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Article Minamoto no Yoshitsune


13 Jan 2016
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Minamoto no Yoshitsune

Minamoto no Yoshitsune (源義経, 1159-1189) was a nobleman and military commander famous for leading the Minamoto clan against the Taira in numerous battles of the Genpei War (源平合戦, 1180-1185). His prowess in battle, his relationship with his brother, and the circumstances of his death, among other factors, have resulted in him being seen as a sympathetic hero, and a frequent subject of Japanese writers of all eras, often with romanticized and exaggerated accounts of his exploits. He has captured the imagination of the Japanese, and today remains a quite popular historical figure.

The Minamoto clan were one of the four major clans in Japanese history, along with the Taira, Fujiwara, and Tachibana clans (referred to collectively as 源平藤橘, ゲンペイトウキツ). Both the Minamoto and Taira clans were formed when members of certain branches of the extended imperial family were “demoted” from the imperial line; after being split off, these families were no longer considered royalty, but were given...

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