|Statue of Benkei with his father and fighting cocks|
As the Genpei war (a battle between the Genji clan and the Heike clan) changed from land warfare of the Ichinotani to sea warfare, the movements of the Kumano navy, which was the strongest in Japan at the time, had a big effect on the situation. Both Genji and Heike approached Kumano Betto Tanzo (the leader of the Kumano navy) to appeal for support. Benkei, on Yoshitsume's orders (who was on the Genji side), hastened back to Tanabe to speak with his father Tanzo. To confirm God's wishes, Tanzo ordered seven cocks with red feathers to fight seven cocks with white feathers representing the Heike Clan and the Genji clan respectively. The white ones won and so Tanzo decided to side with the Genji clan. On Tanzo's command, his navy and the Benkei went to the battle field of Don-no-ura, Yamaguchi prefecture. With two thousand soldiers and two hundred ship's, the Kumano navy greatly contributed to the Genji clan's victory which took place on April 25, 1185, ushering in the age of the Samurai.