Gojo Yorimoto (五条頼元)
Yorimoto GOJO (1290 - June, 1367) was a Court noble during the period of the Northern and Southern Courts (Japan). He served the seisei shogun (literally, "great general who subdues the western barbarians") Imperial Prince Kanenaga of the Southern Court and helped the prosperity of the Southern Court in Kyushu region during the period.
He was born as the second son of Daigeki (Senior secretary of the Council of State) KIYOHARA no Yoshie (清原良枝). He gained experience as a clerical Court noble and was appointed to Daigeki during the Kenmu Restoration. At that time, it seems that his clerical ability was evaluated and he successively worked as an official in in major positions of the Restoration including Zasso-Ketsudansho (agency of Kenmu government filing lawsuits), Kirokujo (Land Record Office), and Onshokata (office - desk work for Onsho awards) and was finally promoted to Kageyushi (Board of Discharge Examiners).
When the Restoration ended in 1336, he remained on the side of Emperor Kogen in the Northern Court and became a worker at the Fumidono (the retired emperor's Documents Bureau). In October 1338, however, he accompanied Imperial Prince Kanenaga as Shonagon (lesser councilor of state) and left Yoshino. It is thought that he went over to the Southern Court side.
Imperial Prince Kanenaga is thought to have been under 10 years old then, and most ryoji (orders issued by princes, empresses, etc.) to warriors in Kyushu and Setouchi on the way seem to have been issued by Yorimoto. As well as conciliation of the warriors, education of Imperial Prince Kanenaga as seisei shogun was also done under the supervision of Yorimoto. While warriors and powerful Court Nobles of the Southern Court often accompanied Prince Godaigo when he went to the provinces, Imperial Prince Kanenaga was accompanied by low-ranking governmental officials responsible for practical works including Yorimoto when he went to the provinces. As ryoji was the only way of calling out forces, Yorimoto actively continued issuing ryoji after landing in Kyushu during 1342. Yorimoto was not the dedicant of all of them, but he was the dedicant of the most ryoji, more than 150 that exist today, and it is appropriate to say he was a person of merit who realized the era of Imperial Prince Kanenaga's conquering of Kyushu.
In 1361, Imperial Prince Kanenaga finally entered Dazaifu, the center of Kyushu, and forced the power of the Northern Court into a corner of north Kyushu and succeeded to virtually place Kyushu under his rule. This status continued while Yorimoto was alive. He resigned around 1365 and died two years later, while Imperial Prince Kanenaga's Kyushu regime was still in good condition. During this time, he built close diplomatic relations with Ming, which expected a crackdown of wako (Japanese pirates) and finally made them acknowledge Imperial Prince Kanenaga as the King of Japan.