Adachi Kagemori (安達景盛)

Kagemori ADACHI was busho in the period from the early part to the middle of the Kamakura period. He was influential gokenin (an immediate vassal of the shogunate in the Kamakura and Muromachi through Edo periods) of the Kamakura bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun). He was the heir to Morinaga ADACHI.

Follower of the Minamoto family

His father, Morinaga, was a close adviser to MINAMOTO no Yoritomo since the time when Yoritomo had been an exile, and was a chief vassal who achieved a successful outcome in the establishment of bakufu. It seems that Kagemori was on the outs with the second shogun MINAMOTO no Yoriie who had succeeded to Yoritomo after his death, and in "Azuma Kagami" (The Mirror of the East), there is the first appearance of article about Kagemori which describes an incident that Kagemori was saved by Masako HOJO, a widow of Yoritomo, when Yoriie took Kagemori's favorite concubine and tried to conduct chusatsu (kill a criminal) of Kagemori in 1199 soon after the period of Yoriie started. As a background of the special description on this incident in the Azuma Kagami compiled by the Hojo clan of Kamakura bakufu in later years, there seemed an intention to expose Yoriie's high-handed manner and justify the connection between the Hojo clan and the Adachi clan since the period of Yoritomo and Masako and also justify the Adachi clan's separation from the Yoriie's power with the support from the Hiki clan, the family home of Kagemori's mother. After the Conspiracy of Yoshikazu HIKI in 1203, Yoriie was assassinated by the Hojo clan.

Close adviser to Sanetomo

In the period of the Third Shogun MINAMOTO no Sanetomo, Kagemori took an active part as a close adviser who was much trusted by Sanetomo and Masako, and battled as a member of the Hojo clan at the Shigetada HATAKEYAMA Rebellion in 1205 and at the Battle of WADA in 1213. Under circumstances where influential people since the establishment of bakufu were destroyed one after another, Kagemori became one of major gokenin controlling the government by the shogunate. When being appointed to Ukon no shosho (Minor Captain of the Right Division of Inner Palace Guards) in March 1218, Sanetomo firstly called Kagemori and told Kagemori that he was appointed to Akitajo no suke (provincial governor of Akita-jo Castle in Dewa Province). The reasons why Kagemori was appointed to Akitajo no suke might be as follows: his sister was married to MINAMOTO no Noriyori, Noriyori's foster father was FUJIWARA no Norisue and a daughter of FUJIWARA no Norisue was the mother of Emperor Juntoku, and Kagemori had a connection with Tadanobu BOMON who was a brother of Sanetomo's wife. As to shoryo (territory), Nagainosho in Musashi Province which had been shoryo of Yoshimori WADA was granted to Kagemori at the Battle of WADA, and the Adachi clan whose relatives had lived in the Musashi district since the end of the Heian period formed the firm basis in the districts of Musashi, Kozuke and Dewa Provinces after around the time of Kagemori's appointment to Akitajo no suke.

In New Year, 1219, when Sanetomo was assassinated, Kagemori became a priest in mourning Sanetomo's death, called himself Dairenbokakuchi, and entered Koya-san Mountain. Kagemori established Kongosanmai-in Temple to pray to Buddha for the happiness of deceased Sanetomo, and was called Koya nyudo (a priest of Koya-san Mountain). After becoming a priest, he also participated in the government by the shogunate with staying at Koya-san Mountain. When the Jokyu War occurred in 1221, Kagemori participated in the decision of most important policy as a member of leadership team of bakufu; and read the speech by proxy in which the ama shogun (nun warlord) Masako HOJO pled with gokenin for taking favorable actions as in the time of Yoritomo and ordered to subdue kyogata (the Kyoto side or supporters of the Imperial court in Kyoto). He participated in the Tokaido-gun army with Yasutoki HOJO as Daisho (Major Captain), and was appointed to Shugo (provincial constable) of Settsu Province after the War. After Masako died in 1225, he secluded himself at Koya-san Mountain. Kagemori had a close relationship with Yasutoki HOJO, who became the third regent after the Jokyu War, and married off his daughter (Matsushita zenni) to Yasutoki's legitimate son Tokiuji HOJO; and his sotomago (grandchildren from his daughter married into another family) Tsunetoki HOJO and Tokiyori HOJO later became the regent in succession. As a result of this, Kagemori strengthened his reins of power in the bakufu as maternal grandfather.

Battle of Hoji

In 1247 when a conflict between the fifth regent Tokiyori HOJO and the Miura clan who was the influential gokenin intensified, Kagemori who became impatient left Koya-san Mountain and wend down to Kamakura being heedless of his old age. Kagemori, who was a hard-liner for defeat of the Miura clan, screwed his child, Yoshikage ADACHI, and his grandchild, Yasumori ADACHI, who had reconciled themselves to the lee of the Miura clan, over their tameness, and persuaded Tokiyori, who leant toward compromise with the Miura clan, into starting the Battle of War by taking every measure such as act of provoking the Miura clan together with the family, and so on; as a consequence, approximately 500 people of the Miura clan were killed and the Miura clan fell. The Adachi clan had been a close adviser to the Shogun of the Minamoto clan since the time of Yoritomo, but it was just a personal follower, and its house status was low. When compared with the Miura clan which was Daigozoku (big local ruling family) serving the Minamoto clan long before the time of Yoritomo, the Adachi clan seemed to be treated lightly as low status. Since Yasumura MIURA was a husband of a daughter of Yasutoki HOJO, the Adachi clan unavoidably conflicted with the Miura clan over the status of maternal relative of the regent Hojo clan. Kagemori had a feeling of frustration that the Adachi clan might lose the position if letting this opportunity slip away, and his feeling accorded with the Hojo clan's intention to remove the Miura clan which had had a tense relationship with the Hojo clan long before.

After removing the Miura clan which had had the biggest power since the establishment of bakufu, by this Battle of Hoji, the Hojo clan established its superiority over other Gozoku (local ruling families), and the Adachi clan attained the position of ally simultaneously. Kagemori who had established a secure position of Adachi clan in the bakufu died at Koya-san Mountain on May 18, 1248, following the year of the Battle of Hoji.

Personal Profile

A letter which was written in around 1213 and is possessed by Daigo-ji Temple has a description on Kagemori that 'Tokurosaemonnojo is silent those days, but is a person with extensive knowledge.'
Extensive knowledge' seemed to mean having a wide human network and knowing everything, and he was recognized as a person speaking for Masako's intentions. He was also regarded as a mastermind of the Battle of Hoji, and seemed to seize information on Kamakura even though he was at Koya-san Mountain. He was a brilliant politician, while he was an earnest Buddhist. After the Jukyu War, when Kagemori contacted Myoe of Kozan-ji Temple together with Yasutoki, Kagemori was deeply embraced and presented waka (a traditional Japanese poem of thirty-one syllables). It is said that Kagemori studied under Jitsugen (a monk from the Kamakura period) of Daigo-ji Temple, and received kanjo (an initiation of a succession where water is poured onto the successor's head). There was a theory that Kagemori had been an illegitimate child of MINAMOTO no Yoritomo, and thereafter, this theory indirectly caused the killing (of someone who is guilty) of the family in the Shimotsuki sodo (the political change of Kamakura Bakufu, the shogunate government) in the period of Kagemori's grandson, Yasumori ADACHI.

[Original Japanese]