The Kinketsu Incident (禁闕の変)

The Kinketsu Incident was an attack on Emperor Gohanazono's Inner Court in Kyoto that occurred in September 1443 (Muromachi period). Forces thought to be belonging to Gonancho (Second Southern Court), a movement calling for the restoration of the Yoshino Imperial Court (Nancho, the Southern Court), invaded the Imperial Palace, stole some of the Three Sacred Treasures and escaped to Mt. Hiei.

Kinketsu' means the inner court of the Imperial Palace (Old Imperial Palace in Kyoto). It is also referred to as the 'Kakitsu Incident,' but to avoid confusion with the assassination of the 6th shogun, Yoshinori ASHIKAGA in 1441 (Kakitsu Rebellion), the term, 'Kinketsu Incident' is used.


In 1336, in the period of the Northern and Southern Courts (Japan), the Nancho (Southern Court) started by Emperor Godaigo was alleviated in the Meitoku no wadan (peace negotiations between Nancho and Hokucho) during the time of the third shogun, Yoshimitsu ASHIKAGA in 1392.

However, Gonancho forces that supported descendants of the Southern Court appeared throughout the Muromachi period and associated with anti-bakufu forces. On the other hand, the direct line from Emperor Gokomatsu ended and Emperor Gohanazono was invited by the Fushiminomiya family to continue the former Jimyoin line side. Additionally, the Muromachi bakufu was in disorder because of the Kakitsu Rebellion and this incident occurred between the time after Yoshinori ASHIKAGA died in in July 1443, and Yoshimasa ASHIKAGA became the 8th shogun.

According to diaries written at that time such as the "Kanomon Nikki (Diary)" written by Emperor Hanazono's biological father, Gosukoin, the incident occurred on September 24 and the main people behind the incident were the Kinzosu and Tsuzosu brothers who were thought to be descendants of the Southern Court Emperor Gokameyama or his brother, MINAMOTO no Takahide, who claimed to be a descendant of the Retired Emperor Gotoba (Kamakura period) and Arimitsu HINO and Sukemitsu HINO, who came from a branch line of the Hino clan.

The group attacked and set fire to the Inner Imperial Court and Emperor Gohanazono was evacuated to the house of the Sadaijn (minister of the left), Tadatsugu KONOE. They also fought with the bakufu forces. The group stole the sword and shinji (jewels) of the Three Sacred Treasures, and following the precedence of Emperor Godaigo, they escaped to Mt. Hiei and sealed themselves in the Konponchudo (the main hall of Hieizan Enryaku-ji Temple). A few days after an order to attack the group was issued by the Imperial Court, the group was suppressed by bakufu forces, and Kinzosu and Arimitsu HINO ended up being killed and some monks being arrested and executed or exiled, and others disappeared.

Among the Three Sacred Treasures that were stolen, the sword was discovered at Kiyomizu-dera Temple, but the shinji were not found until 15 years later in 1457, when remaining followers of the Akamatsu clan, who had become impoverished during the Kakitsu Incident, recovered the shinji after a great battle during the Choroku Incident, and they were returned to the Northern Court the next year.

This incident intrigued the bakufu, and there are records remaining that held the Tamana clan and Hosokawa clan under suspicion of being associated with this incident.

[Original Japanese]