Meet The Original Triforce: The Hojo Clan!

I was cleaning out old photos from my phone’s camera roll, when I realized that I still had photos left over from this post, including a photo of my omamori charm that I got from Enoshima Shrine way back in 2019. Sadly that was my last trip to Japan, and I haven’t been able to return my omamori since.

One thing a careful observer might notice the three triangles at the top. This is probably the most famous family crest (kamon 家紋) in the history of Japan because it’s also the inspiration for the Triforce of the Legend of Zelda series!

An example of the Hojo Family crest on a stone lantern, which I took in 2010 at Ueno Park in Tokyo, Japan. Clearly the Hojo family influence extended beyond the borders of Kamakura.

The Hojo Clan was a powerful clan during the Kamakura Period of Japanese history, and has an interesting history. Originally, the Hojo Clan was an offshoot of the Heike (Taira) Clan, but during the famous Genpei War, they openly sided with the Taira’s enemy, the Genji (Minamoto) Clan after being snubbed by the Heike due to a succession issue. The Genpei War ended with the total destruction of the Heike Clan, and the Genji Clan under Minamono no Yoritomo became the ascendant power. The power of the Emperor and his Court in Kyoto effectively ended and was now in the hands of Genji Clan’s samurai forces, who were based in Kamakura far to the east.

What’s interesting is that while Minamoto no Yoritomo was the clear victor and the first Shogun of the new government in Kamakura, he was surrounded by Hojo Clan allies, and before long married into the family through Hojo Masako. Within a generation, the Kamakura Shogunate was entirely controlled and managed by the Hojo Clan, and the Minamoto clan was relegated to mere figureheads.

The historical drama (Japanese: 大河ドラマ. taiga dorama), 鎌倉殿の13人 or “The 13 Lords of Kamakura” is about the struggle for power by several Hojo family members, and their rivals, after the death of Minamoto no Yoritomo. It’s been fun to watch so far.

So, the next time you see the Triforce in a Zelda game, don’t forget the powerful clan that was behind it all.

Published by Doug

🎵Toss a coin to your Buddhist-Philhellenic-D&D-playing-Japanese-studying-dad-joke-telling-Trekker, O Valley of Plentyyy!🎵He/him

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