Kō no Moronao

Died Mar 24, 1351

Kō no Moronao was a Japanese samurai of the Nanboku-chō period who was the first to hold the position of Shitsuji. He was appointed by Ashikaga Takauji, the first shōgun of the Ashikaga shogunate. As Deputy, he served not only an administrative governmental function, but also as general of the Shogun's armies. He fought for the Ashikaga against the loyalist forces of the Southern Court during the wars of the Nanboku-chō period and killed its generals Kitabatake Akiie and Kusunoki Masayuki.
Moronao was an iconoclast with no intention of following tradition, particularly insofar as the Emperor was concerned. On the subject, he once said:
What is the use of a King? Why should he live in a Palace? And why should we bow to him? If for some reason a King is needed, let us have one made of wood or metal, and let all the live Kings be banished.
The Taiheiki, an epic dedicated to the events of this period, describes the Kō brothers as avid villains. Moronao in particular is accused of violence, greed and lewdness. Because of this reputation, in the bunraku and kabuki play Kanadehon Chūshingura, which depicts the vendetta of the 47 rōnin, his name is used to represent Kira Yoshinaka.
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