Miura Yoshiaki (三浦義明)

Yoshiaki MIURA was a military commander who lived toward the end of the Heian period. He was an official of the local government of the Sagami Province. His original surname was Taira. The ancestor of his family is TAIRA no Yoshifumi who was Kanmu-Heishi (Taira clan); and the family line was the Miura clan, one of the Bando Hachi Heishi (the Eight Taira clans of the East). He was a son of Yoshitsugu MIURA, the Assistant Governor of the Sagami Province.

Biography

He established his headquarters in Miuraso Kinugasa in Sagami Province (present Yokosuka City, Kanagawa Prefecture), called himself Miura clan and also used the name of Miura no suke which was a hereditary official position and he attended to state affairs between 1124 and 1126, during which he extended his influence to the entire Miura Peninsula. He was blessed with many children. He was a brother-in-law of Sohei NAKAMURA.

It is said that the eldest son Yoshimune SUGIMOTO became the founder of Wada clan; the second son Yoshizumi MIURA became the inheritor of Yoshiaki and one of his daughters became a concubine of MINAMOTO no Yoshitomo, who extended his influence to the East. Among his activities the thing that was especially conspicuous was that he helped Yoshitomo with his strong support when Yoshitomo tried to establish hegemony over the Sagami Province; it is said that Yoshiaki supported MINAMOTO no Yoshihira, the son of Yoshitomo, logistically when Yoshihira fought with his uncle MINAMOTO no Yoshikata in the Battle of Okura in 1155 (according to a theory, the mother of Yoshihira was the daughter of Yoshiaki).

Yoshiaki and his family left the Kinugasa-jo Castle, in which he resided, to join MINAMOTO no Yoritomo, when Yoritomo, the bereaved child of Yoshitomo, raised his army in 1180. However, on his way he heard that Yoritomo was defeated in the Battle of Ishibashiyama and he returned and stayed in the Kinugasa-jo Castle. Before long the Kinugasa-jo Castle was attacked by Shigetada HATAKEYAMA who participated in the enemy side and all the members of the Yoshiaki's family and the retainers fought hard. However, ultimately he fought to the limits of his strength, and after having Yoshizumi and all other family members flee to the Awa Province, he alone protected the castle and was killed in action. His age at death was 89.

By the way, mother of the enemy general Shigetada was a daughter of Yoshiaki; thus Shigetada was Yoshiaki's sotomago (a grandchild from a daughter married into another family). It is said that for this reason, he did not really want to attack the Kinugasa-jo Castle; however, as his father Shigeyoshi HATAKEYAMA stayed in Kyoto as Obanyaku (the job in charge of guarding Kyoto), there was nothing he could do except to fight as a person on the side of the Taira clan.