Kawachi Tsunekuni (河内経国)

Tsunekuni KAWACHI (year of birth unknown [around 1100] - year of death unknown [1156 according to one theory]) was a busho (Japanese military commander) during the late Heian period.
MINAMOTO no Tsunekuni

His grandfathers were MINAMOTO no Yoshiie, Chinju-fu shogun (Commander-in-Chief of the Defense of the North) and the third generation of Kawachi-Genji (the Minamoto clan), and TAIRA no Masamori of Ise-Heishi (the Taira clan), Tajima no kami (governor of Tajima Province), in which these fact indicates that he was descended from the Minamoto and the Taira clans. His father was MINAMOTO no Yoshitada who took over as head of the main branch of Seiwa-Genji (the Minamoto clan originated from the Emperor Seiwa) after Yoshiie. The name 'Genta KAWACHI' derived from the fact that his father was working as Kawachi no kami (governor of Kawachi Province) and that the family was based in Kawachi Province.

Genealogical record of the MINAMOTO no Yoshitada family

After the death of Tsunekuni, his brother MINAMOTO no Yoshitaka (Sahyoe no gon no suke = Provisional Assistant Master of the Left Military Guard)'s descendants succeeded the main branch of the MINAMOTO no Yoshitada family, but partly because of the decline of the Taira clan, the Yoshitaka family, which was related to the Taira clan, declined as well. After that, individual descendants of Yoshitada's children claimed to be of the main branch of the family, but because of their insignificant influence, the fact that they were of the main branch of the family was meaningless and they gradually stopped claiming so.


He was born the eldest legitimate son of MINAMOTO no Yoshitada in Koroho castle in Tsuboi (present-day Tsuboi, Habikino City, Osaka Prefecture), Ishikawa County, Kawachi Province. His childhood name was Genta.
His grandfather Yoshiie, whose childhood name was Genta, gave the name to him
His father was assassinated in his childhood, following which incident his brother-in-law MINAMOTO no Tameyoshi took over as head of the family and he himself was placed under his uncle (his mother's brother) TAIRA no Tadamori's custody.

When MINAMOTO no Yoshikuni started to work in Kyoto, Tsunekuni was placed under his custody and later celebrated his coming of age with Yoshikuni serving as eboshioya (a person who put an eboshi [formal headwear for court nobles] on a young man's head on his coming of age ceremony). Later, he served as a retainer of FUJIWARA no Tsunezane and Yoshikuni before moving to Ashikaga, Shimotsuke Province.

He married a daughter who was born to the Nasu clan in Shimotsuke Province and Tsuneyuki KODAMA, the leader of the Kodama Party based in Musashi Province, and the couple gave birth to the children including MINAMOTO no Moritsune (Kawachi-Genji).

The name Kawachi derived from the fact that his father MINAMOTO no Yoshitada served as Kawachi no kami, but the Kawachi clan started and ended with Tsunekuni, and his son Moritsune called himself Moritsune INAZAWA.

He gave the name Kawachi to his newly exploited manors. Inazawa (Inazawa, Kodamamachi, Honjo City, Saitama Prefecture), which his son used as the surname, was a place in Kawachi no sho manor (Kawachi, Kodamamachi, Honjo City, Saitama Prefecture) and it was located in a northerly direction along the mountain from the center of the manor.

The establishment of the manor depended on his father-in-law Tsuneyuki KODAMA's influence and his uncle MINAMOTO no Yoshikuni's support. Yoshikuni used the manor as a front-line base for extending his power to Musashi Province. Yoshikuni's tactics and the fact that his eldest son Yoshishige NITTA extended his power to Nitta, Kozuke Province indicate Yoshikuni's excellent strategic insight focusing on Ashikaga no sho manor which had easy access to Shimotsuke, Kozuke and Musashi Provinces. Tsunekuni supported Yoshikuni's campaign.

When MINAMOTO no Yoshitomo moved to Kanto region from Kyoto, two Minamoto clans - Shimotsuke Province-based Yoshikuni and Sagami Province-based Yoshitomo - stood together in the region.
MINAMOTO no Yoshitomo, as the legitimate son of the head of Kawachi-Genji, rapidly extended his power over the soldiers affiliated with Genji (the Minamoto clan)
The Yoshikuni and the Yoshitomo forces therefore nearly clashed in Musashi Province and other areas. Tsunekuni mediated between Yoshikuni (older uncle) and Yoshitomo (nephew), helping them form an alliance.

After the death of Yoshikuni, he served MINAMOTO no Yoshiyasu and Yoshitomo. As Yoshitomo's uncle and guardian, he tried to avoid family infighting, working for the revival of the Minamoto clan.

During the Hogen War, he sided with the Emperor Goshirakawa whom Yoshitomo served, but took some actions to avoid the Minamoto clan infighting such as asking MINAMOTO no Tameyoshi (brother-in-law) to restrain himself but without success.

Hogen Monogatari (The Tale of the Hogen War) mentions his name, not describing about his military service, which fact probably indicates that he did not do a great job in the Hogen War.

During the Heiji War, he was torn between his nephew and his cousin, whose painful experience led him to seclude himself. According to some historical materials, he died in the Hogen War or the Heiji War.

He is introduced as 'Kawachi hangan' (judge or magistrate) in some historical materials, but because his father MINAMOTO no Yoshitada was once called so, it is now accepted that they are confused. There is no information about his official rank or government post. Judging from what he went through, it is hard to believe that he did not take any official rank or government post, but he called himself Tsunekuni Genta KAWACHI for life and, as a matter of fact, there is no description about his official rank or government post in historical materials.


He was descended from MINOMOTO no Yoshiie (grandfather) and MINAMOTO no Yoshitada (father) on his father side.

He was descended from TAIRA no Masamori (grandfather) and MINAMOTO no Yoshitada's wife on his mother side.

His uncles included MINAMOTO no Yoshimune, MIMAMOTO no Yoshichika, MINAMOTO no Yoshikuni, MINAMOTO no Yoshitoki, MINAMOTO no Yoshitaka, TAIRA no Tadamori, TAIRA no Tadamasa.

His biological brothers included MINAMOTO no Yoshitaka (Sahyoe no gon no suke = Provisional Assistant Master of the Left Military Guard), MINAMOTO no Tadamune (Genta OBU), MINAMOTO no Yoshikiyo (Sakyo no gon no daibu = Provisional Master of the Eastern Capital Offices), MINAMOTO no Yoshikatsu.

MINAMOTO no Tameyoshi was his father's adopted son, while MINAMOTO no Yoshitomo was his nephew.

Among his cousins are TAIRA no Kiyomori, TAIRA no Tsunemori, Yoshishige NITTA, MINAMOTO no Yoshiyasu, and MINAMOTO no Yoshinobu.

MINAMOTO no Moritsune (Kawachi-Genji) and Renshun, a priest, were his sons.

[Original Japanese]