Shishigatani incident

The Shishigatani incident (鹿ケ谷事件, Shishigatani jiken) of June 1177 was a failed uprising against the rule of Taira no Kiyomori in Japan. The conspiracy was discovered, and its perpetrators arrested and punished before any part of their plan was put into action.

The incident is also known in Japanese as Shishigatani no Inbō (鹿ケ谷の陰謀), the Shishigatani Conspiracy or Plot. The name comes from the location where the conspirators met, a mountain villa belonging to Jōken Hōin, in the Shishi Valley (Shishigatani) in the Higashiyama area of Kyoto.


This is the most famous of a number of conspiracies and uprisings against Kiyomori. He rose quickly to power in the 1160s and dominated rather than guided the Imperial Court, taking advantage of his position to install members of his own family into high court positions, and marrying them into the Imperial family. In a number of ways, and on a number of occasions, he offended and opposed the cloistered Emperor Go-Shirakawa and the Fujiwara family of court nobles and regents.


Fujiwara no Narichika, his son Fujiwara no Naritsune, Saikō (religious name of Fujiwara no Moromitsu), Taira no Yasuyori (Hei-Hogan, or Taira police lieutenant), Tada no Kurando Yukitsuna (a Genji from Settsu province), and the monk Shunkan gathered, along with others, in a small country villa in Shishigatani, to conspire against Kiyomori and the Taira clan as a whole.

However, Tada Yukitsuna was a spy for Kiyomori, and reported the conspiracy to his lord. Saikō, a monk, was tortured and then executed, angering monastic groups already opposed to his considerable secular authority. Kiyomori then rebuked Emperor Go-Shirakawa, who had been aware of the plot, seized a number of mansions belonging to the Fujiwara, and dismissed a number of officials from office, including Regent Fujiwara no Motofusa. He then filled the vacated Court positions with members of his own family.[1] Shunkan, Yasuyori, and Naritsune were exiled to a remote island south of Kyūshū called "Kikai Island", which has been identified with at least three different islands.

Cultural references

The events, and their consequences, are related in the classical epic Heike monogatari, and in a number of derivative works such as the Noh play Shunkan and the jōruri (puppet theater) production Heike Nyogo-ga-Shima which concern themselves with the exiles on Kikai-ga-shima.


  1. ^ Sansom, George (1958). A history of Japan to 1334. Stanford University Press. pp. 268–269. ISBN 0804705232.
Emperor Go-Shirakawa

Emperor Go-Shirakawa (後白河天皇 Go-Shirakawa-tennō) (October 18, 1127 – April 26, 1192) was the 77th emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession. His de jure reign spanned the years from 1155 through 1158, though arguably he effectively maintained imperial power for almost thirty-seven years through the insei system - scholars differ as to whether his rule can be truly considered part of the insei system, given that the Hōgen Rebellion undermined the imperial position. However, it is broadly acknowledged that by politically outmaneuvering his opponents, he attained greater influence and power than the diminished authority of the emperor's position during this period would otherwise allow.

Posthumously, this 12th-century sovereign was named after the 11th-century Emperor Shirakawa. Go- (後), translates literally as "later"; and thus, he is sometimes called the "Later Emperor Shirakawa", or, in some older sources, may be identified as "Shirakawa, the second" or as "Shirakawa II.

Unusually, the years of Go-Shirakawa's reign are more specifically identified by more than one era name or nengō; Kyūju (1154–1156) and Hōgen (1156–1159).

Fujiwara no Narichika

Fujiwara no Narichika (藤原 成親) (1138–1178) was a Japanese court noble who took part in a plot against the Taira clan's dominance of the Imperial court.

Narichika was the son of Fujiwara no Ienari. For his role in the Shishigatani Incident in 1177, he was exiled, along with his son Fujiwara no Naritsune, Taira no Yasuyori, and the monk Shunkan to an island called Kikai-ga-shima in the far south of Japan. Narichika was later executed by the order of the Taira.


Fukuhara-kyō (福原京, Capital of Fukuhara) was the seat of Japan's Imperial Court, and therefore the capital of the country, for roughly six months in 1180. It was also the center of Taira no Kiyomori's power and the site of his retirement palace.

Fukuhara, in or near what is today Hyōgo Ward in the city of Kobe, was made the official residence of Taira no Kiyomori in 1160, following the Heiji Rebellion in which his Taira clan crushed the rival Minamoto clan. From roughly this time until his death in 1181, Kiyomori was the de facto political chief of state. He was appointed Daijō Daijin (Chancellor) in 1167, and married his daughter into the Imperial family, gaining even greater influence at Court.

A palace was built for him at Fukuhara, and Kiyomori also oversaw considerable improvements to the harbor there, to further his wider goals of expanding trade within the Inland Sea. Following the Shishigatani Incident of 1177–1178, Kiyomori retired to Fukuhara, distancing himself from politics, and from the social and ceremonial entanglements of the capital.

In June 1180, the Genpei War began as the Minamoto clan was called to arms by Prince Mochihito to oppose Kiyomori and his clan. Following the battle of Uji, in which Minamoto no Yorimasa, then head of the clan, was killed, Kiyomori arranged that the Imperial Court be moved from Heian-kyō (Kyoto) to Fukuhara. In doing this, he sought to ensure his claim to power, to allow himself to keep a closer eye on the Court and to involve himself directly once again in administrative affairs. This move also helped to shelter the Emperors and the Court from the dangers posed by Kiyomori's enemies, the Minamoto and their monastic allies.

On the third day of the lunar month following the battle (June 1180), Kiyomori led a huge procession of nobles and court officials, along with Emperor Antoku and Cloistered Emperors Takakura and Go-Shirakawa to Fukuhara. Government offices were re-established in lavish residences originally constructed for members of the Taira clan. Elements of the governmental administration were upset with this move, however, and the disruption it caused, and many of the nobles complained of the wet weather of the port city and the distance from Heian. Within about six months, the Court was returned to Kyoto, and Kiyomori followed.According to the Tale of Heike, in the autumn of 1183, spent a night in Fukuhara during their retreat. On departure, the Heike set fire to the imperial palace. "Even though their departure was perhaps not as painful as that when they left the capital, it nevertheless filled them with regret."Site monuments mark the supposed sites of Kiyomori's palace, those of the Emperors, and Kiyomori's tomb.

Heiji rebellion

The Heiji rebellion (平治の乱, Heiji no ran, January 19—February 5, 1160) was a short civil war between rival subjects of the cloistered Emperor Go-Shirakawa of Japan in 1160 fought in order to resolve a dispute about political power. It was preceded by the Hōgen Rebellion in 1156. Heiji no ran is seen as a direct outcome of the earlier armed dispute; but unlike Hōgen no ran, which was a dispute between members of the same clan, this was rather a struggle for power between two rival clans. It is also seen as a precursor of a broader civil war.

Hōgen rebellion

The Hōgen rebellion (保元の乱, Hōgen no ran, July 28 – August 16, 1156) was a short civil war fought in order to resolve a dispute about Japanese Imperial succession. The dispute was also about the degree of control exercised by the Fujiwara clan who had become hereditary Imperial regents during the Heian period.

Hōgen no ran produced a series of unanticipated consequences. It created a foundation from which the dominance of the samurai clans would come to be established. It is considered the beginning in a chain of events which would produce the first of three samurai-led governments in the history of Japan.

Iwai Rebellion

The Iwai Rebellion (磐井の乱, Iwai no Ran) was a rebellion against the Yamato court that took place in Tsukushi Province, Japan (now nearby Ogōri city in Fukuoka Prefecture) in 527 AD. The rebellion was named after its leader, Iwai, who is believed by historians to have been a powerful governor of Tsukushi. The rebellion was quelled by the Yamato court, and played an important part in the consolidation of early Japan. The main record of the rebellion can be found in the Nihon Shoki, although it is also mentioned in Kojiki and other historical sources.

Jōkyū War

Jōkyū War (承久の乱, jōkyū no ran), also known as the Jōkyū Disturbance or the Jōkyū Rebellion, was fought in Japan between the forces of Retired Emperor Go-Toba and those of the Hōjō clan, regents of the Kamakura shogunate, whom the retired emperor was trying to overthrow.

The main battle was at Uji, just outside Kyōto; this was the third battle to be fought there in less than half a century. It took place in 1221, that is, the third year of the Jōkyū era.

Kibi Clan Rebellion

The Kibi Clan Rebellion (吉備氏の乱, kibishi no ran) from 463 was a revolt against the Yamato state on the Korean peninsula involving two brothers from the Kibi clan: Tasa and Oto. The revolt was triggered when Tasa learned that the Japanese Emperor Yūryaku had moved him to the Japanese post at Mimana on the Korean Peninsula in order to seize his beautiful wife. The incident falls into Japan's proto-historic period and is recounted in the Nihon Shoki.

List of The Tale of the Heike characters

This is a list of the characters that appear in The Tale of the Heike.

Menashi–Kunashir rebellion

The Menashi-Kunashir rebellion or war (クナシリ・メナシの戦い, Kunashiri Menashi no tatakai) or Menashi-Kunashir battle was a battle in 1789 between Ainu and Japanese on the Shiretoko Peninsula in northeastern Hokkaidō. It began in May 1789 when Ainu attacked Japanese on Kunashir Island and parts of the Menashi District as well as at sea. More than 70 Japanese were killed. The Japanese executed 37 Ainu identified as conspirators and arrested many others. Reasons for the revolt are not entirely clear, but they are believed to include a suspicion of poisoned sake being given to Ainu in a loyalty ceremony, and other objectionable behavior by Japanese traders.

The battle is the subject of Majin no Umi, a children's novel by Maekawa Yasuo that received the Japanese Association of Writers for Children Prize in 1970.

A similar large-scale Ainu revolt against Japanese influence in Yezo was Shakushain's Revolt from c. 1669–1672.

Mito Rebellion

The Mito rebellion (水戸幕末争乱, Mito bakumatsu sōran), also called the Kantō Insurrection or the Tengutō Rebellion (天狗党の乱, tengutō no ran), was a civil war that occurred in the area of Mito Domain in Japan between May 1864 and January 1865. It involved an uprising and terrorist actions against the central power of the Shogunate in favour of the sonnō jōi ("Revere the emperor, expel the barbarians") policy.

Prince Hoshikawa Rebellion

The Prince Hoshikawa Rebellion was a power struggle for the Japanese Imperial throne following the death of Emperor Yūryaku in 479. The second son of the Emperor, encouraged by his mother, tried to seize authority by occupying the treasury, but was soon surrounded by troops of court officials, and was burned together with family members and other supporters. The third son, whom Yūryaku had designated crown prince, assumed the throne as Emperor Seinei in 480. This incident is related in the Nihon Shoki.

Rokugō rebellion

The Rokugō rebellion was a last stand of over 1,000 rōnin in 1603, who had been samurai in service of Onodera Yoshimichi until his defeat and exile by the Tokugawa shogunate's followers in 1601. Refusing to submit to the new ruler of Yoshimichi's former lands, Satake Yoshinobu, the rōnin launched an unsuccessful rebellion at Rokugō in "a final suicidal gesture" for their old master Yoshimichi, to whom they remained loyal.

Shakushain's revolt

Shakushain's revolt (シャクシャインの戦い, Shakushain no tatakai) was an Ainu rebellion against Japanese authority on Hokkaidō between 1669 and 1672. It was led by Ainu chieftain Shakushain against the Matsumae clan, who represented Japanese trading and governmental interests in the area of Hokkaidō then controlled by the Japanese (Yamato people).

The war began as a fight for resources between Shakushain's people and a rival Ainu clan in the Shibuchari River (Shizunai River) basin of what is now Shinhidaka, Hokkaidō. The war developed into a last try by the Ainu to keep their political independence and regain control over the terms of their trade relations with the Yamato people.

According to scholar Brett Walker:

Shakushain's War stands out as a watershed event in the history of the conquest of Ezo. Shakushain exploded onto the scene as a charismatic leader who proved able to bridge regional differences among Ainu communities, threatening to unite them against the Japanese intrusion from the south. The Tokugawa shogunate reacted by solidifying its own united front of military allies in the northeast, replacing local Matsumae generals with men of its own choosing, thus illustrating its self-appointed role as defender of the realm.

At the end of 1669, Shakushain's forces surrendered to the Matsumae. The two sides exchanged gifts and negotiated a peace settlement; however, while Ainu generals celebrated with "liberal helpings of saké", they were assassinated by Matsumae warriors. Shakushain was among those killed that day.

The only other comparable large-scale revolt by Ainu against Japanese rule was the Menashi-Kunashir Battle of 1789. An earlier rebellion along the same lines was Koshamain's Revolt in 1456.

Shunkan (play)

Shunkan (俊寛) is a Noh play which takes place in the aftermath of the Shishigatani Incident, and focuses upon one of a trio exiled to "Devil's Island" (Kikaigashima, 鬼界島), off the coast of Satsuma province, as punishment for a plot against the ruling Taira clan. Though two of the three are pardoned, the third, the monk Shunkan, is left alone on the island.

Shōchō uprising

The Shōchō uprising (正長の土一揆 Shōchō no Do Ikki or Shōchō no Tsuchi Ikki) was one of the many armed rebellions in Japan during the Muromachi Period and the first launched by the peasants. It occurred between August and September of the year 1428, which in the old Japanese calendar was the 1st year of Shōchō, and is also known as the Shōchō no Tokusei Ikki, the Shocho debt cancellation revolt.

As social anxiety increased as a result of the death of Ashikaga Yoshimochi, of bad harvests due to poor weather since the last year, and of an epidemic of three-day disease (likely cholera ), the bashaku of Otsu and Sakamoto in Ōmi Province demanded a debt moratorium.

This revolt spread and extended to all of Kinai as peasants throughout the region who were struggling to repay their debts undertook "independent debt relief" by attacking and looting sake merchants, storehouse money brokers, and temples. The grounds for the so-called "independent debt relief" is supposed to be "daigawari no tokusei", or debt relief at the time when power passes from one shōgun to another.

The shogunate was hard-pressed by this and set about quelling it under the orders of the kanrei Mitsuie Hatakeyama. The head of the samurai-dokoro, Akamatsu Mitsusuke, also sent troops. However, the strength of the insurrection did not diminish but rather it even invaded Kyoto in September and also spread to Nara.

The monk Jinson recorded the following entry about the uprising in the Daijoin nikki mokuroku, his daily journal. "The first year of Shocho, in the ninth month, an uprising of commoners broke out. They claimed debt relief and went on to destroy wine shops, pawn shops, and temples which engaged in usury. They took anything they could lay their hands on, and cancelled the debts. Kanrei Mitsuie Hatakeyama suppressed this. There is nothing more than this incident to bring about the ruin of our country. This is the first time since the founding of Japan that an uprising of commoners ever occurred."In the end, the Muromachi shogunate did not release a debt cancellation order, but because proof of the farmers' debts had been destroyed during the looting, the "independent debt relief" had effectively achieved the same situation. Furthermore, Kōfuku-ji in Yamato Province formally cancelled debts and because it had turned almost all the territory in the province into its own shōen and exercised power as its shugo, these orders had official binding power and were implemented. An example of one such order is the Yagyū no Tokusei Hibun which was inscribed on a stone monument.

Taira no Kiyomori

Taira no Kiyomori (平 清盛, 1118 – March 20, 1181) was a military leader of the late Heian period of Japan. He established the first samurai-dominated administrative government in the history of Japan.

Tenchūgumi incident

The Tenchūgumi incident (天誅組の変, Tenchūgumi no Hen) was a military uprising of sonnō jōi (revere the Emperor and expel the barbarians) activists in Yamato Province, now Nara Prefecture, on 29 September 1863 (Bunkyū 3/8/17 in the old Japanese calendar), during the Bakumatsu period.

Emperor Kōmei had issued a dispatch to shōgun Tokugawa Iemochi to expel the foreigners from Japan in early 1863. The shōgun answered with a visit to Kyoto in April, but he rejected the demands of the Jōi faction. On September 25 (8/13 in the old Japanese calendar) the emperor announced he would travel to Yamato province, to the grave of Emperor Jimmu, the mythical founder of Japan, to announce his dedication to the Jōi cause.

Following this, a group called Tenchūgumi consisting of 30 samurai and rōnin from Tosa and other fiefs marched into Yamato Province and took over the Magistrate office in Gojō. They were led by Yoshimura Toratarō.

The next day, shogunate loyalists from Satsuma and Aizu reacted by expelling several imperial officials of the sonnō jōi faction from the Imperial Court in Kyoto, in the Bunkyū coup.

The shogunate sent troops to quell the Tenchūgumi, and they were finally defeated in September 1864.

Tengyō no Ran

The Tengyō no Ran (天慶の乱) ("War in the Tengyō era") is the name of a brief medieval Japanese conflict, in which Taira no Masakado rebelled against the central government. He was defeated after 59 days, and was beheaded on 25 March 940 CE during the Battle of Kojima.

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