Minamoto no Yorimitsu

Minamoto no Yorimitsu (源 頼光, 948 – August 29, 1021), also known as Minamoto no Raikō, served the regents of the Fujiwara clan along with his brother Yorinobu, taking the violent measures the Fujiwara were themselves unable to take. He is one of the earliest Minamoto of historical note for his military exploits, and is known for quelling the bandits of Ōeyama.

Minamoto no Yorimitsu
源 頼光
Head of Settsu Genji
Succeeded byUnknown
Personal details
BornMonjumaru
948
DiedAugust 29, 1021
NationalityJapanese
Spouse(s)Daughter of Fujiwara no Motohira
Daughter of Taira no Koretaka
Daughter of Yoshishige no Tamemasa
ChildrenMinamoto no Yorikuni
Minamoto no Yoriie
Minamoto no Yorimoto
Eiju
Minamoto no Yoriaki
Fujiwara no Michitsuna's wife
MotherDaughter of Minamoto no Suguru
FatherMinamoto no Mitsunaka
RelativesMinamoto no Tsunemoto (grandfather)
Minamoto no Yorichika (brother)
Minamoto no Yorinobu (brother)
Nickname(s)Minamoto no Raikō

His loyal service earned him the governorships of Izu Province, Kozuke and a number of others in turn, as well as a number of other high government positions. Yorimitsu served as commander of a regiment of the Imperial Guard, and as a secretary in the Ministry of War. When his father Minamoto no Mitsunaka died, he inherited Settsu Province.[1]

Yorimitsu featured in a number of legends and tales, including the legend of Kintarō (Golden Boy a.k.a. Sakata no Kintoki), the legend of Shuten Dōji, and the legend of Tsuchigumo.

Raiko is usually accompanied by his four legendary retainers, known as the Shitennō (The Four Heavenly Kings). They were Watanabe no Tsuna, Sakata no Kintoki, Urabe no Suetake, and Usui Sadamitsu.[2]

The Karatsu Kunchi festival in Karatsu City, Saga Prefecture, features a large float inspired by the helmet of Minamoto, being partially devoured by the oni Shuten Douji. [1]

PoetryEdit

Raiko wrote a renga with his wife, which appears in the Kin'yō Wakashū (nos.703-704):
tade karu fune no suguru narikeri
asa madaki kararo no oto no kikoyuru wa
This translates as:
a boat harvesting smartweed is passing by
I thought I heard someone rowing smartly before dawn[2]

In popular cultureEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Sansom, George (1958). A history of Japan to 1334. Stanford University Press. pp. 241–242. ISBN 978-0804705233.
  2. ^ a b Sato, Hiroaki (1995). Legends of the Samurai. Overlook Duckworth. pp. 61–64, 66. ISBN 9781590207307.
  • Sansom, George (1958). 'A History of Japan to 1334'. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press.