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The Genpei War
War
(源平合戦, Genpei kassen, Genpei gassen) (1180–1185) was a conflict between the Taira
Taira
and Minamoto
Minamoto
clans during the late- Heian period
Heian period
of Japan. It resulted in the downfall of the Taira
Taira
and the establishment of the Kamakura shogunate
Kamakura shogunate
under Minamoto
Minamoto
no Yoritomo in 1192. The name "Genpei" (sometimes romanized as Gempei) comes from alternate readings of the kanji "Minamoto" (源 Gen) and "Taira" (平 Hei). The conflict is also known in Japanese as the Jishō- Juei
Juei
War (治承寿永の乱, Jishō- Juei
Juei
no ran),[1][2] after the two Imperial eras between which it took place. It followed a coup d'état by the Taira
Taira
in 1179 and call to arms against them led by the Minamoto
Minamoto
in 1180. The ensuing battle of Uji took place just outside Kyoto, starting a five-year-long war, concluding with a decisive Minamoto
Minamoto
victory in the naval battle of Dan-no-ura.

Contents

1 Background 2 Beginnings of the war 3 Turning of the tide 4 Final stages 5 Consequences of the Genpei War 6 Aftermath 7 Battles 8 Major figures in the Genpei War

8.1 Minamoto
Minamoto
Clan (also known as "Genji") 8.2 Taira
Taira
Clan (also known as "Heike")

9 Genpei War
War
in literature 10 Genpei War
War
in popular culture 11 See also 12 References 13 External links

Background[edit] The Genpei War
War
was the culmination of a decades-long conflict between the two aforementioned clans over dominance of the Imperial court, and by extension, control of Japan. In the Hōgen Rebellion[3] and in the Heiji
Heiji
Rebellion[4] of earlier decades, the Minamoto
Minamoto
attempted to regain control from the Taira
Taira
and failed.[5]:255–259 In 1180, Taira
Taira
no Kiyomori put his grandson Antoku (then only 2 years of age) on the throne after the abdication of Emperor Takakura. Emperor Go-Shirakawa's son Mochihito felt that he was being denied his rightful place on the throne and, with the help of Minamoto
Minamoto
no Yorimasa, sent out a call to arms to the Minamoto
Minamoto
clan and Buddhist monasteries in May. However, this plot ended with the deaths of Yorimasa and Mochihito.[5] In June 1180, Kiyomori moved the seat of imperial power to Fukuhara-kyō, "his immediate objective seems to have been to get the royal family under his close charge."[5]:284 Beginnings of the war[edit]

The Phoenix Hall of the Byōdō-in, where Yorimasa committed seppuku

The actions of Taira
Taira
no Kiyomori having deepened Minamoto
Minamoto
hatred for the Taira
Taira
clan, a call for arms was sent up by Minamoto
Minamoto
no Yorimasa and Prince Mochihito. Not knowing who was behind this rally, Kiyomori called for the arrest of Mochihito, who sought protection at the temple of Mii-dera. The Mii-dera
Mii-dera
monks were unable to ensure him sufficient protection, so he was forced to move along. He was then chased by Taira
Taira
forces to the Byōdō-in, just outside Kyoto. The war began thus, with a dramatic encounter on and around the bridge over the River Uji. This battle ended in Yorimasa's ritual suicide inside the Byōdō-in
Byōdō-in
and Mochihito's capture and execution shortly afterwards.[5]:277–281[6] It was at this point that Minamoto
Minamoto
no Yoritomo took over leadership of the Minamoto
Minamoto
clan and began traveling the country seeking to rendezvous with allies. Leaving Izu Province
Izu Province
and heading for the Hakone
Hakone
Pass, he was defeated by the Taira
Taira
in the battle of Ishibashiyama.[5]:289 However he successfully made it to the provinces of Kai and Kōzuke, where the Takeda and other friendly families helped repel the Taira
Taira
army. Meanwhile, Kiyomori, seeking vengeance against the Mii-dera
Mii-dera
monks and others, besieged Nara and burnt much of the city to the ground.[7] Fighting continued the following year, 1181. Minamoto
Minamoto
no Yukiie was defeated by a force led by Taira
Taira
no Shigehira at the Battle of Sunomatagawa. However, the " Taira
Taira
could not follow up their victory."[5]:292 Taira
Taira
no Kiyomori died from illness in the spring of 1181, and around the same time Japan began to suffer from a famine which was to last through the following year. The Taira
Taira
moved to attack Minamoto
Minamoto
no Yoshinaka, a cousin of Yoritomo who had raised forces in the north, but were unsuccessful. For nearly two years, the war ceased, only to resume in the spring of 1183.[5]:287, 293 Turning of the tide[edit] In 1183, the Taira
Taira
loss at the Battle of Kurikara was so severe that they found themselves, several months later, under siege in Kyoto, with Yoshinaka approaching the city from the north and Yukiie from the east. Both Minamoto
Minamoto
leaders had seen little or no opposition in marching to the capital and now forced the Taira
Taira
to flee the city. Taira
Taira
no Munemori, head of the clan since his father Kiyomori's death, led his army, along with the young Emperor Antoku
Emperor Antoku
and the Imperial regalia, to the west. The cloistered emperor Go-Shirakawa defected to Yoshinaka. Go-Shirakawa then issued a mandate for Yoshinaka to "join with Yukiie in destroying Munemori and his army".[5]:293–294 In 1183, Yoshinaka once again sought to gain control of the Minamoto clan by planning an attack on Yoritomo, while simultaneously pursuing the Taira
Taira
westward. The Taira
Taira
set up a temporary Court at Daaifu in Kyūshū, the southernmost of Japan's main islands. They were forced out soon afterwards by local revolts instigated by Go-Shirakawa, and moved their Court to Yashima. The Taira
Taira
were successful in beating off an attack by Yoshinaka's pursuing forces at the Battle of Mizushima.[5]:295–296 Yoshinaka conspired with Yukiie to seize the capital and the Emperor, possibly even establishing a new Court in the north. However, Yukiie revealed these plans to the Emperor, who communicated them to Yoritomo. Betrayed by Yukiie, Yoshinaka took command of Kyoto
Kyoto
and, at the beginning of 1184, set fire to the Hōjūjidono, taking the Emperor into custody. Minamoto
Minamoto
no Yoshitsune arrived soon afterwards with his brother Noriyori and a considerable force, driving Yoshinaka from the city. After fighting his cousins at the bridge over the Uji, Yoshinaka made his final stand at Awazu, in Ōmi Province. He was defeated by Yoshitsune, and killed while attempting to flee.[5]:296–297 Final stages[edit] As the united Minamoto
Minamoto
forces left Kyoto, the Taira
Taira
began consolidating their position at a number of sites in and around the Inland Sea, which was their ancestral home territory. They received a number of missives from the Emperor offering that if they surrendered by the seventh day of the second month, the Minamoto
Minamoto
could be persuaded to agree to a truce. This was a farce, as neither the Minamoto
Minamoto
nor the Emperor had any intentions of waiting until the eighth day to attack. Nevertheless, this tactic offered the Emperor a chance to regain the Regalia and to distract the Taira leadership.[5]:297 The Minamoto
Minamoto
army, led by Yoshitsune and Noriyori, made their first major assault at Ichi-no-Tani, one of the primary Taira
Taira
camps on Honshū. The camp was attacked from two directions by Yoshitsune and Noriyori, and the Taira
Taira
not killed or captured retreated to Yashima. However, the Minamoto
Minamoto
were not prepared to assault Shikoku; a six-month pause thus ensued during which the Minamoto
Minamoto
took the proper steps. Though on the retreat, the Taira
Taira
enjoyed the distinct advantages of being in friendly, home territories, and of being far more adept at naval combat than their rivals.[5]:297–299 It was not until nearly a year after Ichi-no-Tani that the main Taira force at Yashima came under assault. Seeing Yoshitsune's bonfires in their rear, the Taira
Taira
had not expected a land-based attack and took to their ships. This was a deceptive play on the part of the Minamoto, however. The Taira
Taira
improvised imperial palace fell, and many escaped along with the Imperial regalia and the Emperor Antoku.[5]:301–302 The Genpei War
War
came to an end one month later, following the battle of Dan-no-ura, one of the most famous and significant battles in Japanese history. The Minamoto
Minamoto
engaged the Taira
Taira
fleet in the Straits of Shimonoseki, a tiny body of water separating the islands of Honshū and Kyūshū. The tides played a powerful role in the development of the battle, granting the advantage first to the Taira, who were more experienced and abler sailors, and later to the Minamoto. The Minamoto advantage was considerably enhanced by the defection of Taguchi, a Shikoku
Shikoku
warrior who went over to the Minamoto
Minamoto
side in the middle of the action. Many of the Taira
Taira
nobles perished, along with Emperor Antoku and the widow of Kiyomori.[5]:302–303[8] Consequences of the Genpei War[edit] The defeat of the Taira
Taira
armies meant the end of Taira
Taira
"dominance at the capital". In December 1185, Go-Shirakawa granted to Yoritomo the power to collect taxes, and "appoint stewards and constables in all provinces". Finally, in 1192, after Go-Shirakawa's death, Yoritomo was granted the imperial commission Sei-i Tai Shōgun. This was the beginning of a feudal state in Japan, with real power now in Kamakura. However, Kyoto
Kyoto
remained the "seat of national ceremony and ritual."[5]:304, 318, 331 Aftermath[edit] The end of the Genpei War
War
and beginning of the Kamakura
Kamakura
shogunate marked the rise to power of the warrior class (samurai) and the gradual suppression of the power of the emperor, who was compelled to govern without effective political or military power, being effectively reduced to a purely symbolical and ceremonial head of state, until the Meiji Restoration
Meiji Restoration
over 650 years later. In addition, this war and its aftermath established red and white, the colors of the Taira
Taira
and Minamoto
Minamoto
standards, respectively, as Japan's national colors.[citation needed] Today, these colors can be seen on the flag of Japan, and also in banners and flags in sumo and other traditional activities. Battles[edit]

Map of the battles of the Genpei War

1180 First Battle of Uji – regarded as the first battle in the Genpei Wars, the monks of the Byōdōin fight alongside Minamoto
Minamoto
no Yorimasa. 1180 Siege of Nara
Siege of Nara
– the Taira
Taira
set fire to temples and monasteries, to cut supplies to their rivals. 1180 Battle of Ishibashiyama
Battle of Ishibashiyama
Minamoto
Minamoto
no Yoritomo's first battle against the Taira, who are victorious. 1180 Battle of Fujikawa – the Taira
Taira
mistake a flock of waterfowl for a sneak attack by the Minamoto
Minamoto
in the night, and retreat before any fighting occurs. 1181 Battle of Sunomatagawa
Battle of Sunomatagawa
– the Taira
Taira
thwart a sneak attack in the night but retreat. 1181 Battle of Yahagigawa
Battle of Yahagigawa
– the Minamoto, retreating from Sunomata, attempt to make a stand. 1183 Siege of Hiuchi – the Taira
Taira
attack a Minamoto
Minamoto
fortress. 1183 Battle of Kurikara – the tide of the war turns, in the Minamoto's favor. 1183 Battle of Shinohara – Yoshinaka pursues the Taira
Taira
force from Kurikara 1183 Battle of Mizushima – the Taira
Taira
intercept a Minamoto
Minamoto
force, heading for Yashima. 1183 Siege of Fukuryūji – the Minamoto
Minamoto
attack a Taira
Taira
fortress. 1183 Battle of Muroyama Minamoto
Minamoto
no Yukiie tries and fails to recoup the loss of the battle of Mizushima. 1184 Siege of Hōjūjidono
Siege of Hōjūjidono
– Yoshinaka sets fire to the Hōjūji-dono and kidnaps Emperor Go-Shirakawa. 1184 Second Battle of Uji – Yoshinaka is pursued out of the capital by Yoshitsune and Noriyori. 1184 Battle of Awazu
Battle of Awazu
Minamoto
Minamoto
no Yoshinaka is defeated and killed by Yoshitsune and Noriyori. 1184 Battle of Ichi-no-Tani
Battle of Ichi-no-Tani
Minamoto
Minamoto
no Yoshitsune attacks and drives the Taira
Taira
from one of their primary fortresses. 1184 Battle of Kojima
Battle of Kojima
Taira
Taira
fleeing Ichi-no-Tani are attacked by Minamoto
Minamoto
no Noriyori. 1185 Battle of Yashima
Battle of Yashima
– the Minamoto
Minamoto
assault their enemies' fortress, just off Shikoku. 1185 Battle of Dan-no-ura
Battle of Dan-no-ura
Minamoto
Minamoto
no Yoshitsune decisively defeats Taira
Taira
forces in naval battle ending the war.

Major figures in the Genpei War[edit] Minamoto
Minamoto
Clan (also known as "Genji")[edit]

Minamoto
Minamoto
no Yoritomo, from an 1179 hanging scroll by Fujiwara no Takanobu

The Minamoto
Minamoto
were one of the four great clans that dominated Japanese politics during the Heian period
Heian period
(794-1185). They were, however, decimated by the Taira
Taira
in the Heiji Rebellion
Heiji Rebellion
of 1160. Minamoto
Minamoto
no Yoshitomo had been the head of the clan at this time; upon his defeat at the hands of Taira
Taira
no Kiyomori, two of his sons were killed and the third, Minamoto
Minamoto
no Yoritomo, was banished. Following the call to arms of Prince Mochihito
Prince Mochihito
and Minamoto
Minamoto
no Yorimasa in 1180, the clan would gather together and rise to power again. The Genpei war would see the Minamoto
Minamoto
clan defeat the Taira
Taira
and take command of the entire country.

Minamoto
Minamoto
no Noriyori (源範頼), general, younger brother of Yoritomo. Minamoto
Minamoto
no Yorimasa (源頼政), head of the clan at the beginning of the war. Minamoto
Minamoto
no Yoritomo (源頼朝), head of the clan upon Yorimasa's death. Minamoto
Minamoto
no Yoshitsune (源義経), younger brother of Yoritomo, chief general of the clan. Minamoto
Minamoto
no Yukiie (源行家), general, uncle to Yoritomo. Allies and vassals:

Emperor Go-Shirakawa
Emperor Go-Shirakawa
(後白河), cloistered (retired) emperor. Prince Mochihito
Prince Mochihito
(以仁王), Imperial Prince. Benkei (弁慶), sōhei (warrior monk), ally of Yoshitsune. Hōjō Tokimasa (北条 時政), head of the Hōjō clan
Hōjō clan
(北条), father-in-law of Yoritomo. Kajiwara Kagetoki
Kajiwara Kagetoki
(梶原 景時), officially an ally of Yoshitsune, in fact a spy for Yoritomo. Kumagai Naozane
Kumagai Naozane
(熊谷 直実), vassal of Yoritomo. Sasaki Moritsuna (佐々木 盛綱), vassal of Noriyori who commanded the assault at the battle of Kojima. Taguchi Shigeyoshi (田口 重能), Taira
Taira
general who turned to the Minamoto
Minamoto
camp upon seeing the tide turn at the battle of Dan no Ura, thus ensuring Minamoto
Minamoto
victory. Nasu no Yoichi
Nasu no Yoichi
(那須与一), celebrated archer and Minamoto
Minamoto
ally. Yada Yoshiyasu (矢田 義康), vassal of Yoshinaka and commander of Minamoto
Minamoto
forces at the battle of Mizushima. The sōhei (warrior-monks) of Mii-dera
Mii-dera
and other temples. Three in particular are mentioned in the Heike Monogatari for their part in the first battle of Uji:

Tsutsui Jōmyō Meishū (筒井 浄妙 明秀), who fought a last stand on the bridge over the Uji, taking over sixty arrows and still fighting. Gochi-in no Tajima (五智院 但馬), called Tajima the arrow-cutter, and famous for deflecting the Taira
Taira
arrows with his naginata, upon the bridge over the Uji. Ichirai Hoshi (一来 法師), who is famous for having jumped ahead of Jōmyō Meishū and led the Mii-dera
Mii-dera
monks to battle.

Partisans of Minamoto
Minamoto
no Yoshinaka (源義仲), cousin of Yoritomo, who supported his rebellion:

Tomoe Gozen
Tomoe Gozen
(巴 御前), a female samurai warrior. Imai Kanehira
Imai Kanehira
(今井 兼平), who joined Yoshinaka in his escape to Seta.

Taira
Taira
Clan (also known as "Heike")[edit]

Taira
Taira
no Kiyomori, by Kikuchi Yōsai

The Taira
Taira
clan was one of the four great clans which dominated Japanese politics during the Heian period
Heian period
(794–1185). As a result of the near-total destruction of their rival clan, the Minamoto, in the Heiji Rebellion
Heiji Rebellion
of 1160, Taira
Taira
no Kiyomori, head of the clan, initiated the Genpei War
War
at the height of his power. The end of the war, however, brought destruction to the Taira
Taira
clan.

Taira
Taira
no Atsumori (平敦盛), young samurai killed by Kumagai Naozane who, because of his youth and innocence, became quite famous in death. Taira
Taira
no Kiyomori (平清盛), head of the clan at the beginning of the war. Taira
Taira
no Koremori (平維盛), grandson of Kiyomori. Taira
Taira
no Munemori (平宗盛), son and heir of Kiyomori; head of the clan for much of the war. Taira
Taira
no Noritsune (平教経), a Taira
Taira
samurai. Taira
Taira
no Shigehira (平重衡), general, son of Kiyomori. Taira
Taira
no Tadanori (平忠度), general, brother of Kiyomori. Taira
Taira
no Tokiko (平時子), wife of Kiyomori who committed suicide at the battle of Dan-no-ura. Taira
Taira
no Tomomori (平知盛), general, son of Kiyomori. Taira
Taira
no Yukimori (平行盛), general, commander of the Taira
Taira
forces at the battle of Kojima. Taira
Taira
no Kagekiyo (平景清), a Taira
Taira
samurai, adopted from the Fujiwara clan. Allies and vassals:

Emperor Antoku
Emperor Antoku
(安徳), Emperor of Japan and grandson of Taira
Taira
no Kiyomori. Ōba Kagechika (大庭景親), vassal of the Taira. Saitō Sanemori (斎藤実盛), former vassal of Minamoto
Minamoto
no Yoshitomo, switched sides and became a vassal of Taira
Taira
no Munenori. Senoo Kaneyasu (妹尾兼康), vassal of the Taira
Taira
who commanded at the Fukuryūji fortress. Taguchi Shigeyoshi (田口重能), Taira
Taira
general who turned to the Minamoto
Minamoto
camp upon seeing the tide turn at the battle of Dan no Ura, thus ensuring Minamoto
Minamoto
victory. The sōhei (warrior-monks) of Enryaku-ji
Enryaku-ji
(延暦寺), at least in theory, on account of their rivalry with the Mii-dera
Mii-dera
sōhei, who were allied with the Minamoto.

Genpei War
War
in literature[edit]

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Many stories and works of art depict this conflict. The Tale of the Heike (Heike Monogatari, 平家物語) is one of the most famous, though many Kabuki
Kabuki
and bunraku plays reproduce events of the war as well. Ichinotani futaba gunki (Chronicle of the battle of Ichi-no-Tani) by Namiki Sōsuke
Namiki Sōsuke
may be one of the more famous of these. "Shike" by Robert Shea features a somewhat fictionalised account of the wars, as seen from the perspectives of his two main characters, the Zinja Monk Jebu, and the Noblewoman Lady Shima Taniko. The names of the two rival clans have been changed, "Minamoto" to "Muratomo" and "Taira" to "Takashi". Another fictionalized account of the conflict forms the central plot of Civil War
War
(also known as Turbulent Times), the ninth volume of Osamu Tezuka's celebrated Phoenix series. The Genpei War
War
is the backdrop for much of Katherine Patterson's young adult novel, Of Nightingales That Weep. Genpei War
War
in popular culture[edit] On September 27, 2011, The Creative Assembly
The Creative Assembly
released a DLC pack for Total War: Shogun 2 entitled "Rise of the Samurai", which allows players to play as members of the Taira, the Minamoto, or the Fujiwara families. Through a complex system of province building, diplomacy, research, and combat, players can decide the outcome of the Genpei War for themselves. Cinemaware's 1989 Amiga
Amiga
title Lords of the Rising Sun features the Genpei war. The conflict between the Genji and Heike gangs in the 2007 Japanese Western film Sukiyaki Western Django
Sukiyaki Western Django
mirrors that of the actual Genpei war, albeit "a few hundred years after." See also[edit]

Kuroshima and Taijima, a set of islands off the coast of Wakayama used as a naval base during the war Military history of Japan Outline of war Sukiyaki Western Django, a film inspired by the events

References[edit]

^ In the name "Jishō- Juei
Juei
War", the noun "Jishō" refers to the nengō (Japanese era name) after "Angen" and before "Yōwa." In other words, the Jishō- Juei
Juei
War
War
occurred during Jishō, which was a time period spanning the years from 1177 through 1181. ^ In the name "Jishō- Juei
Juei
War", the noun "Juei" refers to the nengō (Japanese era name) after "Yōwa" and before "Genryaku." In other words, the Jishō- Juei
Juei
War
War
occurred during Juei, which was a time period spanning the years from 1182 through 1184. ^ In the name "Hōgen Rebellion", the noun "Hōgen" refers to the nengō (Japanese era name) after "Kyūju" and before "Heiji." In other words, the Hōgen Rebellion
Hōgen Rebellion
occurred during Hōgen, which was a time period spanning the years from 1156 through 1159. ^ In the name " Heiji
Heiji
Rebellion", the noun "Heiji" refers to the nengō (Japanese era name) after "Hōgen" and before "Eiryaku." In other words, the Heiji Rebellion
Heiji Rebellion
occurred during Heiji, which was a time period spanning the years from 1159 through 1160. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Sansom, George (1958). A History of Japan to 1334. Stanford University Press. pp. 275, 278–281. ISBN 0804705232.  ^ Turnbull, Stephen (1998). The Samurai Sourcebook. Cassell & Co. p. 200. ISBN 1854095234.  ^ Turnbull, Stephen (1977). The Samurai, A Military History. MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc. pp. 48–50. ISBN 0026205408.  ^ The Tales of the Heike. Translated by Burton Watson. Columbia University Press. 2006. p. 122,142–143. ISBN 9780231138031. 

External links[edit]

Genpei War
War
at Ancient History Encyclopedia Genpei War
War
Map at Samurai Archives Shogun 2 by Sega

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