Kamata Masakiyo (鎌田政清)

Masakiyo KAMATA (1123-February 11, 1160) was a busho (military commander) at the end of the Heian period. He was a son of Michikiyo KAMATA in Sagami Province, of the FUJIWARA no Hidesato-lined Sudo clan. He had other names including 正清 (Masakiyo), 正家 (Masaie), 政家 (Masaie). He was commonly called Jiro KAMATA, Sahyoe no jo.

He was MINAMOTO no Yoshitomo's principal vassal. Because Masakiyo's mother was Yoshitomo's foster mother, Yoshitomo trusted him the most as his foster brother.

During the Hogen War in July 1156, Masakiyo, who sided with Yoshitomo, fought against MINAMOTO no Tametomo, but retreated because of the enemy's overwhelming power. After the War, he executed in tears Yoshitomo's father MINAMOTO no Tameyoshi who was held captive as a war criminal.

During the Heiji War in December 1159, he was appointed as Sahyoe no jo (third-ranked officer of Sahyoe-fu, the Left Division of Middle Palace Guards) in the appointment ceremony led by FUJIWARA no Nobuyori who occupied the Imperial Palace. In the Battle of Taiken-mon Gate, he fought courageously in cooperation with Yoshitomo's eldest son MINAMOTO no Yoshihira against TAIRA no Shigemori, Kiyomori's eldest son. Yoshitomo was prepared to die following the Minamoto clan's defeat in the Battle of the Rokujo-gawara riverbed, but Masakiyo, who made him change his mind, accompanied him on the lam to Togoku (eastern provinces). When leaving Kyoto, Yoshitomo chose to kill his daughter, who was under Masakiyo's charge, (rather than to make her a captive of the enemy), ordering Masakiyo to kill her and he returned and stabbed her to death in tears.

On their way, Yoshitomo and Masakiyo, as defeated soldiers fleeing the enemy, became targets of bandits but managed to arrive at the residence of Tadamune OSADA, Masakiyo's father-in-law and feudal lord of Utsumi no sho (manor), Noma, Owari Province. But as a result of Tadamune's betrayal, Yoshitomo was killed while taking a bath and Masakiyo, drunk, was foully murdered by Tadamune's son Kagetsune OSADA (from "Heiji monogatari" [The Tale of the Heiji]). He died at the age of 38. According to "Gukansho" (An Interpretative History of Japan), Yoshitomo, who noticed Tadamune's plot, ordered Masakiyo to kill him.

On September 3, 1185, MINAMOTO no Yoritomo, Yoshitomo's bereaved child, buried Masakiyo's head and Yoshitomo's cremains in Shochoju-in Temple, Kamakura. On October 25, 1194, Masakiyo's daughter held a memorial service for Masakiyo and Yoshitomo at Shochoju-in Temple. Because he did not have any sons, Yoritomo appointed her as Jito (land steward) of Shinoki no sho, Owari Province and Nabe no sho, Tanba Province (from "Azuma Kagami" [The Mirror of the East]).

The graves of Masakiyo and his wife exist in the precincts of Nomadaibo Temple, Mihama-cho, Aichi Prefecture, together with the grave of Yoshitomo.

[Original Japanese]