The emblem (mon) of the Taira clan
|Home province||Hitachi Province, Ise Province|
|Founder||Taira no Takamochi|
|Founding year||c. 825|
|Cadet branches|| Hōjō |
The Taira was one of the four most important samurai clans that dominated Japanese politics during the Heian Period of Japanese history - the others were the Fujiwara, the Tachibana in addition to the Minamoto. The clan is commonly referred to as Heishi (平氏, "Taira clan") or Heike ( 平家 , "House of Taira"), using the character's Chinese reading hei (平) for Taira, while shi (氏) means "clan", and ke (家) is used as a suffix for "extended family".
Along with the Minamoto, Taira was one of the honorary surnames given by the emperors of the Heian Period (794 - 1185 CE) to their children and grandchildren who were not considered eligible for the throne.
The clan was founded when the imperial Court grew too large, and the emperor ordered that the descendants of the previous emperor, for too many generations, no longer be princes, but were given the surname and honor. The decision became applicable during the reign of Emperor Kanmu (782-805) and thus, together with the Taira clan, the Minamoto clan was born.
Some grandchildren of Emperor Kanmu were the first to bear the name of Taira, after 825. Later, the descendants of Emperor Nimmyo, Emperor Montoku and Emperor Koko also received the surname. The specific hereditary lines of these emperors are referred to by the posthumous name of the emperor followed by Heishi, for example Kanmu Heishi.
The Kanmu Heishi line, founded in 889 by Taira no Takamochi (great-grandson of the 50th Emperor Kanmu, who reigned from 781 to 806) proved to be the strongest and most dominant line during the Heian period.Later, another member of this Taira no Kiyomori lineage created what was considered the first samurai government in the history of Japan. A great grandson of Takamochi, Taira no Korihira, moved to Ise province (currently part of Mie Prefecture) and established an important Daimyo dynasty. Masamori, his grandson; and Tadamori, his great-grandson, became loyal supporters of Emperor Shirakawa and Emperor Toba, respectively. Taira no Kiyomori, son and heir of Tadamori, rose to the position of Daijō Daijin (great Minister of State), after his victories in the Hōgen Rebellion (1156) and the Heiji Rebellion (1160). Kiyomorihe succeeded in enthroning his youngest grandson as Emperor Antoku in 1180, an act that led to the Genpei War (Genpei no Sōran, 1180 - 1185). The last leader of the Kanmu Heishi bloodline, was eventually destroyed by Minamoto no Yoritomo's armies at the Battle of Dan-no-ura, the last battle of the Genpei War. This story is told in the Heike Monogatari.
This branch of the Kanmu Heishi had many other branches, including Hōjō, Chiba, Miura and Hatakeyama.
Another member of this family was Takamune-ō (804 - 867), the eldest son of Prince Imperial Kazurahara and grandson of Emperor Kanmu , who received the title of Taira no Ason in the year 825 .Thus, there were two groups in Kanmu Heishi, a nucleus that descended from Takamune and another from his nephew, Takamochi (the son of Imperial Prince Takami).
The Oda clan at the time of Oda Nobunaga (1534 - 1582) also claimed Taira descent, they were descendants of Taira no Chikazane, grandson of Taira no Shigemori (1138 - 1179).
During the Heiji Rebellion (1160), the Seiwa Genji leader, Minamoto no Yoshitomo, died in battle. Taira no Kiyomori gained power in Kyoto forging alliances with retired emperors Shirakawa and Toba. Kiyomori sent Minamoto no Yoritomo (1147–1199), the third son of Yoshimoto, into exile. In 1180, Yoritomo organized a large-scale rebellion against the rule of the Taira (the Genpei War or Taira-Minamoto), culminated with the destruction of the Taira by the Minamoto clanand the subjugation of eastern Japan in five years. In 1192, Minamoto no Yoritomo received the title shogun and created the first bakufu based in Kamakura (Kanagawa Prefecture).
The Taira clan had four main branches:
These were important members of the Taira clan.
The mon (aka crest, emblem) of the Taira clan is an Agehanochō (揚羽蝶, Swallowtail butterfly) with raised wings.
Fujiwara clan, also shortened to Tōshi (藤氏), descending from the Nakatomi clan and through them Ame-no-Koyane-no-Mikoto, was a powerful family of regents in Japan. The 8th century clan history Tōshi Kaden (藤氏家伝) states the following at the biography of the clan's patriarch, Nakatomi no Kamatari (614–669): "Kamatari, the Inner Palace Minister who was also called ‘Chūrō,’ was a man of the Takechi district of Yamato Province. His forebears descended from Ame no Koyane no Mikoto; for generations they had administered the rites for Heaven and Earth, harmonizing the space between men and the gods. Therefore it was ordered their clan was to be called Ōnakatomi"
The Heian period is the last division of classical Japanese history, running from 794 to 1185. The period is named after the capital city of Heian-kyō, or modern Kyōto. It is the period in Japanese history when Buddhism, Taoism and other Chinese influences were at their height. The Heian period is also considered the peak of the Japanese imperial court and noted for its art, especially poetry and literature. Although the Imperial House of Japan had power on the surface, the real power was in the hands of the Fujiwara clan, a powerful aristocratic family who had intermarried with the imperial family. Many emperors actually had mothers from the Fujiwara family. Heian (平安) means "peace" in Japanese.
Minamoto no Yoritomo was the founder and the first shōgun of the Kamakura shogunate of Japan. He ruled from 1192 until 1199. His Buddhist name was Bukōshōgendaizenmon (武皇嘯原大禅門).
Taira no Kiyomori was a military leader of the late Heian period of Japan. He established the first samurai-dominated administrative government in the history of Japan.
The Heiji rebellion 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.
Minamoto (源) was one of the surnames bestowed by the Emperors of Japan upon members of the imperial family who were excluded from the line of succession and demoted into the ranks of the nobility from 1192 to 1333. The practice was most prevalent during the Heian period, although its last occurrence was during the Sengoku period. The Taira were another such offshoot of the imperial dynasty, making both clans distant relatives. The Minamoto clan is also called the Genji (源氏), or less frequently, the Genke (源家), using the on'yomi reading for Minamoto.
Emperor Antoku was the 81st emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession. His reign spanned the years from 1180 through 1185.
Minamoto no Yoshitomo was the head of the Minamoto clan and a general of the late Heian period of Japanese history. His son Minamoto no Yoritomo became shōgun and founded the Kamakura shogunate, the first shogunate in the history of Japan.
Minamoto no Yoshitsune was a military commander of the Minamoto clan of Japan in the late Heian and early Kamakura periods. During the Genpei War, he led a series of battles which toppled the Ise-Heishi branch of the Taira clan, helping his half-brother Yoritomo consolidate power. He is considered one of the greatest and the most popular warriors of his era, and one of the most famous samurai fighters in the history of Japan. Yoshitsune perished after being betrayed by the son of a trusted ally.
The Genpei War (1180–1185) was a national civil war between the Taira and Minamoto clans during the late-Heian period of Japan. It resulted in the downfall of the Taira and the establishment of the Kamakura shogunate under Minamoto no Yoritomo in 1192.
The Tale of the Heike is an epic account compiled prior to 1330 of the struggle between the Taira clan and Minamoto clan for control of Japan at the end of the 12th century in the Genpei War (1180–1185). Heike (平家) refers to the Taira (平), hei being the Sino-Japanese reading of the first Chinese character. Note that in the title of the Genpei War, "hei" is in this combination read as "pei" and the "gen" (源) is the first kanji used in the Minamoto clan's name. The Tale of the Heike is often likened to a Japanese Iliad.
The Chiba clan was a branch family of the Taira clan descended from Chiba no Suke, son of Taira no Tadatsune. The Chiba governed in Shimōsa Province, and the clan was based in present-day Chiba City. The clan additionally, for a period, the area that includes the Ise Grand Shrine. After the establishment of the Kamakura shogunate, the head of the Chiba clan became the hereditary shugo governor of Shimōsa Province.
Taira no Koremori was one of the Taira clan's commanders in the Genpei War of the late Heian period of Japanese history.
Taira no Munemori was heir to Taira no Kiyomori, and one of the Taira clan's chief commanders in the Genpei War.
Hōjō Tokimasa was the first Hōjō shikken (regent) of the Kamakura bakufu and head of the Hōjō clan. He was shikken from 1203 until his abdication in 1205.
Sasaki clan are a historical Japanese clan.
Ashikaga Yoshikane was a Japanese samurai military commander, feudal lord in the late Heian and early Kamakura period of Japan's history. He played an active part in the Jishō-Juei War and the later military campaign as a closely related person of the first Kamakura shōgun Minamoto no Yoritomo, and made Ashikaga clan influential position in gokenin vassal of the Kamakura shogunate.
Taira no Kiyomori (平清盛) is a 2012 Japanese historical television series. It is the 51st NHK taiga drama.