Taira no Sadamori (平貞盛)

TAIRA no Sadamori (year of birth unknown - November 16, 989) was a Busho (Japanese military commander) in the mid Heian period. He was the first son of TAIRA no Kunika. He was the father of TAIRA no Korenobu, TAIRA no Koremasa, TAIRA no Korehira and so on.
He was referred to as '常平太.'
With the official court rank of Jushiinoge (Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade), he assumed the post of Meryo (an government official of the Bureau of Horses) and Daijo (the third rank official of a province) of Hitachi Province. He was also called "TAIRA no Shogun" or "TAIRA no Shogun Sadamori."


While Sadamori served as Meryo in Heian-Kyo (ancient capital in current Kyoto), his father TAIRA no Kunika was killed by his male cousin TAIRA no Masakado. Hastily returning home after taking a leave of absence, he searched out the corpse of his father Kunika at his house burnt down, and found out his mother and his wife both of whom had evacuated in the mountains. Sadamori thought that his family members were involved in the incidents as a penalty for the crime committed by their relatives in line with the rule of those days (the rule indicated that not only a criminal but also his or her relatives are punished). (Another theory suggests that Sadamori chose winning a promotion as a government official in capital rather than taking revenge). Sadamori showed TAIRA no Masakado his stance that promoting friendly relationships with each other would be the best way.

However, induced by his uncles TAIRA no Yoshikane and TAIRA no Yoshimasa, who had been plotting an attack on Masakado, Sadamori joined them to fight against Masakado. A secret plot to go to the capital on April 6, 989 was found out by Masakado. Chased by Masakado troops, he was attacked at the neighborhood of Shinano Kokubun-ji Temple in Chiisagata-gun, Shinano Province, which was under the control of Masakado, but he managed to escape. After the death of Yoshikane, Sadamori returned home with Kanpu (official documents from Dajokan, or Great Council of State) to search and capture Masakado, but his troops were easily beaten by Masakado. When TAIRA no Koresuke left for Mutsu Province to assume a new post, Sadamori accompanied him and tried to enter Mutsu Province in October of that year. However, chased by Masakado again, he barely escaped and hid himself. Taking advantage of the conflict in Hitachi Province in November, he plotted to kill Masakado only to fail again and hid himself again along with FUJIWARA no Tamenori.

In 940, in cooperation with FUJIWARA no Hidesato, he attacked and killed Masakado in 'Kitayama no Kessen' (the decisive battles of Kitayama) on February 14. After subduing Masakado, Sadamori was awarded Jugoinojo (Junior Fifth Rank, Upper Grade) (other theory suggests that he was awarded Shogoinojo [Senior Fifth Rank, Upper Grade)] for his great efforts to defeat rebels such as Masakado, while overcoming hardships for many years.

Later, promoted to Chinju-fu shogun (Commander-in-Chief of the Defense of the North), Sadamori worked successively in Mutsu and then Tanba Provinces.
He was awarded Jushiinoge to be called 'TAIRA Shogun.'

Konjaku monogatari shu (The Tale of Times Now Past)

According to "Shomonki" (Tale of Masakado), Sadamori was often defeated and chased by Masakado despite showing a friendly attitude to him. However, "Konjyaku Monogatari Shu" vol.29 "This land with evil" (本朝付悪業), the episode fifth titled "The story of Ason (second highest of the eight hereditary titles) TAIRA no Sadamori, who shot a robber at the house of a Buddhist priest" introduces his heroic exploit against a robber at the house of a Buddhist priest of his acquaintance, where he stayed on his way back to the capital from Mutsu Province. In addition, his daring character is also introduced in the episode 25th titled "The story of Tanba no Kami (the governor of Tanba Province) TAIRA no Sadamori, who extracted the internal organs of an unborn baby" by a story that Sadamori not only cut open the belly of a pregnant woman to get her unborn baby's internal organs for the treatment of his arrow wound, but also plotted to kill the doctor who taught him the remedy for fear that such a cruel conduct would come to light.

[Original Japanese]