, of the Fujiwara clan, held the position of Imperial Palace Minister of the Right.
Born in 1120, Yorinaga ascended quickly through the political ranks achieving formidable office by the age of 17. (Naidaijin) in 1150, he was appointed Minister of the Right, the highest rank under the Regent.
Yorinaga was one of the last major advocates of restoring the once powerful Fujiwara Regency, which was the ruling political party in Japan from about 794-967. In addition to his political aspirations, Yorinaga was a scholar of sorts who kept detailed memoirs that described his studies in Indian logic and other foreign studies.
Yorinaga was a dogmatic activist who displayed a great deal of courage in his actions. Consequently, he made many enemies who resented his disapproval of the current Emperor Konoye and his cloistered puppet master Toba. In 1155, Konoye died and a succession dispute arose for the imperial throne. After much quarrel, the old emperor Toba’s son became Emperor Go-Shirakawa
Emperor Go-Shirakawa was the 77th emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession...
. This was the worst result in Yorinaga’s view. On top of this, Yorinaga was refused the position of “tutor to the Heir Apparent” despite his qualifications.
The Hogen Insurrection
After being insulted by the Go-Shirakawa Party, Yorinaga joined with Sutoku, one of Toba’s other sons. They collected troops from outer provinces with the goal of marching on the capital. Yorinaga was only able to gather a few hundred soldiers while Go-Shirikawa had the backing of both the Minamoto and Taira warrior clans. To some extent, this is less important than the implications that Yorinaga's struggle represents. The Hogen Insurrection symbolized the beginning of a major political evolution by which Japan would move away from a regime of submissive emperors. The actual conflict took place after nightfall where Sutoku and Yorinaga’s defensive position was attacked and wiped out. Yorinaga was killed.
Yorinaga’s Lost Cause
Within Japanese history, Yorinaga is remembered for his courage and determination for what most recall as a lost cause. Since his struggle was a political failure, history rarely pays detailed attention to his part in the bigger political evolution that was taking place in the mid 12th century. His death symbolized the beginning of the growth of the warrior class and a war-like state that would exist within Japan until the unification under Tokugawa Ieyasu
was the founder and first shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan , which ruled from the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600 until the Meiji Restoration in 1868. Ieyasu seized power in 1600, received appointment as shogun in 1603, abdicated from office in 1605, but...