Kii no kami
Kazunori was a retainer of Toyotomi Hideyoshi and served Hashiba Hidenaga. He was granted use of the Toyotomi name by Hideyoshi and given Kita no shô in Echizen, for a time serving Kobayakawa Hideaki when the latter was transferred there in 1598. In 1600 he sided with Ishida Mitsunari in the Sekigahara Campaign and following the Tokugawa victory, Kazunori sent an apology to Tokugawa Ieyasu through Maeda Toshinaga. His lands were nonetheless confiscated and shortly afterwards he fell ill and died.
Harima no kami
Tadanari was the eldest son of Aoyama Tadakado and succeeded his father around 1570. He accompanied Tokugawa Hidetada while the latter was a youth. Following the Sekigahara Campaign (1600) Tadanari was made a daimyô in Musashi Province. His son Tadayoshi was to fall out of favor with shôgun Tokugawa Iemitsu, though the family's name would be restored during the time of Tadanari's grandson, Munetoshi.
Sons: Tadayoshi (Hôki no kami; 1578-1643), Yukinari, Yasushige
The Arakawa occupied the area of the same name in northern Echigo Province. They served the Nagao and later, Uesugi Kenshin. Arakawa Izu no kami Nagazane fought at 4th Kawanakajima (1561) and Arakawa Yajirô was also noted for his service to the Uesugi clan.
Ikeda, Oda retainer
Settsu no Kami, Shinano no kami
Murashige was related to the Hatano family of Tamba. He was at first a retainer of Ikeda Katsumasa, later establishing himself as a daimyô in his own right. He clashed with the Wada before joining Oda Nobunaga, who confirmed him in his Settsu holdings. In 1571 he battled with the Takayama and Wada clans at Akutagawa. For reasons unclear, he rebelled against the Oda in November of 1578, at first joined by Takayama Ukon and Nakagawa Kiyohide. He held out in Itami Castle for a year before fleeing. He disappeared into the Môri's domain, where he may have died a year or so later. Murashige was a noted tea master (one of Sen no Rikyu's Seven Disciples) and a Christian.
Yamashiro no kami
Yukishige served Akechi Mitsuhide. His connection, if any, to Araki Murashige is unknown, though there is speculation that he may have been a cousin of some sort. A native of Tamba Province, he entered the service of the Akechi around 1577 and was named as lord of Sonobe Castle (in Tamba). At the time of Mitshude's rebellion against Nobunaga (June 1582), Yukishige was in the company of Akechi Mitsuharu. He survived the Akechi defeat and afterwards became a retainer of Hosokawa Tadaoki. The course of his life, both before and after his service with the Akechi, is hazy at best.
Moritake was the son of Negi Morihide of the Inner Ise Shrine (the Naikû). A Shintoist, he was a gifted poet, with great skill in waka, renga, and in particular haikai, to which he contributed greatly. He became the head priest of the Inner Ise Shrine at the age of 69.
The Arima were descended from Fujiwara Sumitomo and were established in the 12th Century by Arima Tsunezumi. They were minor daimyô of the Takaku region of Kyushu, with their domain situated on Hizen Province's Shimabara Peninsula. They were pressed by their neighbors, most notably the Ryûzôji, and to gain an advantage were friendly to the foreigners who called on them. They allied with the Shimazu and in 1584 assisted in the decisive Battle of Okitanawate, where Ryûzôji Takanobu was killed. They afterwards submitted to Toyotomi Hideyoshi. They lost their Hizen domain with the disgrace of Arima Harunobu in 1612, later being established in Hyûga Province.
Lord of Shimabara
Haruzumi was first known as Arima Sadazumi and was locally powerful in Hizen's Shimabara region. He received the use of 'Haru' in his name from shôgun Ashikaga Yoshiharu, afterwards being called Haruzumi. Yoshiharu also gave him an honorific place in the shôbanshû, a private guard for the shôgun. He clashed with many local daimyô (including the Gotô, Hirai, Matsuura, Ômura, Saigô, and Taku) as he expanded the Arima to control five districts of Hizen Province.
Sons: Yoshisada, (Ômura) Sumitada
Lord of Shimabara
Yoshisada was a son of Arima Haruzumi. He ruled the Shimabara area of Hizen but was steadily weakened in wars with the Ryûzôji. He was defeated by Ryûzôji Takanobu in 1563 and in 1570 sent troops to assist the Ôtomo in their own struggle with Takanobu (which culminated in the Battle of Iyama). He retired in 1571 in favor of his younger brother Harunobu.
Lord of Shimabara
Harunobu was a younger son of Arima Haruzumi. He succeeded his elder brother Yoshisada in 1571. He turned to Christianity to acquire assistance against the Ryûzôji and in 1582 requested support from the Shimazu family. When the Shimazu arrived in the Arima area in 1584, they worked with Harunobu to crush Ryûzôji Takanobu at the Battle of Okitanawate. Harunobu submitted to Toyotomi Hideyoshi when the latter invaded Kyushu (1587) and later led some 2,000 men in the 1st Korean Campaign (1592-93). He supported the Western side in the Sekigahara Campaign (1600) but did not suffer the loss of any land as a result. The Arima were later authorized to mount an expedition to Formosa, which developed into a fiasco with some loss of life. That same year, 1609, Harunobu was involved in the Pessoa Incident (in which a Portuguese ship of that name was attacked and destroyed at Nagasaki) and was rewarded for his efforts. Nonetheless, he was executed in 1612 on the grounds of treasonous activities. His Christian name was Dom Protasio.
The Arima were descended from the Akamatsu and were founded in the 14th Century by Arima Yoshisuke. They came to serve Toyotomi Hideyoshi and then Tokugawa Ieyasu.
Noriyori joined Toyotomi Hideyoshi around 1577 and served him at the Seige of Miki Castle in Harima (1578-1580) and in the Kyushu Campaign (1587).
Sons: Noriuji, Toyouji
Toyotomi, Tokugawa retainer
Genba no Jô
Toyouji was a son of Arima Noriyori. He first served the Watarase until they were implicated in the Toyotomi Hidetsugu scandal (1595). He joined Tokugawa Ieyasu after the death of Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1598) and commanded 900 men for him at the Battle of Sekigahara (1600). He fought ferociously at the Seiges of Osaka Castle (1614; 1615) and is reported to have personally taken 57 heads. He was afterwards awarded at 210,000-koku fief in Hyûga (Kurume) and led troops against the Shimabara Rebellion (1637-38).
The Asahina of Suruga Province were descended from Wada Yoshimori (1147-1213), whose 3rd son Yoshihide adopted the name Asahina. They entered the Sengoku Period as a chief Imagawa retainer family and were represented by two branches, one of which produced Asahina Yasutomo while the other was headed by Asahina Nobuoki. The Asahina became especially important after the Imagawa defeat at Okehazama in 1560, for afterwards Imagawa Ujizane came to rely on them to maintain order within his domain. Following the collapse of the Imagawa in 1569, the Asahina became vassals of the conquering Takeda. When the Takeda were in turn destroyed, surviving Asahina entered the service of Tokugawa Ieyasu.
Imagawa, Takeda retainer
Bitchû no kami
Yasutomo was the son of Asahina Bitchû no kami Yasayoshi. He originally served the Imagawa and held Kakegawa Castle in Tôtômi Province. He destroyed Saigo Masakatsu when the latter rebelled in 1561. He sheltered Imagawa Ujizane when Ujizane was forced to flee Suruga as a result of a Takeda invasion and surrendered Kakegawa to Tokugawa as per an agreement between Ieyasu and Ujizane. Yasutomo ended up at Odawara Castle in Sagami Province and his eventual fate is unknown.
(Asahina Ujihide, Asahina Tôsaburô)
Imagawa, Takeda retainer
Suruga no kami
Nobuoki was a son of Asahina Tanba no kami Motonaga. He was at first a retainer of the Imagawa family of Suruga Province and came to hold Mochifune Castle. He joined Takeda Shingen after the fall of Imagawa in 1569 and was confirmed in his lands in Suruga. He fought in the Battle of Nagashino (1575) and later against the Tokugawa in 1582. Once the Takeda had fallen, he was ordered to commit suicide by Oda Nobunaga.
The Asai's origins are obscure but they may have been descended from the Ôgimachi, a kuge family. The Asai were formerly retainers of the Kyôgoku and rebelled against that house in 1516. They struggled to expand their domain in Ômi at the expense of the Rokkaku and came to eclipse the Kyôgoku. In the process close ties were forged with the Asakura of Echizen. The Asai broke an alliance with Oda Nobunaga in 1570 and were eliminated in 1573. 'Asai' is often pronounced 'Azai'.
Bizen no kami
Sukemasa was a son of Asai Naotane and succeeded Asai Naomasa. He began his career as a retainer of the Kyôgoku and gradually increased his position to the point where he was essentially an independent lord. He made Odani Castle in northern Ômi (built in 1522) his capital and allied with the Asakura of Echizen. After about 1516, Sukemasa spent much of his time competing with the Rokkaku of southern Ômi.
Sons: Akimasa (adopted), Masahiro, Hisamasa
Shimotsuke no kami
Hisamasa was a son of Asai Sukemasa and succeeded his father as lord of Odani Castle. According to the Asai Sandai-ki, Hisamasa was a less then capable leader or at least inferior to his father. He lost land to the Rokkaku and made peace with them in 1558, a move that proved both unpopular with the Asai retainers and short-lived. He shared command of the Asai army at the Battle of Norada (1560) with his son, Nagamasa. Nagamasa's brilliant preformance in that victory over the Rokkaku convinced the Asai retainers that he was the better man to lead the family and Hisamasa was compelled to step aside. Hisamasa continued to live in Odani castle and committed suicide when the Asai fell to the Oda in 1573. Despite his lackluster reputation, Hisamasa does seem to have been a competent enough administrator and, among other endeavors, mediated a dispute over irrigation in his fief and strengthened the foundations of the Asai house in northern Ômi. He had sent a daughter to marry Saitô Yoshitatsu of Mino and this girl became the mother of Saitô Tatsuoki, the lord of that province from 1561 to 1567.
Sons: Nagamasa, Masamoto
Bizen no kami
Nagamasa was the eldest son of Asai Hisamasa and was at first known as Asai Katamasa (the 'Kata' coming from Rokkaku Yoshikata). In the 1st month of 1559 he was married to the daughter of a retainer of Rokkaku Yoshikata named Hirai Sadataka. This was a move by Hisamasa to improve relations with the Rokkaku. Nagamasa rejected the marriage however, and the two clans were soon at war once again. In the 5th month of 1560 the Rokkaku moved against the Asai domain and laid siege to the castle of Takanose Nobuzumi. Later that year the heavily outnumbered Asai, jointly led by Hisamasa and Nagamasa, managed to secure a victory over the Rokkaku army at Norada. Not long afterwards, the Asai retainers pressured Hisamasa to step down in favor of Nagamasa, who had shown himself to be a brave captain at Norada despite his youth (his retainers are said to have commented that the young Nagamasa was his grandfather reincarnated). In what might have been a symbolic gesture, it was at this time that Nagamasa assumed the name he is known by (dropping Rokkaku Yoshikata's 'Kata'). He recaptured Fùto Castle in 1561 and next advanced into Mino and clashed with the Saitô. The Rokkaku took advantage of Nagamasa's preoccupation to lay siege to Sawayama Castle in Ômi, which Nagamasa saved by promptly dispatching Isono Kazumasa with a relief force. In this same period, Oda Nobunaga of Owari Province was also attacking the Saitô domain and each invader saw the other as interlopers on their sphere of influence. After a brief period of hostility, the Asai and Oda concluded a peace and Nagamasa married Nobunaga's sister in 1564. They would produce a number of children, including three daughters, one of whom would eventually become one of Toyotomi Hideyoshi's mistreses and the mother of Toyotomi Hideyori. When Nobunaga attacked Asakura Yoshikage in 1570, Nagamasa, after consulting his retainer band, broke his alliance. It is believed that one of the provisions of thier peace treaty was that Nobunaga would consult with Nagamasa before launching an attack on the Asakura. When this was not done, Nagamasa and most of his retainers believed their treaty with Nobunaga was voided. Nagamasa's sudden change of status forced Nobunaga to retreat from Echizen. The Asai and Asakura, allied with the monks of the Enryakuji and the Miyoshi and Rokkaku, fought a series of battles with the Oda. He was defeated along with Asakura Kagetake at Anegawa on 30 July 1570 while winning at Sakamoto (also in 1570). Nagamasa and Yoshikage became involved in a stalemate with Oda forces around Mt. Hiei following the fight at Sakamoto but retreated when the Court interceeded for peace. The treaty folded the following year and over the next two years Nobunaga threatened Odani twice, once in 1571 (8th month) and twice in 1572 (3rd month and 7th month). Odani's defenses were bolstered by the firearms produced at Kunimoto and each time Nobunaga withdrew when confronted by Asakura reinforcements. In 1573 Nobunaga returned to Odani, prompting the Asakura to send another army in relief. However, the morale of the Asakura finally broke and they fled before Nobunaga, who followed them into Echizen and destroyed Asakura Yoshikage. Odani was now isolated and Nagamasa returned his wife and daughters to Nobunaga before committing suicide. This was on 8/28/73. The Asai's domain at length was given in part to Hashiba (Toyotomi) Hideyoshi.
According to one one rather gruesome story, the victorious Nobunaga ordered that the skulls of Nagamasa and Asakura Yoshikage be fashioned into drinking vessels and used at a banquet in Kyoto.
Son: Manjumaru (d.1573)
Inori was a relative of Asai Nagamasa and was active under the latter's career as daimyô. He was killed when Odani Castle fell in 1573.
The Asakura claimed descent from the Kusakabe, descendants of the Emperor Temmu. They settled in Tajima Province during the Heian Period and took the name Asakura. Later, the family moved to Echizen and served the Shiba shugo, which Asakura Toshikage usurped on the dawn of the Sengoku Period. The Asakura were powerful in the Hokuriku region until their downfall at the hands of Oda Nobunaga in 1573, after which surviving members became vassals of first the Oda, then Toyotomi. The Asakura are well-known in part for their Toshikage Jushichikajo (c.1480) - the house code of Asakura Toshikage.
Lord of Echizen
Toshikage initially supported the Yamana in the Ônin War but switched his loyalties to the Hosokawa in 1471, a move that was coupled with a break from his nominal lords, the Shiba shugo family. The following year he defeated the Kai family of Echizen and became the de facto ruler of that province. He aided Togashi Masachika in his efforts to restore Togashi authority in the politically confused Kaga Province (1473). His hold on Echizen was cemented with his defeat of the Shiba at Kôfukuji in 1479. He died on 8/21/1481 and was succeeded by his eldest son Ujikage. Toshikage composed the Toshikage Jushichikajo, one of the earlier and most straight-forward Sengoku Period house codes. He established the Asakura capital at Ichijô no dani, which in some ways foreshadowed the castle towns of the Edo Period.
Sons:Ujikage (d.1486), Norikage, Kagetoshi
Lord of Echizen
Sadakage was the son of Asakura Ujikage, who passed away in 1486. He had first to contend with a short-lived rebellion that ensued as a result of his ascension, then worked to expand the Asakura domain, clashing with the Togashi of Kaga (1494, 1504), the ikko-ikki of Echizen, and the Rokkaku of Ômi.
Sons: Takakage, Kagetaka, Kagetoshi
(Asakura Soteki, Asakura Kôtarô)
Tarôzaemon no jô
Norikage was the youngest son of Asakura Toshikage and became a pillar of the Asakura house. On the event (1503) of his nephew Sadakage's rise to the position of daimyô, a faction of Asakura retainers formed a plot against him. Norikage was approached by a certain Asakura Kagefusa to join the planned rebellion and the former evidently gave his consent. However, Norikage revealed the plot to Sadakage at the last minute and the rebel headquarters at Tsuruga Castle was attacked. Kagefusa had enlisted the aid of the Hosokawa, but that family's forces were checked near Lake Biwa en route to Echizen. Kagefusa afterwards fled Echizen and died of illness. Later, he defeated an ikko army at Kuzuryugawa in 1506, one of a number of battles he would fight against the ikko. He commanded an expedition into Tango Province in 1517 and in 1526 led an army out in support of the Asai against the Rokkaku, cementing the alliance between the Asai and Asakura. He marched against the ikko of Kaga in 1531 and fought them again in 1555. Following the storming of Daishojiomote on that campaign, he fell ill and returned to Ichijonodani, leaving the army in the hands of Asakura Kagetaka. He died on 9/23/1555. He was almost certainly the most talented general the Asakura clan produced and his writings on various military matters have provided a valuable historical record. Numerous sayings attributed to Norikage survive, including "The warrior may be called a beast or a dog; the main thing is winning." He had adopted the name Soteki after entering the priesthood. He hewed to his religious beliefs and produced no children of his own. Thus, he adopted his nephew, Kagetoshi.
Son: Kagetoshi (Adopted)
Kagetoshi was a son of Asakura Sadakage and was adopted by Asakura Norikage. He served with his adoptive father in a number of campaigns against the ikko and held Tsuruga Castle. He tended to the needs of Ashikaga Yoshiaki when the latter came to Echizen after the death of Ashikaga Yoshiteru in 1565.
Lord of Echizen
Takakage succeeded his father Sadakage in 1512 and was a successful daimyô, expanding Asakura influence while enhancing Echizen's growing cultural status. He is said to have formally enacted the famous '17-Article Code' of Toshikage. He sent troops to aid the struggling Toki of Mino Province in 1518 and aided the Asai of Ômi in their bid to throw off the authority of the Kyogoku and supported them against the Rokkaku.
Kaegtaka was a son of Asakura Sadakage and a younger brother of Takakage. He excelled in diplomatic matters and was considered generally capable but discord developed between himself and Takakage to the extent that he felt his life was in danger. He therefore fled to Wakasa Province and took up with the Takeda.
Lord of Echizen
Saemon no kami
Yoshikage was the eldest son of Ashikaga Takakage. He succeeded his father in 1546 and defeated the ikko-ikki of Kaga on two occasions (9/1555, 1564) and lent nominal support to the Saitô during their war with Oda Nobunaga (1561-67). He sheltered Ashikaga Yoshiaki after the latter had fled the Kyoto area in 1565. Yoshikage was unable to give Yoshiaki the assistance he needed to claim the title of shôgun and Yoshiaki at length departed. Yoshikage moved into neighboring Wakasa and absorbed that province during the later 1560's at the expense of the Wakasa - Takeda. The fortunes of his house began to change when he refused a 'request' by Nobunaga to come to Kyoto in 1570, and as a result found himself at war with the Oda. Yoshikage is said to have resented Nobunaga's presumption, as both of their families had once served the Shiba family. The Asakura domain was quickly invaded but Nobunaga was forced to retreat when Yoshikage was joined by his ally Asai Nagamasa. Yoshikage sent his army to assist the Asai on a number of occasions, including the Battle of Anegawa (which he was not present at) and the stand-off at Mt. Hiei in 1570. He was content to let his relatives Asakura Kageakira and Kagetaka command his army after the death of Asakura Norikage in 1555, as he had a weak constitution and was not well-suited for campaigning. In 1573 Nobunaga again threatened the Asai's Odani Castle. Yoshikage duly dispatched his army but before even reaching Odani it lost heart and broke. Nobunaga chased it into Echizen and Yoshikage fled from Ichijo no dani. His whereabouts were betrayed by Asakura Kageakira and he took his life on 8/20/1573 at the Rokubô Kenshôji. His weak character had by then disenchanted a number of his senior men and this greatly contributed to his downfall.
Kagetsura was a senior Asakura retainer whose field of expertise was diplomacy. An interesting anecdote survives about him: in 1561, when Asakura Yoshikage held a dog-hunting gathering at Okubo, Kagetsura is said to have dressed so nicely that those in attendance mistook him for the lord of the clan, causing him much embarrassment.
Kagetaka was a distant cousin of Asakura Yoshikage. When Asakura Norikage fell ill on campaign in 1555 he entrusted the army to Kagataka, who was also a commander in a 1564 campaign against the ikko of Kaga.
Kagetake commanded the Asakura army for Asakura Yoshikage at the Battle of Anegawa (1570), which was lost to the Oda and Tokugawa. A few months later he joined Asai Nagamasa in defeating an Oda force near Sakamoto (1570) and pressed for an immediate move on the capital, which Nagamasa vetoed. He participated in a number of the confrontations between the Asai/Asakura forces and the Oda around Odani Castle in Ômi Province between 1571-1572. He surrendered to Oda Nobunaga in 1573 and was given a fief in Echizen. When the ikko of the province rebelled, he surrendered to them. As a result, the following year Nobunaga sent out an army to destroy him.
Asakura, Oda retainer
Kageakira was a son of Asakura Kagetaka and held Ino Castle in Echizen Province. He commanded the Asakura army at various times after the battles of 1570 but became so disgusted with Yoshiakira's weak leadership that he went over to Oda Nobunaga when the latter invaded Echizen in 1573. To prove his earnesty he betrayed the whereabouts of Asakura Yoshikage, who had gone into hiding. Nobunaga granted him a fief in Echizen and he changed his name to Tobashi Kageakira. In 1574 the Echizen ikko, supported by fighters from Kaga commanded by Shimotsuma Raisho and others, rebelled and Kageakira led out his troops to face them. He was overwhelmed and died fighting on 5/4/1574.
The Asano of Mino Province were descended from Toki Mitsunobu (ca.1150). They later came to serve the Oda and gained a great deal of prestige and wealth under Toyotomi Hideyoshi that carried over into the Edo Period.
Nagamasa was a son of Yasui Shigetsugu and a grandson of Asano Nagakatsu and was adopted into the Asano family. He later became the brother-in-law of Toyotomi Hideyoshi's wife and accompanied Hideyoshi on his campaigns in western Honshu (1577-82). He acted as a negotiator to Tokugawa Ieyasu following the Komaki Campaign (1584) and following his involvement in the Odawara Campaign (1590) was given a 200,000-koku fief at Fuchu (Kofu) in Kai Province (1590). That same year he was tasked with carrying out land surveys in Dewa and Mutsu Provinces. He went on to serve in the Korean Campaigns, his time there highlighted by the long siege of Ulsan (1597-98) he endured along with Kato Kiyomasa. He was named one of the San-Bugyô in 1598 by Hideyoshi, though with his son Yukinaga he sided with Tokugawa Ieyasu during the Sekigahara Campaign (1600).
Sons: Yukinaga, Nagaakira, Nagashige
Yukinaga was the eldest son of Asano Nagamasa and inherited his domain in Kai. He first saw military service in the Odawara Campaign and later fought at the Seige of Ulsan alongside Kato Kiyomasa and his father. Thanks to the help of Maeda Toshiie, he narrowly avoided being implicated in the Toyotomi Hidetsugu scandal of 1595. He and his father supported Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1600 and he personally commanded 6,500 men at Sekigahara (1600). Soon after the Tokugawa victory he was given Wakayama in Wakasa Province. He died childless and was succeeded by his younger brother Nagaakira. His sudden death was thought sufficiently odd to prompt suspicions that Ieyasu had had a hand in it.
Tajima no kami
Nagaakira succeeded his elder brother Yukinaga and resided at Fuchu in Kai Province. On the eve of the Osaka Castle conflict, Toyotomi retainers attempted to convince Nagaakira to lend his strength to their cause. Nagaakira not only remained loyal to the Tokugawa but reportedly took 44 heads in the sieges of Osaka Castle (1614, 1615). He was installed at Hiroshima in Aki Province, worth some 426,000 (1619), and had earlier married a daughter of Tokugawa Ieyasu (1616).
Sons: Mitsuakira, Nagaharu
Nobutane served Takeda Shingen and in 1568 was moved to Minowa Castle in Kôzuke Province. He was killed by gunfire at the Battle of Mimasetoge in 1569. The Asari later became retainers of the Tokugawa.
Nichijô was a priest of the Nichiren sect of Buddhism from Izumo Province and was an ardent opponent of Christianity. In 1568 he convinced the emperor Ôgimachi to issue a decree that ordered the execution of Luis Frois and the banning of Christianity, a measure quickly overturned by Nobunaga. The following year, Nichijô debated religion with Frois and his companion, Brother Lourenço, in the presence of Nobunaga. When Nichijô began to lose the debate, he became infuriated and lunged for Nobunaga's spear, which happened to be sitting in a corner of the room. Nobunaga himself, aided by Wada Koremasa and Sakuma Nobumori, restrained the Buddhist and prevented him from doing any harm to Frois and Lourenço. Nichijô left Kyoto not long afterwards and found service with the Môri of western Japan, whom he assisted in matters of diplomacy.
Shimotsuke no kami
Nobumori served Takeda Shingen and later Takeda Katsuyori. He held Mitake Castle in Kai Province until the Battle of Mikatagahara (1572), at which point he was assigned to Futamata in Tôtômi Province. Futamata was quickly surrounded by the Tokugawa after the Takeda defeat at Nagashino in 1575 and Nobumori himself died of illness during the siege. His sons Nobushige and Nobunori both died battle in 1583, after the fall of the Takeda.
Sons: Nobushige, Nobunori
The Ashikaga were descended from Minamoto Yoshiie, whose son Yoshikuni settled in the Ashikaga district of Shimotsuke Province. Yoshikuni's first son took the name Nitta while his second took Ashikaga. The Ashikaga became very wealthy under the Hôjô Regents and their defection to the Imperial cause in 1333 sealed the Hôjô's fate. Ashikaga Takauji then turned against Go-Daigo and in 1336 was named the 1st Ashikaga shôgun. The Ashikaga were seriously weakened after the Ônin War (1467-77) and eventually eclipsed by Oda Nobunaga in 1573, who banished the last Ashikaga shôgun, Yoshiaki, from Kyoto.
10th Ashikaga shôgun
Yoshitane was a son of Ashikaga Yoshimi (1439-1491) and was adopted by his uncle, Ashikaga Yoshimasa. He became the 10th Ashikaga shôgun in 1490. Yoshitane defeated the Rokkaku in 1493 but was forced from office that same year by his kanrei, Hosokawa Masamoto and replaced by his cousin, Ashikaga Yoshizumi. He fled to the western provinces and took up with the Ôuchi. In 1508 Oûchi Yoshioki marched to the capital and reinstated Yoshitane as shôgun. In 1518 Yoshioki returned to the western provinces and in 1520 Yoshitane was driven from office again, this time by Hosokawa Takakuni. He went into exile on Awaji Island, and so became known as the Shima-Kûbo (Island shôgun).
11th Ashikaga shôgun
Yoshizumi was the son of Ashikaga Masatomo and fled to Suruga after the death of his father in 1491. He was escorted back to Kyoto by Imagawa Ujichika in 1494 and was named the 11th Ashikaga shôgun by Hosokawa Masamoto, who was assassinated in 1507. When Oûchi Yoshioki marched on Kyoto, Yoshizumi abdicated (1508).
Sons: Yoshiharu, Yoshitsuna (1509-1573), Yoshitada
12th Ashikaga shôgun
Yoshiharu was a son of Ashikaga Yoshizumi and was nominated for the post of shôgun by Hosokawa Takakuni. He thus became the 12th Ashikaga shôgun in 1521. Takakuni feuded with his nephew Harumoto and in 1527 Yoshiharu was forced to flee Kyoto to avoid the advance of Takakuni's enemies. Takakuni committed suicide in 1531 and his place was taken by Harumoto, who brought Yoshiharu back to Kyoto. Yoshiharu, weary of Kyoto politics, fled the capital and took up residence in Ômi Province, abdicating in favor of his son Yoshiteru. He died at Sakamoto in 1550.
Sons: Yoshiteru, Yoshiaki
13th Ashikaga shôgun
Yoshiteru was the eldest son of Ashikaga Yoshiharu and was named the 13th Ashikaga shôgun in 1546. He was initially supervised by the Miyoshi and under their pressure rejected Hoskawa Harumoto. He later resisted the influence of the Miyoshi and Matsunaga Hisahide and as a result was attacked and killed in his Nijô palace in Kyoto by troops sent by those two powers. He was relatively active in relations with the daimyô, awarding a character from his name to such figures as Uesugi Kenshin (Nagao Terutora), Môri Terumoto, and Date Terumune. He was also convinced to give his backing to a peace treaty between the Ôtomo and Môri in 1563.
14th Ashikaga shôgun
Yoshihide was a son of Ashikaga Yoshitsuna and a grandson of Ashikaga Yoshizumi. Though only an infant, he acted as a figurehead for the Miyoshi and Matsunaga following the murder of shôgun Yoshiteru in 1565. He was taken from Kyoto when Oda Nobunaga advanced on the city and died in the Miyoshi domain on Shikoku (1568)
15th Ashikaga shôgun
Yoshiaki was the 2nd son of Ashikaga Yoshiharu and was born on 5 December 1537. He was the brother of Yoshiteru, the 14th Ashikaga Ashikaga shôgun. Yoshiaki was named the abbot of the Ichijôin in Nara (Yamato Province) in 1562 and was serving in that capacity at the time of Yoshiteru's assassination. Learning of his brother's death, Yoshiaki fled the temple and sought support to avenge the death of his elder brother. To this end he approached the Asakura and spent the better part of a year in Echizen Province. When it became clear that Asakura Yoshikage was unwilling or unable to help him (as was also the case with the distant Uesugi Kenshin, whom Yoshiaki wrote to no avail), Yoshiaki turned to Oda Nobunaga. Nobunaga marched on Kyoto in the fall of 1568 and installed Yoshiaki as the 15th Ashikaga shôgun. The following year Yoshiaki found himself under attack by the Miyoshi, who attacked him in the Honkokuji in Kyoto while Nobunaga was away in Mino Province. Local Oda forces and Yoshikai's own bodyguard kept the Miyoshi at bay. In the wake of this incident, Nobunaga felt compelled to issue a set of regulations regarding Yoshiaki's entourage (termed the Denchû On'okite). In fact, this amounted to an imposition of authority over the shôgun by Nobunaga and marked a rapid decline in relations between Yoshiaki and his patron. Friction between the two increased over the next few years, with Nobunaga issuing a set of injunctions on the 13th day of the 1st month of 1570 that sought to regulate Yoshikai's conduct. Nobunaga's growing estrangement with Yoshiaki manifested itself in more subtle ways, such as, for instance, when Yoshiaki's retainer Isshiki Fujinga became involved in a dispute with the Dongein temple and Nobunaga ruled in favor of the temple. Many historians have assumed that Yoshiaki was at the center of an anti-Nobunaga alliance constituted of such foes of the Oda as the Asai, Asakura, Rokkaku, and Takeda. While the extent of Yoshiaki's activities in this department are hazy, Nobunaga himself evidently felt threatened enough by Yoshiaki's scheming to chastise him in a letter in 1572 for 'issuing instructions in secret'. The increasingly aggressive activities of Takeda Shingen apparently emboldened Yoshiaki to the point that he openly defied Nobunaga in the second month of 1573, calling for the Asai, Asakura, and Takeda to assist him as he raised troops and fortified Nijô Castle. Shingen died of illness within two months however, and Nobunaga was free to quash Yoshiaki's rebellion. When Oda troops surrounded Kyoto, Yoshikai sued for peace, which was arranged with the assistance of the Court. At the beginning of the 7th month, Yoshiaki took up arms once again and entrenched himself at a stronghold on the Uji River called Makinoshima. This attempt to throw off the Oda yoke proved even more abortive than the first, for within 16 days Yoshiaki was compelled to surrender (7/18/73). Yoshiaki's life was spared but he was exiled from Kyoto, marking the end of the Ashikaga shôgunate. He afterwards wandered from place to place, attempting to find a patron who would again restore him to Kyoto, without success. He died in Osaka in the fall of 1597.
The Ashikaga of the Kanto were tasked with maintaining the authority of the Ashikaga shôguns in that region and at first resided at Kamakura. They were known as the Kanto kubô and traditionally relied on the support of the Uesugi clan, who were kanto kanrei, or Deputy Shôguns for the Kanto. In 1449 Ashikaga Shigeuji (1438?-1531) became Kanto kubô and had Uesugi Noritada as his deputy. Shigeuji became concerned by the influence of the Uesugi and at length had Noritada murdered. The two main branches of the Uesugi, the Ogigayatsu and Yamanouchi, the latter supported by the Nagao of Echigo, went to war with Shigeuji and his followers. Although Shigeuji held his own in various battles in Sagami and elsewhere, Kamakura was taken and burned by Imagawa Noritada in 1455 and the Ashikaga Kanto kubô afterwards resided in Shimosa Province. When the Hôjô began to make advances into the Kanto in the early 16th Century, the Ashikaga allied with the Uesugi to challenge them. The Kanto Kubô position came to an effective end with the defeat and capture of Ashikaga Haruuji in 1554.
Lord of Izu
Masatomo was the 3rd son of Ashikaga Yoshinori. At first a priest, he was ordered to establish himself in Kamakura as the new kanto kubo around 1455. When this proved impossible owing to the difficult political situation in Sagami Province, he settled in Izu Province, at Horigoe Castle. He died of natural causes in 1591. He became known as the 'Horigoe kubo'.
Sons: Chachamaru, Yoshizumi
Lord of Izu
Chachamaru was the son of Ashikaga Masatomo and resided at Horigoe Castle in Izu Province. His mother was Masatomo's first wife and Masatomo ordered Chachamaru to a temple, intending the family leadership to go to a younger son (Jundôji), whom he had sired through a second wife. When his father died, Chachamaru escaped the monastery, killed his half-brother and step-mother, and assumed control of Izu. He next put to death two retainers, Toyama Buzen no kami and Akiyama Kurando, who had opposed his rise to power. Ise Shinkûro (Hôjô Soûn), a nominal vassal of the Imagawa at the time, attacked from Suruga Province after establishing that he would be welcomed by Izu's samurai. Horigoe was besieged in 1593 and Chachamaru surrendered. Ise banished Chachamaru, who found shelter in Kai with Takeda Nobutsuna. The Takeda evidently planned to assist Chachamaru in retaking Izu but this scheme was cut short when the Hôjô invaded Kai in 1498 and forced him to commit suicide. Some older sources give 1591 as the year Chachamaru was driven from Izu.
Yoshiaki was a son of Ashikaga Masauji (1466-1531) and a grandson of Ashikaga Shigeuji. He was established at Oyumi Castle in Shimôsa Province around 1525 by the Takeda of Kazusa (Oyumi thus became nicknamed the headquarters of the Oyumi kubô and Yoshiaki was called the Oyumi Gosho). He led troops to join Satomi Yoshitaka in an attack on the Hôjô domain that culminated in the crushing defeat at Konodai in 1538. In the course of the battle, Yoshiaki was killed along with his son Yoshizumi. He should not, of course, be confused with the Ashikaga Yoshiaki whom Nobunaga established in Kyoto in 1568 and who proved to be the last Ashikaga shôgun.
Sons: Yoshizumi (d.1538), Yorizumi (d.1601)
Haruuji was the son of Ashikaga Takamoto (1485-1535) and was married to the the daughter of Hôjô Ujitsuna. Originally allied to the Hôjô, Haruuji, who resided at Koga Castle, betrayed Ujitsuna in 1544 and joined in the attack on Kawagoe Castle. Following a later defeat at the hands of the Hôjô in 1554, Haruuji was captured at Koga and forced to accept Hôjô rule. He died of illness in the 5th month of 1560.
Son: Yoshiuji (D.1583)
The Ashina claimed descent to the Taira through the Muira. Sawara (Muira) Yoshitsuru governed the Aizu area of Mutsu in the early 12th Century and his grandson took the name Ashina. Ashina Naonori built a mansion at Wakamatsu in 1333 that would form the basis for the later Kurokawa Castle (1384), which served as the Ashina's home until their defeat at the hands of Date Masamune in 1589.
Lord of Aizu
Tôtômi no kami
Morikiyo assumed control of the Ashina in 1517 after his brother Moritaka died childless. He assisted Date Tanemune in an attack on the Kasai family in 1528 and allied with the Date, Ishikawa, and Iwase clans against the Shirakawa in 1534.
Lord of Aizu
Moriuji was the eldest son of Ashina Morikiyo. He expanded the Ashina domain in the face of Uesugi and Satake resistance and came into conflict with the Date. He was reknowned as a good and wise leader, doing much to improve the economic condition of the Ashina domain while expanding its borders. For this reason, Moriuji's reign is considered the Ashina's golden age. Moriuji built Mukaihaguroyama Castle around 1561 as an intended place of retirement.
Lord of Aizu
Tôtômi no Kami
Moritaka was a son of Nikaidô Moriyoshi, the lord of Sukagawa Castle. He was adopted to succeed Ashina Moriuji, whose eldest son had died of illness. He proved an unpopular lord and was assassinated by one of his own retainers (Ôba Sanzaemon) in short order. His son had died at the age of 2 and so Moritaka was succeeded by Morishige, a son of Satake Yoshishige.
Lord of Aizu
Morishige was the 2nd son of Satake Yoshishige. His adoption as the Ashina daimyô in the wake of the murder of Moritaka created strife within the clan and a number of retainers went over to the Date, who had also offered to provide an heir. The Ashina and Satake struck up an alliance against the Date and came near to defeating the latter at Hitadori in 1585. The failure of that campaign and the internal problems within the Ashina eventually allowed Date Masamune to finally gain the upper hand against them. Date Masamune defeated Morishige at Suriagegahara and afterwards captured Kurokawa (1589). Morishige was allowed to retire to Hitachi province.
The Aso claimed descent from none other then Jimmu Tenno (the first Emperor of Japan) one of whose grandsons was nominated Aso-kuni no Miyatsuko. His descendants took the name Aso, and in 1336 would initally support the Southern Court during the Nambokucho War. They had the distinction of being the only known Kyushu family to be represented in the Ashikaga shôgun's Guard (hôkôshû. During the Sengoku period, they would control Yabe Castle in Chikugo until their power waned under the leadership of Koretoyo.
Koretoyo held Yabe castle in Chikugo Province. He came to be allied with the Ôtomo family and was attacked by the Shimazu as a result.
Fuyuyasu was a younger brother of Miyoshi Chokei and a noted poet. He held Takenokuchi Castle on Awaji Island and commanded ships for his elder brother. He is thought to have been murdered on the orders of Matsunaga Hisahide while visiting Iimori Castle as part of the latter's efforts to undermine the Miyoshi.
Nobuyasu was the son of Atagi (Miyoshi) Fuyuyasu and after the fall of the Miyoshi submitted to Oda Nobunaga. His ships were defeated by the Môri navy prior to the 1st Battle of Kizuwaguchi in 1576.
Katsusuke was one of Takeda Katsuyori's closest advisors. He became well-known (and infamous) for advocating that the Takeda go on the attack at the Battle of Nagashino, which resulted in a crushing Takeda defeat. After the Oda invaded Kai and Shinano in 1582, Katsusuke was captured and killed in Suwa (in Shinano Province). One of his sons, Oinosuke Masakatsu, would serve Tokugawa Ieyasu and fight in the Nagakute Campaign.
Sadahide served Asai Nagamasa and was the keeper of Yamamotoyama Castle on the northeastern shore of Lake Biwa in Ômi Province. He commanded some 1,000 men at the Battle of Anegawa (1570) and distinguished himself in 1572 as the commander of Odani Castle's defenses.
The Awaya of Aki Province claimed descent from Minamoto Yoshimitsu. They became somewhat prominent as a Môri retainer house under Awaya Motochika (d.1561).
The Ayukai were descended from Fujiwara Yasuchika, a grandson of Fujiwara Yamakage (824-888). They settled at Yokogoshi in Mutsu and adopted that name, later moving to Ayukai. In 1587 Ayukai Castle fell as the result of a war between the Date and Mogami, and the second son of Ayukai Moritsugu (1555-1624) became a retainer of Date Masamune. The Ayukai remained Date retainers until the Meiji Restoration.
Settsu no kami
Kiyonaga was related to the Honjô and and became a close retainer of Uesugi Kenshin. He fouhgt at Honjô Castle (1539) and 4th Kawanakajima (1561).
copyright 2005 F. W. Seal