Uda Minamoto was not a single person, but the Uda Minamoto were quite real. The Uda Minamoto were descendants of Emperor Uda. Each branch of the Minamoto clan is based on the Emperor from which they descended. The Minamoto were relatives of the Emperors who were too far down the family chain to be considered royalty. The name Minamoto was bestowed on these relatives as an honorary title, but over time the various Minamoto groups became quite powerful. The Uda Minamoto were a particularly powerful and influential group within the Minamoto. Another interesting fact is that Emperor Uda was Emperor Murakami’s grandfather and struggled against the Fujiwara clan’s political maneuvering.
The Accidental Samurai is based on historical figures as well as fictional characters. Every week I will post the name of a character and readers can guess whether the character is an actual person who lived in the Tenth Century or a fictional character. A few days later I will post the answer. This weeks character:
I apologize for the delay in posting the answer to Fact or Fiction #22. I was out of the country for a few days and didn’t get a good chance to post. Now to the post! Sakanoue no Atsunori was a real person. He was the son of Sakanoue no Mochiki. We do not know too much about him, but we do know that Mochiki’s descendants were important law enforcement officials. This is exactly the role Atsunori holds in The Shison. He is an important official in the Daizafu—the authority in charge of protecting Japan’s most important port in Hakata (near today’s city of Fukuoka).
I will periodically introduce characters from the sequel to The Accidental Samurai in Fact or Fiction posts. The sequel is called The Shison (Shison is Japanese for descendants). The Shison will be book #2 in the Generations series, and I plan to have it completed in June. The Shison, like The Accidental Samurai is based on historical figures as well as fictional characters. Every week on Monday I will post the name of a character and readers can guess whether the character is an actual person who lived in the Tenth Century or a fictional character. Each Friday I will post the answer. This weeks character is from The Shison:
Sakanoue no Atsunori
Koji, along with Kenji and Taisuke, are among the few completely fictional characters in The Accidental Samurai. Bar Asher accompanied the three brave villagers on the trip from Izumo Province to Heian-Kyo (Kyoto). Not much is known about the lives of villagers from distant provinces during the Heian era. Koji is, of course, from a village near Izumo, where Bar Asher lands on the Hui, and he is very kind to Bar Asher. As explained in Fact of Fiction #19, which features Kenji, one of the few things we do know about farmers and villagers at that time is that they were subject to high taxes paid mostly in rice and also had to earn enough or grow enough to sustain themselves and their families. Therefore, the trip to Heian-Kyo, and the success of the trading there, was literally a life or death journey for Koji’s family and fellow villagers.
Yet, Koji is kind to Bar Asher and is quick to aid Bar Asher when he confronts the tax collector and his men. Bar Asher was under assault by 4 well trained soldiers and Koji though quickly and threw Bar Asher his shield. This enabled Bar Asher to defeat all four while withstanding blows from his two best trained opponents. Koji is also empathetic when Bar-Asher is saddened that he had to kill brave soldiers simply because of the tax collector’s huge ego an unwillingness to spare Koji’s village. Bar-Asher clearly values Koji, Kenji, and Taisuke, as friends.
The Accidental Samurai is based on historical figures as well as fictional characters. Every week on Monday I will post the name of a character and readers can guess whether the character is an actual person who lived in the Tenth Century or a fictional character. Each Friday I will post the answer. This weeks character:
Kata Bar-Asher is the son of Simeon Bar-Asher and Himiko. He is one of the main characters in The Shison. He is named after Himiko’s father, Fujiwara no Kata who dies before Kata Bar-Asher was born. Simeon and Himiko followed the Jewish tradition of naming children after close relatives who passed away prior to the child’s birth. As, Bar Aher’s parents were both still alive at the time, and Kata Bar-Asher’s sister is named after Himiko’s mother, Kata was a logical and emotional choice.
Kata Bar-Asher lives near Hakata and is a high ranking officer in the Dazaifu, which was essentially the government for Heian era Kyuushu, and perhaps more importantly, in charge of the main port of Hakata. This meant that the Dazaifu was both in charge of foreign traders and dignitaries who entered Japan through the main port if Hakata, and in charge of defending it from invaders. In The Shison, Kata Bar-Asher must help save Japan from Jurchen pirates/soldiers who attack Hakata and seek to invade and pillage Japan, while protecting the family and friends he loves.