Prince Mochihito (以仁王)

Prince Mochihito (1151 - June 20, 1180) was one of the Imperial family members during the end of the Heian period. He was called Takakuranomiya since his Palace was located at Sanjo Takakura. He was the third Prince of Emperor Goshirakawa, but it was decided that he be the second Prince in "The Tale of the Taira Clan," since his older brother, monk-Imperial Prince Shukaku went into the priesthood. His older sister was Imperial Princess Shikishi (Shokushi) who was a famous poet. His mother was Kan in Ryu FUJIWARA no Suenari's daughter, FUJIWARA no Nariko (Seishi, Shigeko). He had the right to become Imperial Prince since he was the son of the Emperor, however he did not receive a title to become Prince by the Imperial Palace due to the Taira family politically pressuring him. Later he was adopted by Hachijoin. He did not have a close relationship with TAIRA no Shigeko, who was Emperor Takakura's birth mother as well as TAIRA no Kiyomori's wife, TAIRA no Tokiko's younger sister, also, he was not close to his father, Emperor Goshirakawa.

He had many talents since his childhood, he was good at studying, a talented poet, and good at doing calligraphy, playing the pipe (or flute).

In April 1180, he issued an order in conspiracy with MINAMOTO no Yorimasa, called 'Ryoji' and sent a message to the Minamoto clan who bide their time all over Japan, to encourage the raising of an army or an armed uprising to overthrow the Taira family. However it was found out by the Taira family, the opposition was killed by them while Minamoto clan was escaping on the way to Nara. Although the Prince Mochihito's plan to overthrow the Taira clan was not successful, some Minamoto clan raised the army from some parts of Japan after receiving the Prince's order, for example; MINAMOTO no Yoritomo and MINAMOTO no Yoshinaka, and this lead to destruction of the TAIRA clan.

After Prince Mochihito was killed in this battle, the TAIRA no Kiyomori were concerned with having a bad reputation from killing a member of the Imperial family, Kiyomori made a plan and the Prince was given the name of the Genji clan compulsory after he died, and was called 'MINAMOTO no Mochimitsu.'
However this caused a rumor to spread about the 'Prince still being alive,' and it proved the practicality of Ryoji contrary to expectations.

The Imperial mausoleum

Prince Mochihito is enshrined in Takakura-jinja Shrine in Kizugawa City, Kyoto Prefecture, there is a Mausoleum which is said to be Prince Mochihito's within grounds of the shrine. In later years it is said the Prince was enshrined in the grounds of the Shrine by the local people.

There is a mound called the cemetery of Jomyo TSUTSUI near Takakura-jinja Shrine, this mound is also under the supervision of the Imperial Household Agency together with the Mausoleum, as Prince Mochihito's Baicho (small ancient tomb accompanying a larger tomb).

The legend

There is a legend in Nagaoka City, Niigata Prefecture (the former Oguni-machi Town), that Prince Mochihito went to Oguni-kyo Village, Echigo Province when escaping from the Taira family and lived there.

There is another legend that Prince Mochihito stayed in Ouchi juku in Shimogo-machi, Minami Aizu-gun, Fukushima Prefecture. The Takakura-jinja Shrine, where Prince Mochihito was enshrined still exists.

[Original Japanese]