Kitabatake, Chikafusa
(1293-1354)
   An active and scholarly statesman and military leader, descended from a distinguished line of imperial court officials. He started his career at court, became a Buddhist monk and was most influential during the first half of the period of the 'Northern and Southern courts' (1332-92), when the imperial throne, which was normally occupied altemately by members of two rival branches of the imperial family, the Daikaku-ji and Jimyo-in lines, was violently disputed by rival forces. From his headquarters in Ise he arranged for emperor Godaigo to establish an alternative 'southern' court in the wilds of Mt. Yoshino when the self-declared shogun Ashikaga, Takauji set up the 'northern' emperor Komyo in Kyoto. Kitabatake took part in a number of indecisive military actions against the rival emperor's forces. He wrote the Jinno shotoki, 'Records of the Legitimate Succession of the Divine Sovereigns' around 1340 to instruct the youthful emperor Gomurakami (1328-1368) on his accession to the throne. The work embraces Confucian, Buddhist and Shinto ideas and emphasises the divinity of the imperial line, asserting the legitimacy of the Southern court (the Jimyo-in line) over against the Northern. It begins with the famous line 'Great Japan is the land of the gods', and shows clearly the influence of Kitabatake's close friend and ally Watarai, Ieyuki, leader of the Watarai Shinto faction at Ise and a proponent of the Shinto gobusho. Kitabatake and his son Akiie, who died fighting for the emperor, are both enshrined as kami in the Abeno jinja, Osaka, founded in 1883.

A Popular Dictionary of Shinto. .

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