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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

Had a large estate at Tada in Settsu


in his History of Japan, says that in three years Tadatsune's aggressions "reduced the Kwanto to a tangled wilderness. Thus, in the province of Shimosa, in 1027, there had been as much as 58,000 acres under cultivation; but in 1031 this had shrunk to forty-five acres."

Yorinobu did not wait for his associates. Setting out with his son, Yoriyoshi, in 1031, he moved at once against Tadatsune's castle, which stood on the seashore of Shimosa, protected by moats and palisades, and supposed to be unapproachable from the sea except by boats, of which Tadatsune had taken care that there should not be any supply available. But the Minamoto general learned that the shore sloped very slowly on the castle front, and marching his men boldly through the water, he delivered a crushing attack.

For this exploit, which won loud plaudits, he was appointed commandant of the local government office, a post held by his grandfather, Tsunemoto, whom we have seen as vice-governor of Musashi in the days of Masakado; by his father, Mitsunaka, one of the pillars of the Minamoto family, and by his elder brother, Yorimitsu, who commanded the cavalry of the guards in Kyoto. The same post was subsequently bestowed on Yorinobu's son, Yoriyoshi, and on the latter's son, Yoshiiye, known by posterity as "Hachiman Taro," Japan's most renowned archer, to whom the pre-eminence of the Minamoto family was mainly due. Tadatsune had another son, Tsunemasa,

who was appointed vice-governor of Shimosa and who is generally spoken of as Chiba-no-suke. The chief importance of these events is that they laid the foundation of the Minamoto family's supremacy in the Kwanto, and thus permanently influenced the course of Japanese history.


It is advisable at this stage to make closer acquaintance with the Japanese bushi (soldier), who has been cursorily alluded to more than once in these pages, and who, from the tenth century, acts a prominent role on the Japanese stage. History is silent as to the exact date when the term "bushi" came into use, but from a very early era its Japanese equivalent, "monono-fu," was applied to the guards of the sovereign's palace, and when great provincial magnates began, about the tenth century, to support a number of armed retainers, these gradually came to be distinguished as bushi. In modern times the ethics of the bushi have been analysed under the name "bushido" (the way of the warrior), but of course no such term or any such complete code existed in ancient days. The conduct most appropriate to a bushi was never embodied in a written code. It derived its sanctions from the practice of recognized models, and only by observing those models can we reach a clear conception of the thing itself.


To that end, brief study may be given to the principal campaigns of the eleventh century, namely, the century immediately preceding the establishment of military feudalism. It must be premised, however, that although the bushi figured mainly on the provincial stage, he acted an important part in the capital also. There, the Throne and its Fujiwara entourage were constrained to enlist the co-operation of the military nobles for the purpose of controlling the lawless elements of the population. The Minamoto family were conspicuous in that respect. Minamoto Mitsunaka--called also Manchu--served at the Court of four consecutive sovereigns from Murakami downwards, was appointed governor of several provinces, and finally became commandant of the local Government office. Yorimitsu, his son, a still greater strategist, was a prominent figure at five Courts, from the days of Enyu, and his brothers, Yorichika and Yorinobu, rendered material assistance in securing the supremacy of the great Fujiwara chief, Michinaga. Indeed, the Minamoto were commonly spoken of as the "claws" of the Fujiwara. It was this Yorinobu who won such fame by escalading the castle of Taira Tadatsune and who established his family's footing in the Kwanto. His uncle, Yoshimitsu, had a large estate at Tada in Settsu, and this branch of the family was known as Tada Genji.*

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