Shigetada HATAKEYAMA Rebellion (畠山重忠の乱)

The Shigetada HATAKEYAMA Rebellion was the rebellion in which Shigetada HATAKEYAMA was killed in an attack by a large army, planned by Tokimasa HOJO and executed by Yoshitoki HOJO; it took place at the Futamata-gawa River in the Musashi Province (present-day Asahi Ward and Hodogaya Ward, Yokohama City) on July 17, 1205 in the early Kamakura period. It was one of the expulsions of senior vassals carried out by the HOJO clan in times of political strife in the Kamakura bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun).


After the death of MINAMOTO no Yoritomo, the founder of the Kamakura bakufu, political strife over authority within the bakufu continued to happen, resulting in the deaths of political leaders in such cases as the Kagetoki Kajiwara Incident (1200) and the Conspiracy of Yoshikazu HIKI (1203), and it was in fact Tokimasa HOJO who had political authority over 14 year-old MINAMOTO no Sanetomo, the third shogun of the Kamakura bakufu.

Shigetada HATAKEYAMA, (acting) provincial governor who controlled samurai groups in the Musashi Province, which the Chichibu clan used to do for generations, was a senior vassal who had significant courage and confidence to be in charge of every battle that happened during the Yoritomo shogunate and was asked to protect Yoritomo's grandchildren in Yoritomo's will. He, a son-in-law of Tokimasa's first wife, was on HOJO's side during the Kagetoki Kajiwara Incident and the Conspiracy of Yoshikazu HIKI.

The Musashi Province was one of the provincial territories that belonged to the Kamakura Bakufu where kokushi (provincial governors) were nominated by the shogun; many samurai groups existed there and it was strategically one of the most important locations for the defense of Kamakura. In November 1203, when Tomomasa HIRAGA, the kokushi of Musashi Province and the son-in-law of Tokimasa's second wife, went to the capital (Kyoto) as the military governor of Kyoto, Tokimasa came to hold executive power of the Musashi no Kokuga (local government of Musashi) as ordered by the shogun Sanetomo.

Conflicts between Tomomasa HIRAGA and Shigeyasu

On December 3, 1204, a party was held at Tomomasa HIRAGA's residence for gokenin (immediate vassals of the shogunate in the Kamakura and Muromachi through Edo periods) who came to Kyoto to welcome Shogun Sanetomo's wife, a daughter of Nobukiyo Bomon. At the party, Tomomasa and Shigeyasu HATAKEYAMA, a legitimate child of Shigetada, had an argument that others present managed to calm down; however it later led to a serious dispute. On December 4, 1204, Masanori HOJO, a son of Tokimasa HOJO and his second wife Maki no Kata who came to Kyoto with Shigeyasu, died of a sudden illness. The news of Masanori's burial and the conflict between Shigetaka and Tomomasa reached Kamakura at the same time.

Having sensed a state of political turbulence in Kamakura, gokenin started gathering there on May 8, 1205; Shigenari INAGE, a senior samurai who had retired to his own territory in Musashi Province, came to Kamakura with his retainers, having been called by his father in law Tokimasa. Although a rumor that something might happen spread, confusion was cleared and most of the gokenin left for home on May 30.

On July 16, Tomomasa made a false charge against Shigetada to Maki no kata claiming that Shigetada had slandered Tomomasa; she claimed to Tokimasa that it was a sign of rebellion by Shigetada and his son Shigeyasu. Tomomasa was a son in law of Maki no kata, and Shigeyasu was a grandchild of Tokimasa's first wife. When Tokimasa HOJO consulted with his sons Yoshitoki and Tokifusa about whether or not Shigetada should be subdued, they declined to do so as they believed that Shigetada was faithful enough not to rebel against them; however, it is said that Yoshitoki ended up agreeing with the idea when Maki no kata's older brother Tokichika Ooka put pressure on him by claiming that he was planning a rebellion since Maki no kata was his mother in law.

In the early morning of July 17, great turmoil broke out in Kamakura and military soldiers rushed to Yuigahama to put down the rebellion. When Shigeyasu, who was staying in Kamakura after having been invited by INAGE no Nyudo from the Chichibu clan, rushed to Yuigahama with his three vassals, Yoshimura MIURA, under orders from Tokimasa, made Taro Sakuma and others surround Shigeyasu. Shigeyasu, who realized that he was seen as a rebel, tried in vain to fight back against them but he and his vassals were killed.

The battle of Futamata-gawa River

On July 14, 1205, Shigetada heard about an uprising in Kamakura and left Sugaya-yakata castle for Kamakura; on July 17, he encountered enemy forces at Futamata-gawa river. Shigetada had an army of only 130 - 140 cavalry soldiers including his son Shigehide HATAKEYAMA, one of his vassals Chikatsune HONDA, and his wet nurse's husband Shigekiyo HANZAWA; his younger brothers Shigekiyo NAGANO and Shigemune HATAKEYAMA had gone to Shinano Province and Oshu respectively. Having realized at the river that Shigeyasu was killed in the morning and that an army had been sent to attack him, he chose to stand and fight the army as a samurai, rather than retreat to the castle. He was attacked by an army led by Yoshitoki HOJO, and after four hours of battle he was shot by Suetaka AIKO's arrow and beheaded (he was 42 years old). When Shigehide and Shigetada's vassals heard the news about Shigetada's death, they killed themselves (Shigehide was 23 years old). In "Gukansho" (Jottings of a Fool), it is said that Shigetada committed suicide.

Around two o'clock on the afternoon on July 18, Yoshitoki, who came back to Kamakura with his army, was asked about the battle by Tokimasa; he told him that the attempted rebellion against Tokimasa was just a rumor, and that he was innocent, as his army was small, due to the fact that his family had gone away. He expressed his regret for what he had done when he looked at Shigetada's dismembered head. Having seen this, Tokimasa said nothing but left. In the evening, the ringleaders of the entrapment of Shigetada, i.e. Shigenari INAGE and his son and Shigetomo HANGAYA and his son, who were part of Shigetada's family and were part of the army in Kamakura, were killed by Yoshimura MIURA and his entourage.

Due to this incident, Tokimasa lost his position and was banished from Kamakura along with Maki no kata under the orders of his son, Yoshitoki and his daughter Masako HOJO; on September 12, Tomomasa HIRAGA, who was in Kyoto, was killed under Yoshitoki's orders (Makishi Incident). Shigetada's wife, a daughter of Tokimasa, was approved to inherit the Hatakeyama clan's territories, however, when she married Yoshizumi ASHIKAGA and he became head of the Hatakeyama clan, the Hatakeyama clan, as a branch of the Taira clan, came to an end. Yoshitoki's younger brother Tokifusa became shugo (provincial constable) and kokushi (provincial governor) of Musashi Province.

What lay behind the rebellion

Musashi Province, one of the major shogun chigyo-koku (provincial fiefdom) as well as Sagami Province, were governed during the period of MINAMOTO no Yoritomo by Yoshinobu HIRAGA, a descendant of the Minamoto clan; Shigeyori KAWAGOE held a position as (acting) provincial governor as the heir of the Chichibu clan. Musashi province was governed by the relatives of MINAMOTO no Yoritomo; Shigeyori KAWAGOE's wife was the second daughter of Yoritomo's wet nurse Hikinoama; Yoshinobu HIRAGA's wife was the third daughter of Hikinoama; the head of the Hiki clan who was gunji (district official) of Musashi province was succeeded by Hikinoama's nephew Yoshikazu Hiki.

After Shigeyori KAWAGOE was executed following being implicated in MINAMOTO no Yoshitsune's rebellion, Shigetada HATAKEYAMA held the position as (acting) provincial governor, and Tomomasa HIRAGA succeeded to the position as provincial governor after his father Yoshinobu HIRAGA.
Having gained Emperor Gotoba's trust and taken advantage of the influence of the retired Emperor, his father in law, Tokimasa, and Maki no kata, Tomomasa exercised power typical of a shogun, holding positions as Kyoto shugo (Kyoto provincial constable) and chigyo-kokushu (provincial proprietor),

In Musashi province, there were many samurai groups such as the Kodamas who were related to the Hiki clan, the powerful local ruling family that died out in the Conspiracy of Yoshikazu HIKI; Tokimasa's attempt to conquer Musashi province after the demise of the Hiki clan meant entering territory controlled by Shigetada as the head of the samurai groups in Musashi, and Tokimasa and Shigetada came to have arguments over the conspiracy.

According to the entry of February 27, 1204 in "Meigetsuki" (Chronicle of the Bright Moon), a rumor that Tokimasa HOJO had lost to Shigetada HATAKEYAMA and fled to the mountains and that Oe no Hiromoto had been killed had already spread; as relatives of Hiromoto panicked and moved out with their belongings, it was clear that there was bad blood between Tokimasa and Shigetada. Behind the rebellion, there was a disagreement between Tokimasa and Tomomasa (provincial governor of Musashi province) and the Hatakeyama clan (acting provincial governors of Musashi province) over rule of the province.

The result of the rebellion

Yoshitoki HOJO managed to avoid the brunt of criticism over the murder of the innocent Shigetada, by deserting his father, Tokimasa, who had supported Tomomasa, Maki no kata's son in law; he also took advantage of a chaotic situation and took control of Musashi province by sweeping Tomomasa, and powerful members of the Chichibu clan including Shigenari INAGE and Shigetomo HANGAYA, from power. Since then, Musashi province was ruled by the Tokuso family of the Hojo clan. Although the Hojo family was well united to eliminate external political enemies such as Kagetoki KAJIWARA and Yoshikazu HIKI, due to the fact that they had no mutual enemies, internal conflicts arose such as the one between the children from his first marriage (Yoshitoki and Masako HOJO) and his second wife, Maki no kata, particularly after the Kamenomae Incident. As Tokimasa was exiled in the Makishi Incident which arose from the HATAKEYAMA Rebellion, the bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) was switched from Tokimasa's autocracy to Yoshitoki and Masako's oligarchic autocracy.

In the compilation "Azuma Kagami" (The Mirror of the East), Kagetoki KAJIWARA was referred to as an evil person, whereas Shigetada was praised in many articles. Although Yoshitoki protected Shigetada at the time of the rebellion, there was no evidence that he looked after Shigetada's children after his death; Shigetada's wife, who was a sister of Yoshitoki and Masako, was approved to inherit Shigetada's territories, however, she married Yoshizumi ASHIKAGA, who then became head of the Hatayama clan, which in fact ended Shigetada's family line. Later, Shigetada's bereaved son, Chokei HATAKEYAMA, who became a priest, was executed in October 1213 on suspicion of planning a rebellion and the 3rd shogun MINAMOTO no Sanetomo said, "Innocent Shigetada died in vain." It is thought that the entries that referred to Yoshitoki's protection of Shigetada and excessive praise of Shigetada in the "Azuma Kagami" were made up to defend the Hojo clan, which had destroyed the hero of the Musashi Province.

Now, a monument to Shigetada HATAKEYAMA is situated near the Sotetsu line's Tsurugamine station in Asahi ward, Yokohama city, where he ended his life.

[Original Japanese]