Taira no Tomomori (平知盛)

TAIRA no Tomomori was a warlord in the late Heian period. He was the fourth son of TAIRA no Kiyomori. TAIRA no Tokiko was his mother. TAIRA no Munemori, TAIRA no Shigehira and TAIRA no Tokuko were his maternal brothers and sister. He held the office of Chunagon (vice-councilor of state) with the rank of Junii (Junior Second Rank). He was publicly called Shin-Chunagon.


He was born of TAIRA no Tokiko, the legal wife of TAIRA no Kiyomori, in a time when the Taira clan enjoyed their greatest prosperity, and he was first promoted to Jugoinoge (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade) rank at the age of eight, and continued to receive promotions to higher ranks.. As Kokushi (provincial governors) and Chigyo-kokushi (sovereign of the fief) of Musashi Province, TAIRA no Tomomori acquired a large number of Heishi Iebito (servants of the Taira family) from Musashi Province. As Musashi was in an area in which the Minamoto clan had great influence, it is thought that Tomomori's capability as a warlord and his personal magnetism worked effectively. As his elder brothers, Shigemori and Munemori, behaved indecisively toward Goshirakawa, it appears that Kiyomori placed his expectations on Tomomori and, therefore, called him 'much-loved son' ("Gyokuyo" (Kanezane KUJO's diary)). In December 1180, when the Minamoto clan rose in insurrection in Mino Province and Omi Province, he was the supreme commander to suppress the insurrection. Later, Kiyomori ordered Tomomori to go to Togoku (the eastern part of Japan, particularly Kanto region) to conduct a search-and-destroy mission, but Tomomori was forced to return to Kyoto due to illness.

Kiyomori died on the fourth day of the intercalary second month in 1181. Munemori, Tomomori's elder maternal brother, succeeded Kiyomori. Tomomori assisted Munemori, together with Shigehira, his maternal brother. In October 1181, the Taira clan expeditionary force was organized so that Hokuriku-do was charged to Tomomori, Kiyofusa (Munemori's younger brother by a different mother), Shigehira and Sukemori, Tokai-do and Tozan-do roads were charged to Koremori and Kiyotsune (a son of Shigemori), Kumano was charged to the two sons of Yorimori, with the most important point, Rakuchu Shugo (military governor of Kyoto), charged to Munemori, Norimori, Tsunemori, Yorimori and Tomomori. (Source: Article for October 10 in "Gyokuyo"). It is thought that the people who stayed in Kyoto with Munemori were the key people in political power at that time. In February 1183, when Munemori resigned as Naidaijin (inner minister), Tomomori, Shigehira, Yorimori, Tokitada and Chikanume turned out to Munemori's place (Source: Articles for February 27 in "Kikki" (Tsunefusa YOSHIDA's diary)). This implies that Tomomori played an important role in the Taira family.

In 1183, when the Taira clan army was decimated in the Battle of Kurikara-toge, Tomomori, together with Munemori, resolved to leave the capital in exile. On February 7, 1184, the Taira clan army suffered a terrible blow at the Battle of Ichinotani, and Tomomori lost his son, TAIRA no Tomoaki. On March 24, 1185, after witnessing the destruction of the Taira clan in the naval battle of Danno-ura, Tomomori drowned himself in the sea.. He was 34 years old.

TAIRA no Tomotada, who rose in insurrection after the destruction of the Taira clan, was Tomomori's son.

Ikari Tomomori (Tomomori with the Anchor)

According to legend, Tomomori either shouldered an anchor or donned two suits of armor as a weight, and he threw himself into the sea after proclaiming, 'I have seen what I should see. Now I shall end my life.'
He did this to avoid the indignity of being seen floating on the surface of the sea as a dead body or still alive.

Tokai-ya' and 'Daimotsu-ura' of the "Yoshitsune Sembon-zakura" ballad drama of Kabuki (traditional performing art) are based on this legend, which is also called 'Ikari Tomomori,' and at its climax is the scene when Tomomori throws himself into the sea by leaping backward from the top of the cliff shouldering an anchor.

Official Career
* Date = Chinese calendar
1159 (8 years old)
January 7: He became a Kurodo (staff of Kurodo-dokoro). January 21: He was granted the rank of Jugoinoge.

1160 (9 years old)
February 28: He was assigned to the position of Governor of Musashi Province.

1162 (11 years old)
September 28: He was assigned to the position of Sahyoe no gon no suke (Provisional Assistant Captain of the Left Division of Middle Palace Guards).

1164 (13 years old)
January 5: He was granted the rank of Jugoinojo (Junior Fifth Rank, Upper Grade).

1166 (15 years old)
August 27: He was granted the rank of Shogoinoge (Senior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade). October 10: He was assigned to the position of Togu no Daishin (Senior official of the Crown Prince's Quarters) (Togu: Imperial prince Norihito). October 21: He was assigned to the position of Nakatsukasa no Gon no Taifu (Provisional Senior Assistant Minister of the Ministry of Central Affairs). Retained his position as Togu no Daishin and Governor of Musashi Province.

Ukone no Gon no shosho (Provisional Minor Captain of the Right Division of Inner Palace Guards).

1167 (16 years old)
February 11: He was granted the rank of Jushiinoge (Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade). Retained his position as Governor of Musashi Province.

December 30: He resigned as Governor of Musashi Province (successor: TAIRA no Tomoshige).

1168 (17 years old)
January 6: He was granted the rank of Jushiinojo (Junior Fourth Rank, Upper Grade) (TAIRA no Seishi, to be given). February 19: He was granted Shoden (to access to the imperial court) to the new emperor (Emperor Takakura). March 23: He was promoted to Sakone no Gon no chujo (Provisional Middle Captain of the Left Division of Inner Palace Guards). August 4: He was granted the rank of Shoshiinoge (Senior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade) (the Retired Emperor Goshirakawa, to be given).

1177 (26 years old)
January 24: He was granted the rank of Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank). Retained his position as Sachujo (Middle Captain of the Left Division of Inner Palace Guards).

1178 (27 years old)
January 28: He served concurrently as Provisional Governor of Tanba Province.

1179 (28 years old)
January 19: He became Togu Gon no daibu (Provisional Master of the Crown Prince's Quarters). Uhyoe no kami (Captain of the Right Division of Middle Palace Guards).

August: He resigned as Togu Gon no daibu (Shigemori died). September 5: He was granted the rank of Shosanmi (Senior Third Rank). He was reappointed to the position of Togu Gon no daibu.

October 9: He became Sahyoe no kami (Captain of the Left Division of Middle Palace Guards).

1180 (29 years old)
February 21: He resigned as Togu Gon no daibu (Emperor Antoku became the emperor). February 25: He also became the attendant for the new Retired Emperor (the Retired Emperor Takakura). Mimaya Betto (chief of Umaya no tsukasa, ministry of stable).

1181 (30 years old)
February: He resigned as Sahyoe no kami. March 26: He was appointed to the position of Sangi (Royal Advisors). He was reappointed to Sahyoe no kami.

September 23: He resigned from the position of Sangi.

1182 (31 years old)
He resigned as from the position of Sahyoe no kami. October 3: He became Gon Chunagon (a provisional vice-councilor of state). October 6: He was allowed to wear a sword. November: He was granted the rank of Junii (Kenreimonin, to be given).

1183 (32 years old)
August 6: He was removed from office.

[Original Japanese]