Ise Yoshimori (伊勢義盛)

Yoshimori ISE (year of birth unknown - August 11, 1186) was a samurai and a retainer of MINAMOTO no Yoshitsune who lived during the end of the Heian period. His real name was Yoshimori. His common name was Saburo and Esaburo.


He was described as a bandit of Mt. Suzuka in Ise Province in "The Tale of the Heike." He was described as a son of an inn where Yoshitsune stayed in Kozuke Province in "The Tale of the Heiji." In "Genpei Seisui Ki" (Rise and Fall of the Minamoto and Taira clans), it is said that Yoshimori was from Ise Province and became the "closest retainer" of Yoshitsune following his encounter with Yoshitsune in Kozuke Province after being imprisoned and released from jail for killing his aunt's husband. It is also said that Yoshimori became Yoshitsune's retainer during the time when Yoshitsune was going to Hiraizumi-cho after leaving Mt. Kurama; however, they are just described in the tale and it is not clear where they originally came from.

In "Gukansho" (Jottings of a Fool), Yoshimori was described as being the one who killed MINAMOTO no Yoshinaka.
(According to "Azuma Kagami" (The Mirror of the East) and "The Tale of the Heike," it was said that Tamehisa ISHIDA, a samurai of Sagami Province and a member of the MIURA clan, was the one who killed Yoshinaka.)

According to "Azuma Kagami," Yoshimori captured the supreme commander of the Ise-Taira clan, TAIRA no Munemori and his son, TAIRA no Kiyomune in the Battle of Dan no ura on March 24, 1185. When the prisoners of Heike were being transferred to Kyoto on April 26, Sanehira TOKI, a powerful senior vassal, guarded them from the front and Yoshimori from the back of an ox-drawn carriage which Munemori was in.

On May 17, 1185, Yoshimori started a fight with a retainer of Yoshiyasu ICHIJYO, a husband of Yoritomo's younger sister, about a trivial matter when Yoshitsune was refused permission to go to Kamakura and was ordered to stay at Koshigoe since he incurred the wrath of MINAMOTO no Yoritomo, his older brother. The fight was settled through the efforts of Yoshitsune and Yoshiyasu; however, Yoritomo became very angry about it since he thought minor samurai like Yoshimori must not have been arrogant, and it made Yoshitsune's position much worse.

Yoshimori accompanied Yoshitsune when Yoshitsune left the capital on November 3, 1185 after having a fight with Yoritomo. As the ship was heading to the Kyushu region, it wrecked because of a storm, causing them to be separated from one another and Yoshimori stayed hidden alone; however, he was captured by the Kamakura party and imprisoned on August 11, 1186 (according to "Gyokuyo"[Diary of Kanezane KUJO]).

His grave is located in the Saifuku-ji Temple in Kawashima-machi, Yokkaichi City, Mie Prefecture and Saburozuka (Saburo mound) stands nearby.

Setsuwa (anecdotes)

In the Battle of Shido described in "The Tale of the Heike," while leading sixteen horse soldiers stood in front of 3,000 horse soldiers of the Awa Navy, Yoshimori cleverly tricked Noriyoshi TAGUCHI (an heir to Shigeyoshi TAGUCHI's, who later betrayed the Heike at Dannoura). Yoshimori won over Chikaie KONDO to his side at Katsuura. In "Gikeiki" (a military epic about the life of Yoshitsune), it is said that he shared Yoshitsune's fate throughout his life and killed at Hiraizumi.

[Original Japanese]