Murakami-Genji (Minamoto clan) (村上源氏)

Murakami-Genji was a shisei kozoku (member of the Imperial Family conferred with a family name) who was descended from a son of the sixty second Emperor, Murakami. MINAMOTO no Morofusa was a son of the seventh Imperial Prince Tomohira that was adopted by FUJIWARA no Yorimichi; he later became Udaijin (Minister of the Right), and his descendants flourished.


When MINAMOTO no Morofusa was two years old, his father died, so he was raised by his older sister, Princess Takahime. Takahime later became the lawful wife of FUJIWARA no Yorimichi who held the title of Sessho (Regent); however, because FUJIWARA no Yorimichi had no children, he adopted Prince Sukesada and renamed him MINAMOTO no Morofusa, whereupon Prince Sukesada's status was demoted from a member of the Imperial Family to that of a commoner. FUJIWARA no Yorimichi's father, FUJIWARA no Michinaga, also favored Morofusa and made one of his daughters Morufusa's wife; furthermore, Michinaga is believed to have said that if no sons were born to FUJIWARA no Yorimichi he would let Morofusa change his surname to FUJIWARA and become a member of the sekke (line of regents and advisers).
According to a dairy written by FUJIWARA no Yorinaga called "Taiki," strong ties with the sekke meant, 'Even though the descendants of TSUCHIMIKADO, the Ushojo (Udaijin), are of the Minamoto clan, they count as Michinaga's descendants.'
That is, although Morofusa belonged to Murakami-Genji, he was the heir of FUJIWARA no Michinaga.

Even though Morofusa did not succeed to the sekke, many of his descendants became ministers. As maternal relatives, Morofusa's descendants were at the height of their prosperity during the reign of Emperor Horikawa, who was a biological son of MINAMOTO no Akifusa's daughter, FUJIWARA no Kenshi, as can be seen from 'members of the Minamoto clan positioned side by side as the Minister of the Left and the Minister of the Right, as well as the Major Captain of the Left and the Right Divisions of Inner Palace Guards, which has never happened before' ("Chuyuki" (diary of FUJIWARA no Munetada), the article of January 22, 1094) and from 'there are 24 modern-day kugyo (court nobility), of which more than half are from the Minamoto clan, which has never happened before' ("Chuyuki" (diary of FUJIWARA no Munetada), the article of written on August 15, 1102). MINAMOTO no Masazane was the first of the Minamoto clan to become a daijo daijin (grand minister of state). Their power later deteriorated because their status as maternal relatives of the emperor was taken over by the Kanin line of the Fujiwara clan; MINAMOTO no Michichika vied against the Kujo family during the Kamakura period, and served successfully under the cloister governments of the Emperor Goshirakwa and the Emperor Gotoba. He wielded power as the maternal grandfather of Emperor Tsuchimikado.

From the time of MINAMOTO no Michichika's son Michiteru onward, the Minamoto family name was changed to KOGA, and until Yoshimitsu ASHIKAGA became a daijo daijin, the position of head of the Minamoto clan was rotated among the four Seiga families (court noble families whose members were eligible for the position of daijin, or minister) of Koga, Horikawa, Tsuchimikado and Nakanoin; however, the Horikawa and Tsuchimikado families both came to an end during the Muromachi period (the Horikawa and the Tsuchimikado families that have emerged since Japan's Sengoku period are descendants of the Fujiwara and Abe clans, respectively), and the hereditary succession was shared between the Koga and Nakanoin families.

Mention of the Minamoto clan makes many people think of Seiwa-Genji, who were very active as a samurai family; among the society of court nobles, however, Murakami-Genji was considered to hold the highest rank.

The Koga family gave rise to the Nakanoin family, which later became a family of ministers; additionally, it produced a total of ten branch families that were recognized as being Tosho-ke (hereditary court nobles occupying relatively high rank) families, including the Kitabatake and Iwakura families.

Chikafusa KITABATAKE, during the period of Northern and Southern Courts (Japan), and Tomomi IWAKURA, from the end of the Edo period, also belonged to branch families of Murakami-Genji.

Meanwhile, the Akamatsu clan (after Akamatsu of Harima Province) also called themselves the Suefusa line of Murakami-Genji. Furthermore, Nagatoshi NAWA claimed to be of the Masakane line of the Murakami-Genji. Additionally, Sadayoshi OKUHIRA and his son Nobumasa, the lord of Tsukudemura-jo Castle (the Okuhira clan) in Okumikawa, claimed to be of the Mitsunori AKAMATSU line of the Murakami-Genji.

[Original Japanese]