Inage Shigenari (稲毛重成)

Shigenari INAGE was busho (a Japanese military commander) who lived during the last days of Heian period and the early Kamakura period. He was gokenin (an immediate vassal of the shogunate in the Kamakura and Muromachi through Edo periods) of Kamakura bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by shogun). He was of a family of the Chichibu clan who descended from the Kanmu-Heishi (Taira clan). He owned Inage no sho (manor) in Musashi Province. His father was Arishige OYAMADA, the founder of the OYAMADA clan. Shigetada HATAKEYAMA was Shigenari's cousin.


In the beginning, Shigenari called himself Shigenari OYAMADA. His father, Arishige OYAMADA, served as a faithful retainer of the Ise-Heishi (Taira clan) along with Shigeyoshi HATAKEYAMA. When in August, 1180, MINAMOTO no Yoritomo raised an army, Shigenari took the side of the Heike (Taira family) and fought against Yoritomo; in October of the same year, he came under Yoritomo's control and became Yoritomo's gokenin along with the Chichibu family such as Shigetada HATAKEYAMA at a place called Nagai no Watashi along the Sumida-gawa River. Later, Shigenari took as his wife a younger sister of Masako HOJO, who was Yoritomo's lawful wife; he was approved to be the landowner of the vast Inage no sho situated in the Tama Hills, constructed Masugata Castle (present-day Ikuta Ryokuchi Park) in Masugata-yama Mountain and called himself by the name of INAGE.

In 1181, it was discovered that the land in Tama county which was added to Shigenari's territory last year was actually the property of Hirosada HEITA; learning about it, Yoritomo became angry. In 1187, Shigenari participated in an event of the art of Japanese archery and was granted three bows by MINAMOTO no Yoritomo. He founded Shitodo Maekawa-jinja Shrine. He took part in hunting down and killing MINAMOTO no Yoshinaka in 1184, and in the Battle of Ichinotani that followed, he joined MINAMOTO no Noriyori's army. In August, 1189, he took part in the Battle of Oshu. When Yoritomo went to Kyoto in 1190, Shigenari accompanied him.

In July 1195, Shigenari accompanied Yoritomo who went to Kyoto again, and on the way home, in Mino Province, he learned of his wife's critical condition. Shunmei (a swift horse) was granted by Yoritomo and Shigenari hurried to his honryo (main domain). In August of the same year, grieving over his wife's death of illness, Shigenari entered into priesthood and gave himself homyo (a posthumous Buddhist name used in the Shin sect) of Dozen. Since then, he was called by names such as Inage Nyudo and Ozawa Nyudo. In 1198, Shigenari built a bridge across Sagami-gawa River in memory of his dead wife; Yoritomo who attended the memorial service for the completion of the bridge fell off his horse on the way home and died due to the fall.

On July 17, 1205, in the Shigetada HATAKEYAMA Rebellion, Shigenari was blamed for slandering Shigetada, who was innocent, in compliance with the wishes of Tokimasa HOJO, and maneuvering the suppression of Shigetada; on August 6 the following year, Shigenari and his son Shigemasa OZAWA were killed by Yoshimura MIURA. By special permission of Masako HOJO, Shigenari's property inheritance was given to his daughter Rishitsu AYANOKOJI.

Shigenari's graveyard is in Kofuku-ji Temple in Tama Ward, Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture, which is said to be a part of castle ruins.

[Original Japanese]