Hojo Hidetoki (北条英時)

Hidetoki HOJO was a member of the Hojo clan from the end of the Kamakura period. He was the last Chinzei tandai (office of the military governor of Kyushu) of the Kamakura bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun). His father was Hisatoki HOJO from the Akahashi lineage of the Hojo clan. He was a younger brother of Moritoki HOJO, who was the last regent of the bakufu. He was also called Hidetoki AKAHASHI.

Biography

In December, 1321, he was appointed as Chinzei tandai to succeed the position of Yukitoki HOJO (also known as Yukitoki ASO) and was sent to Hakata. When the anti-shogunate movement against the Kamakura bakufu spread to Kyushu, he strived to suppress it. In April 1333, with the rinji (the Emperor's command) of the Emperor Godaigo, he fought together with Sadatsune SHONI and Sadamune OTOMO against Taketoki KIKUCHI, who came to attack, and killed him, while Hidetoki's adopted child Takamasa HOJO made efforts to hunt down the remnants of the anti-shogunate, such as the Kikuchi clan. However, when the news came to Kyushu on June 27, 1333 that Rokuhara Tandai (an administrative and judicial agency in Rokuhara, Kyoto) was defeated by Takauji ASHIKAGA, Sadatsune and Sadamune, who had been obedient, as well as Sadahisa SHIMAZU, rebelled and made an assault. Hidetoki fought desperately a defensive battle but lost and he killed himself on July 15 in Hakata together with 240 members of his clan.

He was also an educated person who was distinguished in waka (a traditional Japanese poem) composition and many of his poems can be found in "Shoka Wakashu" (Shoka Collection of Japanese Poems), "Shoku Genyo Wakashu" (anthology of waka poems compiled by Tameyo NIJO), "Rinei Wakashu" (Rinei Collection of Japanese Poems) and others. Also, about 100 letters written by Hidetoki while he was in the Tandai position still exist today, becoming valuable historical materials.

Hidetoki in Literature

The writer Eiji YOSHIKAWA wrote in his "Shihon Taihei ki" (A private book of Taiheiki [the Record of Great peace]) as follows.
Hidetoki's talent and popularity were the real deal that he served as Tandai in Kyushu, where it was difficult to govern, for more than 10 years.'
Later, when Takauji ASHIKAGA regained momentum in Kyushu, the fact that Takauji ASHIKAGA was Hidetoki's younger brother-in-law (Takauji's lawful wife, Toko AKAHASHI was Hidetoki's younger sister) might have contributed to touch the hearts of Gozoku (local ruling family) in Kyushu.