Takeda Motoshige (武田元繁)

Motoshige TAKEDA (1467 - November 11, 1517) was a Japanese military commander who lived during the Sengoku period (period of warring states). He was the head of the Aki-Takeda clan. He was a legitimate son of Mototsuna TAKEDA. He was Bungunshugo (a provincial constable of a specially given province in gun unit) of Sato, Yamagata, and Anan Counties in Aki Province. Motoshige can be written as either '元繁' or '元重' in Japanese. One of his children was Mitsukazu TAKEDA. His lawful wife was the adopted daughter of the Ouchi clan, who was from the Asukai family. His second wife was the daughter of Hisayuki AMAGO.

The Aki-Takeda clan was of the same family line as the Kai-Takeda clan and so on, and was based at Sato-Kanayama-jo Castle in Aki Province as Bungun Shugodai (deputy of Bungunshugo) of the Wakasa-Takeda clan in Aki Province.

In 1493, when the Coup of Meio took place, Shogunal Deputy Masamoto HOSOKAWA expelled Yoshitane ASHIKAGA, Seii Taishogun of the Muromachi shogunate, and enthroned Yoshizumi ASHIKAGA as new shogun. Yoshiki (former name of Yoshitane ASHIKAGA) who was expelled from Kyoto headed down to Yamaguchi to ask Yoshioki OUCHI for help after wandering for several years. Taking advantage of disorder by this Coup, the Ouchi clan began invading Takeda's territories. Due to estrangement by a vassal, Kunichika NUKUSHINA, and other causes, the Takeda family fell into utter turmoil. Although the Kunichika's rebellion was suppressed by activities of Yoshinao KUMAGAI, Motoshige was forced to yield allegiance to the Ouchi clan.

In 1508, Yoshioki OUCHI obeying Yoshiki ASHIKAGA raised the Joraku (going to Kyoto) army, and Motoshige TAKEDA also followed the army and went to Kyoto. On the other hand, Motonobu TAKEDA, the family head of the Wakasa-Takeda clan, who was in Kyoto, maintained a close relationship with Yoshizumi ASHIKAGA. After that, the Aki-Takeda clan became independent of the Wakasa-Takeda clan completely.

When Yoshioki OUCHI, who went to Kyoto, had Yoshitane ASHIKAGA renamed from Yoshiki ASHIKAGA, return to the position of shogun, Yoshioki remained in Kyoto as Kanrei-dai (representative of a shogunal deputy), and Motoshige following him also remained in Kyoto.

By reason that internal strife took place over the successor of the family of Itsukushima-jinja Shrine priest in Aki Province where the head of the Ouchi clan and the main power were absent, Yoshioki OUCHI had Motoshige return to Aki Province to suppress the strife. Motoshige who turned it into an opportunity planned to become independent and expand his power. When he divorced his wife who was the adopted daughter of Yoshioki OUCHI, and remarried the daughter of Hisayuki AMAGO, a younger brother of Tsunehisa AMAGO, Motoshige defected from the Ouchi clan with the support of the Amago clan of Izumo Province as a backdrop. Motoshige expanded his power in Aki Province through attack against Koi-jo Castle on the Ouchi side, and so on.

When Okimoto MORI, the head of the Mori family, died of illness and young Komatsumaru MORI succeeded to Okimoto's position in 1516, Motoshige who took advantage of disturbance began actions to recapture Arita-jo Castle which had been occupied by Mori and Yoshikawa on the Ouchi side. In 1517, he raised an army to capture the Arita-jo Castle.

Motoshige provided Motonao KUMAGAI with soldiers and entrusted him with interception of Mori and Yoshikawa armies coming to the rescue, and he himself led the main force and attacked Arita-jo Castle. Although the army of Motonao KUMAGAI opened war with the Mori and Yoshikawa allied forces, the army was destroyed by the tactics of Motonari MORI who was the conservator of the head of the Mori clan, and Motonao died on the battlefield. Motoshige outraged by the report of defeat led an army and attacked the Mori and Yoshikawa allied forces. Although he prevailed in the battle, Motoshige was shot by a stray arrow while crossing the Matauchi-gawa River and fell from his horse, and his head was cut off and taken away.
(the Battle of Arita-Nakaide)

Although Mitsukazu succeeded to the headship of the Takeda family due to Motoshige's death on the battlefield, the Aki-Takeda clan gradually weakened in the wake of this Battle, and was eventually defeated several generations later by the Mori clan which became more powerful.