Shimotsuma Raisho (下間頼照)

Raisho SHIMOTSUMA (1516-1575) was a Japanese busho (warlord) of the Sengoku period (Period of Warring States) in Japan. Since his official court rank was Chikugo no kami (Provincial Governor of Chikugo), his common name was Chikigo hokkyo (筑後法橋).

The Shimotsuma clan was a clan which served Hongan-ji Temple from the time of Shinran, and although Raisho was of collateral descendant, he was dispatched to Echizen as the supreme commander of the Ikko-Ikki riot by Kennyo and was recognized as the actual Shugo (military governor) or Shugodai (deputy military governor) of Echizen as written in "Asakura Shimatsuki."

His names beside Raisho were Yoriaki and Jutsurai. His childhood name was Genji and his posthumous Buddhist name was Rijo. He was the child of Raisei SHIMOTSUMA, and a father of Nakataka SHIMOTSUMA.

Personal History

The beginning half of the life of Raisho remains unclear, and was only recorded from 1573.

Yoshikage ASAKURA was annihilated by Nobunaga ODA in 1573, and Echizen no kuni (Echizen Province) fell under the control of Oda forces. When an internal conflict occurred within the force of Oda at Echizen in February 1574, Ikko-Ikki riot force took this opportunity to expand its power continuously. Raisho was dispatched to Echizen as the supreme commander of Ikko-Ikki riot by Kennyo and killed Yoshitsugu MAEBA, Kageakira ASAKURA (he was renamed as Nobuakira TSUCHIHASHI at that time), who were ordered to manage Echizen by Nobunaga ODA, and made Echizen as part of the real Hongan-ji territory.

However, local power, who formed the main force of Ikki riot, planned an uprising from having a grudge over the fact that Raisho, who was dispatched from Osaka, treated them like retainers. Raisho and forces on Hongan-ji side defeated this in December 1574.

The forces of Oda invaded Echizen in the summer of 1575. Raisho confined himself within Kannonmaru Castle and prepared to counterattack Oda at the Kinome-toge mountain path. Nobunaga attacked Echizen with an army of fifteen thousand men on September 29. Since they could not gain the cooperation of local Ikki riot forces, the castle which formed the main base fell under furious attacks by the Oda side and Raisho tried to escape by sea, but was discovered by a follower of the Takada school of the Jodoshinshu sect and was beheaded.