Minamoto no Yoshitsune (源義経)

MINAMOTO no Yoshitsune (源義経, or 源 義經) is a busho (Japanese military commander) of Kawachi-Genji (Minamoto clan) in the late Heian period. He is the younger half-brother of MINAMOTO no Yoritomo, the founder of the Kamakura bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun). The real family name is Genji. The family line is descended from the head of the clan, MINAMOTO no Yorinobu, and it is a branch family of the Seiwa-Genji. His common name (haikomei: name for men that represents the order of his birth) is Kuro, and imina (real name) is Yoshitsune.

He was born as the ninth son of MINAMOTO no Yoshitomo, a legitimate family of Kawachi-Genji, and in his childhood he was called Ushiwakamaru. After his father was defeated and killed in the Heiji Disturbance, he was confined in Kurama-dera Temple, but later went down to the town of Hiraizumi, Mutsu Province to seek refuge under the protection of FUJIWARA no Hidehira, head of the Oshu-Fujiwara clan. When his elder brother MINAMOTO no Yoritomo rose up in arms to defeat the Taira clan (Jisho-Juei War), he joined his brother, and after such battles as the Battle of Ichinotani, the Battle of Yashima, and the Battle of Dannoura, he destroyed the Taira clan as the most distinguished contributor to the victory. However, after that, when he accepted a title (from the Imperial court) without the previous permission of his brother, this act offended Yoritomo, and moreover, as he tried to become independent, he started to have conflicts with Yoritomo, and condemned Yoritomo and called him the Emperor's enemy. When an order to arrest him was issued all over Japan, he again counted on the protection of FUJIWARA no Hidehira, but after Hidehira's death, he was assaulted by the new head of the clan, FUJIWARA no Yasuhira, as he was pressed by Yoritomo, and Yoshitsune, who felt cornered, killed himself at the Koromogawa no Tachi residence.

Many people felt sorry about his death and the public sympathy produced the word, Hogan-biiki (sympathy for Yoshitsune/ sympathy for the underdog, in general), as well as, many legends and histories.


All the years in the texts are cited by the Julian calendar, and all the dates and months are cited by the Japanese calendar, and during the Choryaku era (1037-1039) in the Senmei calendar.

The appearance of MINAMOTO no Kuro Yoshitsune in documented history lasts only nine years from his first encounter with Yoritomo at Kise-gawa River when he was 22 years old until his suicide at his 31 years of age, and the first half of his life is shadowy, lacking reliable historical materials. Today's popular story of Ushiwakamaru is based on such pieces as: the short records contained in a history book, "Azuma Kagami" (The Mirror of the East), the military epic stories such as "Heiji Monogatari" (The Tale of the Heiji) and "Genpei Seisuiki" (The Rise and Decline of the Minamoto and Taira Clans), and "Gikeiki" (A Military Epic about the Life of Yoshitsune), which is a comprehensive story mixed up with more fiction based upon the above two epic stories.


He was born as the ninth son of MINAMOTO no Yoshitomo, the head of the Kawachi-Genji (Minamoto clan), which is a family descended from the Seiwa-Genji (Minamoto clan) and was called Ushiwakamaru. His mother, Tokiwa Gozen, was a low class maid of FUJIWARA no Shimeko (also known as Teishi). His father was defeated in the Heiji Disturbance by TAIRA no Kiyomori in 1159, and Ushiwaka, who was in his 2nd year, ran away in the arms of his mother to the mountains of Yamato Province (Nara Prefecture) with his half brothers, Ano-Zenjo and Gien, who were also born from his mother. However, when Tokiwa was informed of her real mother's arrest, she went to Kiyomori and begged him for the lives of her three children and her mother, and her petition was accepted.

Later, Tokiwa married a court noble, Naganari ICHIJO, and when Ushiwakamaru was 7 years old, he was confined in Kurama-dera Temple (Sakyo Ward, Kyoto City), and was given Rushanao, as his infant name. When he became aware of his origin at 11 years of age (or 15 years according to another theory), he refused to be a Buddhist monk and tried to refine his martial art, training himself by crisscrossing the Kurama-yama Mountain.

Rushanao, as he grew up, confirmed revenge against Ise-Heishi (the Taira clan), who destroyed his father, and left Kurama-dera Temple when he was 16 years old. He celebrated his attainment of manhood (genpuku) by himself, and went down to Hiraizumi, Mutsu Province counting on the protection of Chinju-fu shogun (Commander-in-Chief of the Defense in the North) FUJIWARA no Hidehira, who was the head of the Oshu-Fujiwara clan. Since FUJIWARA no Motonari, Hidehira's father-in-law and political adviser, was a son of Naganari ICHIJO's cousin, it is probable that he (Yoshitsune) depended on that connection. According to "Gikeiki"(a Military Epic about the Life of Yoshitsune) he celebrated his attainment of manhood in Owari Province, where his father Yoshitomo died. The ceremony was held at Atsuta-jingu Shrine, and he fixed his imina (real name) Yoshitsune by combining the letter '義' (pronounced as 'yoshi') handed down in the Genji family, with the letter '経' (pronounced as 'tsune') taken from the name of the first head of Genji, Minamoto no Tsunemoto.

Jisho-Juei War

When his elder brother MINAMOTO no Yoritomo rose up in arms in Izu Province on August 17, 1180 (old old lunar calendar) to defeat the Taira clan (Jisho-Juei War), he rallied to joined the banner of his brother. Hidehira dispatched about 80 worriers on horseback including the brothers Tsugunobu SATO and Tadanobu SATO to accompany Yoshitsune. At the camp of Kise-gawa no Jin (Siege at Kise-gawa River) (Shimizucho, Sunto-gun, Shizuoka Prefecture), Yoshitsune had an emotive encounter with Yoritomo, who had just won the Battle of Fuji-gawa River. Yoritomo, while he entrusted Yoshitsune and his other brother, MINAMOTO no Noriyori to take control of the expeditionary forces, decided to settle down at his home base in Kamakura to concentrate on the administration of Togoku (the eastern part of Japan).

Yoritomo was having a conflict with MINAMOTO no Yoshinaka, who was dominating Kyoto after defeating the Ise-Heishi (Taira clan). In 1183, Noriyori and Yoshitsune left for Omi Province leading a big army. On the New Year's Day, the next year (in 1184), Noriyori and Yoshitsune killed Yoshinaka in the Battle of Uji-gawa River, and proceeded into Kyoto as local governors to Yoritomo.

Meanwhile, the TAIRA clan recovered its power in Saigoku (the western part of Japan) and closed down Fukuhara-kyo (Capital of Fukuhara) (Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture). Yoshitsune who, together with Noriyori, was ordered to expel the Taira clan, went around Harima Province with backdoor troops on February 4 (old old lunar calendar), and in the Battle of Mikusayama he broke the forces of TAIRA no Sukemori and others in a night raid. Noriyori started toward the battle field to attack from the front door (Ote-gun).
In the Battle of Ichinotani that took place on February 7 (old old lunar calendar), Yoshitsune made a surprise attack on the Taira family's home base, dashing down from the precipitous cliff of Hiyodorigoe with 70 selected horse soldiers
The Taira clan's army fell in to chaos and the Kamakura army enjoyed a great victory.

However, after the Battle of Ichinotani, when the imperial court celebrated Kojimoku (small-scale ceremony for appointing officials) in June 1184, three military commanders including Noriyori were entrusted as Kokushi (provincial governor) thanks to the recommendation of Yoritomo, but the name of Yoshitsune was not found there although he was willing to be appointed. On August 6 (old old lunar calendar), Yoshitsune was awarded the titles of Saemon no jo (the third-ranked official of the Left Division of Outer Palace Guards) and Kebiishi no jo (the third-ranked official of the Police and Judicial Chief) (Hogan) with the rank of Jugoinoge (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade) by Cloistered Emperor Goshirakawa without a recommendation from Yoritomo, and he became able to access to the hall of the cloistered government.
To the Kamakura side, he reported that ' although this is not what I wanted, the Cloistered Emperor obliged me to take the charge insisting that my frequent contributions should not be negligible.'
Yoritomo was furious to hear that and excluded him from the mission to expel the Taira clan, saying, 'This is not the first time that he disobeyed my will.'
In August, Noriyori lead a great army to proceed toward Kyushu over the Sanyodo Road. In September (old old lunar calendar), Yoshitsune took the daughter of Shigeyori KAWAGOE (Sato Gozen) for his legitimate wife.

On the other hand, the expeditionary force of Noriyori had difficulties acquiring food for soldiers and to equip ships, and had to stop marching. Yoritomo reluctantly had to decide Yoshitsune's input. In February 1185, Yoshitsune finished the formation of a new army, and made a sortie with a few ships in a rainstorm. He arrived at the destination in a few hours, traveling the distance which normally required three days, and made a surprise attack on Yashima, the Taira clan's base located along the coast of the Inland Sea in Sanuki Province, Shikoku.
He strategically burned down the mountain and folk dwellings to convince the people of the Taira clan that he was leading a great army, and he succeeded with them in the flight (Battle of Yashima)

Noriyori also went to Kyushu, and cut the rear path out of Hiko-jima Island, Nagato Province, which was the last resort for the Taira clan. Yoshitsune organized a local marine force directed at Hiko-jima Island, and on March 24 (old old lunar calendar, April in the new calendar), he won the Battle of Dannoura and finally destroyed the Taira clan. Having achieved his long desired objective, Yoshitsune received an imperial envoy dispatched by the Cloistered Emperor to glorify his victory, after which he made a triumphal return to Kyoto on April 24 (old old lunar calendar); it was here that, as the leading figure in the Battle of Dannoura (for which the strategy had been more successful than that of the Battle of Ichinotani and the Battle of Yashima), he embraced the mirror Yata no Kagami and the jewel Yasaka no Magatama (two of the Three Sacred Treasures of Japan), which had been recovered from the Taira family.

After the battle, while he was in Heian-kyo (ancient Kyoto) as the local commander of Yoritomo, he settled at Horikawa Palace, which was once the residence of Kawachi-Genji (Minamoto clan) Shigehiro.

Conflicts with Yoritomo

After defeating the Taira family, Yoshitsune, who suffered from conflicts with his brother Yoritomo, tried to be independent from his brother, however he could not achieve it and in return he came under pursuit as the enemy of the court.

On April 15, 1185 (old lunar calendar), Yoritomo cursed the warriors from the Kanto region for their acceptance of the title from the court without his unofficial recommendation, and ordered them to render their services in Heian-kyo and prohibited their repatriation to Togoku (the eastern part of Japan).
On April 21 (old lunar calendar), Yoritomo received a message from Kagetoki KAJIWARA, who once assisted Yoshitsune as Saburai-dokoro no Shoshi/ Tsukasa (management officer of the Samurai station) when Yoshitsune was in the pursuit of the Taira clan, informing that 'Yoshitsune indulged in trumpeting that the pursuit was achieved exclusively owing to his merit.'
On the other hand, Yoshitsune did not take the Yoritomo's order very seriously, and planned to triumphantly return to Kamakura, and started on May 7 (old lunar calendar) from Kyoto, escorting the father and son, TAIRA no Munemori and TAIRA no Kiyomune, who were caught at Dannoura. However, Yoritomo, who was distrustful of Yoshitsune, did not allow him to enter Kamakura, but only let TAIRA no Munemori and his son enter. At that time, Yoshitsune was detained at Manpuku-ji Temple at Yamauchi no sho manor, Koshigoe (present day Kamakura City) in the suburbs of Kamakura. On May 24 (old lunar calendar), Yoshitsune handed a message to OE no Hiromoto, Yoritomo's close confidant, that he had no intention of an uprising, and this message is well known to date as Koshigoe-jo (Message of Koshigoe).

According to "Azuma Kagami," Yoshitsune invoked the wrath of Yoritomo because he accepted the title from the court without asking for Yoritomo's previous permission and he acted arbitrarily without obeying the instructions of Kagetoki KAJIWARA, who was sent to Yoshitsune by Yoritomo as the military supervisor for the pursuit of the Taira clan. In addition, Yoshitsune's behavior was excessively dogmatic as follows: after the Battle of Dannoura he arbitrarily proceeded to Kyushu, although the territory was controlled by Noriyori, and he took Noriyori's duties; he invoked resentment of the warriors by not only reproaching meticulously his subordinate warriors from Togoku (eastern Japan) on their errors without showing any tolerance, but also executed many of them without Yoritomo's consent. Yoshitsune's remarkable military contributions in defeating the Taira clan were mainly achieved with the participation of the Saigoku (western Japan) warriors, and this lead to a deprivation of Togoku (eastern Japan) warriors' opportunities to render distinguished services, and consequently, provoked the discontent of the lower-ranking vassals (gokenin) of eastern Japan.

Especially, Yoshitsune's having received the title from the court without asking for his master's permission was deemed serious, because this act threatened the existing base of Yoritomo, who was not yet in the position to grant titles. Yoshitsune's precipitous attack at Dannoura lead Emperor Antoku and TAIRA no Tokiko to commit suicide and the disappearance of Hoken (treasured sword), which could have been a good instrument to use for negotiating with the Imperial court, and as a result, destroyed the post-war initiative that Yoritomo had conceived.

Moreover, as Yoshitsune's military tactics and reputation elevated the Cloistered Emperor's credibility, the Cloistered Emperor attracted the warriors, and this fact became a threat for Yoritomo who was trying to establish a military government. Soon after entering Kyoto, Yoshitsune took as his spouse a daughter of TAIRA no Tokitada, who was once served as a substitute of In no Miumaya no Tsukasa, a military pillar to support the Taira clan's cloistered government and later was a captive as a member of the Taira family. It was inadmissible for Yoritomo that Yoshitsune tried to succeed the rank which traditionally the Taira clan had been enjoying, or Cloistered Emperor Goshirakawa tried to hand down to Yoshitsune.

As a result, Yoshitsune was not allowed to enter Kamakura, and on June 9 (old lunar calendar), when Yoritomo ordered to escort Munemori and his son, and TAIRA no Shigehira back to Kyoto, Yoshitsune blamed Yoritomo on this cruel treatment and boldly said, 'Those who are not satisfied serving in Kanto, come and join Yoshitsune's side.'
When Yoritomo heard it, he confiscated all the properties of Yoshitsune. Yoshitsune executed Munemori and decapitated his son in Omi Province and sent Shigehira to Todai-ji Temple, to which Shigehira himself once set fire to in the battle. In September, Yoritomo sent Kagetoki KAJIWARA's legitimate son, Kagesue KAJIWARA, with a hidden mission to observe the movement of Yoshitsune, who had returned to Kyoto and was staying in his residence at Rokujo-Horikawa in Kyoto, and at the same time Yoritomo requested that Yoshitsune expel his uncle MINAMOTO no Yukiie, who once followed Yoshinaka. Weary-looking Yoshitsune presented himself before Yoritomo and refused his request with the pretext that he himself and Yukiie belonged to the same Genji clan.


In October, judging that Yoshitsune was playing sick and was on the same side as Minamoto no Yukiie, Yoritomo decided to expel Yoshitsune and sent his retainer Masatoshi TOSANOBO to Kyoto. On October 17 (old lunar calendar), Tosanobo and more than 60 warriors on horseback attacked the residence of Yoshitsune (Horikawa Night Raid) in Kyoto, however, Yukiie joined the fight when he saw that Yoshitsune himself was fighting back outside the gate of his residence, and finally they defeated the assailants. After Yoshitsune knew that the attack was ordered by Yoritomo through the interrogation of Masatoshi, who was captured in combat, he publicly executed Masatoshi, and in Kyoto stood in rebellion to defeat Yoritomo with his uncle MINAMOTO no Yukiie, who was also opposing Yoritomo. They paid a courtesy visit to the Cloistered Emperor Goshirakawa once again to acquire Inzen (a decree from the Cloistered Emperor) to expel Yoritomo, however, since Yoritomo celebrated the Buddhist memorial service for his father, Yoshitomo, on 24th, inviting his subordinate commanders and warriors, there were few parties who were willing to join Yoshitsune's side. Even those warriors in the vicinity of Kyoto did not want to support him, to the contrary, some warriors started to oppose to him. Moreover, when the Cloistered Emperor issued Inzen (the decree) to expel Yoshitsune, his situation had become more difficult.

On the 29th, when Yoritomo launched the operation to expel Yoshitsune, leading his army by himself, Yoshitsune intended to go to Kyushu in order to recover his forces staying in Saigoku (western Japan). On November 1 (old lunar calendar), while Yoritomo arrived at the Kise-gawa River in Suruga Province, the Yoshitsune and 300 worriers on horseback left Kyoto toward western Japan on November 3 (old lunar calendar) counting on Koreyoshi OGATA in Kyushu. On the way to Kyushu, he was attacked by Yukitsuna TADA of Settsu-Genji (Minamoto clan) and others but he attacked them back. On November 6, Yoshitsune's troops tried to put out to sea toward Kyushu from Daimotsuura in Settsu Province (present-day Amagasaki City Hyogo Prefecture) but the ships were wrecked in a rainstorm and they were dispersed, and rushed back to Settsu. This incident made it impossible for Yoshitsune to go down to Kyushu. On November 11 (old lunar calendar), the Cloistered Emperor's Inzen (decree) to arrest Yoshitsune as well as his subordinate warriors was issued throughout Japan. Moreover, to accelerate the arrest of Yoshitsune and his men, Yoritomo invited Tokimasa HOJO to the Capital to negotiate, and requested him to set up Shugo and Jito (military governors and estate stewards) all over Japan, which Tokimasa finally accepted.

Yoshitsune, accompanied by his subordinate retainers and his concubine, Shizuka Gozen, a Japanese traditional dancer, hid away in Yoshino, but Shizuka Gozen was captured by pursuers. Yoshitsune, who escaped from persecution, was protected by the anti-Kamakura nobles as well as priests of temples and shrines, hid in the vicinity of Kyoto, but the next year, in May 1186, his uncle Yukiie was defeated and killed by the Kamakura side in Izumi Province, and other family members and vassals, who were hidden in various places in the country, were discovered and killed one by one.
Yoritomo, who suspected that the cloistered government and the aristocracies were helping Yoshitsune escape, intimidated them in November of the same year saying, 'If the Kyoto side happens to support Yoshitsune, we will send a grand army to defeat you.'

Yoshitsune, who was unable to continue staying in Kyoto, proceeded to Oshu Province counting on FUJIWARA no Hidehira. According to an article of February 10, 1187 in the "Azuma Kagami," it is reported that Yoshitsune escaped a blockade of pursuers, and went to Oshu through Ise and Mino Provinces to seek exile in Hiraizumi with his official wife and children. It is said that the members of the party were disguised as mountain priests and pages.

The end of his life

As FUJIWARA no Hidehira was worried about the extending influence of Yoritomo, who had already dominated the Kanto region and the area to the west, he tried to back up Yoshitsune in order to compete against the Kamakura side, however he died of illness on October 29, 1187 (old lunar calendar). Yoritomo strongly pressured FUJIWARA no Yasuhira, the successor of the clan after Hidehira's death, to arrest Yoshitsune through Imperial court channels. On the other hand, Yoshitsune appeared in Dewa Province in February 1188, and fought with the Kamakura side. In January 1189, a Buddhist monk of Mt. Hiei, who was carrying Yoshitsune's letter with him, was arrested, and the letter revealed Yoshitsune's will to return to Kyoto, and thus Yoshitsune was trying to comeback.

However, Yasuhira, who was yield under persistent pressure of the Kamakura side, broke the will of his father and killed his own brother FUJIWARA no Yorihira, who supported Yoshitsune with affection. On April 30 of the intercalary year (old lunar calendar), he attacked Yoshitsune and his less than 20 subordinate warriors at the Koromogawa no Tachi residence of FUJIWARA no Motonari, leading 500 warriors on horseback. Yoshitsune's followers tried to resist, but all of them were defeated.

Yoshitsune, whose residence was surrounded by the Hiraizumi's soldiers, gave up to fight back and hid in the Jibutsu-do hall, then he killed himself after killing his official wife and his 4-year daughter. Died at the age of 31.

Yasuhira forwarded the head of Yoshitsune, in addition to killing his other younger brother FUJIWARA no Tadahira, who was also on Yoshitsune's side, as he did with his younger brother Yorihira, and begged Yoritomo for his life. However, the Kamakura side launched the operation of Oshu Pursuit, and although Yasuhira escaped, a member of his close retainers betrayed and killed him. The Yoshitsune's decapitated head was carried by Yasuhira's smaller brother, FUJIWARA no Takahira, to Kamakura, and it took 43 days. It is said that although the head was dipped in fine sake, it discomposed due to the hot climate during that season and it became unidentifiable. This is one of the reasons why the legend of the immortal Yoshitsune was born. On June 13, 1189 (old lunar calendar), the head was examined by Yoshimori WADA and Kagetoki KAJIWARA at Koshigoe no Ura beach.

According to the traditional literature, the head was buried at Fujisawa and enshrined at Shirahata-jinja Shrine, and the well that is said to have been used at that time to wash the head still remains. It is also said that his body was buried in Hogan no Mori at Kurikoma-numakura, Kurihara City.

Personal Profile


As his common name Kuro (ninth baron) indicates, he is the ninth son of his father, Yoshitomo. According to one theory, he was the eighth son but he refrained from calling himself 八郎 (Hachiro) that means the eighth son, to demonstrate his respect for his uncle MINAMOTO no Tametomo, famous for his heroic bravery, whose popular name (kemyo) was 鎮西八郎 (Chinzei Hachiro), but it is only a folk story. There is no doubt that he was the last son of Yoshitomo.

MINAMOTO no Yoshihira, MINAMOTO no Yoritomo, and MINAMOTO no Noriyori were his half brothers born from different mothers, and Ano-Zenjo (Imawaka) and Gien (Otsuwaka) were also his half brothers born from the same mother, Tokiwa Gozen. Yoshinari ICHIJO is also his half brother who was born when his mother remarried Naganari ICHIJO.

He officially married with the daughter of Shigeyori KAWAGOE (Sato Gozen) through Yoritomo's good offices, and also had concubines, one is a beloved Japanese traditional dancer, Shizuka Gozen, who is famous for her dance at Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu Shrine, and the other is the daughter of Tokitada, and she was said to have been forwarded to him by her father, Tokitada, who wanted to secure his own neck after the extinction of the Taira family. Among the children confirmed as his, there was a 4-year female child that died at the Koromogawa no Tachi residence, who was born during his exile from Kyoto, a male baby born from Shizuka Gozen and abandoned soon after birth at Yuigahama beach in Kamakura, and a female child who later married with MINAMOTO no Aritsuna (grandson of MINAMOTO no Yorimasa of the Settsu-Genji (Minamoto clan)) of Izu Province.

During a few hundred years after the death of Yoshitsune, many stories that were exaggerated from his real figure were been produced, however, following are Yoshitsune's words, acts, and his profile as commented upon by other people directly related to him, as found in historical materials.

According to the article of October 21, 1180 in "Azuma Kagami," during Yoshitsune's stay in Oshu, he tried to hastily join Yoritomo to learn if Yoritomo had raised his army, but FUJIWARA no Hidehira strongly restrained him from doing so. However, as Yoshitsune left the residence in secret, Hidehira reluctantly gave up trying to restrain him and later soon dispatched the Sato brothers to help Yoshitsune.

According to the above mentioned "Azuma Kagami," during the topping-out ceremony of the treasury hall of Tsurugaoka-wakamiya Shrine held on July 20, 1181, Yoritomo ordered Yoshitsune to pull the horse that was to be given to the carpenter. When Yoshitsune refused to do it, saying, 'At this moment there is no packhorse driver,' Yoritomo fiercely accused him saying as follows.
You have Shigetada HATAKEYAMA and Hirotsuna SANUKI among others.'
'You refuse this duty with such an excuse because you think it is indecent.'
Yoshitsune felt extremely ashamed and he immediately stood up to pull the horse.

According to "Gyokuyo" (Diary of Kanezane KUJO), after the Battle of Ichinotani on February 9, 1184, he ran back to Kyoto with a few retainers to ask for the Imperial court's instruction of what to do with the heads of the Taira family, because he wanted permission to display them publicly on Miyako-oji Avenue. The Imperial court was opposed to the public exhibition because the Taira family was their maternal relative, but Yoshitsune and Noriyori strongly insisted, saying as follows.
There is no reason why the public exhibition of the heads of the Taira family is not permitted, while Yoshinaka's head was allowed to be put on display.'
Why does the court take the Taira family side?'
This causes us serious mistrust.'
The court nobles were pressured to consent to permission, and finally on the 13th of the same month, the heads of the Taira family were exhibited in public after being pulled along Miyako-oji Avenue.

According to an article of January 8, 1185 in "Kikki" (A Diary of Tsunefusa YOSHIDA), the court nobles were afraid of the surviving Taira family warriors and asked Yoshitsune, who was about to proceed to Shikoku to pursue the Taira clan, to stay on in Kyoto, but Yoshitsune responded as follows:
The food for soldiers will be out of stock in February or March.'
If Noriyori happens to be obliged to return back, the warriors in Shikoku will support the Taira family, and this will provoke a more serious situation,' and he started to the battle field leaving the nobles behind, even though the nobles tried hard to restrain them.
According to the "Azuma Kagami," the court noble Tametoki TAKASHINA (it is said that he was an envoy dispatched by the Cloistered Emperor Goshirakawa) visited the accommodations where Yoshitsune was staying before his departure to Yashima on February 16, and asked Yoshitsune saying, ' I don't know a lot about military strategy, but don't you think that the commander in chief should not spearhead the battle, but should rather send his assistant chief first?'
Then, Yoshitsune responded, 'I have a special design in mind and I rather prefer to loose my life as a spearhead.'
The author of the "Azuma Kagami" commented on his word and wrote, 'Shouldn't he be called an extremely strong warrior?'
There is another anecdote that Yoshitsune tried to across the sea by ship on the 18th, however a rainstorm destroyed many ships in his fleet.
No soldiers dared to embark but Yoshitune declaring as follows:
It is a shame to delay the expulsion of the enemies against the court.'
We should not be afraid of any accident even if the rainstorm is harsh.'
Yoshitsune made a sortie with a few ships and arrived at the destination in four hours, traveling the distance that normally requires three days' travel.

Commenting on the criticism of Yoshitsune's dogmatic behavior that was written by Kagetoki KAJIWARA after the Battle of Dannoura, "Azuma Kagami" wrote, 'Yoshitsune is incurring the hatred of not only Kagetoki, but also of those (warriors of the Kanto region) for his dogmatic and dictatorial behavior.'
After Yoshitsune's suicide, when Kagetoki and Yoshimori WADA accompanied by their 20 retainers examined his head, the book wrote, 'All the people who saw his head shed tears,' showing the ambivalence of criticism against and attachment for Yoshitsune.

In "Saki," a memorandum written by the Cloistered Imperial Prince Shukaku of Ninna-ji Omuro, which recorded what Yoshitsune talked about the battle when the prince invited him in secret after the Battle of Dannoura, there was a description as follows;
Yoshitsune is not an ordinary warrior, but he is an expert in martial arts as well as the art of war.'

According to "Gyokuyo" and "Azuma Kagami," Yoshitsune, who had a conflict with Yoritomo, visited the Cloistered Emperor Goshirakawa on October 11 and 13, 1185 and explained as follows:
Yoritomo tried to kill my uncle Yukiie, who is innocent, so all Yukiie could do was to plan the insurrection.'
I tried to stop it but he did not hear me, therefore, I, Yoshitsune, have finally agreed with him.'
I agreed because I dedicated my life as a local governor for Yoritomo and won the various battles, however Yoritomo sent a Jito (state steward) to my territory to disturb my national duties, instead of praising me, and finally he confiscated all the properties I had. I have no hope to live.
Moreover, I am duly informed that he is trying to kill me
If I can not avoid this adversity, I would rather like to proceed toward Nagara-gawa River, to fight back and prove may fate. Therefore, I would like the court to grant me special permission of the Emperor to expel Yoritomo.
And said, 'If it is not obtained, both of us will kill ourselves.'
The Cloistered Emperor was surprised and ordered Yoshitsune to stop Yukiie, however Yoshitsune came to see the Cloistered Emperor on 16th of the same month, being so despondent that he came down from Kyoto taking not only the Emperor and the Cloistered Emperor, but also the court nobles with him and continued;
I have agreed with Yukiie because of the reasons I mentioned the other day.
Now I only ask you to give me special permission from the Emperor to expel Yoritomo.'
If this request is impossible, I would like to ask for leave to control the west.'

In the capital, the people panicked, afraid that the cornered Yoshitsune would be violent like the warriors of the Taira family and Yoshinaka KISO, but on November 2, when he gained Inzen (the Cloistered Emperor's decree) to grant him authority to control manors in Shikoku and Kyushu, on November 3, he sent a mission to the Cloistered Emperor to convey his message as follows, and left the capital calmly.
To escape the persecution of Kamakura, I have decided to go down and control the west, and before I leave, I wanted to make my farewells, but I will leave without doing so as I have already equipped myself with armor.'
A court noble Kanezane KUJO, the author of "Gyokuyo" was a sympathizer for Yoritomo, but commented with relief on the peaceful days in Kyoto after his departure and cerebrated his personality as follows:
All the people, nobles as well as commoners, in Kyoto have restored a peaceful life thanks to Yoshitsune.'
His actions should be praised as that of real loyal retainer.'
All the people in Kyoto, the nobles and commoners, welcomed his departure with pleasure.'
Although he was not duly rewarded, it is true that Yoshitsune made a huge contribution, and his heroism and honor will remain for a long in the people's minds.'
He is worth praising.'

Aspect and physical type

There are no historical materials about the aspects of Yoshitsune that are objectively described by someone at that time, nor his portraits in life that are certainly identified as his. In the portrait owned by Chuson-ji Temple, which is often used in the publications, he appears with his vassal monk soldier Benkei in a scene of "Gikeiki," in which he is attacked by FUJIWARA no Yasuhira, however, it is said to be painted later during the Sengoku Period (Period of Warring States) (in Japan) or the Edo period, and it is not his real portrait made in life.

It is said that he may have been as tall as 150 cm or so, based on the calculation from his suit of armor dedicated to Oyamazumi-jinja Shrine.

"Heike Monogatari" (The Tale of the Heike), which was said to be written soon after the death of Yoshitsune, describes him as an indirect form as 'Kuro (Yoshitsune) a faire-faced and short man, but can be easily recognized for his buckteeth,' by a samurai warrior of the Taira clan, TAIRA no Moritsugu. This is part of a description of one scene of the chapter on 'Toriawase' (The Cockfights), in which the Heike warriors encouraged themselves before the Battle of Dannoura by insulting their enemies, the Genji warriors. The chapter of 'Yuminagashi' (The Dropped Bow) describes that he was not physically gifted, with an anecdote that when he dropped his bow into the sea, he himself called it 'a weak bow,' when picking it up.

In "Gikeiki," he was compared to Yang Guifei and Princess Matsuura Sayo-hime for his effeminate fair face. On the other hand, in this epic there are some contradictory descriptions which seem to have been cited directly from "Heike Monogatari."
"Genpei Seisuiki" (The Rise and Decline of the Minamoto and Taira Clans) describes him as 'fair-faced and small, graceful and his manner is elegant' but then continues the description, which is identically found in "Heike Monogatari," saying 'He is certainly a citified folk in comparison with Yoshinaka KISO, but not as refined as any of the lower-ranked vassals of the Taira family.'
The chapter 'Ushiwaka Oshukudari no Koto' (The Ushiwaka's Downcast Trip to Oshu) of "Heiji Monogatari" (illustrated stories of the Heiji Rebellion) describes in a form of a comment made by FUJIWARA no Hidehira after meeting him for the first time as follows; 'As he is a good looking young man, anyone who has a daughter wants to pick him as son-in-law.'

During the Edo period, the tale of Yoshitsune had been developed as a theme of Sarugaku (present Noh) and Kabuki and became popular enough to form an independent field called 'Yoshitsune-mono' (Yoshitsune story), however, in the course of this process his profile had been glamorized and the typical image of a handsome and noble young Yoshitsune was established.

Retainers and followership

Minamoto no Aritsuna: Yoshitsune's son-in-law

Musashibo Benkei: one of the Yoshitsune's four heavenly kings

Tsugunobu SATO: one of the Yoshitsune's four heavenly kings in "Genpei Seisuiki"

Tadanobu SATO: one of the Yoshitsune's four heavenly kings in "Genpei Seisuiki"

Yoshimori ISE: one of the Yoshitsune's four heavenly kings

Kagemitsu HORI

Shigekiyo KAMEI:.one of the Yoshitsune's four heavenly kings

Hitachibo Kaison: one of the Yoshitsune's four heavenly kings

Yoshihisa WASHIO


Morimasa KAMATA: one of the Yoshitsune's four heavenly kings in "Genpei Seisuiki"

Mitsumasa KAMATA: one of the Yoshitsune's four heavenly kings in "Genpei Seisuiki"

Yoshinari ICHIJO: Yoshitsune's half brother (born from a different father)

Yorishige FUKASU



The life of Yoshitsune, who had an excellent military talent, but died a violent death, earned the public compassion and came to be called Hogan-biiki (sympathy for Yoshitsune/sympathy for the underdog, in general) (Hogan is a common denomination used for a title granted to Yoshitsune by the Cloistered Emperor Goshirakawa, and the pronunciation 'hangan-biiki' is erroneous). His life had also been gradually talked about as a heroic story, and various fictional stories and legends had been added one after another, creating a very different portrait of Yoshitsune from reality.

Among the Yoshitsune legends, especially famous stories is the story of his encounter with Musashibo Benkei at Gojo-ohashi Bridge, the anecdote that he learned strategy by stealing ancient Chinese strategy books, "Rikuto" and "Sanraku" owned by Onmyoji (diviner) Hogen KIICHI, making use of a love affair with his daughter, and the legend of Musashibo Benkei's Standing Death in the Battle of Koromogawa, and they were extended widely through "Gikeiki," which is said to have been written in the early Muromachi period, 200 years after Yoshitsune's death.
Especially it is said his victories in the Jisho-Juei War was owed to the instruction of 'Toranomaki' (Part of the Tiger) of "Rikuto" that he learned, and from this anecdote, a secret guide to success began to be called 'Toranomaki.'

In later periods, various documents and articles had come to utilize Yoshitsune's name to raise prestige with the long and distinguished history. For example, there was a martial art sect that declared that it was originated by Yoshitsune and his martial art master Hogan KIICHI.

Legend of immortality

The public sympathy for Yoshitsune or the underdog (Hogan-biiki) in the later times created a legend of immortality called the legend of MINAMOTO no Yoshitsune northern refuge, which insists that Yoshitsune did not die at Koromogawa, but escaped from Oshu to the far north. Such a legend or argument based on a legend that in reality Yoshitsune escaped to the north is called the MINAMOTO no Yoshitsune northern refuge theory. Based on this legend, Yoshitsune-jinja Shrine was constructed in 1799 at Piratori of Hidaka, Ezo (present Biratoricho, Hokkaido).

It is supposed that the prototype of this legend derives from a story called 'Onzoshi Shimawatari' (the adventure of the son of Kamakura in the island) found in a collection of nursery tales in the Muromachi period.
In this story, young Yoshitsune, before joining Yoritomo's rising army, crossed over to Hokkaido, called at that time 'Watari Island,' and there he had various strange adventures
It is supposed that this story had gradually changed into a legend, and as the people's knowledge of the Ainu in Ezo (Hokkaido) was gradually deepened, the people had come to believed that Yoshitsune escaped danger at Koromogawa and went over to Ezo to become the king of the Ainu.

Yoshitsune-Genghis Khan theory

The Yoshitsune-Genghis Khan theory, which posits that Yoshitsune went across the ocean to China from Ezo and became Genghis Khan, was born in the modern age after the end of Edo period as one further developed from the northern refuge theory.

The germination of this legend can be found in the Edo period, when Japanese people began to be interested in the northern region.
A rumor was once circulated, in which it was said that there was a written message of Chen Lung of the Chinese Dynasty Qing saying 'my ancestor's family name is MINAMOTO and the first name is Yoshitsune, therefore, I named my dynasty as Qing (清), because he was a descendent of Emperor Seiwa (清和).'
Also, a forged book titled "Kinshi Betsubon" (by a Japanese bogus writer) was appreciated as a curious book, telling a story that in the Kin (Dynasty), that flourished in the 12th century, there was a shogun called MINAMOTO no Yoshitsune.

There was also another rumor which had already existed during the Edo period that Yoshitsune went to the continent and became a Jurchen (in Manchuria), and based on this rumor, a legend that Yoshitsune had become Genghis Khan, that was born in the Meiji period. During the Meiji period, Kencho SUEMATSU, a student studying in London read this in the book "Nihon" (Japan) of Philipp Franz von Siebold, and wrote his graduation thesis at Cambridge University titled 'The great conqueror Genghis Khan and Japanese hero MINAMOTO no Yoshitsune are the same person,' with the purpose of claiming the presence of Japan, because at that time Japan was seen as a mere tributary state of China, and this article was also published in Japanese under the title of "Yoshitsune Saikoki" (the rebirth story of MINAMOTO no Yoshitsune) (Meiji Shigakukai Zasshi (completion of Japanese history records)), and the book created a boom.

During the Taisho period, Zenichiro OYABE, who after having studied in the United States became a priest and migrated to Hokkaido, and while he was working for the issues concerning the Ainu, he heard about Okikirmuy, that the Ainu people believed was Yoshitsune, and then, he went over to the continent to travel to Manchuria and the Mongolian plateau to find out the truth of the Yoshitsune north refuge legend. During this study, he was convinced that Yoshitsune was Genghis Khan, and in 1924 he published a book titled "Genghis Khan is MINAMOTO no Yoshitsune." This book attracted the public who were sympathizers of Yoshitsune or the underdog (Hogan-biiki) and became a bestseller. Since this book became a bestseller, the Yoshitsune-Genghis Khan theory is well known today.

Although the Genghis Khan theory, including the legend of Yoshitsune's migration to Ezo (Hokkaido) (Nyui Densetsu), was completely denied in academic circles of Meiji period and no scholar tried to take it seriously, it persisted beyond academic theories, and until the early Showa period, the book had been revised various times and was expanded. In the background of the popularity of this book, there was not only the Japanese people's sympathy for Yoshitsune (Hogan-biiki), but also the trend that existed at that time, in which the Japanese society was keen to extend its territory toward the continent, and this was a phenomenon comparable with the legend of Yoshitsune's migration to Ezo (Hokkaido) called Nyui Densetsu, which was born with the rise of the people' interest in Ezo during the Edo period just as two sides of the same coin.


Kazunori HISHINUMA (Scientific Research Collaborator, National Museum of Japanese History)argues in his book as follows:

The cause of the conflicts with Yoritomo is described in the article of August 17, 1184 of "Azuma Kagami," and according to this, he invoked the wrath of Yoritomo for having accepted the title from the Imperial court, without getting his brother's permission, and then he was excluded from the mission of pursuit on August 6 of the same year (old lunar calendar). However, according to the article August 3 of the same year of "Azuma Kagami," on August 3 (old lunar calendar), Yoritomo ordered Yoshitsune to expel TAIRA no Nobukane in Iyo Province, and this fact might suggest that Yoshitsune had been already excluded from the mission of the expedition over the western sea, before Yoshitsune was granted the title from the Imperial court. Yoshitsune was also granted kanpu (official documents from Dajokan, or Great Council of State) to pursue the Taira clan on 26th of the same month. As MINAMOTO no Noriyori was granted kanpu to pursue the Taira clan on 29th, he received it earlier. This means that there is no record to confirm that Yoshitsune was excluded from the mission to pursue the Taira clan. Therefore, it is supposed that the August 17 article of "Azuma Kagami" was created after the downfall of Yoshitsune in order to explain the reason.

Yoshitsune was excellent in planning strategies as well as war tactics. In every battle, he won the victory not only with his courage and dynamic actions but also with his well meditated and rational strategy and ability to carry it out.

In the Battle of Ichinotani, Yoshitsune defeated the army of the Taira family at Mt. Mikusa by a surprise night attack first, and after that he proceeded with his army, bringing Higashiharima, the territory of the Taira family, under his control. This was also a tactic to prevent the Taira family's army from entering into Kyoto via Tanba Route. In addition, according the report of Yoshitsune himself, he started the attack proceeding from Ichinotaniguchi situated in the western side, and never carried out the reckless tactic of running down a steep hill with just a few warriors.

In the Battle of Yashima, he took one month to carefully prepare the attack by securing the food and battle ships, counting on the support of the local naval forces, as well as, having close communications with the anti Taira family powers in Shikoku. Then, Yoshitsune did make up a plan, in which he would start to attack Yashima from inland, while Kagetoki KAJIWARA would attack from the sea, therefore, it is not true that he sailed out to the sea under a rainstorm without listening to Kagetoki's detention.

Before the Battle of Dannoura, he also spent one month to dominate the maritime control by gaining over the support of local naval forces and to prepare military equipment. Yoshitsune also anticipated that if he would shoot arrows targeting the oarsmen and steerspersons, the Taira family side would attack back. At that time, after having lost its inland base, the Taira family side was suffering from the shortage of arrows and other supplies. Then at the initial state of the battle, the Taira family side had used all the arrows and its unprotected oarsmen and steerspersons were shot to death one by one without being able to take any measures to counterattack. To the criticism that says Yoshitsune won the battle by employing mean tactics, there are those who oppose to this criticism advocating that in the first place there were no established battle rules at that time (strictly speaking, "Konjaku Monogatari" (The Tale of Times Now Past) and other documents confirm that some rules including the place of battle for one-on-one fight and collective battle was established in several cases, such as when warriors (samurai) had a private reason or a problem concerning their territories or honor and both parties whished to solve the problems by themselves by way of a duel.

Yoshitsune brought about military as well as political results by carrying out two contradictory duties; undertaking his military duty of expelling the Taira family as a local commander of Yoritomo, and constructing a good relationship with the Imperial court. The story that he accepted the title from the court without permission is a creation of "Azuma Kagami," and the criticism that he lacked the 'political sense' is not adequate.

Shinichi SATO

About the conflict between Yoritomo and Yoshitsune, Shinichi SATO argues that the conflict was caused by the existence of two opposing powers inside the Kamakura Administration; one was the 'eastern nation independentist' formed by powerful lower-ranking vassals (gokenin) in the Kanto region, and the other was the 'Kyoto sympathizers' formed by close vassals of Yoritomo and the officials who were relegated from Kyoto. Yoshitsune, Yoritomo's smaller brother, was especially highly valued as close associates, being appointed as the general in chief of the backdoor troop to expel the Tiara family and entrusted as the local commander in Kyoto as well. After settling in Kyoto, he was engaged to eradicate the violence of warriors in order to construct a good relationship with the court, playing an important role in the Yoritomo's pro-Kyoto policy. Later, Yoshitsune defeated the Taira family in about two months by gaining over the support of local naval forces in the western territory, while Noriyori's army formed by the influential lower-ranking vassals (gokenin) in the Kanto region had not been able to defeat the Taira family after a half year.
As a consequence, the influence of the Kyoto sympathizers was enhanced in the political decision-making as well as in the repartition of a grant of honors
However, the east independents felt indignant and accused Yoshitsune, who was the radical leader of the pro-Kyoto policy. Yoritomo granted the territories confiscated from Yoshitsune to his potential lower-ranking vassals (gokenin), in order to keep them, because they were the support base of his administration. Yoshitsune, who was forced to lose his position even though he had won the victory in various battles, tried to mobilize the warriors in western Japan to confront the Kamakura Administration.


Masataka UWAYOKOTE poses a question on the credibility of "Azuma Kagami" elaborated by the Kamakura bakufu, and he opposed to the common theory, that is, Yoshitsune's acceptance of the title without his brother's permission was a result of an evil design of Goshirakawa, and with this strategy he tried to divide Yoshitsune from Yoritomo and Yoshitsune was trapped by it.

The real reason why Yoritomo did not dispatch Yoshitsune to expel the Taira family is because the court nobles requested him strongly to make Yoshitsune stay in Kyoto to secure the order in Kyoto, and not because he sanctioned Yoshitsune for the acceptance of the title without asking for his permission. Goshirakawa expected Yoshitsune to maintain the security of the city, and entrusted him as a police and judicial chief (Kebiishi) and an officer of the Outer Palace Guards (Saemon no jo). However, as a result, he was incorporated into the Goshirakawa's close retainers, and it became impossible to render services for the Kamakura bakufu, and that resulted in raising Yoritomo's anger. Moreover, after the Battle of Dannoura, Yoritomo let Yoshitsune return to Kyoto instead of detaining him in Kamakura, because he wanted to stir up Goshirakawa by making use of Yoshitsune, who had converted to a close retainer of the Cloistered Emperor after the complementary appointment as In no Miumaya no Tsukasa (retainer responsible for the stability of the Cloistered Emperor's government). Yoritomo deliberately induced Goshirakawa to issue the pursuit of Yoritomo himself, and he succeeded in thrusting various political requests.

Although the personality of Yoshitsune in the legends is shaded with romanticism, Yoshitsune described in "Heike Monogatari," which is considered to be close to the real figure, is a cheerful and broad-minded brave warrior and had no shadow. However, "Azuma Kagami" elaborated by the Kamakura bakufu is extremely sympathetic with Yoshitsune, and even if he must have been a traitor, the book contains many descriptions touching on his sentiments, showing a strong sympathy 'Hogan-biiki' for the underdog. On the other hand, Yoritomo is described as a person who did not hide his cruelty towards his younger brothers, and in the scene of Shizuka Gozen's dance, in contrast to the dignified two women, Shizuka and Masako, his is maliciously depicted as a narrow-minded and bigoted person. He also concludes that Kagetoki KAJIWARA, who tattled on Yoshitsune's movement, was an evil-minded person. Later, Kagetoki was banned from the Kamakura bakufu by the Hojo clan. It seems that "Azuma Kagami" fomented the sympathy for Yoshitsune (Hogan-biiki) with the intention to justify the position of the Hojo clan that deprived the Minamoto clan of the power.


Yasuo MOTOKI presents a new profile of Yoshitsune, by examining "Azuma Kagami," whose text has been considered rather credible, based on the approach of the critique of historical materials, which has been advanced remarkably in the resent years, and by comparing the detailed descriptions of the "Azuma Kagami" with those of "Gyokuyo" and other materials written at the same period.

The warriors of eastern Japan, who neither had their own territories nor their own troops, but were very individualistic, supported Yoritomo in order to protect their vested interests. Therefore, even if with only a few soldiers, the appearance of Yoshitsune must have been a great pleasure for Yoritomo, as he expected that Yoshitsune could be his right hand,. Since then, Yoshitsune was called 'the son of Kamakura,' which means that he entered under the custody of Yoritomo as his adopted son, and as "Gyokuyo" describes, they were 'in a relation of father and son,' and therefore, Yoshitsune was thought to have a possibility to be the heir to Yoritomo (Yoritomo's legitimate son Yoriie had not been born at that time yet), and at the same time, he was meant to be placed in a subordinate position to Yoritomo.

Yoshitsune was charged to expel Yoshinaka, because the warriors in eastern Japan were reluctant to make a sortie which would not give them any benefit of expanding their territory. Yoshitsune and Noriyori, both started with a few soldiers and in order to confront with Yoshinaka, they intended to recruit and organize the local warriors on their way to Kyoto. To facilitate their entrance into Kyoto, the warriors in the Kyoto district played an important role in combat with Yoshinaka in the Battle of Hoju-ji Temple. The Battle of Ichinotani was not fought in a unified form under the leadership of Noriyori and Yoshitsune, but with a so called patch-work army composed of various independent local Genji families and Kyoto warriors.

After returning from the battle, he made an effort to recover the deteriorated security and order of the capital. Noriyori, who set forth on expedition to expel the Taira clan with the eastern warriors, suffered from the undermined morale of soldiers, due to the prolonged battle, which he tactically chose, and the stagnated the advance. Worried about it, Yoritomo appointed Yoshitsune for the duty, judging that the short decisive battle could be inevitable, and Yoshitsune responded it with success by organizing the warriors in western Japan and destroyed the Taira clan in the battles of Yashima and Dannoura. For the warriors of eastern Japan, the success of the operation meant to be deprived of the chance to win fame in the battles, and their indignation toward Yoshitsune, which was growing further, embarrassed Yoritomo as an unexpected result.

In the process of the post-battle operation, Yoritomo tried to bring this situation under control, by making Yoshitsune return to Kamakura and put his brother under his own control, instead of granting the maximum honor of recommending Yoshitsune for the governor of Iyo Province. However his intent failed. Yoshitsune continued staying in Kyoto, as he was appointed by the Cloistered Emperor to additionally fill the vacant position of In no Miumaya no Tsukasa (retainer responsible for the stability of the cloistered emperor's government), or in other words, as the chief of the Cloistered Emperor's bodyguard, in addition to occupying the posts of police and judicial chief (Kebiishi) and officer of Outer Palace Guards (Saemon no jo), as well as the post of governor of Iyo Province. Goshirakawa made use of Yoshitsune to construct his own independent military regime. Yoshitsune, who opposed 'his father' backed by the authority of Chiten no Kimi (Cloistered Emperor who organize politics). In this way, the relationship of the two had the decisive rupture.

Although Yoshitsune had acquired the Inzen (Cloistered Emperor's decree) to expel Yoritomo, there were few warriors who responded to his call, and his influence was rapidly lost. By then, Yoritomo had already taken drastic measures with the warriors in various places, such as rewarding them with bonuses in appreciation for their deed, and the warriors in Kyoto, who had been cooperating with Yoshitsune until then since his first entrance in Kyoto, did not collaborate with him this time as Yoshitsune was not able to reward them. Yoshitsune's decline, after having endeavored in the reconstruction of the capital and enjoyed the name of 'royal retainer,' left a strong impression on the public in Kyoto, and a legendary figure was gradually going to take shape.

After Yoshitsune left Kyoto, the person who entered in Kyoto as the local commander and he intervened in the affaires of the Imperial court instead of Yoshitsune was not any of his brothers, but Yoritomo's father in law, Tokimasa HOJO. Tokimasa was the maternal grandfather of still young Yoriie, and he was supposed to have had a strong resentment against Yoshitsune, because of some reasons such as his legitimate son Yoshitoki was robbed of his merit by Yoshitsune in battle. Yoshitsune's decline in power enabled Tokimasa to consolidate the position as a maternal relative of the successor to Yoritomo, and also allowed the expansion of Tokimasa's power.

[Original Japanese]