Sasaki Tsunetaka (佐々木経高)

Tsunetaka SASAKI was a busho (Japanese military commander) from the end of the Heian period to the early Kamakura period.

He was born as the second son of Hideyoshi SASAKI, the leader of the Sasaki clan of Uda-Genji (Uda-Gen clan) of Omi Province. Tsunetaka served Yoritomo MINAMOTO since the rise to power of Yoritomo and worked as 'Shugo' (provincial constable) for three provinces. When the Jokyu war occurred after the death of Yoritomo, Tsunetaka fought for the imperial army, was defeated and killed himself.

The Genpei War

Tsunetaka was born as the second son of Hideyoshi SASAKI, the leader of the Sasaki clan of Uda-Genji (Uda-Gen clan). When Yoshitomo MINAMOTO, whom Hideyoshi followed, was defeated in the Heiji War in 1159, Tsunetaka, along with the Sasaki clan, escaped into the Kanto region and served Yoritomo MINAMOTO, who was the third son of Yoshitomo and had been banished to Izu.

When Yoritomo received Prince Mochihito's order and decided to defeat the Taira clan in 1180, Tsunetaka followed him and on the 17th of August, Tsunetaka went to the house of Nobuto TSUTSUMI, who was regarded as a great warrior, to kill him with Kanetaka YAMAKI as his guardian. After shooting the first arrow in the war between Yoritomo and the Taira clan, Tsunetaka fought with his elder brother, Sadatsuna SASAKI, using swords and finally killed Nobuto. On the 20th, he followed Yoritomo to Sagami Province, but they were defeated in the battle of Ishibashiyama. Yoritomo, who escaped into Awa Province and raised his army again against the Taira clan, and defeated them in the battle of Fujigawa on the 20th of October. In the reward-oriented appointment held on the 23rd, Tsunetaka and his brother were approved to have their main domain, Sasakinosho.

Yoritomo's army, after many battles, defeated the Taira clan completely in the battle of Dan-no-ura in 1185 and established their headquarter in Kamakura.

Shugo' (provincial constable) of three provinces

On October 17, 1182, Tsunetaka carried a palanquin for Yoritomo's eldest son, Yoriie, who was only two months old, to Yoritomo's residence from the hut where Yoriie was born, and on June 23, 1183, Tsunetaka had a woman who was blamed for having called herself a nobleman's illegitimate child under his charge in Awa Province. On November 11, 1187, Tsunetaka served as a messenger that gave horses to the Imperial Court, and on November 11, 1190, he followed Yoritomo, who assumed the position of Dainagon (a chief councillor of state), to Iwashimizu Hachimangu Shrine for prayer. On July 26, 1192, Yoritomo, who had assumed the position of 'Seii taishogun' (literally, "great general who subdues the barbarians"), established the Kamakura Bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) and Tsunetaka assumed the position of Nakatsukasanojo (Secretary of Ministry of Central Affairs) some time before September 17, 1192. On September 7, 1193, Tsunetaka was ordered to be a Tonoi (guard) of the Imperial Court, which had deteriorated since the death of Emperor Goshirakawa. When Yoritomo and his family went to the ruins of Eifuku-ji Temple for Kuyo (giving offerings to Buddha, scriptures and priests) on December 26, 1194, to Todai-ji Temple for Kuyo on March 12, 1195, to Misaki of the Miura Peninsula for sightseeing on August 1, 1195, to Mt. Sagami Hinata for prayer on August 8, 1195 and Tennoji for prayer on May 20, 1196, Tsunetaka followed them with his brothers.

After Yoritomo passed away in January 1199, Tsunetaka moved his army to Kyoto from Awaji, Awa and Tosa Provinces on July 9, 1200. The movement of the army made Emperor Gotoba angry, and so Tsunetaka was dismissed from the position of Shugo of the Awaji, Awa, and Tosa Provinces. Tsunetaka, who became a priest in 1202 and called himself Kyoren, had his eldest son, Takashige SASAKI, bring a letter to the Kamakura bakufu; it accounted for the movement of his army and his career, which started with the killing of TAIRA no Kanetaka when Yoritomo first raised his army. Tsunetaka, who was pardoned, went to Kamakura on November 13th, and offered six copies of Hokke-kyo Sutra (the Lotus Sutra) on the anniversary of the month of Yoritomo's death. When he returned to Kyoto on December 3rd, Tsunetaka met Yoriie and one province was given back to Tsunetaka. In the meeting after that, Tsunetaka spoke of unforgettable stories about the time of Yoritomo raising his army and went out wiping his tears, which made Yoshimori WADA and others there shed tears as well.

In October 1203, Tsunetaka received an Imperial order to attack Hieizan believers, who gathered at Mt. Hachioji, Omi Province. Tsunetaka received advice from his younger brother, Takatsuna SASAKI, who had become a priest and stayed in Mt. Koya at that time, and advanced his army with his younger brother, Moritsuna, and his nephew, Shigetsuna (the eldest son of Takatsuna), and drove off the believers.

Jokyu War

When Emperor Gotoba raised his army in 1221 in the Jokyu War in order to defeat the Bakufu, Tsunetaka joined the imperial army, and although he made plans for the battles, the imperial army was defeated in the battle of Uji-gawa River. On June 16th, a messenger from Yasutoki HOJO came to Tsunetaka in Washio and recommended that he surrender. Regarding it as a recommendation that he kill himself, Tsunetaka hurt himself seriously, had himself carried on a palanquin to Rokuhara and met Yasutoki as he was about to die. When Yasutoki told Tsunetaka that he did not intend to have Tsunetaka kill himself, Tsunetaka opened his eyes widely, uttered some sound in a pleasant way, and passed away.

[Original Japanese]