Makishi Incident (牧氏事件)

The Makishi Incident refers to a coup that took place in the Kamakura bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) in August, 1205 in the early Kamakura period.


After Yoritomo's death in 1199, his successor, MINAMOTO no Yoriie, who was young, tried to start managing the government with his close adviser group, shutting away the gokenin (shogunal retainers of the Kamakura bakufu) to whom Yoritomo had given important posts, such as the Hojo clan and the Kajiwara clan. Consequently, a council system, consisting of senior vassals, was established in the bakufu in order to control shogun's dictatorship. This gave an opportunity to make shogun, so to speak, leaders in name only, and start struggles of gokenin for power.

Under these circumstances, Tokimasa HOJO, who was the father of Masako HOJO, Yoritomo's wife, markedly strengthen the standing of the Hojo clan by destroying Kagetoki KAJIWARA, a senior vassal, and the family of Yoshikazu HIKI, Yoriie's maternal relative. And, eventually, he uncrowned Yoriie, backed up his younger brother, MINAMOTO no Sanetomo, as a new shogun, and assumed the post of regent. And, later he killed Yoriie.

Incidentally, Tokimasa had the second wife, Maki no kata (Lady Maki). It is said this lady called Maki no kata schemed most of Tokimasa's conspiracies after the death of Yoritomo. She had unusually strong lust for the reins of power. Tokimasa HOJO's next target after overthrowing senior vassals, the Kajiwara and Hiki clans was Shigetada HATAKEYAMA who had strong power in Musashi Province. Shigetada was originally TAIRA no Kiyomori's vassal. When Yoritomo rose up in arms, Shigetada followed the Taira clan, and drove Yoritomo into the corner by killing Yoshiaki MIURA. Later, he surrendered to Yoritomo, and distinguished himself in battle by hunting down and killing MINAMOTO no Yoshinaka, fighting the Battle of Ichinotani, fighting against the Oshu-Fujiwara clan, hunting down and destroying the Hiki clan, and so on. Shigetada, who won popularity because of his strong and honest personality, became the greatest hindrance for Tokimasa. At that time, Shigetada's son, Shigeyasu HATAKEYAMA, was opposed to Tomomasa HIRAGA, the husband of Tokimasa and Maki no kata's daughter.

In 1205, the confrontation between Shigeyasu and Tomomasa gave an opportunity for Tokimasa to plan the overthrow of the Hatakeyama clan. At that time, Tokimasa's son, Yoshitoki HOJO, maintaining friendly relationship with Shigetada, felt antipathy toward his father who urged the rejection of the Hatakeyama clan too agressively (from "Azuma Kagami" [The Mirror of the East]). However, he could not act counter to his father's order, and destroyed the family of Shigetada HATAKEYAMA in Futamatagawa, Musashi Province. However, killing through the hard-line tactics Shigetada who was respected caused antipathy to Tokimasa and Maki no kata (the War of Shigetada HATAKEYAMA).

Makishi Incident

In August in the same year, Tokimasa and Maki no kata attempted to uncrown Sanetomo, and back up Tomomasa HIRAGA as a new shogun. Tokimasa and Maki no kata's action like this to take hold of the government was so aggressive that it provoked antipathy of Masako HOJO, Yoshitoki HOJO, and others in the family.

On September 12, eventually Masako and Yoshitoki worked together to get rid of Tokimasa from the post of regent, and forced him and Maki no kata to enter the priesthood. Later, Yoshitoki imprisoned the two in Izu Province.

Later History and Influence

Tokimasa and Maki no kata never returned to the political arena since then, and died. And, Tomomasa HIRAGA was killed immediately after the incident. Then, Yoshitoki assumed the office of the second regency from the Hojo clan, and under Yoshitoki's control, the Hojo clan secured its place in the bakufu.

However, this was the beginning of internal conflicts for shikken no shiki (post of regent) which later happened inside the Hojo clan.

[Original Japanese]