Taira no Tadamori (平忠盛)

TAIRA no Tadamori was a samurai at the end of Heian period. Collateral line of Ise-Heishi (Taira clan). He was the father of TAIRA no Kiyomori. He was the first among the Taira clan to be accepted to visit the imperial palace. His father was TAIRA no Masamori. His eboshi-oya (guardian) was MINAMOTO no Yoshitada who was a leader of Kawachi-Genji (Minamoto clan).

Tadamori's father, Masamori served for the Emperor Shirakawa and also married off his daughter to MINAMOTO no Yoshitada - a leader of Kawachi-Genji. After Yoshitada died, while the Kawachi-Genji declined in strength, Tadamori brought the Kawachi-Genji retainers with him and served for the Retired Emperor Shirakawa and the Emperor Toba.

He was appointed as Kebiishi (police and judicial chief) in 1111. As he killed the robber Natsuyagi dayu, who had burglarized the Hie-jinja Shrine, he was rewarded Jugoinoge (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade) for his achivement in 1113. In the event of Eikyu no goso (violent plea in the Eikyu era) in 1113, Tadamori worked with his father Masamori to stop the troops of Kofuku-ji Temple coming into Kyoto. After this, he became the Governor of Hoki Province and was also appointed to the position of Uma no gon no kami (Provisional Captain of the Right Division of Bureau of Horses).

In 1117, he became a mandokoro betto (Secretary of government office) for FUJIWARA no Shoshi who was married to the Emperor Toba. He served as shin-maibito (traditional Japanese Court dancer) in Kamo no rinjisai (imperial festival held in November) in 1119. He became a zuryo (local governer) of Echizen Province in 1120. During his service, a murder occured in Tsuruga District, Echizen Province and a jinin (associates of Shinto shrines) of Hiyoshi-jinja Shrine was arrested. When a lapsed monk of the Enryaku-ji Temple kidnapped him on the way to take the murderer to the Kebiishi, the imperial court caught the monk. The Enryaku-ji Temple violently demonstrated for the monk. The Cloistered Emperor Shirakawa protected Tadamori without bowing to pressure from Enryaku-ji Temple. Tadamori was permitted to visit the cloistered emperor's palace in 1121. About this time, he took Muneko (later Ike no zenni) to be his official wife; she was a daughter of the Shuri gon no daibu (Provisional Master in the Office of Palace Repairs), FUJIWARA no Munekage.

Visiting the Imperial Palace
Tadamori was rewarded Jushiinoge (Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade) in 1127 and also became the Govenor of Bizen Province and was appointed for the position of Sama no gon no kami (Provisional Captain of Samaryo, Left Division of Bureau of Horses). Moreover, he served in Miumaya no tsukasa, where he managed cows and horses in the palace. He hunted and killed pirates in Sanyo-do and Nankai-do in 1129. This was not by official Imperial edict, but by the Retired Emperor's edict and the Kebiishi betto (Superintendent) 's edict. (At that time, the brother of Taikenmonin, Saneyuki SANJO was the betto). The Retired Emperor Toba took over the cloistered rule after the Cloistered Emperor Shirakawa died, and awarded Shoshiinoge (Senior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade) rank to Tadamori. In 1132, for the completion ceremony of the Tokuchoju-in Temple, a Kannon-do Hall built at the Retired Emperor's behest, Tadamori donated the Sentai Kannon (thousand deity) to the temple. He was permitted Naishoden (to visit the special room in the imperial palace) for his donation.
According to "The Tale of the Heike," nobles hated Tadamori because he became Tenjobito (a high-ranking courtier allowed into the Imperial Palace). They plotted a surprise attack; however, Tadamori used his wit to save himself by threatening nobles with a silver-plated wooden sword (Tenjo no yamiuchi, or Surprise attack in the Palace)
There was the case of MINAMOTO no Yorimitsu that was granted Naishoden; however, Tadamori was treated very well at that time. FUJIWARA no Munetada wrote 'it is unprecedented that such a person was permitted to visit the special imperial room' ("Chuyuki" (diary written by FUJIWARA no Munetada)). As the Cloistered Emperor Toba made a favorite of Bifukumonin - her cousin FUJIWARA no Ienari was well-established as the head of In no kinshin (the retired emperor's trusted vassals). Tadamori developed a close relationship with Ienari because his wife Muneko was Ienari's cousin.

He was appointed to work in the Nakatsukasa-sho (Ministry of Central Affairs) in 1135. Kugyos (the top court officials) discussed who should be qualified between Tadamori and MINAMOTO no Tameyoshi for hunting and killing the pirates in the western sea. He subsequently appointed Tadamori to the task. Tadamori caught pirates and accepted some of the pirates who surrendered as retainers. In this year, he was appointed as the Govenor of Mimasaka Province. Tadamori prevented the violent demonstrations of the armed priests of Kofuku-ji Temple from coming into Kyoto. About this time, he was promoted to the betto (head) of Miumaya no tsukasa in the cloistered government. Tadamori held positions such as Uma no gon no kami and Sama no gon no kami; and, was involved in the Meryo (Bureau of Horses), which managed horses in the imperial palace. It was not unusual that Tadamori held positions in both the Meryo and the Miumaya no tsukasa considering the similarities of the duties. It was was very important for Tadamori, who was a military noble, to accede to the betto of Miumaya no tsukasa because of the importance of calvalry to battles. He was rewarded Shoshiinojo (Senior Fourth Rank, Upper Grade) in 1144 and also became the Governor of Owari Province. Tadamori served as Shi-i Betto (chief administrator of fourth rank) in the Toba cloistered rule. As his co-worker FUJIWARA no Tadataka was a fine equestrian despite being a noble, Tadamori seemed to get along with him, and Tadataka's son, Takanori married Tadamori's daughter. Tadataka's wife, Eiko was the nanny to the Retired Emperor Sutoku, and Tadamori's wife, Muneko, was the nanny to the first son of the Retired Emperor Sutoku, Imperial Prince Shigehito. He was appointed the Governor of Harima Province in 1146. Kiyomori's retainers and jinnins of Gion-jinja Shrine had a skirmish on June 15, 1147 and the Enryaku-ji Temple protested violently for the deportation of Tadamori and Kiyomori. The Cloistered Emperor Toba supported Tadamori because of his strong military and financial power over FUJIWARA no Yorinaga's opposition. Tadamori became Gyobukyo (Minister of Justice) in 1151. He became a priest and died in 1153. The Minister of the Left, FUJIWARA no Yorinaga stated, 'He had served as the governor for several provinces, made a lot of money, had many retainers in his provinces and he had great military power.
However, he was a modest person and did not accept luxury. He is solely missed among us.'

He created immense wealth from serving as the governor of several provinces and from trading between Japan and the Song Dynasty; and, this established the base of the Taira clan government.

He was also known as a poet and his works include the poem anthology "Taira no Tadamori Shu."

[Original Japanese]