The medieval text chronicles events of the Kamakura Shogunate from Minamoto no Yoritomo's rebellion against the Taira clan in Izokuni of 1180 to Munetaka Shinnō (the 6th shōgun) and his return to Kyoto in 1266. The work is also called Hōjōbon (北条本) after the Later Hōjō family of Odawara (Kanagawa prefecture), in whose possession it used to be before it was donated to Tokugawa Ieyasu. It originally consisted of 52 chapters, but the 45th is lost. In spite of its many flaws, the document is considered the most important existing document concerning the Kamakura period.
The Azuma Kagami was compiled after 1266 under the directive of the Hōjō shikken (officially a regent to a shōgun, but the de facto ruler) and is a record in diary form of events occurring in Japan. Written in a Japanized version of classical Chinese known as hentai kanbun (変体漢文), the massive work was incomprehensible to most Japanese until an edition with furigana glosses was published in 1626. It was given in present to shōgun Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1603, who obtained the missing section from other daimyos and then ordered the preparation and publication of the Fushimi version of the Azuma Kagami in Kokatsujiban, the old movable-type printing. This edition in turn became the basis for the present printed editions. Ieyasu considered the book as the product of historical wisdom, kept it at his side, and consulted it often.
The Azuma Kagami is an enormously detailed record of different activities centering on the shōgun with almost daily entries that include even notes on the weather. It used to be considered an official Kamakura Bakufu diary, but it contains sections about events in distant areas written on the day of occurrence. Such entries are therefore believed to have been added later. Its content goes from the words and the deeds of the shōgun, officials, and military men to poems, literary pieces, descriptions of hunts, banquets and notes on the weather. It is therefore likely to be a compilation of information about the Hōjō regency period taken from Hōjō, Adachi and other noble houses archives, plus temple and shrine records. Predictably, it is heavily biased towards a Hōjō point of view but, because of its painstaking attention to details, it is nonetheless an important document to understand the Kamakura Bakufu.
As a historical document, the Azuma Kagami suffers from reliability problems. To begin with, there are unexplained gaps in it, one being for example the three years following the death of Minamoto no Yoritomo. Whether these blanks are scattered and insignificant losses or deliberate and systematic acts of censorship is unclear, and opinions on the subject are divided. There are even dubious allegations that Ieyasu himself ordered the elimination of paragraphs he considered shameful for a famous military leader like Yoritomo.
The book also shows an obvious anti-Minamoto, pro-Hōjō bias. It depicts Hōjō enemies as Minamoto no Yoriie and Kajiwara Kagetoki as evil doers in exaggerated terms. Minamoto no Yoshitsune, vice versa, is spoken of very highly, probably because he was hunted down and forced to kill himself by his brother Yoritomo. This partisanship is evident in many other cases throughout the book. For example, the episode of Shizuka Gozen, who was captured by Hōjō Tokimasa and forces loyal to Yoritomo and, according to some versions of the story, was forced to dance for the new shōgun at Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gū, flatters Hōjō Masako.
Finally, it contains many factual errors.
Chinese scholar Weng Guangping (1760–1847) read a copy of the book in China, and found it valuable but marred by errors. After struggling to obtain a complete copy, he decided to correct, expand and amend it using other Japanese and Chinese texts dealing with Japan. After seven years of work, in 1814 he finished the Wuqi jing bu, or "Emendations to the Azuma Kagami". The Wuqi jing bu had, as far as we know, two editions, one consisting of 28 and the other of 30 chapters, both handwritten. Because Weng had never been to Japan, the book had major limitations in various areas, but it nonetheless became a valuable introduction to Japan and its culture.
This book has only been reprinted once, by a Japanese publisher.
Asahina Yoshihide (朝比奈 義秀), also known as Asahina Saburō (朝比奈 三朗), was a Japanese warrior of the early 13th century, and the son of Wada Yoshimori. His name (also written with the characters 朝夷奈 (Asaina)) comes from Awa no Kuni's (安房) Asaina-gun (朝夷奈郡), where he lived at one time. Though very likely a historical figure, Yoshihide appears in literature and in kabuki as a somewhat superhuman legendary character. According to these, his mother was the renowned female warrior Tomoe Gozen, and he had superhuman strength which he used to accomplish a number of stunning feats.Battle of Uji (1180)
The first battle of Uji is famous and important for having opened the Genpei War.
In early 1180, Prince Mochihito, the Minamoto Clan's favored claimant to the Imperial Throne, was chased by Taira forces to the Mii-dera, a temple just outside Kyoto. Due to the interference of a Mii-dera monk with Taira sympathies, the Minamoto army arrived too late to help defend the temple.Minamoto no Yorimasa and Prince Mochihito, along with a force of about fifteen hundred men including the warrior monks of Mii-dera and the Watanabe clan, fled south towards Nara . They crossed the Uji River, just outside the Byōdō-in, and tore up the planks of the bridge behind them to prevent the Taira following them.Three warrior monks in particular are named in the Heike Monogatari: Gochi-in no Tajima, Tsutsui Jōmyō Meishū, and Ichirai Hōshi. These three, along with the other monks of Mii-dera, fought with bow and arrow, a variety of swords and daggers, and naginata.As for the Heike troops, they were led by Ashikaga Tadatsuna, one of the few warrior of direct Minamoto descent who stayed loyal to his oath to the Taira family even when it was crumbling around him, until he and his father were murdered by one of their retainers, Kiryū Rokurō. A young hero of 18 years old, Tadatsuna is remembered as having the strength of hundred men, a voice echoed over 10 li (5 km), and teeth of 1 sun (3.03 cm) long. Describing it as such, Azuma Kagami further stated that "there will be no warrior in future ages like this Tadatsuna."
Led by their young general, the Taira force soon began to ford the river and caught up with the Minamoto. Tadatsuna was the first warrior on the frontline, and gallantly proclaimed his name and lineage before charging the enemies, as it was the traditional custom. Yorimasa tried to help the Imperial Prince get away, but was struck with an arrow in the right elbow. While his sons, Nakatsuna and Kanetsuna were dying to fend off the enemies eager for the old man's head, Yorimasa committed seppuku."Yorimasa committed hara-kiri in a way that was to set the standard for generations to come."As for Prince Mochihito, he was captured and killed shortly afterwards by the Taira warriors.Hōjō Yasutoki
Hōjō Yasutoki (北条 泰時; 1183 – July 14, 1242) was the third shikken (regent) of the Kamakura shogunate in Japan. He strengthened the political system of the Hōjō regency.
He was the eldest son of second shikken Yoshitoki. According to Azuma Kagami, he was liked by the first shōgun, Minamoto no Yoritomo. In 1218 he became the chief (bettō) of the military office (samurai-dokoro).
In the Jōkyū War of 1221, he led shogunate forces against the imperial court in Kyoto. After his victory, he remained in Kyoto and set up the Rokuhara Tandai. Yasutoki and his uncle Tokifusa became the first tandai.
When his father Yoshitoki and aunt Hōjō Masako died, he succeeded to become shikken in 1224. He installed Hōjō Tokifusa as the first rensho. In 1225 he created the Hyōjō (評定), the council system of the shogunate. In 1232 he promulgated the Goseibai Shikimoku, the legal code of the shogunate. He has highly praised for his impartial justice.
He died in 1242. His grandson Tsunetoki succeeded him to the post of shikken.Ima Kōji
Ima Kōji (今小路), sometimes also called Ima Ōji (今大路) is the name of a section of a longer street in Kamakura, Kanagawa, Japan. Strictly speaking, Ima Kōji goes from Katsu no Hashi Bridge (勝ノ橋) in front of Jufuku-ji to Tatsumi Jinja Shrine (巽神社) about 400 m further south, but the name is used all the way to the intersection with Yuigahama Avenue. Although certainly old enough, historical documents written at the time of the Kamakura shogunate like the Azuma Kagami do not mention it.Iroha Jiruishō
The Iroha Jiruishō (色葉字類抄 or 伊呂波字類抄, "Characters classified in iroha order and annotated") is a 12th-century Japanese dictionary of Kanji ("Chinese characters"). It was the first Heian Period dictionary to collate characters by pronunciation (in the iroha order) rather than by logographic radical (like the Tenrei Banshō Meigi) or word meaning (Wamyō Ruijushō).
The Iroha Jiruishō has a complex history (see Okimori 1996:8-11) involving editions of two, three, and ten fascicles (kan 卷 "scroll; volume"). The original 2-fascicle edition was compiled by an unknown editor in late Heian era circa 1144-1165 CE. This was followed by a 3-fascicle edition by Tachibana Tadakane (橘忠兼) circa 1177-1188. Finally, at the start of the Kamakura Period, another anonymous editor compiled the expanded 10-fascicle edition, entitled 伊呂波字類抄 (with Iroha written 伊呂波 instead of 色葉).
The main character entries are annotated with katakana to indicate both on'yomi Sino-Japanese borrowings and kun'yomi native Japanese pronunciations. The Iroha Jiruishō orthography shows that 12th-century Japanese continued to phonetically distinguish voiceless and voiced sounds, but the distinction between /zi/ and /di/, /zu/ and /du/, and /eu/ and /ou/ was being lost. These entry words typify the Japanized version of classical Chinese known as hentai Kanbun (変体漢文 "anomalous Chinese writing", see Azuma Kagami) or Wakan konkōbun (和漢混交文 "mixed Japanese and Chinese writing"). This is a bilingual dictionary for looking up Chinese characters in terms of their Japanese pronunciation, and not a true Japanese language dictionary.
The Iroha jiruishō inventively groups entries by their first mora into 47 phonetic sections (部門) like i (伊), ro (呂), and ha (波); each subdivided into 21 semantic headings shown in the table below.
Most of these 21 headings are self-explanatory semantic fields, with the exceptions of 13 Jiji for miscellaneous words written with a single character, 14 Jūten reduplicative compounds (e.g., ji-ji 時時, literally "time time", "at times, occasionally"), and 15 Jōji synonym compounds (e.g., kanryaku 簡略, literally "simple simple", "simplicity, conciseness"). These 21 Iroha jiruishō headings can be compared with the 24 used two centuries earlier in the Wamyō Ruijushō.
Unlike all the other major Heian Japanese dictionaries that followed Chinese dictionary traditions, the Iroha Jiruishō's phonetic ordering can undoubtedly be interpreted, says Don C. Bailey (1960:16), "as a sign of increasing independence from Chinese cultural influences." Most subsequent Japanese dictionaries, excepting kanji ones, were internally organized by pronunciation.Japanese Historical Text Initiative
Japanese Historical Text Initiative (JHTI) is a searchable online database of Japanese historical documents and English translations. It is part of the Center for Japanese Studies at the University of California at Berkeley.Kamakura's Seven Entrances
The city of Kamakura, Kanagawa in Japan, is closed off on three sides by very steep hills and on the fourth by the sea: before the construction of several modern tunnels and roads, the so-called Seven Entrances (Nana-guchi), or Seven Passes (Nana-kiridoshi 七切り通し) (all artificial) were its main links to the rest of the world. The city was therefore a natural fortress and, according to the Azuma Kagami, it was chosen by Minamoto no Yoritomo as his base specifically for this reason. The name itself seems to have been modeled on that of Kyoto's Seven Entrances (京都七口)—sometimes translated as the seven "mouths"—which first appears in the literature of the intermediate Muromachi period (around the year 1450). Together with the other "numbered" names like "Kamakura's Ten Wells" and "Kamakura's Ten Bridges", the modern "Seven Entrances" is an Edo period invention probably concocted to stimulate tourism. The Azuma Kagami calls them simply -zaka: Kobukurozaka, Daibutsuzaka, Gokurakuzaka, etc. It must also be noted that, besides these seven, there were always other mountain roads that connected Kamakura with, for example, Kotsubo and Shichirigahama. There is one, for example, that connects Kaizō-ji in Ōgigayatsu with Kita-Kamakura Station. The Seven Entrances were simply the most convenient and important.While economically vital because they allowed traffic to and from the outside world, the Seven Passes had also great military value, and as such they were fortified in various ways, for example narrowing them further until a horse could barely pass through, and obstructing the view of incomers. The roads were also modified adding artificial cliffs and forts from which archers could hit enemies below.Kamakura Kaidō
Kamakura Kaidō (鎌倉街道, Kamakura Highway or Highways) is the generic name of a great number of roads built during the Kamakura period which, from all directions, converged on the military capital of Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. The term itself however was created probably during the Edo period to mean simply any old road going to Kamakura; it is used for example in the Fudokikō. The famous Tōkaidō highway which connects Kyoto to Kamakura can therefore also be considered a Kamakura Kaidō. Texts like the Taiheiki and the Azuma Kagami see things from a Kamakura-centric perspective and therefore use for the same roads individual names deriving from their destination, for example Kyōto Ōkan or the generic term Kamakura Ōkan (鎌倉往還, Kamakura Highway). Today, modern paved roads that approximately follow one of the routes of an Old Kamakura Kaidō are named either Kamakura Kaidō, as Tokyo Prefecture Machida Route 18, or Old Kamakura Kaidō (旧鎌倉街道, Kyū Kamakura Kaidō).Komachi Ōji
Komachi Ōji (小町大路) is a street in Kamakura, Kanagawa, Japan, that begins at Sujikaebashi (筋違橋) (locality named after a bridge which no longer exists) from the Kanazawa Kaidō, crosses Yoko Ōji, passes in front of Hōkai-ji and Honkaku-ji, crosses the Ebisudōbashi Bridge (see photo), Ōmachi Ōji and Kuruma Ōji, reaches Moto Hachiman and Kōmyō-ji, and finally ends in Zaimokuza near Wakaejima.
It is believed this is what the Azuma Kagami calls "Komachi Ōji" and other texts "Komachi Kōji". It used to be also called Machi Kōji (町小路). The name seems to stem from the fact that the Ebisudōbashi Bridge has been for centuries the border between the two areas called Komachi and Ōmachi, Komachi being the more important of the two. The Azuma Kagami says that along Komachi Ōji there were the houses of the powerful (the gokenin) and, for almost the entire Kamakura period, the seat of the government. The entrance of all buildings in Komachi not belonging to the Hōjō (the ruling clan) or to the Bakufu (with the curious exception of houses of ill repute) had to face away from Wakamiya Ōji (Honkaku-ji is a good example).Kugyō (priest)
Kugyō (公暁, 1200–February 13, 1219), also known as Minamoto no Zensai (源善哉) or Saemon Hokkyō Yoriaki (左衛門法橋頼暁), was the second son of the second Kamakura shōgun of Japan, Minamoto no Yoriie. At the age of six, after his father was killed in Shuzenji in Izu, he became his uncle Sanetomo's adopted son and, thanks to his grandmother Hōjō Masako's intercession, a disciple of Songyō, Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gū's bettō (head priest). After his tonsure he was given the Buddhist name "Kugyō" replacing his childhood name Yoshinari. He then went to Kyōto to take his vows, coming back at age 18 to become Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gū's new bettō, the shrine's fourth. In 1219 he murdered his uncle Sanetomo on the stone stairs at Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gū in the shogunal capital of Kamakura, an act for which he was himself slain on the same day.List of Japanese classical texts
This is a list of Japanese classic texts. These classical works of Japanese literature are grouped by genres in a chronological order.Minamoto no Ichiman
Minamoto no Ichiman (源 一幡, 1198 – October 8, 1203) was the eldest son of second Kamakura shōgun Minamoto no Yoriie. His mother Wakasa no Tsubone was Hiki Yoshikazu's daughter, and the child was brought up by the Hiki clan. The child died at six, victim of the struggle for power that ensued after Minamoto no Yoritomo's sudden death.When in 1203 Yoriie became seriously ill, the Hōjō clan supported his brother Senman (future third shōgun Minamoto no Sanetomo) as a future successor, while the Hiki supported son Ichiman. To avoid power falling into the hands of the Hiki, the Hōjō decided to get rid of the Hiki and their protégé.On a pretext, Hōjō Tokimasa invited Hiki Yoshikazu to his home and assassinated him. A battle between the clans ensued; the Hiki were defeated by a coalition of the Hōjō, Wada, Miura and Hatakeyama clans and exterminated. Six-year-old Ichiman also died during the fight. The Hiki residence was destroyed by fire and in its place in the Hikigayatsu valley now lies the Buddhist temple of Myōhon-ji. In its cemetery still stands Ichiman's grave, next to the Hiki clan's cenotaph.
Ichiman's younger brother Kugyō was forced to become a Buddhist priest and in 1219 at age 20 assassinated his uncle Sanetomo. Kugyō was himself immediately executed for his crime, thus bringing the Seiwa Genji dynasty to a sudden end.Minamoto no Sanetomo
Minamoto no Sanetomo (源 実朝, September 12, 1192 – February 12, 1219, r. 1203–1219) was the third shōgun of the Kamakura shogunate. He was the second son of the Kamakura shogunate founder, Minamoto no Yoritomo. His mother was Hōjō Masako and his older brother was second Kamakura shogun Minamoto no Yoriie.
His childhood name was Senman (千万). He was the last head of the Minamoto clan of Japan. His Buddhist name was Daijiji tono Sei ni Kurai Gosho Ko Jingi (大慈寺殿正二位丞相公神儀).
He was an accomplished waka poet.Moto Hachiman
Moto Hachiman (元八幡) is a small but very old and historically important Shinto shrine in Kamakura, Kanagawa Pref., Japan.Muryōkō-in
Muryōkō-in (無量光院跡) is former temple in Hiraizumi in what is now southern Iwate Prefecture in the Tōhoku region of Japan.
Muryōkō-in was built by Fujiwara no Hidehira, the third of the Northern Fujiwara rulers of Hiraizumi. It was designed to imitate the Phoenix Hall of Byōdō-in in Uji, south of Kyoto, but on a larger scale. The temple was described in the Kamakura period chronicle, Azuma Kagami.
Twice a year, the centerline of the hall was aligned with the sun setting behind Mount Kinkeisan to the west, creating an image of the Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss. Nothing remains of the temple today except for some foundation stones and the remnants of earthen walls. The twelfth-century garden with pond, island and ornamental stones has been reconstructed and were designated a Special Historic SiteThey form part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Historic Monuments and Sites of Hiraizumi.Shinpen Kamakurashi
The Shinpen Kamakurashi (新編鎌倉志, - Newly Edited Guide to Kamakura) is an Edo period compendium of topographic, geographic and demographic data concerning the city of Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan, and its vicinities. Consisting of eight volumes and commissioned in 1685 by Tokugawa Mitsukuni to three vassals, it contains for example information about "Kamakura's Seven Entrances", "Kamakura's Ten Bridges" and "Kamakura's Ten Wells". It includes illustrations, maps, and information about temples, ruins and place names etymologies not only about Kamakura, but also about Enoshima, Shichirigahama, Hayama and Kanazawa. The book created and popularized many of these "numbered" names, which were picked up by many subsequent tourist guides and became part of Kamakura's image. Each volume contains a day's worth of walking and is a real and effective guide to sightseeing. This makes the book a precious source of information to historians.It is also the source of at least one Kamakura canard: it is often written that Kugyō, the Buddhist monk who in 1219 assassinated his uncle and shōgun Minamoto no Sanetomo, on the night of the murder was hiding behind the great ginkgo tree next to Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gū's senior shrine, but the Azuma Kagami, our main historic source on the event, simply says he came "from the side of the stone stairs" (石段の際). The detail of the ginkgo tree first appears in the Shinpen Kamakurashi.It is believed the book was compiled using as a base the Kamakura Nikki (鎌倉日記), written in 1674 by Tokugawa Mitsukuni himself about Kamakura's famous places, shrines and temples. The book was written at Zuisen-ji, a Zen temple of the Engaku-ji school in Kamakura by Kawai Tsunehisa, Matsumura Kiyoyuki and Rikiishi Tadakazu.Bibliographical Data:
Shiraishi Tsutomu hen. (2003). Shinpen Kamakurashi. Tōkyō: Kyūko Shoin. ISBN 978-4-7629-4164-1.Takkoku-no-Iwaya
Takkoku-no-Iwaya (達谷窟) is a Buddhist temple in Hiraizumi in southern Iwate Prefecture in the Tōhoku region of Japan dedicated to Bishamonten. The temple was founded by Sakanoue no Tamuramaro in 801 AD to commemorate his victory over the local Emishi tribes.Takkoku no Iwaya is located approximately six kilometers southwest of Hiraizumi, between the centre of town and Genbikei Gorge. The temple is built below an overhanging cliff, and incorporates a shallow cave containing a statue of Bishamon-ten. In the Heian period, a large statue of Fudō Myōō (designated an Iwate Prefectural Cultural Property) and a bas-relief image of Buddha carved into the rock face were added. The temple was described in the Kamakura period chronicle, Azuma Kagami’'.
The temple has burned down many times and its original form is unknown today; the current building dates from 1961 and was modeled after the famous Kiyomizu-dera in Kyoto.
The grounds have been designated a National Historic Site.
Takkoku-no-Iwaya was included in the original 2006 nomination of "Hiraizumi - Cultural Landscape Associated with Pure Land Buddhist Cosmology”, but was removed from the nomination after the failure to secure inscription in 2008; although there are continuing efforts to secure its inclusion through future extension.Tsurugaoka Hachimangū
Tsurugaoka Hachimangū (鶴岡八幡宮) is the most important Shinto shrine in the city of Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. The shrine is at the geographical and cultural center of the city of Kamakura, which has largely grown around it and its 1.8 km approach. It is the venue of many of its most important festivals, and hosts two museums.
Tsurugaoka Hachimangū was for most of its history not only a Hachiman shrine, but also a Tendai Buddhist temple, a fact which explains its general layout, typical of Japanese Buddhist architecture.At the left of its great stone stairway stood a 1000-year-old ginkgo tree, which was uprooted by a storm in the early hours of March 10, 2010. The shrine is an Important Cultural Property.Wakamiya Ōji
Wakamiya Ōji (若宮大路) is a 1.8 km street in Kamakura, a city in Kanagawa Prefecture in Japan, unusual because it is at the same time the city's main avenue and the approach (sandō (参道)) of its largest Shinto shrine, Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gū. Over the centuries Wakamiya Ōji has gone thorough an extreme change. A heavily trafficked road today, it used to be, to the contrary, off limits to most people as a sacred space. At the time of the Kamakura shogunate it was an essential part of the city's religious life, and as such it hosted many ceremonies and was rich with symbolism. Since its construction Wakamiya Ōji has been the backbone of the city's street planning and the center of its cultural life. The street has been declared a Historic Site and was chosen as one of the best 100 streets in Japan.