Imagawa Sadayo (今川貞世)

Sadayo IMAGAWA was a busho (Japanese military commander), shugo daimyo (shugo, which were Japanese provincial military governors, that became daimyo, which were Japanese feudal lords) in Totomi Province, Kyushu Tandai (local commissioner) of the Muromachi bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun), lived from the late Kamakura period, the period of the Northern and Southern Courts (Japan), until the Muromachi period. He was also known as a waka (a 31-syllable Japanese poem) poet. His homyo (a Buddhist name given to a person who has died or has entered the priesthood) was Ryoshun and he was often called Ryoshun IMAGAWA. There are different opinions about his age at death.

Biography

There is no record about his childhood but there is a record showing that he followed his father and was lectured waka when he was one to three year old. At the Kanno Disturbance which was developed from internal conflict of the Ashikaga family to fight between Takauji ASHIKAGA, Seii taishogun (literally, "great general who subdues the barbarians") and Tadayoshi ASHIKAGA, a younger brother of Takauji, Sadayo and his father joined to the Shogun group. They fought against Tadayoshi group and the Southern Court (Japan) and fought against Kiyouji HOSOKAWA at the battle of To-ji Temple in 1355. When Kiyouji who was once the steward of the bakufu fell from power in 1361 and joined the Southern Court, Sadayo was ordered by his father and came from Totomi Province to call for pacification. Other than military activities, he served as Shugoshiki (provincial constables) in Totomi Province or Yamashiro Province and Hikitsuke tonin (chairman of the court of justice); after the second Shogun Yoshiakira ASHIKAGA died in 1367, he entered priesthood.

In 1370, the period of Yoshimitsu ASHIKAGA, the third Shogun, Yoriyuki HOSOKAWA, Kanrei (shogunal deputy) recommended Ryoshun as Kyushu Tandai replacement for Yoshiyuki SHIBUKAWA and was officially assigned. After the Kanno Disturbance, the Kikuchi clan who committed to the Southern Court helped Imperial Prince Kaneyoshi of Seiseifu fortress and Tadafuyu ASHIKAGA, illegitimate child of Shogun Takauji, acted independent at that time, because Seiseifu fortress destroyed the Shoni clan and occupied Dazaifu (local government office in the Kyushu region). The Southern Court gained power and Sadayo was sent to suppress the Kyushu region.

After he prepared in Totomi Province, he left Kyoto in October, went through the Chugoku region and arrived Kyushu in December. In cooperation with Yoshihiro OUCHI Ryoshun contacted to emerging Kokujin (local lord) group, attacked the Kikuchi clan in Bungo Province with the cooperation of the Aso clan and attacked Dazaifu with the cooperation of the Matsuura Party and his own army attacked Dazaifu from the center. In July 1372, he drove Imperial Prince Kaneyoshi and Takemitsu KIKUCHI from Mt. Kora in Chikugo Province (present-day Kurume City, Fukuoka Prefecture) and tracked down them at Kumabe of Higo Province, the headquarter of the Kikuchi clan, then he recaptured Dazaifu from Seiseifu fortress and put a foothold there.

The battle area moved to Higo Province, in August 1374 Ryoshun led army to the Mizushima district. In 1375 he tried to gather more force in Mizushima to prepare a battle and asked Kyushu sanninshu (three major power of the Kyushu region) including Chikayo OTOMO, Fuyusuke SHONI, Ujihisa SHIMAZU in Satsuma, to help him. One of the Kyushu sanninshu, Fuyusuke SHONI from the Shoni clan refused Ryoshun's proposal because he was opposed to Kyushu Tandai but he was convinced by Ujihisa SHIMAZU and joined Ryoshun.
At the camp in the Mizushima district, Ryoshun murdered Fuyusuke during a feast and because of this incident, which was called the Mizushima Incident, Ujihisa broke away and went home,
Later the Shimazu clan became a resistance force against Ryoshun's rule in Kyushu.

Ryoshun interned an envoy from Ming who was sent to confer peerage of '日本国王良懐' (King of Japan Ryokai); because 'King of Japan Ryokai' seemed to be Imperial Prince Kaneyoshi. He had connection with Jeong Mongju, a envoy from Goryeo and negotiated with him by his own, after establishment of the Joseon Dynasty the negotiation continued. He consulted with the Ouchi clan and broke down early wako (Japanese pirates), then he sent back people from Goryeo abducted by wako to their homeland and he looked for "Daizokyo-kyo Sutra"(the Tripitaka).

In July 1395 he was ordered to come to Kyoto and he went to Kyoto in September of the same year. However Ryoshun was removed from the position of Kyushu Tandai and Mitsuyori SHIBUKAWA became the successor of the position. The reasons of removal are as below.

At the Koryaku Coup Yoriyuki HOSOKAWA who recommended Ryoshun for the position of Kyushu Tandai fell from power and passed away in 1392, then Yoshimasa SHIBA of the anti-Hosokawa group took over the Kanrei position. As a result, balance among the political powers changed and Ryoshun lost his support base. The Shibukawa clan was related to Shogun Yoshimitsu and Yoshimasa. Yoshimitsu accomplished the unification of the Northern and Southern Courts and gained power of the shogun, but he considered Ryoshun's force and diplomatic right dangerous.

Above mentioned reasons are pointed out. After he was removed from the position of Kyushu Tandai, he was ordered to be a shugo for half of Suruga Province and divided and ruled the province with Yasunori IMAGAWA, his nephew.

Yoshihiro OUCHI wished to get Tandai shiki position (a governor of Shogunal deputies), so he asked the Otomo clan and Ryoshun to cooperate with him, but Ryoshun refused this. Ryoshun served as Shugoshiki and ruled Suruga Province. In 1399, Yoshihiro raised an army in Sakai and the Oei War began. It was said that Ryoshun asked Mitsukane ASHIKAGA (the first son of Ujimitsu ASHIKAGA) to join the war, so Yoshimitsu suspected Ryoshun's involvement in this incident, then a year after suppression, Norisada UESUGI, Kanto Kanrei (A shogunal deputy for the Kanto region) was ordered to track down and kill Ryoshun. Because of Norisada and the Imagawa clan's plea for sparing a life, Ryoshun was forgiven, and in 1402, he went to Kyoto and was pardoned on condition of not being involved in politics. In his later years, he wrote books such as "Nantaiheiki" and he passed away around the age of 96.

There is a graveyard of Ryoshun at Kaizo-ji Temple in Fukuroi City, Shizuoka Prefecture.

Personal Profile

From his childhood he studied waka under Kounin, his grand mother, Tamemoto KYOGOKU and Tamehide REIZEI and studied renga (linked verse) under Yoshimoto NIJO. He formed friendship with Shotetsu. He practiced Zen and studied Confucianism. He left a collection of poetry "Gonjinshu" (Ryoshun's Collection of Verbal Dust) and writings dealing with travel to Kyushu "Michiyukiburi." He had a close relationship with Meishomaru who was a disciple of Kenko YOSHIDA, because Meishomaru went Kyushu with Ryoshun, it was said that Ryoshun was involved into compilation of the "Tsurezuregusa" (Essays in Idleness), but there are some studies which are opposed to this.

In the last years, he concentrated on writing as a scholar; the history book named "Nan-Tahiheiki" was meant to criticize the "Taiheiki" (The Record of the Great Peace), so he wrote about his position during the Oei War and great achievements made by the Imagawa clan which were not written in the "Taiheiki."

His Literary works

"Michiyukiburi"
"Shitakusa" (The Grasses Beneath)
"Ryoshun Ozoshi"
"Nan-Taiheiki"
"Nigonsho" (A Treatise of Two Words)
"Ryoshun Nikki" (The Diary of Ryoshun)
"Ryoshun Isshiden"
"Ryoshun Kagakusho" (Ryoshun's Poetics)

Historical material
"Imagawa Ryoshun Kankei-hennen-shiryo"