Ashikaga Fujiuji (足利藤氏)

Fujiuji ASHIKAGA (year of birth unknown - 1566) was a person in the Sengoku period.

He was promoted to become Kogakubo (descendants of one of the Ashikaga families that held the office of the Kanto district administrator) (reign: 1561? - 1562?) and its position was approved by Kanpaku of that time but at the present day he is not included among the successive kubos.

His father was Haruuji ASHIKAGA and his mother was a daughter of Takasuke YANADA. His younger brothers were Iekuni ASHIKAGA, Fujimasa ASHIKAGA, Teruuji ASHIKAGA, Yoshiuji ASHIKAGA (Kogakubo) (Among them, Yoshiuji was a half brother with the same mother). His childhood name was Yukichiyo-omaru. Originally, he was the legitimate successor of Kogakubo, but a daughter of the Hojo clan, who was a concubine of Haruuji, gave birth to Yoshiuji ASHIKAGA, and as a result he was persecuted by the Hojo clan who wanted Yoshiuji to be the head of the family. With assistance of Kenshin UESUGI who was Shugo (provincial constable) of Echigo and Kanto Kanrei (a shogunal deputy for the Kanto region), he was able to expel Yoshiuji ASHIKAGA, which enabled him to enter Koga Imperial Palace and become Kogakubo for a period of time (he was not included among the successive kubos). However, when the Uesugi army withdrew from Kanto region, the Gohojo clan launched an attack again and he disappeared after the fall of Kogagosho (residence of Kogakubo). After that, Kenshin approved Yoshiuji to assume office as Kogakubo under the Etsu-So Alliance (the Echigo and Sagami alliance) and as a result Fujiuji was completely excluded from the successive kubos.

Biography

Fujiuji was the first son of Haruuji ASHIKAGA and, as apparent from the fact that one character of his name was taken from 13th shogun Yoshifuji (later Yoshiteru) ASHIKAGA, he was the next generation of Kogakubo approved by the Muromachi bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) in Kyoto.

His grandfather Takasuke YANADA was the key figure in pro-Hojo group in the family, who worked hard to welcome a daughter of Ujitsuna HOJO, Hoshunin (disambiguation) as Haruuji's second lawful wife.

However, the relationship between Haruuji and the Hojo clan was gradually deteriorated and finally Haruuji fought against Ujiyasu HOJO in the night battle of Kawagoe and he was defeated. After that, Haruuji was forced to retire under pressure from Ujiyasu HOJO, and Yoshiuji ASHIKAGA (child of Hoshunin), who was a younger brother-in-law of Fujiuji, was promoted to become the next Kogakubo.

In 1557, after Fujiuji's attempt to raise an army in order to take back Koga-jo Castle was failed, Haruuji was confined and Fujiuji was expeled. Even then, Fujiuji waited for a chance to make a comeback by relying on Harusuke YANADA (child of Takasuke) and Yoshitaka SATOMI in Awa Province. Harusuke and others asked Kanto Kanrei (a shogunal deputy for the Kanto region) Norimasa UESUGI who stayed in Echigo and Kenshin UESUGI (later Kenshin UESUGI) who helped Norimasa UESUGI to rescue Fujiuji.

In 1561, although Kagetora NAGAO's attempt to fully conquer Odawara-jo Castle in order to rescue Fujiuji and put down the Hojo clan by sending a large force of over hundred thousand soldiers including Kanto Kanrei Norimasa UESUGI and Kanpaku (chief advisor to the Emperor) Sakihisa KONOE to Kanto region was unsuccessful, he brought most of Kanto region under his control by completely conquering Koga Imperial Palace and banishing a puppet of the Hojo clan Yoshiuji ASHIKAGA who barricaded himself in the Imperial Palace (Fujiuji entered Koga instead).

Kagetora NAGAO was handed over the estate of the Uesugi family as well as the position of Kanto Kanrei from Norimasa UESUGI since he successfully guarded Kogakubo instead of Norimasa UESUGI, which was Kanto Kanrei's original duty.

Kenshin UESUGI (for convenience, hereafter referred to as Kenshin) consulted with Norimasa UESUGI, Sakihisa KONOE and others and then completely denied Yoshiuji's assumption of Kogakubo and decided to officially appoint Fujiuji as Kogakubo as a successor of Haruuji ASHIKAGA (who died in the previous year) in the name of Kanpaku and Kanto Kanrei.

The decision was accepted by anti-Hojo territorial lords in Kanto region such as the Satake clan and the Satomi clan, and therefore Fujiuji ASHIKAGA served as Kogakubo for several years.

However, when Kenshin returned to Echigo without Fujiuji, Ujiyasu HOJO immediately launched a counterattack and attacked Koga in October of the same year, which resulted in Fujiuji escaping to Nobuie TAGA (Kurodo, Takaaki, vassal of the Satomi clan) in Kazusa Province.

Even after that, the Uesugi group and the Hojo group kept fighting over Koga, and Fujiuji made the entrance to Koga and the escape to Kazusa everytime the fighting occured. However, in 1562 when the Hojo army conquered Koga Imperial Palace, Fujiuji was taken prisoner and sent to Odawara.

After that, Fujiuji was said to be transferred from Sagami Province to Izu Province, but he disappeared after 1566. He was said to be executed by Ujiyasu HOJO.

The loss of Kogakubo Fujiuji ASHIKAGA significantly affected administration of Kanto region by Kenshin UESUGI. Even when the Etsu-So Alliance (the Echigo and Sagami alliance) was later formed, Ujiyasu HOJO who was backing up the only Kogakubo Yoshiuji ASHIKAGA, carried on negotiation with Kenshin favoring Hojo. On the other hand, there were signs that Fujiuji's younger brothers Iekuni, Fujimasa and Teruuji took action for the restoration of Kogakubo, but their influence was very small and their activities were not seen around Tensho era.