Minamoto no Mitsuyuki (源光行)

MINAMOTO no Mitsuyuki (1163 - April 3, 1244) was a politician, literary scholar and poet during the early Kamakura period.


In 1183, Mitsuyuki, who was in Heian-kyo (the ancient capital of Japan, present-day Kyoto) at that time, went to Kamakura city to submit a petition of apology and to spare the life of MINAMOTO no Mitsusue, his father who had been on the side of the Taira family. With his cousin 源宗季, who had been begging for the life of his uncle MINAMOTO no Suesada, he appealed to MINAMOTO no Yoritomo for mercy.

Although the result of this is unknown, he was favored by Yoritomo because of his talent and became his advisor. When the Kamakura bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) had come into power, he was appointed as the first betto (director) of the Mandokoro (Administrative Board), and frequently went back and forth between Kamakura and Kyoto to make and keep the relationship between the Imperial court and the bakufu running smoothly.

Meanwhile, he was appointed as the governor of Kawachi Province and the governor of Yamato Province by the Imperial court, despite already being a high-ranking officer of the bakufu. As a result of this, later, during the time of the Jokyu war, he was unable to decide which side he would support and ended up following the party of the Emperor Gotoba. However, even under these circumstances, he avoided being sentenced to a severe punishment thanks to the petitions of people who were reluctant to lose his talents.

He was a scholar of The Tale of Genji and the author of the so-called 'Kawachi-bon manuscript', a commentary on The Tale of Genji.

He set up offices such as the wakadokoro (the Office of Waka) and gakumonjo (shogunal lecture group) by the order of Yasutoki HOJO.

He is regarded as one of the planners of the "Wakamiya no yashiro no uta-awase" (a poetry contest held at the Wakamiya no yashiro shrine, on April 5, 1191). According to historical materials in which he is recorded as 'the former governor of Yamato Province, Jugoinojo (Junior Fifth Rank, Upper Grade), MINAMOTO no Asomi Mitsuyuki' it is discerned that he had already served as the governor of Yamato Province in his twenties.

[Original Japanese]