Minamoto clan

The Japanese name Minamoto (Japanese源) was an honorary title, the Tennō in the Heian period ( 794-1185 ) awarded their sons and grandsons after they dropped out of the imperial residence and subjects of Tennō were.

To simplify the Imperial Succession and the rivalries to keep the throne to tolerable levels, were princes who did not come as a successor to the throne in question or in succession far behind were provided with a last name and made ​​subjects of Tennō. The Minamoto as well as their rivals, the Taira were those descendants of the imperial dynasty.

The name Minamoto was first awarded by Saga tennō. 814 gave the Tennō not entitled to inherit his sons the title ( Kabane ) Minamoto no Ason. This listened to them and their descendants, to be members of the Imperial Family. The Seiwa Tenno, Murakami, Uda and Daigo gave their sons the name Minamoto.

These lineages emanating from various Tennō, developed each in their own clans, often called Genji (源氏) are referred to. These lines are for the name of the Emperor, followed characterized by Genji, for example, Seiwa Genji.

The Minamoto were also referred to as a whole as Genji, this is just a different pronunciation of the Chinese characters for Minamoto (gen) and family ( uji or ji)

The Minamoto were together with the Fujiwara, Taira, and the Tachibana four major clans that dominated Japanese politics in the Heian period. The best known and most powerful branch of the Minamoto were the Seiwa Genji.

The protagonist of the classic Japanese epic Tale of Genji, Hikaru no Genji, was dismissed for political reasons of his father, the Tennō, named Minamoto to civilian life and in a career as an imperial officer.

Important members of the Minamoto clan

  • Minamoto no Yoshitomo, nobleman Minamoto Yoritomo, Shogun and third son of Minamoto no Yoshitomo.
  • Minamoto no Noriyori, General and fourth son of Minamoto no Yoshitomo.
  • Minamoto no Yoshitsune, general and fifth son of Minamoto no Yoshitomo.