Offense and Defense in Omi Province (近江攻防)

The offense and defense in Omi Province were a series of battles between Omi-Genji (the Minamoto clan) and Onjo-ji Temple's armed priests versus Heike (the Taira family) during the Jisho-Juei War.


After Heike was defeated in the Battle of Fujigawa in October, 1180, Genji in the Owari Province and the Mino Province rose in revolt on November 17 of the same year ("Gyokuyo"[Diary of FUJIWARA no Kanezane]). Afterwards, Yoshitsune YAMAMOTO and Yoshikane KASHIWAGI brothers raised an army on November 20. The uprising Omi-Genji occupied Lake Biwa that was the main artery for distributing goods between the Hokuriku Region and Heian-kyo (the ancient capital of Japan in current Kyoto) and seized nengu (land tax) on the way from the Hokuriku Region to Heian-kyo.
The armed priests of Onjo-ji Temple also allied with Omi-Genji and the allied forces' power was strong enough to occupy Heian-kyo at one time
It is assumed that Omi-Genji was in contact with Kai-Genji in Togoku (the eastern part of Japan, particularly Kanto region), as "Gyokuyo" described that Omi-Genji was probably contacting Nobuyoshi TAKEDA. It is also written in "Gyokuyo" that Zaichokanjin (local district officials) in the Wakasa Province was likely in support of the uprising, so the sign of the Hokuriku's uprisings to increase was recognized.

Meanwhile, Heike went on the counteroffensive by raising the uprising power in the Kinai region (the five capital provinces surrounding the ancient capitals of Nara and Kyoto). The Imperial Court decided to change the capital which had been located in Fukuhara-kyo to Heian-kyo on November 21. TAIRA no Kiyomori returned to Heian-kyo on the 26th. Then, Emperor Takakura issued inzen (a decree from the retired Emperor) which declared the hunting down and killing of the rebels against Omi Temple's troops. TAIRA no Ietsugu, Heike's Kenin (a retainer), started an attack against Omi Genji on December 1 and TAIRA no Tomonori headed for the battle for an additional attack on 2nd. Tomomori and others defeated Omi-Genji in the battle that took place on 6th. Many soldiers defeated in this battle fled to the Mino Province and kept up the resistance. Heike attacked the armed priests who agreed to support the rebel troops in Onjo-ji Temple; as a result, a part of Onjo-ji Temple blazed up.

On December 24 Yoshitsune YAMAMOTO, who kept up the resistance in the Omi Province and shut himself up in Mabuchi-jo Castle, was finally forced to flee ("Gyokuyo"). However, it is confirmed that Yoshitsune YAMAMOTO kept up the resistance and shut himself up in Yamamoto-jo Castle around December 24 ("Gyokuyo"). Afterwards, Yoshitsune YAMAMOTO accompanied MINAMOTO no Yoshinaka's army to attack Heian-kyo in 1183.

The offense and defense in the Omi Province came near the end in December; the revel activity gained momentum in Nara and Genji in the Owari and Mino Provinces kept up the rebellion until next year.

[Original Japanese]