Copyright Robert Cole 2014 - No copying or distributing -Note: Missing graphics

This is the story of a struggle against the political greed of competing interests. Family blood wrestled the throne in a five way match for the future. Until this time the strategy for power, as modeled by the FUJIWARA, was the production of heirs with Imperial blood. TAIRA KIYOMORI challenged this system by staking TAIRA women to the game. The MINAMOTO replaced the TAIRA, but MASAKO played them all like garden carp.  More MASAKO

The Imperial players:

    Though not the eldest, GO-SHIRAKAWA chose GOTOBA to succeed TAIRA blood ANTOKU, KIYOMORI's grandchild, taken with the Imperial Regalia on the imprudent MUNEMORI's 1182 TAIRA retreat from KYOTO. After dragging their flag through a trail of slaughter, the bitter last words of TAIRA matriarch, TOKIKO, the NII-no-AMA disowned MUNEMORI, labeling him the secretly exchanged son of a parasol merchant.

    The pinned garments of a TAIRA wife held the YATA-no-KAGAMI The Sacred Mirror from loss but the dark waters of DAN-no-URA drank forever the MURAKUMO-no-TSURUGI and its little Emperor, ANTOKU. - See MURAKUMO Sword in YAMATO and TOKIWA GOZEN in RYUMON

    At twelve, GOTOBA, ANTOKU's little brother, made MINAMOTO YORITOMO, "SEI-I-TAI-SHOGUN"

Ascended the throne at 3 years in 1199. Until the TAIRA were vanquished, Imperial blood knew FUJIWARA women. It is said GOTOBA preferred TSUCHIMIKADO's brother, FUJIWARA blood, JUNTOKU. A man of good character, MINAMOTO son, TSUCHIMIKADO, reigned 12 years and abdicated in JUNTOKU's favor letting GOTOBA and pater's joy join company. He knew, regardless of all other considerations, GOTOBA could never retrieve rule as long as SAMURAI blood (with its accompanying relations) sat on the throne.
CHUKYO KANENARI-SHINNO became the "Emperor of 70 Days" 
3 year old son of JUNTOKU 

When MINAMOTO SANETOMO was assassinated in SHO-KYU 1219 by his jealous young nephew, KUGYO, son of the repugnant and mutually ostracized 2nd SHOGUN, YORIIYE, the bright yet brief, MINAMOTO star blanked out. 

His ruthless mother, the AMA SHOGUN, MASAKO and her younger brother, HOJO YOSHITOKI stepped over the throne with a 2 year old puppet SHOGUN, FUJIWARA YOSHITSUNE

YOSHITSUNE, a son of new MINAMOTO blood, was eagerly provided by FUJIWARA MICHIIYE (whose wife was the granddaughter of YORITOMOs' sister). 

The new SHOGUN was actually installed at 8 years in 1226. He will pass this mantle to his son in 1244.

    GOTOBA's test had arrived. From 1185 the reins of power, abandoned of the lost TAIRA, had been teased from the fingers of grandfather, GO SHIRAKAWA by the victorious MINAMOTO YORITOMO
Now, with the 1219 death of the third MINAMOTO SHOGUN, the throne was again being pushed aside.
    For the HOJO, the growing Imperial household presented the worrisome portent of capturing large numbers of adherents.
On the ascension of little CHUKYO, there were three retired Emperors: 
            ICHI-IN - GOTOBA 
            CHU-IN - TSUCHIMIKADO 
            SHIN-IN - JUNTOKU
GOTOBA's burden had always weighed. At the death of GO-SHIRAKAWA, it had been his own young hand that placed power to the MINAMOTO, who turned out wearing the face of MASAKO, bride of the too soon-dead, YORITOMO, and relentless engine of HOJO designs.

MASAKO, and brother, had carefully remained free to orchestrate both SHOGUNATE and throne from the comfortable insulation of KAMAKURA with its guise of treasonless power. Legally, their forces could be employed without the tangled potential that ropes a SHOGUN to his Emperor

The HOJO's game was to arrange the perfect balance between established military governance and manipulated Imperial ties. It required constant cultivation by talented leaders - the eventual flaw. 

GOTOBA and JUNTOKU sought to throw the yoke of military rule and return forever, the Harmony of Divine Will

It was fate. Known with every month of the ICHIMONJI from 1208, it was the impetus to formulate the mass-production techniques developed by his Twenty-four GOBAN KAJI - to supply and arm Imperial forces with the magical gifts of the Gods, the Sword of the ICHIMONJI

Imperial Restoration had been an imperative ever since YORITOMO's new institutions left the offices of GO-SHIRAKAWA impotent. Now, with the MINAMOTO gone and the HOJO propping a 2 year old - now must be the time.

For his part, the KAMI had warned clear-minded TSUCHIMIKADO that fate would be impropitious, and ungiving. Studious wisdom teaches Heavenly power can be harmoniously exercised only when the people are in jeopardy. As government is in the earthly realm, Imperial force must only be used to free the social body from destructive harm or tyranny. 

Otherwise, Heaven becomes supplicated to the low. The HOJO were not posing destructive jeopardy to the people and therefore, reasonably, Imperial restoration would fail. This too was fate, TEN-no-MEI "The Will of Heaven." - So TSUCHIMIKADO withdrew from preparations, willing to suffer with them, their inevitable exile.

Needing a war is one thing. However, one has to start a war. - So one needs an excuse...

It seems our Divinity wished to give the estates of KURAHASHI-no-SHO and NAGAI to two dancing girls, an extravagance the conservative YOSHITOKI refused. Enough was enough! GOTOBA announced his call against the HOJO

HOJO YOSHITOKI and MASAKO counseled and sent HOJO sons, YASUTOKI and TOMOTOKI, with brother HOJO TOKIFUSA against KYOTO. Three lost battles left the Imperial army successfully routed.

      - CHUKYO "Emperor of 70 days"
        - deposed and retained at MICHIIYE's mansion in KUJO district
      - JUNTOKU Father of CHUKYO
        - exiled to SADO
        - Though inculpable, exiled to SHIKOKU
      - GOTOBA
        - exiled to OKI
From this point the HOJO took direct command of KYOTO and ran the country with two administrations from two capitals: the governorship of KYOTO leashed by the KAMAKURA HOJO SHIKKEN in SAGAMI. 

The HOJO elevated 10 year old, GO-HORIKAWA to replace CHUKYO

After a reign of 11 years, he abdicated for his 2 year old son and MICHIIYE grandson, SHIJO

When 12 year old, SHIJO-TENNO died in 1242, MICHIIYE then stepped in with another grandson, TADANARI, JUNTOKUs' son, vying a FUJIWARA as he had with his own son to the SHOGUNATE following the 1219 death of MINAMOTO SANETOMO

But HOJO YASUTOKI checked him, citing JUNTOKU's part in the SHOKYU War, and elected TSUCHIMIKADO's MINAMOTO son, GO-SAGA

This seemingly subtle card play was a major crossroads in history as it pushed MICHIIYE into the background and at the same time retained, and insured, the HOJO/KAMAKURA power umbrella for the next hundred years.

    Note:MICHIIYE had become SESSHO for the minority of what came to be CHUKYO's short reign. The offering of Imperial candidates by MICHIIYE against YASUTOKI shows the difference between diplomatic and military power, as both knew clearly, the stakes.
YASUTOKI died that same year (1242), but when the fifth HOJO SHIKKEN, TOKIYORI pulled the FUJIWARA from the SHOGUNATE in 1252 and GO-SAGA's 3rd son, MUNETAKA-SHINNO was chosen, YASUTOKI's clever hand was played out - both KYOTO and KAMAKURA danced harmoniously under HOJO strings.

With one son holding the inheritable SHOGUNATE, the last will of Emperor GO-SAGA in 1272 decreed the prideful blunder of a shared inheritance which divvied the throne between the descendants of his two eligible sons, GO-FUKAKUSA and KAMEYAMA. HOJO SADATOKI enforced this mistake which shackled the future with too many options for too many hands and left open the ripe ticket for ASHIKAGA TAKAUJI's power grab that split the Imperial house some 60 years hence. 

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