Prince Morinaga


Prince Morinaga

Prince Morinaga or Moriyoshi (護良親王) (1308 – August 12, 1335) was one of two Seii Taishogun during the Kemmu Restoration.

He was the son of the Emperor Go-Daigo and Minamoto no Chikako. His full name is Otōnomiya Morinaga.

When Morinaga was 18, Go-Daigo had him named the head abbot of the Enryakuji temple on Mount Hiei.

When Go-Daigo's attempt to seize power in 1331 failed (the Genkō War), Morinaga fled Enryakuji to the province of Kii, meeting up with Kusunoki Masashige. They tenaciously defended the small fortress of Akasaka before finally being forced to withdraw.

He then moved to Mount Yoshino.

Masashige's heroics defending Chihaya, together with Morinaga's efforts to rally troops, brought a large number of warriors to the loyalist cause. By 1333, Ashikaga Takauji and Nitta Yoshisada had joined the cause. The Hōjō shogunate was soon destroyed.

Restored to the throne, Go-Daigo started the Kemmu Restoration. He also named Prince Morinaga as shogun. This alienated Takauji, who felt he should have been shogun, having contributed the largest force.

Takauji made false charges that Morinaga was planning to overthrow his father, and forced Go-Daigo to hand him over. Morinaga was then sent to Takauji's brother Tadayoshi in Kamakura, and was imprisoned in a cave near Kamakura for eight months.

A rebellion by the remnants of the Hōjō forced Tadayoshi to retreat from Kamakura. Being unable to take Morinaga with him, Tadayoshi had him beheaded on July 23 1335.

The shrine Kamakura-gū, built around the cave where Prince Morinaga was imprisoned, was dedicated to him by Emperor Meiji in 1869.

References

* A Guide to Kamakura, [http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~qm9t-kndu/kamakugu.htm Kamakura-gū] , retrieved on June 21, 2008


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