Takiguchi no musha (Takiguchi samurai) (滝口武者)

Takiguchi no musha (Takiguchi samurai) were bushi (samurai warriors) who guarded the dairi (imperial palace) under the command of the Kurodo dokoro (imperial secretariat) from the end of the ninth century. They are also called Takiguchi no bushi.


In the 9th century, although the Konoefu (Division of Palace Guards) guarded the dairi (imperial palace), as a result of antagonism between the brothers Emperor Heizei (Retired Emperor) and Emperor Saga who were sons of Emperor Kanmu, the Kusuko no hen (Kusuko Incident) led to the creation of the Kurodo dokoro (imperial secretariat) in order to administer the dairi starting at the end of the 9th century during the Kanpyo era (889-897) of Emperor Uda.

At this Kurodo dokoro (imperial secretariat), in a room of the Tenjo no ma at Seiryoden, the emperor's residence, Tenjobito (a high-ranking courtier allowed into the Imperial Palace) with the official rank of Shii (Fourth Rank) and Goi (Fifth Rank) was on night duty in turn.

On the other hand, as the soldiers who guarded the garden inside kept night watch at a corridor, their station near Mikawamizu no ochiguchi, also called 'Takiguchi,' in the northeast of the eastern garden of the Seiryoden, these warriors who guarded the Seiryoden came to be called 'Takiguchi.'
This station is called 'Takiguchi no jin.'

In addition, as the Kurodo dokoro (imperial secretariat) was a position not established under the Ritsuryo system (a position outside of the Ritsuryo system), Takiguch, itself, was not a government post. Although only the official military attaches were allowed to have weapons, especially bows and arrows during the 10th century of Heian period, 'An abbreviated Record of Japan' said that on December 26, 977 'Takiguchi samurai' were allowed to go in and out the imperial court with bows and arrows. This led the 'Takiguchi soldiers' to become 'warriors' officially admitted by the Imperial court, and it was the ideal of samurai warriors in the late period of the Heian period to earn some achievements by serving as a Takiguchi warrior, and aspire to become a military attache of Rokuefu (Six guard divisions) with a position equal to Rokui (Sixth Rank).

The appointments of Takiguchi samurai were made by Sekkan families and kuge (court nobles) who recommended those who excelled in archery among their householders (samurai warriors) at the start of an Emperor's reign. TAIRA no Masakado also served as the householder of FUJIWARA no Tadahira who was Sadaijin (Minister of the Left) at the time, and he became Takiguchi by the Minister's recommendation, and called himself Kojiro TAKIGUCHI. The enrollment was initially 10 Takiguchi samurai in the Emperor Uda era and 30 samurai in the Emperor Shirakawa era.

Major Takiguchi samurai

TAIRA no Masakado (Kojiro TAKIGUCHI)
Tokiyori SAITO
Koretaka MIYOSHI
Toshitsuna TAKIGUCHI


"The Tale of Hogen"

In this tale, there is some mention of Takiguchi soldiers such as 'YAMANOUCHI no Shudogyobo no jo Tsunetoshi and his son Toshitsuna TAKIGUCHI' and 'KUSAKABE Juro Daifu Sadanao, (Hasuike) Ietsuna TAKIGUCHI and (Hasuike) TAKIGUCHI Taro Ietsugu'

There is also some mention of Takiguchi samurai in 'Yugao' of "The Tale of Genji" by Murasaki Shikibu.

As this man is guarding the Takiguchi, that is the eastern gate of the seiryoden, he strikes the bow with an arrow stirringly and shouts repeatedly: 'Be aware of fires!,' and then leaves for the house of the caretaker. Genji no kimi thought, that the roll call for the night shift was already over and people staying at the Takiguchi were now reporting the names. As it was the time of the roll call, it was not yet so late at night.

[Original Japanese]