Hiraga Yoshinobu (平賀義信)

Yoshinobu HIRAGA or MINAMOTO no Yoshinobu was a busho (Japanese military commander) of the Kawachi-Genji (Minamoto clan) who lived during the end of the Heian period. His father was Moriyoshi HIRAGA who was the fourth son of MINAMOTO no Yoshimitsu. His imina (personal name) Yoshinobu (義信) was also written as Yoshinobu (義宣).

The Heiji War

In 1159 he joined the Heiji War based on Hiraga go, Saku County, Shinano Province (present Saku City, Nagano Prefecture) at the age of 17, following MINAMOTO no Yoshitomo.
In "Heiji Monogatari" it was described that he was called HIRAGA Shiro Yoshinobu and that Yoshitomo who saw Yoshinobu fighting in the battle at the Sanjo-gawara ordered roto (retainer) to relieve him saying 'Oh, there is no stupid warrior among Minamoto clan even in the Muchisashi class (a retainer who follows his master with a whip). Doesn't make a valuable soldier, Hiraga, killed.'
He was one of the seven retainers who followed Yoshitomo who was defeated and escaped to Togoku (the eastern part of Japan, particularly the Kanto region). It is thought that he separated from Yoshitomo and left for Shinano which was his base, but there is no record for more than 20 years after that.

In addition, in "Heiji Monogatari" he was described as 'Jushi' with Sadoshikibutaifu Shigenari (MINAMOTO no Shigenari).
This Jushi is sometimes translated into modern Japanese as cousin, but it had no blood relationship in this case and meant 'a person who had a deep relationship with the Minamoto clan, although he was not the Minamoto clan.'
In addition, from the context, some people interpret it as 'a young warrior who can be relied on the same as a member of the family.'

Jisho-Juei War

In 1180 MINAMOTO no Yoritomo raised an army and a little later MINAMOTO no Yoshinaka also did so in Shinano Province. Although Yoshinobu's action at this time was not known, he was thought to fall into obscurity around Saku County in Shinano Province which was his base during the heyday of Taira family. Yoshinaka joined the battle of Yokotagawara on July 1181, based on Yoda, Maruko Town, Saku County after moving from Kiso to Joshu. There is a record showing that Sakushu (warriors in Saku district) and Kaishu (warriors in Kai district) (this seems to be a misdescription of Joshushu (warriors in Joshu district) played a central role of the troops as well as Kisoshu (warriors in Kiso district). If he stayed around the Saku district, it is difficult to think that the Hiraga clan would have no relationship with him.

However, even if he followed Yoshinaka once, it seems that he followed him only in this battle, and finally he joined the troops under the command of Yoritomo who was a son of Yoshitomo and escaped to Togoku with him as mentioned above. In 1183 Yoritomo dispatched troops to Shinano Province in order to attack Yoshinaka, but as a result, Yoritomo made peace with Yoshinaka through the marriage between MINAMOTO no Yoshitaka (Shimizu no Kanja) who was the first son of Yoshinaka and Ohime (the first daughter of MINAMOTO no Yoritomo). However, Yoritomo's troops at this time entered Saku County over Usui-toge Pass, took control of the Yoda-jo Castle, and faced Yoshinaka's troops at Zenkojidaira. Some people guess that the Hiraga clan, whose base was in the Saku district, might have helped Yoritomo because the Saku district, which was an important place in Shinano where Yoshinaka raised an army, was conquered with almost no resistance in this important battle in which Yoritomo established superiority against Yoshinaka.

On April, 1184, Koreyoshi, Yoshinobu's son, was assigned to the Shugo (provincial constable) of the Iga Province and Yoshinobu himself was assigned to Musashi no kuni no kami (governor of Musashi Province) by Yoritomo's recommendation on July in the same year. Since then, he had been a benevolent ruler for a long time and was called an example of kokushi (provincial governors). In addition, Koreyoshi was assigned to Sagami no kuni no kami (a governor of Sagami Province) on September 1185, which meant that the father and son pair were in charge of the governors of the important provinces near Kamakura.

Moreover, Yoritomo continued to rely on Yoshinobu, for example, at the time of the burial of Yoshitomo's cremains Yoshinobu and Koreyoshi were allowed to serve near them at Shochoju-in Temple on October 1185, and his precedence could be said to be the top of gokenin (an immediate vassal of the Shogunate in the Kamakura and Muromachi through Edo periods) as Monyo (blood line, lineage, connected by blood) of the Minamoto clan. In addition, his wife was the third daughter of Hikinoama who was menoto (a woman providing breast-feeding to a highborn baby) of Yoritomo, and she became menoto of MINAMOTO no Yoriie, the second Shogun. Even after the death of Yoritomo, he worked as a grand person of the Minamoto clan, for example, he was in charge of kakan no yaku (role to place a crown on the head of boy when he becomes adult) at the time of genpuku (celebrate one's coming of age) of MINAMOTO no Sanetomo, the third Shogun.

His date of death is not clear, but since there is a description of 'late Musashi no kami Yoshinobu Nyudo' on March 27, 1207 in "Azuma Kagami" (The Mirror of the East), it is sure that it was before that.

A theory about the adopted child of MINAMOTO no Yoshimune

It is said that Yoshinobu was adopted by MINAMOTO no Yoshimune (the first son of Hachiman Taro Yoshiie) who was his father's cousin at first. However, since Yoshimune seemed to die until around 1106, it can not be thought that Yoshinobu, who was born 37 years after his death, became his adopted son. In addition, in another theory Yoshinobu who became an adopted son of Yoshimune was not this Yoshinobu but MINAMOTO no Yoshinobu, who was the first son of MINAMOTO no Yoshichika, Yoshimune's brother, and this is more rational with respect to their ages. Therefore, it is pointed out that the legend about Tsushima Taro Yoshinobu being an adopted son of Yoshimune could have been transmitted incorrectly as the legend of HIRAGA Shiro Yoshinobu.

[Original Japanese]