Shionoya Tomonari (塩谷朝業)

Tomonari SHIONOYA was a shogun's retainer from the the end of Heian period to the early Kamakura period. He was a child of Naritsuna UTSUNOMIYA. His mother was a daughter of TAIRA no Nagamori (Shin-in means Emperor Sutoku), the eldest child of TAIRA no Tadamasa. Combining the first kanji from his foster father's first name (朝) with the first kanji from his biological father's first name (業), he took the name Tomonari (朝業) for himself. Though his birth was in the the Shimotsuke-Utsunomiya clan, since Tomoyoshi SHIONOYA, the family head of the Shionoya clan which was in the line of Seiwa-Genji of the day, was childless, he became the adopted son of Tomoyoshi and succeeded to Shionoya clan's family name. According to his genealogy, his sons were Chikatomo SHIONOYA, Tokitomo KASAMA and Tomosada SHIONOYA who became a priest and disciple under Shinran at age of 26 (Kenkai Hizen Priest), and there were 2 daughters (the second child and the fourth child) between three boys.

Brief Personal History

His father was Naritsuna UTSUNOMIYA who was the fourth family head of Soke (the head family) of the Utsunomiya clan, and his mother was the granddaughter of TAIRA no Tadamasa. As a propping up of the ruling basis of Shioya-gun County, he succeeded to the SHIONOYA clan as an adopted son of Tomoyoshi SHIONOYA, who did not have a successor.

He was born on January 24, 1174, and his father Naritsuna died young in 1192. Two years later, in May, 1194, his grandfather Tomotsuna UTSUNOMIYA was sued by Yukifusa NORO who was the governor of Shimotsuke Province about the embezzlement of the public rice field, and in July of the same year, Tomonari was also accused of complicity and was exiled to the provincial capital of Suo Province. At this time, his grandfather Tomotsuna was exiled to Tosa Province and his elder brother Yoritsuna UTSUNOMIYA was exiled to Bungo Province. Probably MINAMOTO no Yoritomo did them a favor, they were pardoned soon and returned home. Another theory said that he actually did not go to the Suo Province.

It is unknown when Tomonari became an adopted son of the Shionoya clan and succeeded to the family name. However, from 1199 to about 1204, Tomonari fortified a mountain castle to replace the Gozenbara-jo Castle, a Hirajiro (a castle built on flatland), which was a castle of a daimyo (feudal lord) of Shionoya clan of the time and named it Kawasaki Castle, so it is considered that he had already succeeded to Shionoya clan at that time.

Thus, at the same time that Tomonari constructed Utsunomiya clan's defense base in Shionoya-gun County, he served and became a waka reciting partner of MINAMOTO no Sanetomo, who became the third Shogun in 1203. According to "Azuma Kagami" (The Mirror of the East), on March 12, 1212, Sanetomo took off a branch of plum blossoms and delivered it to Tomonari without disclosing the sender but Tomonari immediately figured it out that it was the act of Sanetomo, and made a poem of gratitude: "Gladness and the fragrance are filling my sleeves too much. The first flower of the plum tree was taken off for my sake" and sent him back. Tomonari and Sanetomo were on very intimate terms exceeding their ranks, and on February 20, 1219 when a Sanetomo was assassinated by Kugyo, Tomonari returned to Shionoya to become a priest titled Shinsho and renounced the world. He spent his latter half life as mainly a poet and wrote "Diary of Priest Shinsho." With his elder brother Priest Yoritsuna Nyudo Rensho, he created the Utsunomiya world of tanka poetry. Moreover, he revered the high priest Honen, and studied under his student Shoku. He lived as a writer and a religious person in the capital.

January 24, 1174

Tomonari (childhood name Takechiyo) was born as the second son of Naritsuna UTSUNOMIYA.


On February 24, his father Naritsuna UTSUNOMIYA died young (37 years old).

June 17, 1194

His grandfather Tomotsuna UTSUNOMIYA was sued by Yukifusa NORO, the governor of Shimotsuke Province, about looting and possession of a public field of over 99 hectares, and he became exiled to Suo Province.
Azuma Kagami (The Mirror of the East)


Around this time, the fortification of the Kawasaki Castle began.


Around this time, MINAMOTO no Sanetomo became the third Shogun, and Tomonari became a waka reciting partner of Sanetomo.


By around this time, the Kawasaki Castle had been completed, and he made the Kawasaki Castle a castle of a daimyo (feudal lord).

March 12, 1212

As a gratitude to Sanetomo's sending a branch of plum flower, he made a poem: "Gladness and the fragrance are filling my sleeves too much. The first flower of the plum tree was taken off for my sake".
Azuma Kagami (The Mirror of the East)

October 12, 1213

Because the general imperial palace was burnt down by Battle of WADA, a new imperial palace was built and they moved there. He attended as one of the people in the procession for receiving the envoy from the capital to the new imperial palace.
Azuma Kagami (The Mirror of the East)

September 9, 1214

Since there was a memorial service for the dead in Shin mi-do Hall of Kamakura Okura's Daiji-ji Temple, he followed Sanetomo as one of his accompanied soldiers.
Azuma Kagami (The Mirror of the East) (His wife died in about the same year.)

July 27, 1218

In order to offer his congratulations to Sanetomo who assumed the position of Udaisho (Major Captain of the Right Division of Inner Palace Guards), he attended the procession to Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu Shrine as one of the guards.
Azuma Kagami (The Mirror of the East)

February 20, 1219

In order to offer his congratulations to Sanetomo who assumed the position of Udaijin (minister of the right), he attended the procession to Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu Shrine. Attacked by Ajari (a master in esoteric Buddhism) Kugyo, Sanetomo died.
Azuma Kagami (The Mirror of the East)


Because of the teachings of the High Priest Shoku, who was a successor of Honen, he became a priest and introduced himself Shinsho.


On February 10, he descended along Tokai-do Road for ascetic practices. On February 29, arrived at Kamakura. On March 4, he obtained Masako HOJO's permission and held a Buddhist invocation service of prayer to Sanetomo in Jibutsu-do Hall.


The twelfth anniversary of his wife's death
Around this time, he returned to the Kawasaki Castle.


He died during his visit to Kyoto. His body was cremated. He passed away at the age of 75.
Choko Shinsho Daizen Jomon