Sasaki Takahide (佐々木高秀)

Takahide SASAKI (also known as Takahide KYOGOKU) was a Shugo Daimyo (Territorial Lord as Military Commissioner) during the Muromachi period.


Takahide was born in 1328 as the third son of Doyo SASAKI, who contributed greatly to the establishment of the Muromachi Bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun). He attended the memorial service for Emperor Godaigo in 1345 at Tenryu-ji Temple.

His eldest brother, Hidetsuna SASAKI, and older brother Hidemune SASAKI died in battle in 1353 and 1348, respectively, leaving him heir to the Kyogoku clan, a branch family of the Sasaki clan.

In 1361, while serving as Samuraidokoro no Tsukasa (a samurai office), he led a force of some 500 soldiers to Ninjo-ji Temple in Settsu Province to confront Kiyouji HOSOKAWA, who had lost his position because of his father's resistance to the bakufu and was on his way to attack Kyoto. Takahide let Hosokawa's force pass by without a fight.

In 1365, Ujiyori ROKKAKU, the head of the Sasaki clan, lost his only heir at a young age; therefore, Takahide sent Takanori KYOGOKU to be adopted by the Rokkaku family. However, after adopting Takanori, Ujiyori had a son Kamejumaru, later called Mitsutaka ROKKAKU, and died the following year. This caused a dispute concerning the next heir, and the bakufu, in which Yoriyuki HOSOKAWA was serving as Kanrei (a high political post in feudal Japan), ordered Takanori to be the conservator until Kamejumaru came of age, and appointed him Omi no kuni Shugo (Military Commissioner of Omi Province) which had been held for generations by the Rokkaku clan. Only 7 years later, in 1377, Takanori was relieved from his position as Omi no kuni Shugo. This incident deepened the antagonism between Tahahide and Yoriyuki HOSOKAWA, which is considered to have been the root cause of the Koryaku no Seihen (Coup of Koryaku).

Meanwhile, Takahide joined the Hyojo shu (Councilors) in 1368, was promoted to Jushiinoge (Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade) and appointed Daizen Daibu (Master of the Office of the Palace Table), and when his father died in 1373, he headed the family estate.

During the Koryaku no Seihen that occurred in 1379, he sought the post of Kanrei along with Yoriyasu TOKI of Mino Province, and formed a force in Omi. They fought against the Rokkaku clan force sent by Yoshimitsu ASHIKAGA, the Seii Taishogun (literally, "great general who subdues the barbarians"), to search and kill Takahide. Meanwhile, seeing that Ujimitsu ASHIKAGA, the Kamakura Kubo (the shogunal headquarters in Kamakura), also intended to revolt, Yoshimitsu forgave Takahide's group and Takahide pledged to follow shogun orders in Kyoto. On the day following, however, Takahide formed a huge force with Yoshiyuki (Yoshimasa) SHIBA and Yoriyasu TOKI, surrounded Hana no Gosho (Flower Palace), and succeeded in removing Yoriyuki once again.

In 1390, on the orders of Yoshimitsu, Takahide subjugated Yasuyuki TOKI of Mino Province, and the year after, in 1391, he died at the age of 64.

He loved Waka poetry, and some of his poems are included in the "Shin Senzai Wakashu," "Shin Shui Wakashu," and "Shin Goshui Wakashu" collections.

His oldest son, Takanori KYOGOKU, was his successor. He awarded his third son, Takahisa AMAGO Amago-go, Omi Province, and Takahisa became the patriarch of the Amago clan and later became daimyo (Japanese territorial lord) of Izumo Province in the Sengoku period.