Episode 440 – Tipping the Balance

The Jokyu Rebellion is one of the more minor conflicts in Japanese history; yet it also represents a tipping of the political balance of Japan that, eventually, will profoundly reshape the country. This week, we explore one of the chronicles of that conflict to see what we can learn about it, and about medieval Japan more broadly.


Tyler, Royall. Before Heike and After: Hogen, Heiji, Jokyuki

Brower, Robert H. “Ex-Emperor Go-Toba’s Secret Teachings: Go-Toba no In Gokuden.” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 32 (1972).

Mass, Jeffrey P. “The Kamakura Bakufu.” in Cambridge History of Japan, Vol 3: Medieval Japan.

This Asahi Shinbun article has some excellent images from a recently uncovered copy of the Jokyuki Emaki, an illustrated version of the Jokyuki text. It’s also the source for the last three images below.


This map gives you an overview of the major routes of advance for the opposing armies.
The joko (retired emperor) Go-Toba, instigator of the rebellion.
Part of the Azuma Kagami, one of the major histories of this era.
The warriors of Kamakura gather before Yoshitoki. From the Jokyuki Emaki. Image from Asahi Shinbun.
Emperor Go-Toba on his way to exile. From the Jokyuki Emaki. Image from Asahi Shinbun.
Forces from the Kamakura Shogunate (on right) and Go-Toba’s camp square off across the Kamo River. From the Jokyuki Emaki. Image from Asahi Shinbun.

1 thought on “Episode 440 – Tipping the Balance”

  1. I think I have asked before what the kuge were up to after the Genpei War. So what happened to all the kokushi after this? You’ve also said that the emperor still held sway in Kyoto. Is this still true after the Jokyu rebellion?

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