimasa HOJO, was gripping the real power in the bakufu, and exercised the administrative authority over Musashi Province as Tomomasa's guardian, while he was in Kyoto, and therefore, Tokimasa had a conflict with Shigetada HATAKEYAMA, who was the head of the Musashi samurai (warrior) corps.

It is supposed that Tokimasa made the father and son of the Hatakeyama family culpable as traitors to get rid of them, and although his sons, Yoshitoki and Tokifusa HOJO were opposed to their father when Tokimasa ordered the subjugation of the Hatakeyama family, finally they followed his orders. According to "Azumakagami," since this incident, the conflict of Tokimasa versus Yoshitoki and Masako HOJO became irreversible. It can be thought that behind this, there was an internal conflict of the Hojo family between the son of Tokimasa's ex-wife (Yoshitoki) and Tokimasa, who supported the son-in-law of his second wife (Tomomasa), and the discord between the Hatakeyama clan and the Hojo clan over the dominance of Musashi Province, which was an powerful province adjacent to Kamakura.

In July of the same year, Tokimasa failed to back up Tomomasa as a new Kamakura-dono (lord of Kamakura) by deposing MINAMOTO no Sanetomo, and this failure brought about his downfall (Makishi Incident). On September 23, 1205 (in some theories, on September 18), Tomomasa was killed in Heian-Kyo (present Kyoto City) by Michimoto YAMAUCHISUDO (Tsunetoshi's son) under an order from Yoshitoki HOJO, who at that time, had already gripped the real power of the bakufu.