The Minamoto clan were the victors in the historical Genpei war. The clan dominated Japanese politics, along with the four powerful Japanese clans during the Heian period in Japan. These clans are: the Taira clan, the Minamoto clan, the Tachibana clan and the Fujiwara clan.

The Minamoto clan or the Genji clan is one of the two conflicting clans in the epic Genpei war. The war had been the conclusion to years of hostilities between the two warring clans. This began during the exile of Minamoto no Yoshimoto by Taira no Kiyomori who took control of the Imperial capital through the alliance of Shirakawa and Toba—who were retired emperors. The breaking point which ensued the Genpei war was the assumption of power by the two-year-old son of Taira no Kiyomori.

After the Minamoto clan’s victory in the Genpei War, Minamoto no Yoritomo held the title of shogun in Japan. It was an influential time for his shogunate as he held the position and wielded the power on a nationwide scale. The Minamoto and the Taira clan are largely samurai clans, thus the victory of the Minamoto clan in the Genpei war marked the rise of the shogunate. The shogunate placed the military powers in front and center, forcing the emperor to assume only the traditional powers sans the effective political or military power.