Hōjō Tokimune

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Hōjō Tokimune
北条 時宗
Hōjō Tokimune.jpg
8th Shikken
In office
1268 – December 17, 1284
Personal details
Born (1251-06-05)June 5, 1251
Died April 20, 1284(1284-04-20) (aged 32)
Spouse(s) Kakusanni (覚山尼)
Relations Siblings:
Hōjō Tokisuke, Hōjō Munemasa
(時輔, 宗政, 宗頼)
Children Hōjō Sadatoki (北条貞時)
Religion Shinto
Title Shikken, Tokuso, Rensho
(執権, 得宗, 連署)
Clan name Heishi, Hōjō Clan, Adachi House
(平氏、北条氏, 安達氏)
Given names Masatoshi, Sagamitaro, Tokimune
(正寿, 相模太郎, 時宗)
Posthumous names Houkouji
(宝光寺殿道杲)
In this Japanese name, the family name is "Hōjō".

Hōjō Tokimune (北条 時宗?, June 5, 1251 – April 20, 1284) of the Hōjō clan was the eighth shikken (officially regent (of shogun), but de facto ruler of Japan) of the Kamakura shogunate (reigned 1268–84), known for leading the Japanese forces against the invasion of the Mongols and for spreading Zen Buddhism and by extension Bushido among the warrior class.

Tokimune was known to rule with an iron fist, and also eventually monopolized at one point all three titles of power, namely holding offices of Tokuso (head of clan, since birth), and Rensho (Vice Regent). During his lifetime, the following seats of power: Japanese Emperor, Imperial Regent (Sessho), and Imperial Chief Advisor Kampaku, and the Shogun, all had been completely marginalized by the Hojo Regents.

Life[edit]

Born as the eldest son of the regent and Tokuso Tokiyori of the Adachi House, Tokimune was born as tokuso and groomed to become the next ruler of Japan, and became a shikken at age 18.

It is due to him that Zen Buddhism became firmly established in Kamakura, then later in Kyoto, and in the whole of Japan, especially among the warrior class.

In 1271, he banished Nichiren to Sado Island.

Defiance of Mongols[edit]

The Mongols had sent a threatening letter and emissaries to Japan in January 1268, and after discussion, Tokimune decided to have the emissaries sent back with no answer. The Mongols sent more emissaries time and time again: on March 7, 1269, September 17, 1269, in September 1271 and in May 1272. But Tokimune had the emissaries of Kublai Khan driven away, without even permission to land each time. Soon after came the first invasion in 1274. But even after the failed invasion, five emissaries were sent in September 1275 to Kyūshū, and refused to leave without reply. Tokimune responded by having them brought to Kamakura and then beheading them.[1] The graves of the five executed Mongol emissaries exists to this day in Kamakura at Tatsunokuchi.[2] Then again on July 29, 1279, five more emissaries were sent, and again beheaded, this time in Hakata. Expecting an invasion, on February 21, 1280, the Imperial Court ordered all temples and shrines to pray for victory over the Mongol Empire. Kublai Khan gathered up troops for another invasion in 1281, which again was a failure, due in part to a typhoon.

Zen advice[edit]

The Mongol invasion had been stopped by a typhoon (Kamikaze or "divine wind"), and the resistance of the new warrior class known as samurai. Tokimune planned and led the defence. Tokimune wanted to defeat cowardice, so he asked Mugaku Sogen (his Zen master) for advice. Mugaku Sogen replied he had to sit in meditation to find the source of his cowardice in himself.

When the Mongols invaded Japan Tokimune went to Mugaku and said: "Finally there is the greatest event of my life." Mugaku asked, "How do you plan to face it?" Tokimune shouted "Katsu!" ("Victory!") as if he wanted to scare all the enemies in front of him. Mugaku responded with satisfaction: "It is true that the son of a lion roars as a lion!"

When Tokimune died, Mugaku said he had been a bodhisattva, looked at people's welfare, betrayed no signs of joy or anger and studied Zen so that he reached enlightenment.

Citations in modern media[edit]

NHK's 2001 taiga miniseries named Hōjō Tokimune highlighted the dramatic events just prior to Tokimune's birth and up to his death in 1284. Tokimune was portrayed by Kyogen actor, Motoya Izumi.

Preceded by
Hōjō Masamura
Hōjō Regent
1268–1284
Succeeded by
Hōjō Sadatoki
Preceded by
Hōjō Masamura
Rensho
1264–1268
Succeeded by
Hōjō Masamura
Preceded by
Hōjō Tokiyori
Tokusō
1256–1284
Succeeded by
Hōjō Sadatoki

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ [2]

See also[edit]