Funaokayama-gassen (船岡山合戦)

The Funaokayama-gassen (Battle at Mt. Funaoka) refers to a battle on September 25, 1511, between Takakuni HOSOKAWA along with OUCHI Yoshioki who supported shogun Yoshitane ASHIKAGA and Sumimoto HOSOKAWA who support former shogun Yoshizumi ASHIKAGA. It was a power struggle over the Muromachi bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun). It is also called 'the Battle of Funaokayama in the Eisho era' in order to differentiate from the battle which broke out at Funaokayama during the Onin War.

Details on the outbreak of the war

Having expelled Seii Taishogun (literally, "great general who subdues the barbarians") Yoshiki ASHIKAGA on the Coup of Meio in 1493, Shogunal Deputy Masamoto HOSOKAWA flaunted his enormous power under Yoshizumi (Yoshitaka) ASHIKAGA whom he supported. However, because Masamoto had no biological child, he adopted three sons -Sumiyuki HOSOKAWA, Sumimoto HOSOKAWA, and Takakuni HOSOKAWA- who later disputed each other as successor.

On June 23, 1507, Masamoto HOSOKAWA was assassinated by HOSOKAWA Sumiyuki's senior vassals, Motonaga KOZAI, Nagatada YAKUSHIJI, et al (Eisho Disturbance). Although Sumimoto HOSOKAWA's residence was also attacked and Sumimoto once escaped to Koga-gun Omi Province, he gained strength back with the help of Kokujin (local samurai). On September 17 of that year, he invaded Kyoto and caught Sumiyuki HOSOKAWA and his supporters. On August second, he had an approval of the eleventh Shogun Yoshizumi ASHIKAGA to succeed the HOSOKAWA clan.

However, former Shogun Yoshitada ASHIKAGA (Yoshiki) took advantage of the confusion, intending his return to Kyoto. He headed to Kyoto with Sengoku-daimyo (Japanese territorial lord during the Sengoku Period) Yoshioki OUCHI of Suo Province. Takakuni HOSOKAWA acted in concert with this. Then Shogun Yoshizumi ASHIKAGA fled to Okayama-jo Castle in Omi Province, and Sumimoto HOSOKAWA who supported Yoshizumi fled to Omi and ultimately to Awa Province. Yoshitada ASHIKAGA, who won the battle, changed his name to Yoshitane and reinstated as Shogun; a coalition government of Takakuni HOSOKAWA and Yoshioki OUCHI was formed.

Although Yoshizumi ASHIKAGA and Sumimoto HOSOKAWA aimed at rehabilitation, they were defeated at the Battle of Nyoigatake in 1509. Then, they prepared and in 1511, mustered various groups in Kinai, counterattacked, and recovered the capital. They once made Yoshitane ASHIKAGA and his people flee to Tanba province. However, Yoshitane and his people gradually regained power and were getting around the capital again.

The situation of the battle

Just before the outbreak of the battle, an internal conflict had occurred in the Rokkaku clan of Omi Province who supported Yoshizumi ASHIKAGA. As a result, Takayori ROKKAKU, family head of the ROKKAKU, revolted to Yoshitane ASHIKAGA's side, despite the Iba clan, shugodai (deputy of Shugo, provincial constable), who insisted to assist Yoshizumi's side. Moreover, Yoshizumi ASHIKAGA, the leader of the alliance, learned of the situation and died from an illness in despair. It was a serious incident. Sumimoto HOSOKAWA and his people did not lose the will to fight; they attempted a turf war at Mt. Funaoka, which was a strategic point in Tanba and Yamashiro Province, with Masataka HOSOKAWA, who was in their side, as a captain.

However, Ouchi's forces, which included most Kokujin in Saigoku (western part of Japan - esp. Kyushu, but ranging as far east as Kinki), were mighty. When Takakuni's side, including the Ouchi's forces, attacked at night, Masataka HOSOKAWA was killed in the battle, and Sumimoto HOSOKAWA's force completely collapsed. Kyoto was again fell into Yoshitane ASHIKAGA's hands.

Impact of the battle

Having lost the battle, Sumimoto HOSOKAWA fled to Awa where his parents lived and continued to resist with the support of Yukinaga MIYOSHI, aiming at recovery. Although he succeeded in recovering the capital for a short time, he finally went to ruin after all. Yoshizumi's children were entrusted to Yoshimura AKAMATSU in Harima and Yukimochi HOSOKAWA in Awa. The children were later called Yoshiharu ASHIKAGA and Yoshitsuna ASHIKAGA (Hirashima kubo).

As for Yoshioki OUCHI who won the battle, while he remained in Kyoto for a long time, there were disturbing trends in Izumo Province caused by the Amako clan, the Takeda clan, etc. Moreover, because many Kokujin (local samurai) seceded from him, he returned to Suo in 1518. Since then, he had been busy with regaining the power and died from illness in 1529 without going to Kyoto again.

Takakuni HOSOKAWA opposed to Shogun Yoshitane ASHIKAGA after a while, expelled Yoshitane ASHIKAGA in 1521, and backed Yoshizumi ASHIKAGA's son, Yoshiharu ASHIKAGA, to become Shogun. Then he opposed to Sumimoto HOSOKAWA's son Harumoto HOSOKAWA and lost the Battle of Tenno-ji, as known as Daimotsu-kuzure (Battle of Daimotsu) in 1531. Finally, Takakuni himself went to ruin.

Busho of Yoshitane's side

As core busho on Yoshitane's side, there were Captain Takakuni HOSOKAWA, OUCHI Yoshioki, and Yoshimoto HATAKEYAMA of Noto Province. The Kawachi Hatakeyama clan (the Bishu family) who had supported Yoshitane since the Coup of Meio was also thought to be with Yoshitane; however, the fact is unknown. Takamori TOIDA and Okifusa SUE who were great vassals of Yoshioki OUCHI, Tsunehisa AMAGO, a kokujin ryoshu (local samurai lord) who later opposed in Chugoku region, Kunitsune KIKKAWA, Okimoto MORI (elder brother of Motonari MORI), Yorioki YOSHIMI and others had joined the forces of OUCHI Yoshioki.

Busho on Yoshizumi's side

As busho on Yoshizumi's side, there were many great vassals of the bakufu, such as captain Sumimoto HOSOKAWA, Masataka HOSOKAWA and Yorisuke MATSUDA. There were also feudal lords, such as Yoshihide HATAKEYAMA of the Kawachi Hatakeyama clan (Soshu family), who opposed Hisanobu in Kawachi, and Yoshimura AKAMATSU of Harima.

It is thought that the Awa Hosokawa family, who were the parents' family of Sumimoto, and Yukinaga MIYOSHI their influential hikan (low-level bureaucrat) were naturally on the side of Yoshizumi. However, Nariyuki HOSOKAWA, Sumimoto's grandfather and conservator, died of an illness right after this battle, and Yukinaga was no condition to move. Their involvement in the battle is uncertain. Moreover, it has been known that there was 'Yusa, the Governor of Kawachi Province' who joined Yoshizumi's force and killed himself. He is often considered to be Nobumori YUSA who was a vassal of the Hatakeyama Bishu family. However, it is thought that Nobumori was not Yusa, the Governor of Kawachi Province, because it has become clear that there was a group of the Yusa clan among Kokujin who supported the Soshu family, and because Hisanobu was politically dominant over Yoshihide after the battle, driving Yoshihide into ruin.