The New International Encyclopædia/Minamoto Yoshitsune
MINAMOTO YOSHITSUNE, mē′nȧ-mō′tō̇ yō′shē̇-tso͞o′nā̇ (1158-1189), A Japanese chieftain, Japanese history in the eleventh and twelfth centuries A.D. is concerned with the struggles of the Taira and the Minamoto clans. In 1159 Yoshitomo, the head of the Minamoto, was killed and his clan defeated. His three sons escaped, and after years of adventure defeated the Taira finally in 1185. Yoshitsune, the youngest of the three, was the lieutenant of his elder brother Yoritomo, and the most efficient warrior in his army. Yoshitsune was in command when the last battle was fought, but his success excited the jealousy of his brother, who sought his death. Escaping with eleven comrades, Yoshitsune was pursued, and committed suicide in 1189. His history, with its adventures, triumphs, and tragic end, is the favorite theme of romance, poetry, and drama. In one form of the story the hero escaped with his life, and found refuge among the Aino in Yezo, where he is still worshiped as a god. Another legend represents him as going to the continent of Asia and identifies him with Genghis Khan.