Inage Shigenari (稲毛 重成, d. 1205) was a military commander of the late Heian and early Kamakura periods and a retainer of the Kamakura shogunate. Shigenari was a member of the Chichibu clan, which descended from the Kanmu Taira. He ruled Inage-sō (稲毛荘) in Musashi Province. He was the son of Oyamada Arishige (小山田有重), founder of the Oyamada clan, and the cousin of Hatakeyama Shigetada.

Inage Saburō Shigenari (稲毛三郎重成)

Utagawa Hiroshige (歌川広重, 1797-1858); Hiratsuka (平塚): Inage Saburō Shigenari from the series
Fifty-three Pairings for the Tōkaidō Road (Tōkaidō gojūsan tsui - 東海道五十三対)

He was initially known as Oyamada Shigenari (小山田重成). His father, Arishige, and his elder brother Hatakeyama Shigeyoshi (畠山重能と共) gained power in the Okura Kassen (大蔵合戦) in August 1155, an internal conflict of the Chichibu that also implicated the Minamoto. Later, he stayed in Kyōto as a retainer of the Taira. He fought on their side when Minamoto no Yoritomo raised an army in Izu in August 1180. However, in October of the same year, he and Shigetada surrendered to Yoritomo at Nagai no Watashi (長井の渡) on the Sumida River and became a Minamoto retainer. He married the younger half-sister of Hōjō Masako (北条政子, 1156-1225), the daughter of Hōjō Tokimasa and Yoritomo's wife. Shigenari's wife, whose real name remains unknown, entered history as Inage Nyōbō (稲毛女房).

Shigenari's manor at Musashi Inage-sō (武蔵稲毛荘) in the Tama Hills (modern-day Tama-ku, Kawasaki) was established before the Hogen Uprising. When relieved from his duties by Yoritomo, Shigenari moved into the area. At that time, he still used the surname "Oyamada"; after 1184, he is referred to by the surname "Inage", suggesting that he moved to Inage-sō around this time. He is also said to have built Masugata Castle (present-day Ikuta Ryōkuchi) in the same locality.

In the Genpei War (1180-1185), the Chichibu clan, including Hatakeyama Shigetada and the brothers Shigenari and Shigetomo, fought in the eastern part of the country. Shigenari and Shigetomo joined Minamoto no Noriyori's forces in the Uji area to pursue Kiso Yoshinaka in the first month of 1184 and participated in the subsequent Battle of Ichinotani.

In October 1185, Yoritomo's younger brother Yoshitsune joined forces with Emperor Go-Shirakawa to openly confront Yoritomo. On 12 November 1185, Yoshitsune's father-in-law, Kawagoe Shigeyori, had his territory confiscated and was killed. Shigetada inherited the headship of the Chichibu clan, which seems to have significantly improved Shigenari's position. In July 1189, he and his brother Shigetomo subjugated the Ōshu Fujiwara clan, who had sheltered Yoshitsune in the Battle of Ōshu. In 1190 and 1195, he accompanied Yoritomo to Kyōto. On his way home from the second journey, he learned that his wife had fallen seriously ill in Mino Province. Yoritomo gave him a fast horse, and he quickly returned to his realm. Deeply grieved by his wife's demise, he became an ordained priest, taking the Buddhist name Dōzen (道全). From then on, he was known as Inage Nyūdō (稲毛入道) or Ozawa Nyūdō (小沢入道). In 1198, Shigenari built a bridge over the Sagami River for his late wife. Yoritomo, who attended the inauguration ceremony at the bridge, fell off his horse on the way to Kamakura and died soon after. It is said that after the Great Kantō Earthquake in 1923, seven piers of the former bridge were unearthed.

On 22 June 1205, a purge that entered the annals of history as the Hatakeyama Shigetada Uprising (畠山重忠の乱が起) broke out, in which the Hōjō eliminated influential Minamoto retainers in their strife to gain control over the Kamakura shogunate. Shigetada, slandered by his cousin Shigenari, was attacked and annihilated by an army under Hōjō Yoshitoki following a plot masterminded by his father, Hōjō Tokimasa, to seize Musashi Province. The next day, Shigenari's brother Harutani Shigetomo (榛谷重朝) and his sons Tarō Shigesue (太郎重季) and Jirō Hideshige (次郎秀重) were killed by Miura Yoshimura (三浦義村), while Okoto Yukimoto (大河戸行元) slaughtered Shigenari. His son Ozawa Shigemasa (小沢重政) was put to death by Usami Yusamura (宇佐美祐村), completing the Hōjō sweep against Shigenari and his descendants.

Wooden statue of Inage Shigenari

Wooden statue of Shigenari preserved at Kofuku-ji

Shigenari's daughter, Ayanokōji no Hime (綾小路の姫), was adopted by Hōjō Masako, who gave her Ozawago (小沢郷) in Musashi, the territory left behind by Shigenari. Most of the Inage clan went into exile in Sanuki Province (modern-day northeastern Shikoku). Up to this day, the Inage surname remains common in Mannō (まんのう町, Mannō-chō), Nakatado (仲多度郡), Kagawa Prefecture.

Inage Shigenari's grave is in the Kofuku-ji temple (廣福寺) in Masugata, Tama-ku, Kawasaki.

The historical characters of both Inage Saburō Shigenari and his wife Inage Nyōbō appeared in the NHK Taiga drama series in 1979 "Kusamoeru" (草燃える, Burning Grass) and in 2022 "The 13 Lords of the Shōgun " (鎌倉殿の13人).


  • Turnbull, Stephen, The Samurai - A Military History, Routledge 1996
  • Papinot, E., Historical and Geographical Dictionary of Japan, Tuttle 1972
Next article in the series 'Historical Biographies': Beate Sirota Gordon (1923-2012) - a feminist pioneer in Japan
Previous article in the series 'Historical Biographies': Ozaki Yukio (1858-1954)