Hogen Monogatari (The Tale of Hogen) (保元物語)

"Hogen Monogatari" is a war tale that describes the Hogen Disturbance.


It was written in a mixture of Japanese and Chinese, focusing especially on the Hogen Disturbance of 1156 and also dealing with the circumstances before and after the conflict. Emperor Sutoku was forced to abdicate the throne by Emperor Toba, so Sutoku-in raised an army upon the demise of the Cloistered Emperor Toba. Centering on a struggle for succession to the Imperial Throne between Sutoku-in and Emperor Goshirakawa, it includes accounts of Sutoku's retreat, the following Heiji Disturbance and signs of the Genpei War of the Jisho-Jyuei era. The rivalry between the Sekkan (regent) houses FUJIWARA no Tadamichi versus FUJIWARA no Yorinaga, the rivalry between the Minamoto clans MINAMOTO no Yoshitomo versus MINAMOTO no Tameyoshi, and the rivalry between the Heike families TAIRA no Kiyomori versus TAIRA no Tadamasa are interwoven in the tale. The details differ among the versions of the tale, but each of them features a splendid work of MINAMOTO no Tametomo. Moreover, it shows sympathy for the losers, Sutoku and Yorinaga, including Tametomo's father MINAMOTO no Tameyoshi, and this perspective on the losers can be said to be a theme in this work.

In addition to "Hogen Monogatari," "Heiji Monogatari (The Tale of Heiji)," "Heike Monogatari (The Tale of the Heike)" and "Jokyu Ki (A Record of Jokyu)" are known generically as 'Four Volumes of Battle Story' ("Heike Monogatari Kanbunroku (Report)," which confirms that in the Middle Ages the manner of taking these battles in the periods of Hogen to Jokyu--a period of warriors' uprisings--as a series of incidents had already existed.
This perspective is consistent with the assertion of "Gukansho (essay)," which regards the Hogen Disturbance as the beginning of 'the age of warriors.'
Although a few preceding war tales, such as "Shomon Ki (Tale of Masakado)," had already existed, it could be said to have made a contribution to the development of a new literary genre together with "Heike Monogatari."


Although several names have been mentioned as the author of the work from long ago, the author's true identity remains unknown. The various hypotheses that were made in the early modern times are all considered unreliable: Tokinaga HAMURO's hypothesis ("Daigo Zassho"), 中原師梁 hypothesis ("Reference on tale of Hogen"), Genyu's hypothesis ("Ryoshuku mondo"), Koyu Sojo's hypothesis ("New continuation of Kojidan, an episode on old accounts"), and so on. Among them, 'Ryoshuku mondo' referred to "New continuation of Kojidan," and Genyu and Koyu are considered to be one and the same.

Also, "Ryoshuku mondo' was quoted in "Ansai Zuihitsu (essay)" by Sadatake ISE, but it no longer exists. In the essay, both Hogen and Heiji Monogatari were regarded as the works written during the reign of Emperor Nijo. If it is true, the essay would be the oldest account concerning the tale. However, 'Ryoshuku mondo' states, 'In the periods of Hogen and Heiji, MINAMOTO no Yoshikata has created conflict with Yoshihira,' which implies a tale including the battle of MINAMOTO no Yoshikata and MINAMOTO no Yoshihira in 1155. Because no variant texts mentioning this incident exists, it is quite doubtful whether the 'Hogen and Heiji' in 'Ryoshuku mondo' really refers to the tales of "Hogen" and "Heiji."

Moreover, "Ansai Zuihitsu" was written during the Edo era, and lacks credibility. Above all, Nakaraibon (one of the variant texts) preserving the original form of "Hogen Monogatari" contains an article on an incident that occurred during the Jisho period. Considering that the article appeared after the death of Emperor Nijo, the account in 'Ryoshuku mondo' can't indicate "Hogen Monogatari," even if what was written there is true. Nevertheless, these hypotheses are not taken seriously today. After the war, Sadaichi TAKAHASHI advanced a theory that Tokinaga HAMURO authored the work.

People in recent years tend to assume that it was written by several authors or a group, and hypotheses have been advanced such as the one by Motoo ABE that Yoshimichi HATANO handed some of the tale down; or the one by Tamiki HARAMIZU and Hiroshi SUNAGAWA, which asserts that some people around FUJIWARA no Tadazane and Yorinaga (a father and a son) wrote it.

Because it is mentioned in the following 'The writing process,' this tale and "Heiji Monogatari" are often treated a set of tales. There has for a long time been a hypothesis that the same author wrote both tales, and Tokinaga HAMURO and others as mentioned above have been attributed with the authorship of "Heiji Monogatari." A hypothesis that different authors wrote them was made by Nobuo FUJII and others before the war. The contents of the manuscripts in class 4, a group of variant texts as discussed in 'Variant Texts,' correspond to the contents of "Heiji Monogatari," which leads people to assume that these are works written by the same author. However, Nakaraibon, which seems to preserve the original form of "Hogen Monogatari," bears a similarity to Kotohirabon (one of the variant texts) of "Heiji Monogatari," so there is little correlation between them and it is difficult to consider them as works by the same author. At least, there is no evidence to attribute these two tales to the same author.

The writing process

Little is known in regard to the process in "Hogen Monogatari" was written. As mentioned in the preceding 'Authorship,' the tale contains an account off incidents during the Jisho era, so it is certain that it was written after that time. "Gukansho" mentions the Hogen Disturbance, saying, 'Although I have heard there may be a little something of the sort, I have not been able to see it,' and "Futsu-shodo shu (A Selection of Ordinary Advocates)," completed in 1297, says that 'Tales of Heiji, Hogen and Heike' were told by Biwa-hoshi (a blind minstrel who played the biwa (lute)). Although they are fragmentary, these are the only materials that depict the process of writing.

Based on the account in the former "Gukansho," Yasuaki NAGAZUMI assumed that "Hogen Monogatari" came into existence before "Gukansho" was completed in 1220. However, as the author Jien himself wrote that he had not been able to see it, it is questioned that the account really refers to "Hogen Monogatari." While Hachiro NOMURA advocated a view that the tale would have been completed after 1220 based on the words in "Gukansho," 'I have heard there may be a little something of the sort,' so it seems difficult to know the process of writing "Hogen Monogatari" with this ambiguous record as a clue.

Additionally, in "Gen-Pei Seisuiki (a story of ups and down of Gen-Pei)," a variant of "Heike Monogatari," Kiyomori mentions the 'diaries of Hogen and Heiji.'
Some regard this as the tales of "Hogen" and "Heiji," but there are many opposing opinions. Even though it is conceded that this 'diary' is the same as the tales of "Hogen" and "Heiji," Enkeibon, which preserves the original form of "Heike Monogatari" but doesn't contain the same words, it is questioned whether it really tells the truth about the period when Kiyomori was alive.

In recent years the assertion that it was completed after the Jokyu Disturbance has been advocated by Shigeru YUGE and others, claiming that Nakaraibon, which seems to preserve the original form most among the existent manuscripts of "Hogen Monogatari," quoted a text from "Rokudai Shojiki (a story of the victory of six generations)," which was written in 1223 or 1224.

Anyway, there is no historical record before "Futsu-shodo shu," which leads one to assume the existence of this tale, so it is generally considered that the tale was completed before or after the Jokyo Disturbance; however, no evidence exists to prove it.


A prominent work entitled "Essays in Idleness" mentions that "Heike Monogatari" was told by Biwa-hoshi, but there aren't many records concerning the circulation of "Hogen Monogatari." Except for "Futsu-shodo shu," as mentioned in 'The Writing Process,' there is only an article dated April 16, 1321 (according to the lunar calendar) of "Hanazono-in Shinki" by Emperor Hanazono, which says that 'Heiji, Heike and others' were told by Biwa-hoshi. Although it didn't say "Hogen," it seems likely that the description 'Heiji, Heike and others' includes "Hogen." At least, the tale of Tametomo's heroism would have been well known to everyone from the mid- to late-Kamakura period.

An influence on posterity

The influences exerted on "Heiji Monogatari" and "Heike Monogatari" are most controversial. However, it is difficult to comment on the influences because little is known about the order in which these three tales were completed. However, Kamakurabon and Enkeibon, of "Heike Monogatari," as mentioned in 'Variant Texts,' have nearly identical texts in places, so this confirms the connection between these works. Also, a relationship suggested in the formation of characters such as the wicked Genta-Yoshihira in "Heiji Monogatari" and Tametomo should be noted, but it is not yet certain.

However, Nakaraibon and Kamakurabon of "Hogen," and Enkeibon and Nagatobon of "Heike" have nearly the same texts concerning a vengeful ghost of Sutoku-in, so it seems to be clear that one was modeled after the other. A similar story of Sutoku-in also appears in "Hosshin-shu (A Collection to Promote Religious Awakening)," "Koji-dan (An Episode of Old Accounts)," and "Senshu sho (A Collection of Tales)," and there is a strong possibility that there was a mutual influence among these works, including the oral transmission of tales.

Although it is related to the following 'Relationship to the Historical Facts,' there is a conflict among the biographies of Tameyoshi, Yoshitomo and others in "Sonpi Bunmyaku (Biographies of Nobles and the Humble)" and "Heihan-ki (TAIRA no Nobunori's diary)" (which is a main source of this disturbance); moreover, "Sonpi Bunmyaku" is closer to "Hogen Monogatari." This indicates that the biographies in "Sonpi Bunmyaku" were written according to the tale. Additionally, Tamiki HARAMIZU pointed out that some lines from the tale appear in "Jinno Shoto-roku (A Record of the Authentic Line of Emperors)" and "Hojo-ki (A Record of the Hojo family)" ("Kanto Kassen-ki (A Record of Battles of the Kanto Region)").

Above all, "Chinzei Yumiharizuki," by Bakin KYOKUTEI, is well known for its adaptation from "Hogen Monogatari," and the work was created with emphasis on the episodes of Tametomo.

Contents and plot

As has been mentioned, "Hogen Monogatari" has many versions of manuscript, and its contents and the order of the story vary among them. It is too complicated to organize all these contents and describe each single difference. Therefore, the contents of the tale mentioned here are mainly based on the Nakaraibon line, being the oldest existent manuscript 'Variant texts; Class 1,' which will be introduced later.

Volume 1

The tale starts with a description of the reign of the Cloistered Emperor Toba. It says that the emperor's reign is splendid and it is a wonderful period. However, there are signs of decline in the Emperor's reign. First, his son Emperor Konoe passes away before him. Sutoku, who has already been cloistered, expects his son Prince Shigehito to succeed to the throne, but instead Prince Yon no Miya (Emperor Goshirakawa) takes the throne at the prompting of Bifukumonin. Because of this, Sutoku feels vexation.

Additionally, the Cloistered Emperor Toba submits to fate and passes away as a divine message is received by a shrine maiden. Upon the death of the Cloistered Emperor, Sutoku begins devising a plan by which Shigehito can succeed to the throne, and the minister of the left, FUJIWARA no Yorinaga, who is in conflict with his brother Tadamichi, sides with Sutoku. Both of them begin to gather warriors and warrior-monks who will side with them. During this time, incidents occur one after another and tensions in both camps are heightened, such as when MINAMOTO no Chikaharu is captured by TAIRA no Motomori, who is on the side of Goshirakawa, and the priest Shoson of Miidera Temple is captured, having tried to invoke disaster upon Goshirakawa at the request of Yorinaga.

Both camps begin to gather powerful warriors in preparation for an armed conflict. Those who side with Sutoku are MINAMOTO no Tameyoshi and his sons including Tametomo. Also, people such as TAIRA no Iehiro and TAIRA no Tadamasa come to him. Among them, Tameyoshi refuses to follow the army because of his old age, recommending Tametomo instead of him, but finally he is persuaded by FUJIWARA no Norinaga to join the army. Consequently, Yorinaga, who has been in Uji, returns to Shirakawadono (Shirakawa Palace), where the Emperor resides. To describe this, the tale mentions 紀信の故事.

Meanwhile, MINAMOTO no Yoshitomo, TAIRA no Kiyomori, MINAMOTO no Yoshiyasu and MINAMOTO no Yorimasa gather around Goshirakawa. Of them, Goshirakawa tries to refuse Kiyomori's help because Kiyomori has taken care of Prince Shigehito, but Bifukumonin calls Kiyomori under the pretense that it is the will of the Cloistered Emperor Toba.

A war conference begins on the Sutoku side. Yorinaga asks Tameyoshi's opinion, and Tameyoshi recommends Tametomo. Tametomo suggests that all they can do to ensure their victory is make a night attack, set a fire and take the Emperor away, but Yorinaga treats it as the idea of an inexperienced person. He also concludes that they should wait for the warrior-monks of Kofuku-ji Temple to help them, and opens a war of attrition. Tametomo alone is disappointed to hear this.

The Emperor side also prepares for the war, and Goshirakawa moves to East Sanjo Street from the inner court, taking with him the Three Sacred Treasures of the Imperial Family. He also orders Shinzei to ask for Yoshitomo's opinion. Yoshitomo advises that they should start a war that night and fight a decisive battle at once, and Shinzei accedes to the idea. While the Sutoku side is preparing for war, Yoshitomo and Kiyomori lead their warriors and enclose the Shirakawadono before their enemy starts to move.

Volume 2

Tameyoshi's third son, Yorikata, prevents the Yoshitomo's army from making a sortie, and inflicts damage upon them. Yoshitomo attempts a counterattack, being in the vanguard of the army, but is dissuaded by Masakiyo KAMATA, who is a son of his caretaker.

Meanwhile, Kiyomori attacks the gate that Tametomo is guarding. The vanguard Roku ITO and Koreyuki YAMADA challenge Tametomo, but they are shot by Tametomo's powerful bow. Although Kiyomori's army becomes tired, TAIRA no Shigemori attempts to challenge Tametomo by himself. However, Kiyomori retreats for fear that his army will suffer increased damage.

Additionally, Yoshitomo attacks the gate that Tametomo is guarding, but KAMATA's army is defeated and Yoshitomo himself is driven into a difficult situation in which an ornament of his battle helmet is shot through with an arrow. The war situation enters a new phase of retaliation, with Ietada KANEKO killing the vassals of Tametomo, but severe damage is inflicted on them and Kageyoshi OBA is seriously injured. Tametomo could kill Yoshitomo and Ietada if he wants to do so, but he doesn't on purpose because of consideration for his older brother and sympathy toward the brave warriors. Yoshitomo's army is weakened and runs amok in an effort to escape, mistaking the gate opened in the wind for an attack by Tametomo's army.

The warriors on the Sutoku side (other than Tametomo) also fight well, and Goshirakawa's army can't invade their position at all. Because of this, Yoshitomo suggests to Shinzei that they should set fire to the enemy, and Shinzei agrees to the assessment. Tametomo can't resist the torture by fire, and Sutoku and his followers escape out of the Shirakawadono. During their escape, Yorinaga is fatally injured by a stray arrow.

Sutoku flees to Mt. Nyoisan, but he loses his energy there, parting from Tameyoshi and the others who had followed him until then. During that time, Yoshitomo and others burn down Shirakawadono and Hossho-ji Temple, into which the rest of the enemy had fled.

Sutoku visits the houses of the people who were once closely connected with him, but nobody welcomes Sutoku. Sutoku, who is in deep sorrow, enters Chisoku-in Temple to become a priest. Afterward, he heads for Ninna-ji Temple, where his younger brother Prince Kakushobo lives, and settles down there. Soon the warriors of the Emperor come and enclose Ninna-ji Temple. Meanwhile, Tadamichi retrieves a position as the head of the clan from Yorinaga, and Tadazane gathers warrior-monks and secludes himself in Uji for fear of being killed.

Yoshitomo and Kiyomori burn down Sutoku's residence of Sanjo and Yorinaga's residence of Gojomibu before returning to the Imperial Palace. Although he receives a reward, he feels that it's too little because he has turned his all relatives into enemies and sided with the Emperor, so he argues with Shinzei to make him reconsider it and succeeds in persuading him.

Around that time, Yorinaga, who hovers between life and death, attempts to visit his father Tadazane but Tadazane is afraid of getting involved in the conflict and refuses to meet him
Yorinaga is bitterly disappointed, biting his tongue, and before long he takes his last breath. His dead body is buried in Hannya-no, Nara. Tadazane mourns over this report and laments, questioning why only Yorinaga, the head of the clan, has passed away, despite the belief that no one who is known for fighting well should die.

Volume 3

Norinaga and others who have sided with Sutoku are captured one after another, and they are tortured and asked where Yorinaga is. Prince Shigehito, who has learned of the loss of his father, goes to Ninna-ji Temple and becomes a priest. Tameyoshi, who has been fleeing from Sakamoto, Omi Province (Otsu City) to Minoura, catches a fever and ascends Mt. Tendai to become a priest. Joined by his sons, Tametomo flees to the eastern provinces with a plan to raise an army again, but Tameyoshi refuses his offer due to his old age, so he decides to ask his oldest son, Yoshitomo. The father and son separate with tears in their eyes, and Yoshitomo is willing to take his father.

High officials such as MINAMOTO no Masasada and FUJIWARA no Saneyoshi announce that they will reduce the punishments on the warriors who had sided with Sutoku because no death sentence has been carried out for a long time and they are still in mourning for the Cloistered Emperor Toba. However, Shinzei disagrees, saying that if they keep the traitors alive they will create a problem for the future, so he recommends a death sentence in accordance with the law and persuades Goshirakawa to kill Iehiro, Tadamasa and others. Tadamasa expects his nephew Kiyomori will save him, but Kiyomori kills his uncle, thinking if he kills his uncle, Yoshitomo also has to kill his father.

Although Yoshitomo has hidden Tameyoshi, he decides to kill his father upon the advice of KAMATA. KAMATA and Yoshimichi HATANO take Tameyoshi to Shichi-jo Street (Suzaku Boulevard), telling him that the Emperor's order to kill him has been issued. Tameyoshi is in tears. While he blames Yoshitomo for seeing his father die without any attempt to save him, he is afraid that his son will be blamed by everyone for killing his father, and finally he is killed while chanting Namu-amidabutsu, a (single) sincere call upon the name of Amida, worrying about the future of his young son.

The punishment handed down to the Minamoto clan is so severe that five younger brothers (including Yorikata) and even four children who haven't celebrated their coming of age yet (including Otowaka) are killed. Otowaka is killed while cursing the future of Yoshitomo, who has killed all his relatives. Also, Tameyoshi's wife, knowing that her young children are dead, throws herself down the river to death in the excess of her grief, following her husband and children.

Around this time, Yorinaga's death is reported to the Emperor's side. Shinzei makes his people dig up the dead bodies to confirm whether it is true or not. Yorinaga's dead body is not reburied but is left deserted on the street. Upon hearing of this heartless treatment, Yorinaga's sons, including Moronaga, decide to enter the priesthood, but his grandfather Tadazane dissuades them, saying they should someday avenge their father's death.

Sutoku is also punished heavily, and he is to be exiled to Sanuki. He suffers the misery of exile, being prevented from taking many servants with him and visiting the grave of his father, the Cloistered Emperor Toba. He is to be kept under surveillance even at Sanuki, where he has been exiled, and Sutoku identifies himself with Hikaru Genji, ARIWARA no Narihira and Emperor Junnin (Awaji haitei, or the eliminated emperor), who had once gone into exile, lamenting the harshness of his fate. At this time, 'A Record of Dreams' is found in Sutoku's residence, which was burned down in a fire. A Record of Dream' is a record which appears every time when something happens to the Emperor's throne.

And court nobles who have been on Sutoku's side and Yorinaga's sons are to be exiled. Moronaga sends a letter to Tadazane confessing his lamentation in it. People are suspicious of this too severe punishment, especially killing Tameyoshi of old age. The suspicions then turn toward the Emperor, who has issued the death sentence. The old retainers of the Cloistered Emperor Toba grieve at this tragedy, particularly of Sutoku's exile to Sanuki, and lament that even the Emperor can't escape from karma, identifying him with Emperor Hsuan Tsung/Xuan Zong.

Shinzei tries to exile even Tadazane, but Tadamichi stops him so he gives up.

Tametomo, the only survivor among Tameyoshi's sons, is found and captured by TAIRA no Iesada while he is recuperating at a hot spring without a sword. Tametomo is to be given the death sentence, but his punishment is reduced so his arm muscle is torn so as to prevent him from drawing a bow, and he is exiled to Izu. However, Tametomo is intrepid, and he stamps his feet in order to break through the bottom of the palanquin that carries him.

Sutoku spends his days lamenting his misfortune at Sanuki. One day he thinks of copying the Five Volumes of Mahayana Sutras, and hopes to dedicate it with his waka poem to a temple near the capital. This is for the purpose of maintaining peace and order for posterity. However, Goshirakawa rejects it, at which Sutoku becomes infuriated, declaring that Goshirakawa is to be his enemy forever; he bites the tip of his tongue, swearing to be the 'Devil' and writes a solemn vow with his own blood.

The country has never been pacified, as Sutoku had hoped. FUJIWARA no Nobuyori rises in revolt, assuming Yoshitomo's name in the first year of Heiji; he kills Shinzei and displays his severed head at the prison gates. It is rumored behind the scenes that this is retribution for his desertion of Yorinaga's body. Meanwhile, Yoshitomo, who was once victorious, is defeated by Kiyomori, betrayed and killed by Tadamune OSADA while on the run. Thus the prediction of Otowaka, who was killed by Yoshitomo, has come to pass.

One day, Korenari, who has served Sutoku and become a priest, changing his name to Rennyo, goes to Sanuki to visit Sutoku. After Rennyo returns to the capital, he has a dream in which Sutoku becomes a vengeful ghost that leads Tameyoshi and others to attack the Hoju-ji Temple (Kyoto City), in which the Cloistered Emperor Goshirakawa resides. However, Hoju-ji Temple is protected by Fudo-myoo's barrier, so instead Sutoku heads for Kiyomori at West Hachijo and succeeds in invading without difficulty. Subsequently, Kiyomori increases his power and, with Sutoku's help, becomes a threat to the Emperor. However, the vengeful ghost of Sutoku is pacified and becalmed by Saigyo's poem.

Although Tametomo has been exiled to Izu, his injuries heal; soon he expels the local magistrates from Hachijo-jima and other nearby islands, occupying their lands. Moreover, he sails to Oniga-shima Island and subdues even the inhabitants there. Shigemitsu SAITO, who is in charge of governing Izu Province, is afraid of Tametomo's power and asks for permission by the Emperor to put down his army. His offer is immediately accepted, and an army to put down Tametomo is sent. Tametomo fights desperately, sinking a boat with a single arrow, but he sees the futility of contending against heavy odds, so he cuts off his son's head and commits hara-kiri. Tametomo's head is severed by Kagetaka KATO and sent to the capital.

Ultimately, the tale says that the Minamoto clan will come to an end because, as an enemy of the emperor, Tametomo must, unfortunately, die. It also makes a conclusion regarding the 'oddity of Japan,' because of the incidents in which a son kills his father, a nephew kills his uncle, an older brother exiles his younger brother and a woman hurls herself toward a certain death.

The relationship to historical facts

"Hogen Monogatari" is a war tale based on the Hogen Disturbance, but since it is a tale there are aspects of fiction and divergence from the historical facts. Historical texts describing the Hogen Disturbance include the "Heihan-ki," "Gukansho," "Hyakurensho," and "Teio Hen-nenki." Among them, "Heihan-ki" is a diary of TAIRA no Nobunori, who was in fact involved in the conflict, and is considered to be credible. Although "Gukansho" was completed a bit later, it refers to a diary of MINAMOTO no Masayori, who was involved in the disturbance, and is therefore relied on as an historical material.
The following is the relationship between "Heihan-ki" and "Gukansho":

Forming the character of Tametomo

MINAMOTO no Tametomo could be said to be a main character in "Hogen Monogatari," but there is a great difference in the formation of the character between the tale and the historical materials. Tametomo in the tale is depicted as an invincible warrior even in the scenes of Hogen Disturbance, and Tametomo plays an active part, shooting an armored warrior and the horse together with his strong bow and making Kiyomori's more than 600 warriors on horseback and Yoshitomo's more than 250 warriors on horseback retreat with his only 28 warriors on horseback. Yoshitomo's army had a long fight in which more than 50 warriors were killed and more than 80 were injured. Moreover, Tametomo could have shot his older brother but didn't; instead, he was merciful to him and hesitated about killing his brother because he thought it would be disrespectful toward him. This characteristic of Tametomo is praised by Tokujiro TOMIKURA as the ideal of a warrior possessing the three virtues of wisdom, courage and benevolence. Regarding the description of Tametomo's having 28 followers, Yoshiki TANAKA says it indicates the influence of a book of Xiang Yu in "Historical Records."

Meanwhile, there is little reference to Tametomo in historical materials. He is described as 'a small man' in "Gukansho," although such a description would be based on his father Tameyoshi's humble words, and there is no explicit article to describe his performance in battle. However, an article in "Heihan-ki" dated August 27, 1156, says that TAIRA no Iesada, who had captured Tametomo, received a special reward; this indicates that Tametomo was probably considered a particularly important man among the warriors who had sided with Sutoku.

Additionally, an article dated August 1, 1191 (according to the lunar calendar) in the chronicle of the Kamakura bakufu from 1180 to 1266 known as "Azumakagami" states that Kageyoshi OBA, who had participated in the Hogen Disturbance, had praised Tametomo as 'incomparably adept at shooting an arrow.'
However, Kageyoshi OBA also said that 'he might not deserve the praise,' and ' he is from the Kyushu district, so while he is on horseback, it would be difficult for him to draw a bow.'
He describes what should be kept in mind at a cavalry battle, saying, 'If he doesn't know the fact, he will lose his life soon; the brave warrior should be adept at horseback riding; 壮士等耳の底に留むべし; one should not laugh at what an old man says.'
"Azumakagami" seems to have been compiled after the middle of the Kamakura period and it is difficult to consider this article to be true because it focuses on knowledge on a cavalry battle, but there might have in fact been a basis for generating a heroic episode such as this tale.

The tale includes an absurd episode in which, after he was exiled to Izu Oshima Island, he had followers of the ogre's offspring; however, regarding Tametomo after his exile, only the fact that he was killed at Izu is known based on the article in "Sonpi Bunmyaku."

Evaluations of Tadazane and Yorinaga

The evaluations of Tadazane and Yorinaga differ significantly between "Hogen Monogatari" and "Gukansho." In the tale, Yorinaga is praised for his excellence in study and impartial manner in the treatment of his followers, and he is described as a perfect regent. Additionally, Tadazane is defended with the statement that although he made his older brother Tadamichi surrender to Yorinaga his position as the head of the clan, it was based on the love between a father and a son and cannot be criticized. Moreover, it sympathetically describes his lamentation at the death of Yorinaga and the exile of his grandchildren.

On the other hand, "Gukansho" critically describes the wicked acts carried out by the father and son. However, it is not a surprising evaluation because the author, Jien, was a son of Tadamichi. There would be no need to conclude the images of Tadazane and Yorinaga by a judgment of "Gukansho." However, it is true that the tale does not take up the various aspects of a bad reputation concerning Yorinaga. Male homosexuality was not unusual in those days, but the tale does not contain a description of his lynching at all, while a diary written by FUJIWARA no Yorinaga "Taiki" does. Tadazane is also treated in the same way. This is why "Hogen Monogatari" is said to have a sympathetic viewpoint toward the father and the son.

The execution of Tameyoshi's young children

A famous scene that takes place in the latter part of the tale in which Tameyoshi's four young children are executed by his older brother Yoshitomo, and it has been taken as the most pathetic scene in the tale. However, there is little historical material to support the assertion that the children were executed. In the tale he is reluctant to kill the children as ordered by the Emperor, but there is no evidence to indicate there was an imperial order to kill them.

Yasuo MOTOKI recently made a conjecture that Yoshitomo would have killed the younger brother and others in order to control Kawachi Genji (Minamoto clan), being in conflict. "Gukansho" tells of the tense relationship between Tameyoshi and Yoshitomo, but if it is true then the relationship between parent and children depicted in the tale would be mostly pure fiction. Alternatively, it might be considered that these children also became involved in the struggle for leadership among the Kawachi Genji. While Yukiko IIDA considers that the tale is closer to the truth than "Gukansho."

It is certain that except for "Gukansho" there is no historical material that contains an article regarding the conflict between the father and the son. However, as Yoshihiko HASHIMOTO pointed out, it is true that Tameyoshi approached Tadazane and Yorinaga, and Yoshitomo got close to Toba-in and Emperor Goshirakawa a few years before the Hogen Disturbance, so it is an indisputable fact that they did not have a close relationship.

The place of Tameyoshi's execution

"Heihan-ki" states that he was executed along with his five sons at Mt. Funaoka-yama in the north of Heiankyo. However, the tale asserts that he was killed alone at Shichijo-suzaku. According to "Heihan-ki," he was executed by his son Yoshitomo, but the tale says Masakiyo KAMATA and Yoshimichi HATANO killed him. There are many different views regarding Tameyoshi's execution, and "Gukansho" says that Yoshitomo did it at Yotsuzuka (not far south of Heiankyo), while "Sonpi Bunmyaku" has the same executor and place as described in the tale. However, "Heihan-ki" contains a description of the inspection of Tameyoshi's severed head, which would be true given the year in which the work was completed. In any case, "Sonpi Bunmyaku," which was completed during the Muromachi period, is not reliable.

Advice for Sutoku and Yorinaga

According to "Gukansho," Tameyoshi advised Sutoku and Yorinaga to make a night attack on the Imperial Residence because they were heavily outnumbered by the enemy. However, in the tale it was advice given by his son, Tametomo. However, this advice was rejected by Yorinaga both in the historical material and the tale, so it was not implemented. Meanwhile, Shinzei accepted Yoshitomo's advice to make a night attack, and he had his army attack the Shirakawadono, which was the base of Sutoku.

The treatment of Masakiyo KAMATA

According to "Gukansho," Masakiyo KAMATA was 'Yoshitomo's number-one vassal' and a son of Yoshitomo's caretaker. It says that he made attacks on the Shirakawadono many times as a commander. However, in the tale (particularly Nakaraibon), he was described as a man who was afraid of Tametomo's bow and fled, and that subsequently he couldn't even go to the front line. Also, in Nakaraibon, at the execution of Tameyoshi he trembled in fear and couldn't cut off the head, but instead gave the task to Yoshimichi HATANO. As a whole, the tale deals with KAMATA badly compared with the historical fact.

After the exile of Sutoku-in

Subsequent to the disturbance, Sutoku-in was exiled to Sanuki, and copied the Five Volumes of Mahayana Sutras in order to atone for his sins, asking the Imperial Court to dedicate a copy to Iwashimizu-Hachimangu Shrine or Hasedera Temple. However, Emperor Goshirakawa refused it, and Sutoku blamed him and called himself the "Great Devil," swearing to be a vengeful ghost. This episode about the vengeful ghost of Sutoku-in often appears in "Heike Monogatari," "Taiheiki (the chronicle describing the civil war between the Northern and Southern Dynasties in the late fourteen century)," and even in history books like "Hyakurensho," so there is no doubt that it was in fact believed at that time. However, according to Yuji YAMADA's recent study, In's later years at Sanuki were tranquil.

Also, an anecdote about Saigyo's going to Sanuki and dedicating his poem in order to calm the vengeful ghost of Sutoku-in appears in several texts, such as in Nakaraibon and also Enkeibon of "Heike Monogatari." It is a famous story that is told in collections of poems and stories from around the time of the tale, including "Sanka Shu" (Saigyo's representative collection of poems called "Poems of a Mountain Home" in English), "Saigyo monogatari" (A Story of Saigyo) and even 'Shiramine' ("Tales of Moonlight and Rain") by Akinari UEDA. However, it was in 1168 that Saigyo went down to Sanuki, and it was later that the vengeful ghost of Sutoku-in began to receive great attention. The tale explains that Kiyomori's personality was changed by the power of the vengeful ghost, which led the tyranny of the Taira family, but it is inconsistent because the conspiracy of Shishiga-dani occurred in 1177. This example should be noted because the tale distorted the historical fact and required the structural element in which Saigyo calmed the vengeful ghost of Sutoku-in.

Variant texts

"Hogen Monogatari" has many different lines of text, and the book exists in three-volume and two-volume versions. Although there are various views regarding the classification of the texts, Yasuaki NAGAZUMI's theory that the variant texts are classified into nine groups is widely accepted today.
The following is a representative text of each line:

Class 1

Bunpo, the Nakaraibon line

Although Bunpobon is an incomplete set consisting of only the second volume, it has a colophon that dates it to 1318 and is the oldest manuscript in existence. Nakaraibon consists of three volumes. This lineage of the text was copied after the Muromachi period, including a text housed in the Cabinet Library; moreover, its overall content is quite close to that of Bunpobon, so it is considered to most faithfully preserve the original form. A text in the Cabinet Library is a source book for "New Complete Collection of Japanese Classic Literature." Also, a modern translation has been released by Bensei Publishing. As to Bunpobon owned by Mito Shoko-kan, a facsimile edition has been released by Oiko-shoin Publishing.

Class 2

The Kamakurabon line

There is a Kamakurabon owned by Shoko-kan. It is considered, along with Nakaraibon, to be the oldest form of the text. It is a characteristic of this line that the years appearing in the work are approximate to the historical facts. However, it makes up for the second volume based on the text belonging to class 4. It has been reprinted by Miyai-shoten Publishing. This reprinting makes up for the missing second volume by Bunpobon.

Class 3

The Kyozuhon line

A text owned by the Kyoto University Library is representative. This text can be read on the Kyoto University Library website. The order and style of the tale differs significantly between class 1 and class 4. Izumi-shoin Publishing has released it as a reprinted version.

Class 4

The Kotohirabon line

It is represented by the Kotohirabon owned by Konpira-gu Shrine. Kana is basically placed beside the entire text, and it is said that the literary quality is rich. It was considered by Sadaichi TAKAHASHI to be the oldest line, but in recent years there has been little follow-up to his opinion. Kotohirabon itself is said to have been compiled during the Kamakura period (Chisho KOBAYASHI) or the Muromachi period (NAGAZUMI), so the year of compilation remains unknown. It is a source book for "Complete Works of Japanese Classic Literature."

Hotokubon (Yomei second printing), owned by the Yomei Library, belongs to this line, and it was a source book for "New Complete Works of Japanese Classic Literature." Also, a facsimile edition was published by Shibunkaku. Unlike "Heike Monogatari," it is hard to clearly classify the variant texts of "Hogen Monogatari" into the Yomihon (books for reading) and Katarihon (books for telling) lines, but Yoshitoshi INUI asserts that the Hotokubon belongs to the Katarihon line. Additionally, a portion of the content is similar to class 5, and it is a unique manuscript in the context of class 4.

Class 5

The 京師本 line

Class 5 is regarded as a text supplemented by class 4. For example, an episode after MINAMOTO no Tametomo's exile to Izu Oshima Island has been added, although it was omitted from class 4. Consequently, a portion of the text is repeated. It is neither texted nor reprinted, but a facsimile edition was published by Oiko-shoin publishing.

Class 6

The Masakibon line

It is basically equivalent to class 5. However, it is obvious that the episode after Tametomo's exile has been added, but it doesn't have overlapping text like 京師本. The text is basically the same as class 4.

A facsimile edition has been privately published by Shinichi MASAKI, the owner of the text.

Class 7


It has a prologue common to class 8 in the opening, as well as a table of contents. The text is a mixture of class 4 and class 8, and it contains an episode after the exile of Tametomo. It is the largest among the variant texts of "Hogen Monogatari." A facsimile edition has been released by Oiko-shoin Publishing.

Class 8

The Rufubon line

The Rufubon line can be roughly divided into the hand-copied manuscript line and the line of the text printed with old, engraved wooden blocks. The original form seems to have been completed during the late Muromachi period, and it was read most widely before "Complete Works of Japanese Classic Literature" and others were published. Among this, the old printed book owned by the Archive and Mausolea Department of the Imperial Household Agency was added as a supplemental edition to "Complete Works of Japanese Classic Literature."

Class 9

Other variant texts

It is a mixture of several lines of text, and the one owned by the Archive and Mausolea Department of the Imperial Household Agency is well known. According to NAGAZUMI, its text is approximate to classes 5 and 6.

[Original Japanese]