Minamoto no Yorimasa


1106 – 1180


Who was Minamoto no Yorimasa?

Minamoto no Yorimasa was a prominent Japanese poet whose works appeared in various anthologies. He served eight different emperors in his long career, holding posts such as hyōgo no kami. He was also a warrior, leading the Minamoto armies at the beginning of the Genpei War.

In the clashes between the Minamoto and Taira clans that had gone on for decades, Yorimasa had tried to stay out of politics, and avoided taking sides. He did participate in the Hogen Rebellion in 1156. For a time, he was even friends with Taira no Kiyomori. During the Heiji Rebellion of 1160, he leaned just enough in favor of the Taira that it allowed them to overthrow the Minamoto. However, by the time he officially retired from military service in Kiyomori's army in 1179, Yorimasa had changed his mind about opposing his own clan. He entered the Buddhist priesthood. In May 1180, he sent out an appeal to other Minamoto leaders, and to temples and monasteries that Kiyomori had offended.

The Genpei War began with the Battle of Uji in 1180. Yorimasa led Minamoto forces, along with warrior monks from Mii-dera, in defending Byōdō-in.

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Also known as
  • 源賴政
  • Japan

on July 23, 2013


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