Hosokawas Government (Sengoku Period) (細川政権 (戦国時代))

Hosokawa's government was a Japanese military government in the Sengoku period which existed from 1493 through 1549.

Seizing of Power through a Coup

Katsumoto HOSOKAWA, the head of the Hosokawa family, died during the Onin war, and his heir, Masamoto HOSOKAWA, took over as the family head. When the 9th shogun, Yoshihisa ASHIKAGA, died and a problem regarding the shogun's heirship occurred, Masamoto recommended Seiko (son of Horigoe kubo Masatomo ASHIKAGA, and later Yoshizumi ASHIKAGA) become the next shogun. However, he lost the political battle against Yoshimi ASHIKAGA and Masanaga HATAKEYAMA, and Yoshiki ASHIKAGA (later Yoshitane), son of Yoshimi, became the 10th Shogun.

When Yoshimi died in January 1491, the shogunate government came to be dominated by Masanaga HATAKEYAMA. In February 1493, Masanaga HATAKEYAMA led the army of bakufu, to which Yoshitane ASHIKAGA belonged, and attacked Yoshitoyo HATAKEYAMA (son of Yoshinari HATAKEYAMA) in order to suppress the Kawachi Province. Masamoto, who was entrusted to protect Kyoto during this expedition, made a coup with Tomiko HINO (Coup of Meio). In April, they invited Seiko to their residence in Kyoto, and supported him to become the 11th shogun Yoshitaka ASHIKAGA.

Meanwhile, the army of bakufu in Kawachi was agitated by the news of the coup in Kyoto, and estrangements occurred one after another. Furthermore, a punitive force was sent by Masamoto and Yoshiki was captured and locked up in the Ryoan-ji Temple in Kyoto, and Masanaga killed himself. This is how Masamoto established Hosokawa's government by making the shogun a puppet.

Masamoto's Government

The misjudgment of Masamoto's was the fact that Yoshiki escaped. Masamoto didn't like the stigma of killing a shogun, so he was thinking about expelling Yoshiki to Shodo-shima Island or somewhere else. However, Yoshiki escaped from Kyoto by receiving support from Naganobu JINBO, who was the Ecchu no kuni no Shugodai (deputy of Shugo [provincial constable] in Ecchu Province) and used to serve Masanaga HATAKEYAMA. Then, Masamoto was attacked by several daimyo (Japanese feudal lord) who responded to Yoshiki in 1499. Masamoto defeated them and Yoshiki ran to Yoshioki OUCHI in Suo Province.

On the other hand, Masamoto who obtained hegemony by installing Yoshitaka ASHIKAGA (later changed his name to Yoshizumi) as shogun, also had a problem. According to the "Hosokawa ryoke ki" (Record of the Two Houses of Hosokawa), the problem was that Masamoto let his vassals conduct the governmental affairs and became carried away with shugendo (Japanese mountain asceticism-shamanism incorporating Shinto and Buddhist concepts). Fortunately, as Masamoto had competent vassals such as Motoie YASUTOMI and Yukinaga MIYOSHI, the governmental affairs were conducted without any disturbance. However, such behavior of Masamoto's wasn't well accepted by some of the vassals. In 1504, Settsu-no-kuni Shugodai Motokazu YAKUSHIJI and Tomotsune AKAZAWA started a rebellion and gradually turbulence began to occur inside of the Hosokawa clan.

Also, Masamoto had no wife, so he did not have a biological child. Masamoto welcomed Sumiyuki HOSOKAWA, the youngest son of Kanpaku (chief adviser to the Emperor) Masamoto KUJO, as his adopted child. However, the branch families of the Hosokawa clan opposed the idea of the adopted son, who was not blood-related, taking over as the family head, and Masamoto welcomed Sumimoto HOSOKAWA, the son of Yoshiharu HOSOKAWA from a branch family of the Hosokawa clan in the Awa Province. Furthermore, also he later welcomed Takakuni HOSOKAWA from another branch family of the Hosokawa clan. The fact that Masamoto had three adopted sons resulted in a succession dispute.

In 1506, Masamoto attempted to expand his power and sent troops to Kawachi, Yamato and Tango Provinces. This expedition continued in the next year, and so Masamoto did not have any army around himself for quite a while. On June 23, 1507, Masamoto was killed by Nagatada YAKUSHIJI and Motonaga KOZAI, who backed up Sumiyuki during the Eisho no Sakuran (Eisho Disturbance).

Sumiyuki's Government

On June 24, after the assassination of Masamoto, Nagatada and Motonaga conspired to kill Sumimoto HOSOKAWA. However, Sumimoto escaped to Omi Province with help from Yukinaga MIYOSHI, a vassal of Sumimoto's. This is how Nagatada and Motonaga backed up Sumiyuki.

However, Sumimoto and Yukinaga, who escaped to Omi Province, were supported by the kokujin-shu (powerful families in a province) and invaded Kyoto on August 1. Sumiyuki lost in this battle and killed himself in Yushoken (his own residence). Nagatada and Motonaga also killed themselves and Sumiyuki's government collapsed in only 40 days.

Dispute between Sumimoto and Takakuni

Sumimoto, who drove Sumiyuki to kill himself, took over as the head of the family. However, when Yoshitane (Yoshiki) ASHIKAGA, who was away in Suo Province, and Yoshioki OUCHI came to know about these internal conflicts, Yoshioki summoned the daimyo in Kyushu and Chugoku regions and headed to Kyoto with them. Sumimoto ordered Takakuni to arrange reconciliation with Yoshioki. However, instead of making arrangements with Yoshioki on Sumimoto's behalf, Takakuni betrayed Sumimoto and went over to Yoshioki's side. Therefore, the reconciliatory negotiation fell apart.

In April 1508, Sumimoto was attacked by an army led by Yoshioki from the west and by an army of Iga and other provinces, which was led by Takakuni from the east, and Sumimoto abandoned Kyoto and ran away to Omi Province. Yoshizumi ASHIKAGA, who was backed up by Sumimoto, also ran away to Omi Province. Thus, Yoshitada again became the shogun (later changed his name to Yoshitane), and another puppet government controlled by Takakuni and Yoshioki was established.

In 1509, Sumimoto and Yukinaga, aiming to take back Kyoto, invaded Kyoto but lost (Battle of Nyoigatake). Then Takakuni and Yoshioki invaded Omi Province in return in 1510, but Sumimoto gained support from the kokujin-shu of the Omi Province and defeated them. It was a seesaw battle.

In 1511, Sumimoto, leading a large force which included Masayoshi HOSOKAWA and Yoshimura AKAMATSU invaded Kyoto and defeated the allied forces of Takakuni and Yoshioki in various places. However, Omi Shugo (the Governor of Omi Province) Takayori ROKKAKU, who had been supporting Sumimoto, went over to Takakuni's side. Furthermore, Yoshizumi ASHIKAGA, whom Sumimoto supported, died of illness on August 14. Partly due to these factors, at the Battle of Funaokayama, which was the decisive battle and occurred on August 24, Sumimoto suffered a crushing defeat, Masakata HOSOKAWA died, and Sumimoto ran away to Settsu Province.

The coalition administration of Takakuni and Yoshioki, which had Yoshitane ASHIKAGA as shogun, lasted for a while. However, Yoshioki OUCHI came back to Suo Province on August 2, 1518 and the administration was run independently by Takakuni HOSOKAWA. Then, Sumimoto and others, who were waiting for a chance to fight back, invaded in Settsu in October 1519. Takakuni couldn't defend against this attack. In January 1520, a peasants' uprising occurred in the Yamashiro Province and Takakuni eventually ran away to the Omi Province. Yoshitane, who was on bad terms with Takakuni, did not accompany him and obtained protection from Sumimoto. However, Takakuni, who had run away to the Omi Province, led a large force and invaded Kyoto in May. Sumimoto lost and fled to Settsu Province, and Yukinaga MIYOSHI was captured and executed. On June 10, Sumimoto died of illness at the Awa Shozui-jo Castle, where he finally reached.

Takakuni's Government

Although Takakuni did not have an enemy due to the death of Sumimoto, because the government was originally backed up by the strong man Yoshioki OUCHI, the basis of the government was very weak. Takakuni had to invoke a powerful government and maintain it after Yoshioki's return to his province. He liquidated meritorious vassals such as Masayori KAWARABAYASHI and 利倉, the Minbu no jo (the third officer of tax and urban improvement department), and expelled shogun Yoshitane ASHIKAGA and made Yoshiharu ASHIKAGA, the son of Yoshizumi, shogun in 1521. Indeed, all of his concerns were gone, and the power of the government increased from day to day.

In April 1525, Takakuni let his son, Tanekuni HOSOKAWA, take over as the head of the family and retired. However, Tanekuni died young in December and there was no choice for Takakuni but to take over as the head of the family again.

In 1526, Takakuni, who believed a false charge made by Tadakata HOSOKAWA, the Shugo (a provincial military governor) of the Tanba Province, killed his senior vassal Motomori KOZAI. Because of this, Motomori's older brother Tanemichi HATANO and Kataharu YANAGIMOTO joined hands with Rokuro HOSOKAWA (the heir of Sumimoto and later Harumoto) and Motonaga MIYOSHI (grandson of Yukinaga), and started a rebellion against Takakuni (Sakaikubo [the municipal government based in Sakai City]). In response to this, Takakuni tried to suppress Hatano but failed due to disobedience by Kunisada NAITO. At the Battle of Katsura-gawa River in February 1527, Takakuni lost against the army of Hatano and Miyoshi, and fled to the Omi Province with shogun Yoshiharu ASHIKAGA.

In May 1530, Kataharu YANAGIMOTO, who was in power in Kyoto instead of Takakuni, was killed by his vassal Sukesaburo NAKAMURA. Takakuni took this opportunity to return to Kyoto. However, he was defeated by Motonaga MIYOSHI at the Battle of Settsu Nakajima in March 1531, and on June 4, he was defeated again and captured by Motonaga at the Battle of Tennno-ji (Battle of Daimotsu), and was forced to kill himself on June 8. This is how Takakuni's government collapsed.

Collapse of the Government

After the death of Takakuni, Rokuro HOSOKAWA (Harumoto HOSOKAWA), son of Sumimoto, took over as the head of the Hosokawa family, supported by Motonaga MIYOSHI. However in 1532, Harumoto believed the false charge made by Masanaga MIYOSHi and killed Motonaga, broke away from the Sakai bakufu and reconciled with shogun Yoshiharu ASHIKAGA, and the kanrei (shogunate deputy) Harumoto HOSOKAWA conducted the administration with Yoshiharu as puppet.

In 1543, Ujitsuna HOSOKAWA, the adopted son of Takakuni, raised an army and this triggered internal conflict among the Hosokawa family again. At this time, Nagayoshi MIYOSHI, the son of Motonaga, proved himself as a vassal of Harumoto and Harumoto overwhelmed Ujitsuna. In 1548, however, Nagayoshi went over to Ujitsuna's side and Harumoto suddenly came to be in a disadvantageous position, and in 1549, he fled to the Omi Province with Yoshiharu ASHIKAGA and Yoshiteru ASHIKAGA after he was defeated by Nagayoshi at the Battle of Eguchi. Although Ujitsuna was a kanrei, he was just a puppet of Nagayoshi. Hosokawa's government ended due to Harumoto's loss and Miyoshi's government was newly established.

Harumoto continued to try to take back the government. However, he lost to Nagayoshi MIYOSHI and was forced to reconcile with him in 1561. Harumoto died 2 years later, and Harumoto's heir, Akimoto HOSOKAWA, along with Ujitsuna, became puppets of the Miyoshi clan. Akimoto was welcomed as the husband of the younger sister of Nobunaga ODA under the Oda government, and managed to maintain his life. Yusai HOSOKAWA and Tadaoki HOSOKAWA, who succeeded the branch family which started from Yorinaga HOSOKAWA, the Shugo of the Izumi Province, survived under the Oda government as daimyo, and continued to exist as a lord in the Kumamoto Domain during the Edo period.