Role: Taira no Kiyomori (平清盛)

Lifetime: 1118 - 1181

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The historical figure

In the Genpei Jōsuiki it tells a story about his youth when he became a follower of Dakiniten, a demon that ate the hearts of men was associated with foxes which had mystical powers. The Genpei Jōsuiki and the Nagatobon Heike monogatari are the only places where this story appears:

Very poor, Kiyomori had gone to assist at the house of Ienari, Narichika's father. At that time, in his youth, Kiyomori learned from one of lenari's retainer priests that he who followed the law of Daiitoku Myōō would be able to attain any goal, even to become emperor. Thus Kiyomori began the worship of Daiitoku Myōō, and he continued this for seven years. Later, when he was hunting, a fox he thought he had shot suddenly transformed itself into a beautiful woman, and said that if he would not kill it, it would. see to it that he was granted all his desires, so Kiyomori spared the fox's life. From that time, Kiyomori began to worship Dakiniten, even though he knew that whatever benefits he achieved from such alien laws would not be passed on to his descendants. He was able to receive his power and glory from these two sources...

Kiyomori's mother according to some texts, the Gion Consort, was also a worshiper of Dakiniten. In other texts his mother is either an attendant on the Gion Consort or Hyōe no Suke no Tsubone, who had no connection with the consort whatsoever. In some cases, the father is the Emperor Shirakawa or one of his trusted bodyguards, Tadamori (1096-1153). Sarah E. Thompson says that "In appreciation of Tadamori's mercy in sparing the old priest [see Lyon Collection #907], the emperor gave Tadamori the hand of Lady Gion in marriage. Her son, fathered by the emperor but raised by Tadamori, became the great Taira Kiyomori, who was the de facto ruler of Japan from 1159 to 1181."