Uesugi Noriaki (上杉憲顕)

Noriaki UESUGI (1306 - October 31, 1368) was a busho (Japanese military commander) from the end of Kamakura period to the period of the Northern and Southern Courts (Japan). The first Kanto Kanrei (A shogunal deputy for the Kanto region). The founder of the Yamanouchi-Uesugi family.

Son of Norifusa UESUGI. He has Norifuji UESUGI (Inukake Uesugi Family) and others as his brothers. His children areYoshinori UESUGI, Norimasa UESUGI, Norikata UESUGI, Noriharu UESUGI, Norikata UESUGI, Noriyoshi UESUGI (Echigo Uesugi Family), Norifusa UESUGI (Kobanawa Uesugi Family), Naokuni IWAMATSU's lawful wife, and Tomofusa UESUGI's lawful wife.

The mother Kiyoko UESUGI of Takauji ASHIKAGA and Tadayoshi ASHIKAGA was a younger sister of Noriaki's father Norifusa, therefore, Takuji and Tadayoshi were Noriaki's male cousins.


He served for Takauji from his early years, and was appointed as hisashi ban (a person who keeps the night watch staying under the eaves of building) of the Kanto area. When Takauji disobeyed the Emperor Godaigo in 1335, he joined Tadayoshi's troop. It is described in 'Taiheiki' (The Record of the Great Peace) that he was dispatched to Iwami Province when Takauji fled to Kyushu, but it seems that he was mistaken in writing for Norikane UENO, who later became Iwami no Shugo (the provincial constable of Iwami Province). In 1336, his father Norifusa died in a battle at Shijo Gawara in Kyoto when fighting against Yoshitada NITTA and Akiie KITABATAKE of the Southern Court so as to make Takauji flee from Kyoto to the west, in addition, his oldest brother, Norifuji UESUGI died in a battle against Akiie in 1338 in Settsu Province; therefore he had to take over his father's place (Yamanouchi-Uesugi Family). Uesugi clan was a court noble at the beginning, and became an emerging power in Kanto region through having a relationship with the samurai family, Ashikaga clan; then the Uesugi families founded by his male cousins, Shigeyoshi UESUGI (Takuma-Uesugi family), Tomosada UESUGI (Futahashi-Uesugi family, later Ogigayatsu Uesugi family), and his brother Norifuji UESUGI (Inukake-Uesugi family) underwent power conflicts to expand its influence in the Kanto region while taking advantage of matrimonial relations with Ashikaga clan of the shogun family throughout the Muromachi period.

Under orders from Takauji, Noriaki was appointed as steward of Kamakura Government (Yoshiakira ASHIKAGA was the chief) succeeding to his oldest brother Norifuji UESUGI who had died in the battle. KO no Morofuyu, who was also appointed to be a steward after Yoshinaga SHIBA, fought against the Southern Court forces of Hitachi Province, whereas Kagetaka NAGAO, who was shudodai (deputy military governor) under Noriaki, entered the Echigo Province, which had become Shugo's territory in 1341, and made efforts to suppress the province. When the Kanno Disturbance took place in 1349, Yoshiakira was called to Kyo (Kyoto) from Kamakura instead of Tadayoshi who lived in seclusion, and Motouji ASHIKAGA went to Kamakura from Kyo as Kamakura kubo (Governor-general of the Kanto region) to take over Yoshiakira's position. Noriaki assisted Motouji together with Morofuyu, but when Shigeyoshi UESUGI of Tadayoshi troop was assassinated by the samurai under the command of KO no Moronao, Noriaki who was also from the Tadayoshi troop, came to countervail against Morofuyu, then he and his adopted son Yoshinori UESUGI together became in conflict with Takauji; in 1351, Noriaki exiled Morofuyu from Kamakura and had Suwa clan attack him, which made Morofuyu commit suicide, and further tried to invite Tadayoshi to Kamakura, at which Takauji got furious and deprived him of the post of shugoshiki (military governor) of Kazusa and Echigo Provinces. Tadayoshi died in 1352 and the Kanno Disturbance came to an end, however warlords in the country defected from Noriaki, and he was eventually exiled to Shinano Province. At this time he became a monk and was named Dosho.

However, after Takauji died, Yoshiakira ASHIKAGA who had become the 2nd shogun and Motouji ASHIKAGA who had become a Kamakura kubo, secretly made their uncle Noriaki, who had assisted them as steward in their childhood, be reassigned as Echigo Shugo (provincial constable), and in 1362 they dismissed Kanto Kanrei, Kunikiyo HATAKEYAMA, who made resistance against the treatment and barricaded himself in the territory of Izu but was eventually suppressed; and a year later, they tried to bring Noriaki back to Kamakura as Kunikiyo's replacement. Zenka HAGA (a senior vassal of Utsunomiya clan) who was Sugodai (provincial constable) of Echigo and Kazusa Provinces, being aware of this movement, planned to intercept Noriaki, heading for Kamakura, in Ueno, but was defeated by Motouji's troops at Nigabayashino, Musashi Province; making use of this incident as a reason, Motouji sent punitive forces to Utsunomiya-jo Castle, but on their way to Utsunomiya, the sending of troops for subjugation was cancelled because Motouji accepted an exucuse of Ujitsuna UTSUNOMIYA in Gion-jo Castle under mediation by Yoshimasa OYAMA. After the death of Takauji, the bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by shogun), i.e., the Kamakura government officially took away the posts of Kanto Kanreishiki (shogunal deputy for the Kanto region) and shugoshiki (provincial constables) of Echigo and Kazusa Provinces, which had been served by persons from Togoku (eastern provincies) samurai families for generations, such as Ujitsuna UTSUNOMIYA and Kunikiyo HATAKEYAMA; instead, an emerging power of Noriaki UESUGI took over them, and Uesugi clan became capable of serving these posts for generations (political changes of the Kanto region).

Motouji died in 1367, and a year later when Noriaki proceeded to the capital, the Musashi hei ikki Riot led by Naoshige KAWAGOE took place; Noriaki dealt with the riot in a very political way, i.e., he helped Tomofusa UESUGI of Inukake-Uesugi family, who had taken over Kanto Kanrei, take off to Kawagoe-jo Castle for suppression having young Ujimitsu ASHIKAGA as a nominal leader. Due to this, the Uesugi clan came to serve by heredity the posts of shugoshiki (military governor) including the direct control territory of Kamakura kubo such as Musashi Province. He continued to suppress the Southern Court (Japan) power such as Yoshimune NITTA and Yoshiharu WAKIYA as a reserve troop, but died in the Ashikaga camp on September 19, due to his old age. Hogo (a Buddhist name) is 国清寺桂山道昌 (Kokusei-ji Temple Katsurayama Dosho). His grave is at the Kokusei-ji Temple in Nagoya, Izunokuni City.