The Genji's Band

Mysteries and riddles of the series

Robots and heros of the Series The Tower Of The Sun The Firefly of the Seas
The expo of 70 World 2004 The Band With Genji

In volume 16, Sanae mentions a group of rebels which is called "Genji's Band",

The small note of the editor announces us that the Band with Genji was, to the time of the samouraï, directed by a so called Yoshitsune, that's why Otcho thinks that Yoshitsune is at the head of this band of rebel and that it is thus always alive.

  : "I think they call themselves "Genji's Band"

For the Japanese the name of Minamoto Yoshitsune is as known as for us the name of Joan of Ark, everyone knows who it is and knows his history even the schoolboys. Yes but we are all far far away from Japan then here "a small" blah on the history of the Minamoto clan, it could be under titrating that "intrigues at the imperial court" or more simply "Dallas your pitiless universe"... (like in the old 80's tv show)

I've been written a lot so I cut all my text in several pieces so that that is not too difficult to read at once  ;o)

Clues to understand    The two brother and the meeting with Benkei    Cousin Yoshinaka    Against The Taira 

Dan No Ura   Escape of Yoshitsune   The end of Yoshitsune and Benkei  Conclusion  Map 


The history occurs during the medieval time from Japan, at the Heian period : 794 - 1185 this is located towards the end of this period about the 1150-80

Some Clues to understand  everything

At that time two clans to rule the country, one succeding to each other It seems this inner war will last for decades: the clan of Minamoto (Genji) and the clan of Taira (Heiké). The emperor sits at Kyoto but has of real capacities only on one neglictible part of its country, he pays people of war to ensure itself of peace in the provinces, the two clans belong to these people of war. They are rather badly seen by high aristocracy which regards them as barbarians the two clans return them well while taking the aristocrats for corrupted people and without real capacities.

The first winners of this war of succession were the Taira, taken along by their head:Taira no  Kiyomori.  Obviously their victory means death for the opposing clan and numbers of Minamoto were killed at this time there: we are in 1159 year of birth of Yoshitsune, who escapes the massacre, and is exiled in a monastery in a province of Japan just like his brothers.

Two brothers and the meeting with Benkei

 The Minamoto tried to regain power  but once again they failed, and anew a part of the clan and his allies was decimated, Taira No Kiyomori having decided that all those which had not been born Héiké should die. It should be said that the Taira were not really appreciated population.

Yorimoto minamoto

During this time, Yoshitsune learns its true filiation and from monk decides to become a true warrior and swears to avenge his family exterminated by Taira, then he leaves its monastery to undertake his quest. He meets Fujiwara Hidehira which teaches him the existence of his brother, Yorimoto. Exiled just like him  but under house arrest, and also free to plan a revenge.

In his journey he meets another legendary hero of Japan, Benkei the Monk, funny kind of monk. High of more than 2 meters, he had the force of 10 men and one said it wire of a demon, and when it was born it had all its teeth and the appearance of a 5 year old child (finally it appears!!). Benkei wanted to make Yoshitsune his 1000th victim, after an epic fight worthy of better films of samouraï Benkei, defeated, decides to put himself at the service of Yoshitsune the two men consequently became inseparable.

rencontre de Benkei et Yoshitsune sur le pont gojo


Cousin Yoshinaka

With the death of Taira no Kiyomori in 1181 the war of succession is again opened and 3 adversaries prepare with the confrontation: The Taira in Kyoto, Minamoto Yoritomo in Kamakura and Minamoto Yoshinaka (the cousin of the two brothers) in Shimano.

With a lot of tricks and ability Minamoto Yoshinaka manages to get rid of the army of Taira, made up nevertheless of 100 000 men, and to go towards the capital, that it taken in a blood bath, delivering the city to plunderings. The success of Yoshinaka largely irritated Yoritomo which was regarded as the legitimate chief of the rebellion. It was to act quickly not to let his cumbersome cousin take too much importance, at the same time it learned that his brother also advanced him with allies.

Thus Yorimoto and Yoshitsune meet for the first time, Yoshitsune is put at the service of his elder brother, who entrusts to him for mission of stopping their cousin Minamoto Yoshinaka. In a new battle Yoshitsune demolishes the army of his cousin and brings back his head to Yorimoto. This last took possession of the capital, prohibiting plundering by the army. He has been loved both by the civils and by the army very quickly

Against The Taira

Yorimoto sends his brother to fight against what remains of the clan of Taira, Yoshitsune is delighted, he doesn't wna t to stay in the imperial court, and Yorimoto is also satisfied because it moves away from the capital a potential and popular rival.

Yoshitsune thus arrives at Ichi No Tani, close to Kobe, great fortified town of Taira. The camp is super well protected, which does not afraid Yoshitsune. he decides to attack by three different ways: an abrupt cliff, an opening on the sea and high walls of the camp. Quickly the castle was to be taken and the survivors of the Taira clan fled towards the sea trying to escape from the Yoshitsune's  army. Total Victory of the clan Minamoto, the battle of Ichi No Tani has one difficulty: the child  emperor Antoku manages to flee towards Shikoku, with the rest of the Taira.

Yorimoto, delighted by this victory, sees more and more his brother like an enemy to be killed. Indeed Yoshitsune was very well seen, is very well known by the population, that's him which led the men of his clan to the victory and not Yorimoto. Go-Shirakawa the Ex-Emperor, had even given him the title of head of the police force as well as a   nobility title.

yoshistsune attaquant par la falaise les Taira

The battle of dan No Ura

After a few months of pause the war against Taira begun again. It should not be forgotten that the legitimate  emperor was with Taira. It was necessary to solve the problem and again Yoshitsune goes forth. Refusing a battle naval Yoshitsune made pass his troops has ford in the narrow channel located between bay of Awa de Shikoku. After hours of battle Yoshitsune  go to the obviousness : a combat on sea could not be avoided and they put the course towards Hikoshima. And then was held one of the most famous battle in the history of Japan: the battle of Dan No Ura, we are in April 1185.

After grinds adventures and a beautiful treason of one of the Taira Generals, Yoshitsuné drives back the boat where is the emperor, and concentrates every attacks on it, seeing no another solution that giving up , the mother of the emperor took her child and thrown herself into the floods, involving with her son, and followed an incredible collective suicide, all the Taira Generals also threw themselves over edge!

This battle sees the final end of the Taira clan, the total victory of the clan of Minamoto, and for Yoshitsune finally accomplished revenge. For Yorimoto,he only remain to him to get rid of his brother.

bataille de Dan no Ura    le suicide des geneaux Taira

The escape of Yoshitsune

However Yoshitsune was really honest towards his brother. Yorimoto refusing to receive him,  he wrote several letters to him ensuring its honesty to him and returned its samouraï on their way back home, for a well deserved rest. Only some faithful (whose Benkei) remained with him.

The confrontation between the two brother was felt more and more, even if Yoshitsune refused to believe that his brother wanted his death. Yorimoto found several pretext to move away his brother from the capital but nothing could help.

For Yorimoto the affront was terrible, and he decided to make assassinate his brother. Waste of time and effort, but rather than facing his own brother, Yoshitsune decided to flee, Yorimoto benefitted from it and made him an outlaw, pursued in all the country. Continuously badgered, the men of Yoshitsune fell one by one, in spite of their resistance and their valiancy. From now only at two, Yoshitsune and Benkei arrive, after 1000 dangers, to take refuge with Oshu, stronghold of Hidehira then 81 years old.

Their rest is of short duration, Yoshitusne is finally caught up with by the men of its brother, and is released by the son of Hidehira.


End of Yoshitsune and Benkei

It does not remain to him whereas 9 warriors and Benkei against the 20 000 men of his brother, it is the end for Yoshitsune and its men. He made a last request in his faithful Benkei: to try to save time so that he has time to commit suicide, like a true warrior, in the honor.

Benkei resisted of all its forces, and even after being bored of many arrows continued to fight, remained upright it ended up more not making any movement, it had died, upright. It had gained sufficient time to allow his friend to die, we are in 1189.

Thus Yorimoto leaves large winner of this interminable war of succession, without apparently not to have never put the feet on a battle field!! It installs the first military government of Japan, bafuku, and will die in 1199 at the 53 years age, 1185 marks the beginning of a new era: that of Kamakura

benkei percé de fleches


Thus the characters of Yoshitsune and Benkei are emblematic figures of the history of Japan, the death of Benkei, the account of the naval battle of Dan No Ura, the history of both clan are history well-known of all Japanese, one made their exploits and of their life of the legends that have it very often tells in chronicle and plays. Yoshitsune became the prototype even valorous warrior with the disastrous destiny, and Benkei that of the warrior combatant without slackening until death.






        benkei et yoshitsune sous les cerisers en fleur