The Yamana Clan (山名氏)

The Yamana clan is a Japanese clan. The clan has some branch families.

The Yamana clan of the Minamoto family
This section describes the details of the Yamana clan of the Minamoto family.

The Yamana clan of the Arimichi family is one of the families of Kodama-to group of the Musashi-shichito groups (seven parties of samurai in the Musashi Province).

During the Sengoku period, the Yamana clan held a position of significant power as shugo daimyo, provincial military governors who were feudal lords as well; their power was centered in the Sanin region.

The origin of the Yamana clan

The original surname of the Yamana clan was Genji (Minamoto clan). The Yamana clan is descended from the renowned Nitta family; its progenitor was MINAMOTO no Yoshikuni, the son of MINAMOTO no Yoshiie, who was the Chinju-fu shogun (Commander-in-Chief of the Defense of the North) and the head of the Kawachi-Genji (Minamoto clan), a family of the Seiwa-Genji (Minamoto clan).
The Yamana clan
Yoshinori YAMANA, the illegitimate child of Yoshishige NITTA (also known as Tarosaburo), adopted the name when he resided in Yamana-go in the Togo Country of Kozuke Province, present day neighboring areas of Yamana-machi in Takasaki City in Gunma Prefecture; the clan name Yamana originated from this.

From the early Kamakura period, the Yamana clan subordinated themselves to MINAMOTO no Yoritomo and became gokenin, an immediate vassal of the Shogunate in the Kamakura and Muromachi throughout the Edo periods.
(Some theories believe that the Yamana clan, as well as the Iwamatsu clan, was one of the families of the Ashikaga clan.)
(Both the Nitta clan and the Ashikaga clan originate from the family of MINAMOTO no Yoshikuni of the Genji clan.)

The period of the Northern and Southern Courts

Unlike the Nitta family who participated in the Southern Courts, Tokiuji YAMANA obeyed his relative, Takauji ASHIKAGA. When Takauji came into power, this enabled Tokiuji and the Yaman clan to wield their influence as the shugo daimyo in the Sanin region; they came to be considered as one of the Shishiki-ke (four administrators' families: Yamana, Isshiki, Akamatsu, Kyogoku). Subsequently, Tokiuji supported the Southern Court and obeyed Tadafuyu ASHIKAGA in the Kanno War; however, in the era of Yoshiakira ASHIKAGA, the Yamana clan returned to the side of the bakufu.

During the generation of Ujikiyo YAMANA, the son of Tokiuji, the Yamana clan served as the shugo of 11 provinces out of the 66 provinces in Japan, and prevailed their power as to be called "Roku-bun no ichi dono" (Mr. One-Sixth). However, due to their prevalence, the Yamana clan came to be considered as a potentially dangerous clan by Shogun Yoshimitsu ASHIKAGA; Yoshimitsu attempted to conspire the estrangement of the Yamana clan. In 1391, provoked by Yoshimitsu's army, Ujikiyo raised an army with his family members, Mitsuyuki YAMANA and Yoshimasa YAMANA, and fought in the Meitoku War, invading Kyoto in December of that year. However, the Yamana army was defeated and Ujikiyo was killed by the counter-offensive of the bakufu.

After the war against the bakufu, although the Yamana clan was permitted to have successors, only two members of the clan were allowed to serve as shugoshiki (provincial constables), Tokihiro, in charge of the Tajima Province, and Ujiyuki, in charge of the Hoki Province, both of who were sons of Tokiyoshi YAMANA.

The generation of Sozen YAMANA

In 1441, Mochitoyo YAMANA, or Sozen YAMANA, served successfully as a supreme commander for the subjugation of the Akamatsu clan after Yoshinori ASHIKAGA was assassinated by Mitsusuke AKAMATSU in the Kakitsu War. By this great achievement, the Yamana clan was given shugoshiki (post of provincial constable) in the provinces of Bingo, Aki, Iwami, Bizen, Mimasaka, Harima, etc., and regained their glory.

However, Sozen confronted Shogunal Deputy Katsumoto HOSOKAWA over the leadership of the bakufu. Furthermore, as a result of complicated issues such as the succession race of the Shuogun Ashikaga family, the Hatayama clan and the Shiba clan, positioning to accede to the shogunate, the Onin War broke out in 1467. During the war, Sozen, who was the supreme commander of the Western Camp, fought with the supreme commander of the Eastern Camp Katsumoto HOSOKAWA; however, Sozen died from a disease during the war in 1473.

The Sengoku period

Sozen's death and the continuation of the Onin War rapidly diminished the power of the clan, even though Masatoyo YAMANA took over the family estate as the head of the Yamana clan. In their territories, several rebellions by kokujin, such as the War of Jiro MORI, occurred repeatedly. Furthermore, the oppression of the Yamana clan by the Tsunehisa AMAGO in the Izumo Province, Yoshioki OUCHI in the Suo Province and Muramune URAGAMI in the Bizen Province began; the only territories they managed to govern were Tanba, during the generation of Nobutoyo YAMANA, the son of Masatoyo, and Inaba, during the generation of his grandson, Nobumichi. During this difficult time, the Yamana clan was split into two families, the Tajima Shugo-family and the Inaba Shugo-family, and declined to a miserable situation where both families fought over the family estate.

Nobutoyo died in 1528 and his adopted son, Suketoyo YAMANA, succeeded the position of Tajima Shugo. Suketoyo defeated Nobumichi and assigned the position of the Inaba Shugo to his younger brother, Toyosada, which led to the unification of the Yamana clan. Furthermore, Suketoyo banded with Motonari MORI and restored the Mori clan's position as daimyo (Japanese territorial lord) in the Sengoku period; however, as the power of Nobunaga ODA extended, Suetoyo died during the war, being surrounded by the army of the senior vassal Hideyoshi HASHIBA (later, Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI).

However that same year, as Toyokuni YAMANA, the son of Toyosada, surrendered Nobunaga, he was appointed the position of Hideyoshi's vassal. Subsequently, Toyokuni was given a small territory in Inaba and assigned the position of otogishu (adviser).

The Edo period

During the Battle of Sekigahara, Toyokuni obeyed Ieyasu TOYOTOMI. As a reward for this job, Toyokuni was awarded 6,700 koku in Muraoka of Tajima Province in 1601, and the clan survived serving as kotaiyoriai (alternate yoriai, a family status of samurai warriors in the Edo period). In addition, the clan was allowed to have the same yakata-go (a title given to privileged Shugo Daimyo) as the Tokugawa gosanke (three privileged braches of Tokugawa family, the domain of Owari, Kishu and Mito) did.

In 1869, Yoshinari YAMANA was allowed to increase the koku to 11,000 by the Meiji government; with this increase of koku, the Yamana clan founded the Oka clan in Tajima village. In 1884, the Yamana clan received the title of baron.