Often reffered to as Heishi (Taira Clan) or the Heike (House of Taira), the Taira clan is one of the four important Japanese clans during the Heian period. The Four Japanese clans included: the Minamoto, the Fujiwara, and the Tachibana.

The Taira clan was one of the strongest and most dominant clans during the Heian period. Taira no Kiyomori greatly contributed to this. Taira no Kiyomori was a Japanese general during the late Heian period in Japan. It was during his leadership over the Taira clan where he, together with Minamoto no Yoshitomo of the Minamoto clan, suppressed the Hogen rebellion. It was during Taira’s leadership and this move which has cemented the political powers of the Taira and the Minamoto clans, both of which are known as samurai clans.

Taira no Kiyomori enthroned his infant son, Emperor Antoku, while the boy was only two years old. This move led the Minamoto clan to uprise against the Taira clan, thus leading to the historical Genpei war.

The Taira clan was eventually destroyed through the course of the Genpei war, the Minamoto clan being the victors in the war determined by the battle of Dan-no-Ura, which established the Kamakura shogunate.