top of page

History of Tochigi "Fujiwara Hidesato Forum" held on January 25, 2020

Who is Fujiwara Hidesato?
~Inbetween history fact and legend~

栃木県立博物館 学芸員 山本さんお写真

2018 Tochigi Prefectural Museum
In charge of [Establishment of a prestigious samurai corps alongside Fujiwara Hidesato Genpei] 

Tochigi Prefectural Museum Curator

Mr. Takashi Yamamoto

Introduction ~ Modern awareness of Fujiwara Hidesato ~

藤原秀郷イラスト 弓を引く
● What is the evaluation of Fujiwara Hidesato?

Historical facts → Overthrow the "new emperor" Taira no Masakado, who sought to establish an independent nation in the Kanto region in the 10th century (mid-Heian period)

Descendant of Hidesato (Hidesato style corps) expanded nationwide mainly in the Kanto region

Legend → "Tawara no Touta", famous for exterminating large centipedes in Omi (Shiga Prefecture)

Recorded in Otogi-soshi as "Tawara no Tota Monogatari"

* Known as Dodomeki Story in Utsunomiya city

● How is Hidesato recognaised?

* Description of high school Japanese history textbook (Haruo Sasayama et al. "Detailed Japanese History" Yamakawa Shuppansha, 2015)

《Text》 [Regional rebellion and growth of samurai] Became of the conflict with the Kokushi (provincial governor), Taira no Masakado rebelled in 939 (Tengyo 2) (Taira no Masakado's rebellion). He was attacked down the Kokushi of Hitachi, Shimotsuke, Ueno, and referred to himself as "the new Emperor". He occupied the majority of the East area of Japan, but he was defeated by Taira no Sadamori and Fujiwara Hidesato, who are also from the East area. Around the same time, Fujiwara no Sumitomo, who was originally the Kokushi of Iyo, led a rebellion with the pirates of the Seto Inland Sea (known as Fujiwara no Sumitomo's rebellion) and attacked Iyo's national government and Dazaifu. However, He was defeated by Minamoto no Tsunemoto who is the ancestor of Seiwa Genji. Thus, the east-west rebellion (collectively called the Jōhei / Tengyo rebellion) settled down, but the military power of the imperial court became apparent, and the control of local samurai was further strengthened through this rebellion.

In general, Fujiwara Hidesato appears as a person to explain that Taira no Masakado was defeated, and the image of the military commander is preceded as" Tawara on Tota " in his legends, and historical facts and legends are mixed.

1. Genealogy of Fujiwara Hidesato ~ Descendants of the prestigious "Fujiwara Hokke" of aristocrats ~

● Fujiwara Kamatari

Active in the Taika Reform with Prince of Nakano Ooe (later Emperor Tenji)


- Fuhito

a powerful member of the imperial court of Japan

- Fusasaki

The ancestor of the Fujiwara Hokke

- Uona


Climbed up to the second rank and the Minister of the Left

<<< The above was the time when they were active in the capital, the following is the time when they were active in Shimotsuke(Tochigi) >>>

- Fujinari

・ Hidesato's great-grandfather

・ Moved to Shimotsuke Kokufu (currently Tochigi City, modern prefectural office) as an assistant of Kokushi (executive staff)

・ Forming a relationship with the local Tottori family ⇒ The reason for the Hidesato clan to settle in Shimotsuke

- Toyosawa

・ Hidesato's grandfather

・ It seems that he grew up under Mr. Tottori. He had a relationship with Mr. Tottori

・ At Shimotsuke Kokufu, he is a third officer of the Kokushi, and his duties include maintaining domestic security.

- Murao

・ Hidesato's father

・ It seems that he grew up under Mr. Tottori like his father. Formed a relationship with Mr. Kashima

・ At Shimotsuke Kokufu, he is the third officer of the Kokushi, and his duties include maintaining domestic security.

The Hidesato clan contacts with Shimotsuke, begins with his great-grandfather Fujinari. After that, the descendants also settled in Shimotsuke by forming a relative relationship with the influential local tribes while serving as the Kokushi of Shimotsuke Province.

Hidesato should be considered a military commander born and raised in Shimotsuke ≠ Omi

2. The situation in the Kanto region at that time ~ The security was very rough ~

● Frequent rebellions caused by Emishi in the Tohoku region

-Originally, Ezo was a rebellious force against the imperial court → In some cases, they were relocated nationwide.

-Ezo is a group who is good at archery

It should be possible to compete with the ten and one of the commoners in the battle of horse archery by training Ryo Saeba. ("Zoku Nihon Koki")

Hidesato's ancestors had had contact with Ezo due to their duties as Kokushi or the geographical environment of Shimotsuke, and it is highly possible that he experienced a fierce battle with Ezo, who is good at archery.

→ It seems that the martial arts of the Hidesato clan, who are good at archery, have been developed and inherited in the battle with Ezo.

3. The appearance of Fujiwara Hidesato ~ A famous brave man in the Kanto region ~

● Hidesato's first historical materials

"Nihon Kiryaku" Engi 16th August 12th

下野国が言(もう)すらく、罪人は藤原秀郷、同兼有(かねあり)、高郷(たかさと)、與 貞(ともさだ)等十八人なり。重ねて国宰(こくさい)に仰せて、其の罪科(ざいか)に随 (したが)い、各(おのおの)配流(はいる)せしめるの由(よし)、重ねて下知(げち) す。

→ Hidesato was in a position of conflict with public authorities such as the imperial court and Shimotsuke Province.

"Fuso Ryakuki" extension 7 years (929) May 20th article

下野国、藤原秀郷等の濫行(らんぎょう)を糺(ただ)し勘(かんが)ふべきの由を言上 す。(関東の)国々、人兵等を差し向かうべきの官符(かんぷ)五通、請印(しょういん) す。

→ Hidesato was uncontrollable force unless the Kanto countries sent troops.

There is no evidence that Hidesato was appointed to a public position in Shimotsuke Kokufu before the Taira no Masakado Rebellion. Rather, he was the leader of an armed group that was in conflict with public authority in the Kanto region, centering on Shimotsuke. Used as a suppression army by the imperial court in the national crisis of Taira no Masakado

4. Success in Taira no Masakado rebellion ~ Hidesato becomes the highest honored person as a suppressor ~

● "Taira no Masakado rebellion" confrontational composition (Jōhei 5th year <935> ~ Tengyo 3rd year <940>)

① Taira no Masakado VS His uncle Taira no Yoshikane → Conflict within the Taira clan

② Taira no Masakado VS Hitachi no Suke, Iku Fujiwara (central aristocrat) → Conflict with the imperial court = "Taira no Masakado rebilion" began

<<< Below, we will trace the course of Taira no Masakado's turmoil with reference to the military memorial story "Shomonki" >>>

● Jōhei 8 (938)

February: Musashi Gonmori / Koseiou, Musashisuke / Minamoto no Tsunemoto VS Musashi Adachi Gunji / Musashi Musashi

→ Trouble over tax payment. Masakado, mediated this

● Tengyo 2 (939)

--June-July: Hitachi no Suke / Fujiwara Iku VS Hitachi no Suke / Fujiwara Genmei

→ Trouble over tax payment. Masakado protected Genmei


--November 21: Masakado demanded Genmei's pardon, but was rejected
→ Masakado burnt down Hitachi Kokufu and captures Iku
⇒ Developed into a conflict with the imperial court (beginning of the Taira no Masakado rebelion). Masakado tends to control Kanto area


--December 11: Masakado attacked Shimotsuke Kokufu

→ Guard of Shimotsuke; Kimimasa Fujiwara and gurd of Mae Shimotsuke; Oonaka Omi were all surrendered and banished to the capital


--December 19: Masakado called himself "the new emperor" in the fallen Ueno Kokufu

● Tengyo 3 (940)

--New Year: The imperial court gathered monks and lays down (curses) Masakado

--New Year 11th: The imperial court ordered to subdued Masakado and whoever achieves it will be given an exceptional prize.

⇒ This order was one of the factors that Hidesato participated in the suppression of the Taira no Masakado rebellion.


--New Year 14th: The imperial court appointed the three Kanto nations (Kokushi third security officer) to pursue Masakado

→ Hidesato became Shimotsuke officer

⇒ Hidesato, who also served as a messenger (temporary military officer) = Among 8 people, only Hidesato was treated.

Position to be exiled by the imperial court = Thieves army They were selected as the leader of 8 Kanto region to pursue Masakado

--Late New Year: Masakado let the soldiers go home
→ Soldiers were farmers, so it was impossible to recruit for a long time. About 1,000 soldiers remain short

<Hidesato's recruitment, Hidesato's skillful strategy>

After hearing about the situation on the side of "the new emperor", Taira no Sadamori and Fujiwara Hidesato, the embassy of the territory, prepared more than 4,000 troops and suddenly tried to fight. The new emperor was very surprised. On February 1st, led his troops to the enemy land, Shimotsuke, across national borders. ... Now, the Shomon army secretly slammed into the position of Hidesato Fujiwara, the embassy of the sovereign. Hidesato had a long history of fighting and was good at veteran tactics, so he successfully defeated a part of the Masakado army as calculated. In addition, Masakado's army was confused by Hidesato's tactics to move the three armies and scattered in all fields.

4,000 Hidesato-Taira no Sadamori Allied Forces dispatched (It seems that there are actually 300 elite remained)

→ Masakado goes to Shimotsuke but was routed

⇒ Hidesato had an experience in battle, and he was good at strategy in the battle

--February 14 :Masakado is defeated by Hidesato and Taira no Sadamori Alliance
→ Masakado troops set up in "Kitayama, Kojima-gun" (near Kokuo Shrine, Bando City, Ibaraki Prefecture)

Overthrow of Masakado by Hidesato and Sadamori ("Fuso Ryakuki")

Hidesato and Sadamori abandoned themselves, forgot their lives, and faced each other. Masakado was hit by the arrow shot by Taira no Sadamori ,and Hidesato slashed the head of Masakado.

→ Hidesato reported to the capital after defeating Masakado.

--March 9 Hidesato received a reward

Hidesato recieved the rank and Kouden(rice yard) is also given

-"Prize Fujiwara Hidesato and give him a junior fourth rank, and give him Koden, and tell his descendants for a long time. Further, follow up and leave it to the defense of both Shimono and Musashi ("Fuso Ryakuki")

――Hidesato Fujiwara, the ambassador of Shimotsuke Province, was highly recognized for his brave courage and was rewarded. So leave to escalate in March nine days in ministry of the center, Shigerusato is superior to tactics, said the fact that did their Tadashi clause, thereby reach the camp is the neck of Masakado, it was Sojo and made military exploits for court... Although Taira no Sadamori has been fighting for many years, he couldn't decide the game. However, Hidesato 's combined power was able to slash the head of the rebel Shomon. The effect of Hidesato's veteran strategy was greatly recognized for this.

Therefore → I put this under the fourth rank

● Hidesato was recognized as the highest honored person in the overthrow of Taira no Masakado.
(Fourth rank, guard of Shimotsuke / Musashi, Koden)
⇒ Later, he was appointed as Chinjufu Shogun, the pinnacle of the military family.

※ What is the Chinjufu Shogun ?

The military government set up in Mutsu to suppress Ezo. The cornerstone of northern protection. Introduction Tagajo (Miyagi Prefecture Tagajo), later Sakanoueno Tamuramaro is transferred to Isawa Castle (Iwate Prefecture back State City). A person with excellent martial arts was appointed as the secretary general.

The Chinjufu Shogun was hereditary by the descendants of Hidesato in the first half of the 11th century (late Heian period), and was a symbol of honor to compete with Genji's Shogun.
→ During the Kamakura period, Hidesato was hailed as the ancestor of samurai and martial arts .

史実と伝説_平将門の乱 年表

Tochigi Prefectural Museum "Fujiwara Hidesato Genpei Lined Up Prestigious Bushidan" (2018)

平将門たいらまさかど イラスト

5. Hidesato style corps was active nationwide
~ Establishment of a prestigious samurai corps along with Genpei ~


<Prefecture> Mr. Ashikaga Fuji, Mr. Nasu, Mr. Koyama, Mr. Naganuma (later Mr. Minagawa), Mr. Sano, Mr. Onodera ...

<Nationwide> Mr. Fujiwara Oshu, Mr. Sato Kii, Mr. Yuki Shimosa, Mr. Shuto Sagami Yamauchi, Mr. Kamada, Mr. Hatano ...

The spread of the Hidesato style (at the end of "Tawara no Tota story")

"A house named Fujiwara, who took a bow and arrow in the sixty-odd states of Japan, probably the posterity of Hidesato."

史実と伝説_資料 秀郷流藤原氏略系図

栃木県立博物館『藤原秀郷 源平並ぶ名門武士団の成立』(2018年)

6. The legend of Tawaran no Tota ~ Hidesato's bravery becomes a legend in posterity ~

● Legend of Tawara no Tota = What is "Tawara no Tota Story"?

--One of the Otogi-zoshi (short stories) from the Muromachi period


First half: Legend of the Great Centipede Extermination ( ① ~ ④ ) in Omi (Shiga Prefecture)

Second half: Taira no Masakado 's success in the turbulence ( ⑤ ~ ⑪ ) Includes historical facts

(1 ) At the time of Emperor Suzaku, there was a brave man called Tawara no Touta Hidesato who lived in Tawara village as the son of Ason Uemura, who was fifth in the imperial court rank. Around this time, a large snake lay on the bridge of Omi Seta, blocking the passage of people. Tota was suspicious of this, and he went to the bridge of Seta and stepped on the big snake and passed it calmly.

(2) That night, Tota was visited by a beautiful woman (the incarnation of the dragon god of Lake Biwa) and was asked to exterminate the large centipede of Mt. Mikami in Omi. Tota who consented brilliantly shot a large centipede

③ Next morning, the woman gave Tota silk, bales, and a pot of red bronze. The bales are endless, no matter how much rice he took out of it. For this reason, Tota came to be called "Tawaea(Bales) Tota".

④ After that, she invited Tota to Ryugu, and gave him armor, a sword, and a bell as gifts. Tota passed on his armor and sword to his descendants, donated a bell to Mii-dera, and held a magnificent bell memorial service there.

⑤ Eventually, Taira no Masakado who called himself "Shinnou" rebelled in honor of the new emperor. Tota intended to gain half of Japan because Masakado was extremely strong, but he was disappointed that Masakado was a careless person.

⑥ Tota immediately went up and received a declaration from the emperor to subdue Masakado. After that, he prayed for victory at Mii-dera and headed to east country again.

⑦ Tota later joined Taira no Sadamori, who left Kyoto earlier, and fought against Masakado, but gave up fighting head-on with Masakado.

⑧ Then, Tota conspired killing Masakado and moved to the hall with Masakado by being nice to him. Tota falls in love with the wife who lives there and tries to find out the weaknesses of Masakado.

⑨ Tota heard that even if Masakado looked like seven bodies, there was only a shadow on the main body, and his temple was the key point, and finally he was able to shoot Masakado.

⑩ Tota, who had the head of Masakado, was appointed as a shogun by being the fourth rank of imperial court rank as a reward and receiving both Musashi and Shimotsuke.

⑪ There were dozens of Tota's son, including Jiro Oyama, Saburo Utsunomiya, Shiro Ashikaga, and Goro Yuki. Their descendants prospered greatly. This was also due to the protection of the dragon god of Lake Biwa.

● What is the legend of Tawara no Tota?

――The fact that the real Hidesato is called "Tota Tahara" and has a relationship with Omi cannot be confirmed.

→ " Tawara no Tota  Story" is a created story


--Is the stages from the Kamakura period?

→ Completed in the Nanbokucho period (similar story is recorded in "Taiheiki" established at the same time)


――The subject is Hidesato and Hidesato style  = Defeat the rebel Taira no Masakado

→ A hero who saved the imperial court by making full use of skillful martial arts


Hidesato style Fujiwara

・ Served as a guardian general who confronts Ezo in Tohoku → Exterminates the existence of irregularities and other worlds

・ Expanded nationwide and played a role in protecting Kyoto → Seta Karabashi in Kyoto and Omi

* It may be related to the "Battle of Senjogahara" that appears in the "Nikkoyama Engi" that was established during the Nanbokucho period.

The legend of Tawara Tota is a collection of the activities of Hidesato and his descendants, Hidesato Ryu Fujiwara, in posterity.

[Main references]
Minoru Noguchi "Legendary Shogun Fujiwara Hidesato" (Yoshikawa Kobunkan, 2001) Akio Kawajiri "Japanese History of War 4 Hirashomon no Ran" (Yoshikawa Kobunkan, 2007) Tochigi Prefectural Museum "Fujiwara Hidesato Genpei Lined Prestigious Bushidan Established ”(2018)

Yoshifumi Yamamoto "Hidego-ryu martial arts late facts and Shimotsuke" (edited by Ikuo Eda and Daisuke Yanase, "Medieval Northern Kanto and Kyoto", Takashi Shoin, 2020)

史実・伝説 アイコン_アートボード 1 のコピー.png
史実・伝説 アイコン_アートボード 1.png
bottom of page