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For generations his family had
ruled in the province of Shimosa and had commanded the allegiance of
all the bushi of the region. Tadatsune held at one time the post of
vice-governor of the neighbouring province of Kazusa, where he
acquired large manors (shoen). In the year 1028, he seized the chief
town of the latter province, and pushing on into Awa, killed the
governor and obtained complete control of the province.* The Court,
on receiving news of these events, ordered Minamoto Yorinobu,
governor of Kai, and several other provincial governors to attack the
Taira chief.

*Murdoch, 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.

THE CAMPAIGN OF ZEN-KUNEN

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.

ENGRAVING: HALL OF BYODOIN TEMPLE (1052), AT UJI

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.*

Then there were:

The Yamato Genji descended from Yorichika

" Suruga " " " Mitsumasa

" Shinano " " " Mitsunaka

" Uda " of Omi, called also the Sasaki family

" Saga " of Settsu " " " Watanabe

" Hizen " of Hizen " " " Matsuura

The Taira family became famous from the time of Sadamori, who quelled
the insurrection of Masakado. Of this clan, there were these
branches:

The Daijo-uji of Hitachi, so called because for generations they held
the office of daijo in Hitachi.

The Ise-Heishi of Ise, descended from Korehira, son of Sadamori.

" Shiro-uji of Mutsu, Dewa, Shinano, and Echigo, descended from
Shigemori and Koremochi

" Nishina-uji " " " " " " " "

" Iwaki-uji " " " " " " " "

" Miura-no-suke of Musashi, Kazusa, and Shimosa, descendants of
Taira no Yoshibumi

" Chiba-no-suke " " " " "

" Chichibu-uji " " " " "

Soma family, who succeeded to the domains of Masakado.

*"Gen" is the alternative pronunciation of "Minamoto" as "Hei" is of
"Taira." The two great families who occupy such a large space in the
pages of Japanese history are spoken of together as "Gen-Pei," and
independently as "Genji" and "Heishi," or "Minamoto" and

The Fujiwara also had many provincial representatives, descended
mainly from Hidesato, (called also Tawara Toda), who distinguished
himself in the Masakado crisis. There were the Sano-uji of
Shimotsuke, Mutsu, and Dewa; and there were the Kondo, the Muto, the
Koyama, and the Yuki, all in different parts of the Kwanto. In fact,
the empire outside the capital was practically divided between the
Minamoto, the Taira, and the Fujiwara families, so that anything like
a feud could scarcely fail to have wide ramifications.

The eleventh century may be said to have been the beginning of such
tumults. Not long after the affair of Taira Tadatsune, there occurred
the much larger campaign known as Zen-kunen no Sodo, or the "Prior
Nine Years' Commotion." The scene of this struggle was the vast
province of Mutsu in the extreme north of the main island. For
several generations the Abe family had exercised sway there, and its
representative in the middle of the eleventh century extended his
rule over six districts and defied the authority of the provincial
governors. The Court deputed Minamoto Yoriyoshi to restore order. The
Abe magnate was killed by a stray arrow at an early stage of the
campaign, but his son, Sadato, made a splendid resistance.

In December, 1057, Yoriyoshi, at the head of eighteen hundred men,
led a desperate assault on the castle of Kawasaki, garrisoned by
Sadato with four thousand picked soldiers. The attack was delivered
during a heavy snow-storm, and in its sequel the Minamoto general
found his force reduced to six men. Among these six, however, was his
eldest son, Yoshiiye, one of the most skilful bowmen Japan ever
produced. Yoshiiye's mother was a Taira. When she became enceinte her
husband dreamed that the sacred sword of the war deity, Hachiman, had
been given to him, and the boy came to be called Hachiman Taro. This
name grew to be a terror to the enemy, and it was mainly through his
prowess that his father and their scanty remnant of troops escaped
over roads where the snow lay several feet deep.

On a subsequent occasion in the same campaign, Yoshiiye had Sadato at
his mercy and, while fixing an arrow to shoot him, composed the first
line of a couplet, "The surcoat's warp at last is torn." Sadato,
without a moment's hesitation, capped the line, "The threads at last
are frayed and worn,"* and Yoshiiye, charmed by such a display of
ready wit, lowered his bow. Nine years were needed to finish the
campaign, and, in its sequel, Yoriyoshi was appointed governor of
Iyo, and Yoshiiye, governor of Mutsu, while Kiyowara Takenori,
without whose timely aid Sadato could scarcely have been subdued,
received the high post of chinju-fu shogun (commandant of the local
Government office). Yoshiiye's magnanimity towards Sadato at the
fortress of Koromo-gawa has always been held worthy of a true bushi.

*The point of this couplet is altogether lost in English. It turns
upon the fact that the word tate used by Yoshiiye means either a
fortress or the vertical threads in woven stuff, and that koromo was
the name of the fortress where the encounter took place and had also
the significance of "surcoat."

Sadato was ultimately killed, but his younger brother Muneto had the
affection and full confidence of Yoshiiye. Muneto, however,
remembered his brother's fate and cherished a desire to take
vengeance on Yoshiiye, which mood also was recognized as becoming to
a model bushi. One night, the two men went out together, and Muneto
decided that the opportunity for vengeance had come. Drawing his
sword, he looked into the ox-carriage containing Yoshiiye and found
him sound asleep. The idea of behaving treacherously in the face of
such trust was unendurable, and thereafter Muneto served Yoshiiye
with faith and friendship. The confidence that the Minamoto hero
reposed in the brother of his old enemy and the way it was
requited--these, too, are claimed as traits of the bushi.

Yet another canon is furnished by Yoshiiye's career--the canon of
humility.



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