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Heiji Rebellion

The Heiji Rebellion (平治の乱) was fought between rival subjects of the cloistered emperor Go-Shirakawa of Japan in 1159. It was preceeded by and a result of the Hogen Rebellion in 1156.

Minamoto no Yoshitomo and Fujiwara no Nobuyori placed Go-Shirakawa under house arrest and killed his retainer, the scholar Fujiwara no Michinori. However, Taira no Kiyomori defeated Yoshitomo and killed his two eldest sons, killed Nobuyori, and released Go-Shirakawa. Yoshitomo was eventually betrayed and killed by a retainer while escaping from Kyoto in Owari.

Afterwards, Taira no Kiyomori banished Yoshitomo's son Minamoto no Yoritomo, seized the Minamoto wealth and land, and eventually formed the first samurai dominated government, led by the Taira, in the history of Japan.


The Kamakura period epic Tale of Heiji is about the exploits of the samurai that participated in the Heiji Rebellion. Together with the Tale of Hogen and the Tale of Heike, they describe the rise and fall of the Minamoto and Taira samurai clans.