Kokubun Tanemitsu (国分胤光)

Tanemitsu KOKUBUN (1241? - May 29 1304) was a samurai who is said to have lived in Miyagi County, Mutsu Province in the Kamakura period. It is said that he was the fourth head of the Kokubun family, but there is also a doubt that he might not have existed.

The Kokubun family reigned over the southern area of Miyagi County from the Northern and Southern Courts period (Japan) to the Sengoku period (Japan). According to a genealogical table made by later generations, the family is said to have governed the Kokubun-sho estate in the Kamakura period. His name appears in the 'Taira sei KOKUBUN shi Keizu' (The genealogy of the Kokubun family of Taira clan) that was compiled by Yoshikazu SAKUMA in the Edo period. His father was Taneshige KOKUBUN and his mother was a daughter of Munenaga NAKAMURA. He had two younger brothers, Inshi and Sadamitsu, and two sisters, who became the wives of Choin TAKEISHI and Hidekuni KOIZUMI, respectively. He married a daughter of Iehiro RUSU and had three sons and two daughters. His sons were Shigetane, Nobumitsu, and Tanetsugu, and his daughters became the wives of Kiyofusa KASAI and Tadamasa Goroku, respectively.

According to a genealogical table, he called himself Hikogoro and his official rank was Jugoinoge (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade) and Saemon no jo (Third-ranked officer of the Left Division of Outer Palace Guards). He accompanied the seii taishogun (literally, "great general who subdues the barbarians") Prince Munetaka during a pilgrimage in April 13, 1258. He was appointed Shusei (Third-ranked officials of Gunji) of Oshu (Mutsu Province) by the shogun Prince Koreyasu in July (or August) 1274.

There is a description of accompanying Prince Munetaka during the pilgrimage in 1258 in the "Azuma kagami" (The Mirror of the East), and his name appears as 'Hikogoro KOKUBUN, a descendant of Goro KOKUBUN.'
However, it is controversial whether the Hikogoro in this description was Tanemitsu of Mutsu Province. Goro KOKUBUN was in fact Tanemichi KOKUBUN who had changed his family name from Chiba to Kokubun and the Kokubun clan of Shimousa Province and Mutsu Province worshiped him as their ancestor. According to genealogical tables of the Kokubun family of Mutsu Province, Tanemichi became the founder of the family after getting the Kokubun-sho estate as a reward of the Battle of Oshu. However, Tanemichi and his descendants remained in Shimousa Province and the name of Tanemitsu does not appear in the genealogical tables left behind.

Scholars hold divergent views, including the speculation that Tanemichi and his successors moved and lived in Mutsu Province, that which presumes the family remained in Shimousa but they possessed the land in Mutsu Province to where only members of the family were sent, and that which assumes that the family neither moved to Mutsu province nor owned that land. The latter two views casting doubt on the genealogical tables in which the name of Tanemitsu appears consider Hikogoro KOKUBUN who accompanied the shogun to be the Kokubun clan of Shimousa Province. Even those who support the view that the family actually lived and owned the land in the Mutsu Province do not entirely consider the genealogical tables as trustworthy historical resources, and there still remains doubt about whether Tanemitsu actually existed.

[Original Japanese]