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Minamoto no Yoshiie

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by Kylie O'Mara on 23 April 2013

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Transcript of Minamoto no Yoshiie

Minamoto no Yoshiie 1039 / 1041 Minamoto no Yoshiie
was born. Dates
from different sources
vary 1050 Fought alongside father against Abe no Yoritoki who was denying the governor the right to govern in the North. 1057 Abe no Yoritoki died and his son, Sadato took up the fight. 1062 Yoshiie fought against Sadato and upon defeating him, challenged him to an impromptu renga (linked verse) before allowing Sadato to escape 1063 Yoshiie returned to Kyoto with Sadato's head. 1082 Yoshiie's father died. 1083 Battled the Kiyowara family who proved poor rulers in the north.
Named Governor of Mutsu province. 1087 Gosannen War came to a head at the Kanazawa stockade. 1098 Fujiwara Munetada named Yoshiie "The Samurai of the greatest bravery under heaven. 1106/1108 Minamoto no Yoshiie died although dates vary between sources. Minamoto no Yoshiie- A brief biography Minamoto no Yoshiie was born c1039. The first son of Minamoto no Yoriyoshi, he spent much of his early life training to become an educated warrior, an elite example of the samurai ideal. Before he had reached his teenage years, Yoshiie had already accompanied his father into battle during the Zenkunen war. Over ten years after this first battle, Yoshiie proved himself again during the Gosannen war.
Minamoto no Yoshiie was an influential figure during his own time and remains an important historical figure to this day. His influence can be seen through his strengthening of his family's position, the legend established throughout his lifetime and the god-like status he acquired after death. Significance 1- Strengthening Minamoto family Yoshiie had a great deal of significance during his own time through strengthening the Minamoto family. The Minamoto family was pushed into a position of dominance after Yoshiie and his father defeated the Abe clan. Yoshiie was instrumental in ensuring the defeat of the Abe clan, returning to Kyoto, the political centre of Japan, with the head of the Governor's enemy, Sadato. Yoshiie's military victories for the Governor meant that the Minamoto family was in a position of prominence in Japan. Future generations of the Minamoto family benefited greatly from Yoshiie's actions, with two of Yoshiie's grandsons serving Emperor's directly. This gave the Minamoto family a great deal of political importance and influence. By strengthening the position of his own family, Minamoto no Yoshiie had a significant impact on Japanese society during his own time. Significance 2- Became an example for samurai Minamoto no Yoshiie during his own lifetime and following his death, became an example for samurai. Legend of Yoshiie's achievements were recorded in Mutsu Waki. During the Zenkunen War, Yoshiie is recorded to have ridden after the defeated leader Sadato. Upon catching up to Sadato, he challenged his enemy to an impromptu renga, a linked verse challenge, before allowing him to escape. The record from Mutsu Waki is as follows (English translation):
"Yoriyoshi's first son, Hachimantarō, gave hot pursuit along the Koromo River and called out, 'Sir, you show your back to your enemy! Aren't you ashamed? Turn around a minute, I have something to tell you.' When Sadato turned around, Yoshiie said: Koromo no tate wa hokorobinikeri ("Koromo Castle has been destroyed." or, alternatively, "The warps in your robe have come undone.") Sadato relaxed his reins somewhat and, turning his helmeted head, followed that with: toshi o heishi ito no midare no kurushisa ni ("Over the years its threads became tangled, and this pains me.") Hearing this, Yoshiie put away the arrow he had readied to shoot, and returned to his camp. In the midst of such a savage battle, that was a gentlemanly thing to do."
This event cemented Yoshiie as the ideal samurai, the perfect mix of educated scholar and skilled warrior. Later generations of Minamoto family worshiped Yoshiie as an almost divine ancestor and his legend as a cultured man of war, established a model for future samurai that would influence warriors for decades to come. In becoming an example for the samurai class to follow, Yoshiie cemented his significance during his own lifetime in Japan and for many generations after. Significance 3- Modern significance There are a number of reasons why Minamoto no Yoshiie deserves to be and still is remembered today. In 1063 Yoshiie's father noticed a cloud which resembled the family's Genji standard. Taking this as a good omen, Yorioshi built a shrine to the god of war Hachiman. Years later, Yoshiie also stopped at the same site, further cementing it as a site of importance. Although it has been reduced in size, the shrine to Hachiman still stands today and would never have done so were it not for Yoshiie and his father.
Another reason why Minamoto no Yoshiie is significant today is because of what he achieved through his military successes. In defeating enemies of the established government, Yoshiie ensured relative peace for Japan and kept power with the government at Kyoto. Having one centralized government allowed Japan to develop as one nation.
Finally Yoshiie remains a very recognisable figure today in art works. If his story and legacy isn't recognised, it is difficult to gain a full appreciation for this figure who embodied what it meant to be a samurai and who, during his own lifetime, was called "The samurai of the greatest bravery under heaven." Conclusion Minamoto no Yoshiie is a historical figure worthy of acknowledgment. His actions during his lifetime ensured that his family was placed in a position of political prominence, influencing significant leaders in Japan. Yoshiie's exploits also earned him the legendary status of the ideal samurai, as he was seen as an embodiment of the intellectual scholar mixed with the skilled warrior. Yoshiie's significance continues to contemporary society where he is credited with founding a shrine to the god of war Hachiman which still stands. Yoshiie's legacy continues to be seen in art where is remains a popular figure.
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