Shunkan was a member of the Murakami Genji branch of the Minamoto samurai clan, and the son of Hōin Kanga, a priest of the Buddhist temple Ninna-ji. He served Emperor Go-Shirakawa as a close aide and was associated with the Hōsshō-ji.
In 1177, he met with a number of others in secret in his mountain villa in Shishigatani (some sources, such as the Gukanshō, say the villa belonged to someone else), and plotted to overthrow Daijō Daijin Taira no Kiyomori who, along with other members of the Taira clan, dominated and controlled the Imperial government. The plot was discovered before any actual action was taken, and Shunkan was exiled
He was found two years later, in 1179, by a monk from his temple by the name of Ariō, who brought a letter from his (Ariō's) daughter. Having already sunk into deep despair during his time alone on the island, Shunkan read the letter and made the decision to commit suicide. He refused food, and died of starvation. Ariō then brought the monk's ashes and bones back to the capital.
a general of the late Heian Period of Japanese history. A member of the Minamoto samurai clan, Minamoto no Yoritomo was his cousin and rival during the Genpei War between the Minamoto and the Taira clans. He was born in Musashi province
In 1180, Yoshinaka received Prince Mochihito's call to the members of the Minamoto clan to rise against the Taira. Yoshinaka entered the Genpei War raising an army in Shinano and quickly conquered the province. In 1181, Yoshinaka sought to regain his father's domain in Musashi which was already under the control of his cousin Minamoto no Yoritomo. The two reconciled and resolved to not fight one another but Yoshinaka had to accept Yoritomo as the leader of the Minamoto clan, give up his aspirations for his father's domain, and send his son Yoshitaka to Kamakura as a hostage. However, having been shamed, Yoshinaka was now determined to beat Yoritomo to Kyoto, defeat the Taira on his own, and take control of the Minamoto for himself.
Yoshinaka defeated the army of Taira no Koremori at the Battle of Kurikara Pass and marched to Kyoto. The Taira retreated out of the capital, taking the child Emperor Antoku with them. Three days later Yoshinaka's army entered the capital and the cloistered Emperor Go-Shirakawa bestowed upon him the title of Asahi Shogun. However, his army ransacked Kyoto, and the emperor ordered him to attack the Taira, in order to get the army out of the capital.
Later, returning to Kyoto after a battle, Yoshinaka was angered to find out that the Emperor had sided with his cousin Yoritomo. He extended military control over the city, pillaging it and imprisoning the Emperor Go-Shirakawa, and forced the Emperor to bestow upon him the title of shogun. Minamoto no Yoritomo, angry at Yoshinaka's actions, ordered his brothers Minamoto no Yoshitsune and Minamoto no Noriyori to attack and kill Yoshinaka.
Yoshinaka was driven out of Kyoto, and killed by his cousins at the Battle of Awazu, in Omi Province (present-day Shiga Prefecture), along with his milk brother Kanehira. He was buried in Otsu, in Omi; a temple was built his honor during the later Muromachi period. Its name, Gichū-ji, has the same two kanji as his given name. Kanehira's grave is also in Otsu, but it is not close to Yoshinaka's. The Edo period poet Matsuo Bashō, pursuant to his last wishes, was buried next to Minamoto no Yoshinaka in Gichū-ji.
Minamoto no Yoshinaka is one of many main characters in the Kamakura period epic, the Tale of Heike. The story of Yoshinaka and Kanehira is fairly well known in Japan; it is also the subject of the Noh play "Kanehira", in which Kanehira's tormented ghost describes his and Yoshinaka's death, and his wish to go to the other side.
a nobleman and 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
Yoshitsune, together with his brother Noriyori, defeated the Taira in several key battles, and then in early 1184, on the orders of Yoritomo, attacked and killed his cousin Minamoto no Yoshinaka, a rival for control of the Minamoto clan, at the Battle of Awazu in Ōmi Province.
Yoshitsune, who had by then been given the rank of general, went on to defeat the Taira at the Battle of Ichi-no-Tani in present-day Kobe in March 1184, and again at the Battle of Yashima in Shikoku in March 1185. He finally destroyed them one month later at the Battle of Dan-no-ura in present-day Yamaguchi Prefecture.