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Minamoto no Yoritomo

Minamoto no Yoritomo 源頼朝 (1147-1199) was the founder and first shogun of the Kamakura Shogunate of Japan, from 1192 to 1199.

Son of Minamoto no Yoshitomo, Yoritomo was banished by Taira no Kiyomori to Hirogakojima of Izu province (present day Shizuoka prefecture) after the Heiji Rebellion in 1159. Later, he developed relations with the samurai families of the area and married Hojo Masako of the small and mostly unknown Hojo family.

In 1180, Prince Mochihito appealled to the Minamoto family throughout Japan to rise up against Taira no Kiyomori and the Taira family that had usurped the power of the emperor. Yoritomo, based in Kamakura, and his cousins based throughout Japan raised armies to begin the Genpei War.

Liquidating his rival cousins and finally defeating the Taira at the Battle of Dan no Ura in 1185, Yoritomo established the supremacy of the warrior samurai caste and the first bakufu at Kamakura, beginning the feudal age in Japan which lasted until the mid 19th century.

Yoritomo was granted the title of shogun in 1192, which was eventually passed to his oldest son Yoriie in 1202.

Preceded by:
Kamakura Shogun
Succeeded by:
Minamoto no Yoriie

Last updated: 10-24-2004 05:10:45