05/07/2015

Nitta Yoshioki

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Nitta Yoshioki 新田義興
(? - 1358)

Yoshioki was the second son of Nitta Yoshisada,
who supported the Southern Court of Emperor Go-Daigo and Kamakura from the Hōjō clan in 1333. Yoshioki aided his father in the siege of Kamakura in 1333, and battled alongside Kitabatake Akiie. The following year, he fought alongside Kitabatake Akinobu, fortified Mt. Otoko, but was soon routed and forced to seek refuge at Mt. Yoshino.


The death of Nitta Yoshioki at the Yaguchi ferry - 矢ノ口渡合戦にて義興戦死図

The conflict with the Ashikaga clan continued for several decades, and in 1352, Yoshioki ousted Ashikaga Motouji from Kamakura, with the aid of his brother Nitta Yoshimune and cousin Wakiya Yoshiharu. Soon after taking control of the city, however, he was forced out by Ashikaga Takauji. Returning to the countryside of Kozuke and Musashi provinces, Yoshioki continued to fight for some time before being captured by Takezawa Nagahira. He was sentenced to death by the minister of Motouji, Hatakeyama Kunikiyo, and was executed at the age of 28 by drowning in the Tama River at Yaguchi in present-day Ōta ward of Tokyo.

A shrine at 矢口渡 Yaguchi no Watashi, the Nitta Shrine, is dedicated to Yoshioki. He is revered under the name Nitta Daimyōjin (新田大明神).

Yoshioki is the subject of an Edo-period kabuki play by Hiraga Gennai (1728 – 1780) titled Shinrei Yaguchi no Watashi.
- - - More in the WIKIPEDIA !


He committed suicide at Yaguchi village, and after that many terrible things happened in the village. The two warlords Edo and Takezawa 江戸 - 竹沢, who had fought against Yoshiaki also died of a curse.
So to appease his soul the shrine 新田神社 Nitta Jinja was erected.

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Nitta Jinja 新田神社



During the Nanboku-cho period, there was a brave and great samurai warrior named Nitta Yoshioki. He was the second son of Nitta Yoshisada. During that time, Japan was divided into North and South and they had repeatedly battled. Nitta Yoshioki fought for the Imperial Southern Court and became famous for being a strong warlord who could win against any kind of large army with his wisdom and bravery. However, he was killed by the enemies through a cowardly attack at the "Yaguchi Ferry." Enemies bored holes in the bottom of Nitta Yoshioki and his retainers' boat and fired off arrows from both banks. (Died on October 10, 1358) The Samurai warriors who engaged in Nitta Yoshioki's killing, was cursed by Yoshiaki's haunt and went crazy and died or saw ghost like fire balls, and lighting hit the place many times. Villagers witnessed these horrific events and decided to build a shrine for Nitta Yoshioki at the site of his death in order for his spirit to rest in peace.

Nitta Shrine is a shrine based on "Goryo Shinko” which is a Japanese belief. Japanese people viewed natural disasters that threatened people and great plagues as the work of evil spirits. Since the power of the spirits is enormously strong, people thought that the evil spirits could adversely save the people from accidents or disasters by enshrining them as a god. The belief was widely spread throughout Japan.



Nitta shrine commemorated the 650th anniversary of its construction in October 2008. The shrine is now well known as the "Good Luck Shrine" and is reverenced by Japanese.

- Homepage of the shrine
- source : nittajinja.org -



. goryoo, onryoo 御霊、怨霊 vengeful spirits .

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- quote -
Kabuki - Shinrei Yaguchi no Watashi
The play "Shinrei Yaguchi no Watashi" was originally written for the puppet theater (Bunraku) and staged in the 1st lunar month of 1770 in Edo at the Gekiza. It was adapted to Kabuki many years later and staged for the first time in the 8th lunar month of 1794 at the Kiriza.



- Summary
During the reign of the Emperor Godaigo, the wicked Ashikaga Takauji attempted to dethrone the Emperor and set up a pretender in his place. A great battle was fought on the Plain of Musashino, near what later became Edo. The commander of the Imperial army was Nitta Yoshioki, a famous soldier. He and his troops fought courageously, but were defeated through the treachery of a man whom Yoshioki believed to be his friend. Yoshioki himself was murdered by this same false friend at Yaguchi, where a ferry crossed the Tama River.
- source : www.kabuki21.com/yaguchi_no_watashi -


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. Nitta Yoshisada 新田義貞  (1302 - 1338) .


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- Reference - Japanese -

- Reference - English -


. minwa 民話 folktales / densetsu 伝説 Japanese Legends .


. Legends and Tales from Edo 江戸の伝説 .


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