Yoritomo Minamoto

Yoritomo Minamoto

Death 9 Feb 1199 (aged 51)
Burial Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa, Japan
Memorial ID 9683147 · View Source
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Legendary warrior and founder of the shogunate -a feudal form of government that lasted nearly 700 years. Born into the Minamoto family, a powerful military clan of imperial descent, Yoritomo was exiled as a youth after an abortive rebellion in 1160 against the rival Taira family in which his father died. He married into the family of one of his jailers, the Hojo clan, who later became shoguns after his death. In 1180 he joined another Minamoto rebellion and established his headquarters at Kamakura. His cousin Yoshinaka drove the Taira out of the capital Kyoto in 1183, but when his forces caused unrest in the capital, Yorimoto crushed him with the help of his brilliant half-brother Minamoto Yoshitsune. Yoritomo now set up an independent government at Kamakura to control his samurai followers, which was duly recognized by the imperial court. In 1185, Minamoto forces under Yoshitsune smashed the Taira clan in the naval battle of Dannoura. Jealous of his half-brother, Yoritomo then began hounding him, using imperial sanction to appoint constables and stewards throughout Japan to seek out the fugitive. Yoshitsune was forced into suicide in 1189, and these new officials became the limbs of Yoritomo's national government. Keeping his base in Kamakura, Yoritomo declined to usurp the throne, but took for himself in 1192 the ancient title of "shogun" ("great general"), giving him the perpetual right to act independently against any rebel. The Minamoto clan held power only until 1219, when the line died out and was replaced by the Hojo, but Yoritomo's shogunate set the pattern for governmental structure in Japan until the Meiji Restoration of 1868. After his death, some of Yoritomo's ashes were enshrined at Koya-san.

Bio by: Warrick L. Barrett

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Warrick L. Barrett
  • Added: 20 Oct 2004
  • Find a Grave Memorial 9683147
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Yoritomo Minamoto (9 May 1147–9 Feb 1199), Find a Grave Memorial no. 9683147, citing Shirahata Shrine, Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa, Japan ; Maintained by Find A Grave .