Horiguchi Sadamitsu (堀口貞満)

Sadamitsu HORIGUCHI (1297 - 1338) was a busho (Japanese military commander), who lived from the late Kamakura period to the Northern and Southern Courts period. He was from a branch family of the Nitta clan belonging to the Seiwa-Genji (Minamoto clan), which settled in Kozuke Province. The family dominated Horiguchi no go (current Horiguchi-machi, Ota City, Gunma Prefecture), situated in the far southeast side of Nitta Country, Kozuke Province (Nitta no sho estate).


He was born in 1297, and his father was Sadayoshi HORIGUCHI (Jushiinoge [Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade] Governor of Mino Province).

In 1333, he took part in Yoshisada NITTA's taking up arms, and he made remarkable achievements such as taking Kamakura bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) by attacking from Kobukuro-zaka Slope. In 1334 he was conferred Shorokuinojo (Senior Sixth Rank, Upper Grade) Oinosuke (vice-minister of Bureau of Palace Kitchens under the Ministry of the Imperial Household) as a reward determined for his merits. In continuation, in 1335 he was appointed Jugoinojo (Junior Fifth Rank, Upper Grade) Governor of Mino Province.

Since then, he had rendered distinguished service as a senior vassal of Yoshisada NITTA. According to "Baishoron" (Historical tale compiled in 1349), when Takauji ASHIKAGA, who took a chance of Tokiyuki HOJO's taking up arms (Nakasendai War), rose in rebellion opposing the Kenmu Restoration, he fought against Takauji ASHIKAGA's forces in the Battle of Yahagigawa.

In 1336, when Takauji ASHIKAGA, who recovered his force in the western Japan, occupied Kyoto, he followed the army of Yoshisada NITTA and sought refuge in Mt. Hiei with Emperor Godaigo and others. At that time, Emperor Godaigo who received a confidential agent from Takauji ASHIKAGA and tried to leave the mountain to make reconciliation with Takauji ASHIKAGA, without Yoshisada NITTA's prior consent.
Then, Sadamitsu appealed Emperor Godaigo who was just to depart, saying, 'now that you will go back to Kyoto, shedding the all the fealty that our family have rendered you for many years, before you leave you should decapitate Yoshisada and more than 50 members of our family.'
Emperor Godaigo, therefore, assured the state of the Nitta army as Imperial army, by abdicating the throne to Imperial Prince Tsuneyoshi, and delegating the authority to Imperial Prince Tsuneyoshi and Imperial Prince Takayoshi. This is also a well known episode in "Taiheiki" (The Record of the Great Peace).

Afterwards, following Yoshisada NITTA, he fought in various fields in Echizen Province and Mino Province with his son Sadasuke HORIGICHI, and he died on the way of advance from Mino Province to Echizen Province in 1338.


Historic site

There are remains of Horiguchi Yakata (castle) in Horiguchi-machi, Ota City, Gunma Prefecture (former Horiguchi, Ojima-machi, Nitta County) and the wooden poles beside the river bank of Haya-kawa River indicate the site.


It is said that the descendents of the Horiguchi family settled in Motosu Country, Mino Province (the upper reaches of Ibi-gawa River), and they served the Saito clan and the Akechi clan during the Sengoku period (period of warring states).

Currently, his descendents are living in Tokigawa-machi, Saitama Prefecture (former Tamagawa Village), which is situated along the former Kamakura-kaido Road, and in the vicinity of Higashimatsuyama City, Saitama Prefecture.

[Original Japanese]