This week, we’re going to take a look at the man credited with one of the greatest epochal changes in Japanese history: the shift from imperial to samurai government in the late 12th century. It’s time for the life and legacy of Minamoto no Yoritomo!
Listen to the episode
A History of Japan to 1334.
Friday, Karl F, Editor.
Japan Emerging: Premodern History to 1850.
Images (Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation)
Minamoto no Yoshitomo, father to Yoritomo, who would die after a failed bid for power against the Taira.
A contemporary rendering of Minamoto no Yoritomo. This image shows him as he looked in 1179, the year he married Masako and two years before the start of his rebellion.
Yoshitsune (in red) with his friend and ally the warrior monk Benkei.
An Edo-period rendering of Hojo Masako late in life by Kikuchi Yosai.
This image depicts a series of battles from the Genpei War (rather than one single scene). Moving from right to left, it chronicles a series of Minamoto triumphs which turned the war decisively in their favor.
Tsurugaoka Hachiman Shrine, the family shrine of the Minamoto. It was here that the Minamoto line ended when Sanetomo was assassinated in 1219.
Minamoto no Sanetomo, the last of the Minamoto Shoguns. This illustration is from a copy of the Hyakunin Isshu, and the text above is a poem by Sanetomo.