Takakage ASAKURA (the seventh head of the family) (朝倉孝景 (7代当主))

Takakage ASAKURA was a military commander in the middle of the Muromachi period. He was the seventh head of the Asakura clan. He initially used the name Norikage, then changed names to Toshikage, Norikage, and Takakage in the order.
Thus, in order to distinguish him from Takakage ASAKURA (the tenth head of the family), he may be described using one of his representative names 'Toshikage ASAKURA.'
Additionally, he is often referred to by his Buddhist name 'Eirin Takakage.'

Biography

The Asakura clan was originally a powerful local clan in Echizen Province (Fukui Prefecture) that became the senior vassal of the military governor of Echizen, the Shiba clan, after the period of the Northern and Southern Courts (Japan).

During the battle that began in 1458 between the military governor of Echizen, Yoshitoshi SHIBA, and the deputy military governor of Echizen, Jochi KAI, (battle of Choroku), Takakage took the side of the deputy military governor and played an active role as the main force. On September 16, 1459, in the battle in Wada no Sho, Asuwa County, Takakage led the deputy military governor's side to victory and strengthened his position by defeating and killing Toshizane HORIE and Yukikage ASAKURA (uncle and father-in-law of Takakage) on the military governor's side. Additionally, on September 17, the day following the battle in Wada, Jochi KAI died in Kyoto, which conversely increased the influence of Takakage.

Yoshitoshi SHIBA, who started the battle of Choroku, displeased Yoshimasa ASHIKAGA, the eighth shogun, during the war and fell out of power in Suo Province. His son, Matsuomaru (later Yoshisuke SHIBA), was the military governor at the age of three, but on October 14, 1461, Takakage worked with Sozen YAMANA and succeeded in assigning Yoshikado SHIBA, the son of Yoshikane SHIBUKAWA from a branch family of Ashikaga, to the family head of the Shiba clan.

However, Sadachika ISE, a steward of the Administrative Board of the shogunate government backed up Yoshitoshi, because his mistress was the sister of Yoshitoshi's mistress. As a result, on September 12, 1466, Yoshikane was forced out from the position of the head of the Shiba clan, and Yoshitoshi SHIBA returned as heir of the Shiba clan. Takakage and Sozen who objected to this, staged the Bunsho Coup to banish Sadachika ISE, Yoshitoshi SHIBA, Masanori AKAMATSU, etc. from Kyoto--Again, Yoshikane became the heir of the Shiba clan.

Such internal discord within the Shiba clan, along with issues involving succession to the position of the heads of the Ashikaga shogunate, Hatakeyama clan, etc., led to the outbreak of the Onin War in 1467, and Takakage played an active role in the Western squad in cooperation with the master, Yoshikane SHIBA. It was also Takakage who defeated Doken HONEKAWA, a samurai in command of the foot troops, who was secluded in Fushimi Inari and had tormented the Western squad.

However, in May 1471, he was offered a secret agreement on authorization to act as regional military governor by Shogun Yoshimasa and Katsumoto HOSOKAWA, and shifted sides to join the Eastern squad. He initially had a tough time, but then won consecutive victories, gaining control of the entire Echizen Province on his own (refer to 'Military career' below), and was appointed to military governor of Echizen Province in the place of the Shiba clan. However, he came under counterattacks from Toshimitsu KAI, who was the legitimate son of Jochi KAI, and the Ninomiya clan, and died in hardship in 1481 at the age of fifty-four.

His legitimate son Ujikage ASAKURA (the eighth head of the family) succeeded him, and with the help of Takakage's brothers Tsunekage ASAKURA, Kagefuyu ASAKURA, and Kokyu ASAKURA, he unified Echizen Province.

Traditionally, it has been told that it was Takakage who based the Asakura clan in Ichijodani, but this is only described in a widely circulated edition called "Asakura Shimatsuki" (Records on the rise and fall of the Asakura clan) and there is no other basis for this. Based on historical materials such as "Chikamoto Nikki" (Chikamoto's diary), it is clear that the Asakura clan was based in Ichijodani well before this.

Takakage is said to have established the law individual sengoku daimyo enforced in their own domain, 'Asakura Takakage jojo' (a family precept of Takakage ASAKURA) (the seventeen articles of Toshikage Asakura), but there are doubts about this as well.

Worst villain in the world, who was the chief villain who commits evil deeds in the world

Takakage ASAKURA--who took a lot of public lands, lands of court nobles, and of temples and shrines--was the sworn enemy of 'temples and shrines' and 'court nobles' who were in power at the time (whose lands were collectively called 'Jisha honjo').

Chikanaga KANROJI, one of the Kugyo (the top court officials), described Takakage as 'the chief villain who commits evil deeds in the world' in his journal. When he learned of his death, he went as far as to say, 'Takakage ASAKURA of Echizen died.
Takakage ASAKURA was 'the worst villain in the world.'
The death of such a man is 'one of the most auspicious events in recent years.'
Additionally, Kanera ICHIJO, who went to Echizen Province in person for a direct negotiations with Takakage to request the return of his territory 'Asuwa no mikuriya' and failed, wrote 'It was outrageous' in "Tokazuiyo" (a book on knowledge of court rules, ceremony, decorum and records of the past of the Ichijo family).

In order to fight against Takakage's stripping of land, Kyogaku, who was the head priest of Kofuku-ji Temple, sheltered his relative Hongan-ji Rennyo, who was exiled to Enryaku-ji Temple, in his territory 'Yoshizaki Gobo' and allowed propagation of Jodo Shinshu (the True Pure Land Sect of Buddhism), while assigning him the role of local governor. This became the breeding ground for an uprising of the Ikko sect followers, which later haunted successive generations of the Asakura clan.

On the other hand, Takakage enjoyed renga (linked verse), waka (a traditional Japanese poem of thirty-one syllables), etc. and was in touch with poet-monk, Shotetsu, renga poet, Sogi IIO, etc.

Military career

Takakage's main military career is shown below.

[Battle of Choroku]
December 15, 1458: The army of Toshimitsu KAI and Takakage was defeated by the army of Toshizane HORIE at the border between Omi Province and Echizen Province. June 22, 1459: The army of Yoshitoshi SHIBA was defeated by the army of Toshimitsu KAI and Takakage in Echizen, Kanegasaki-jo Castle. September 16, 1459: The army of Toshizane HORIE, Yukikage ASAKURA, etc. was defeated by the army of Takakage and branch family of Horie in Echizen, Wada, Asuwa County.
[Onin War - Kyoto]
March 6, 1467: The army of Mochitane ONO was defeated by the army of Takakage in Kyoto. July 6, 1467: The army of Mochikiyo KYOGOKU was defeated by the army of Takakage and others in Kyoto. July 18, 1467: The army of Mochikiyo KYOGOKU was defeated by the army of Takakage in Kyoto. July 21, 1467: The army of Shigeyuki HOSOKAWA was defeated by the army of Takakage in Kyoto. July 24, 1467: The army of Nobukata TAKEDA was defeated by the army of Takakage in Kyoto, Nijo. April 22, 1468: The army of Doken HONEKAWA was defeated by the army of Takakage in Kyoto, Yamashina.
[Onin War - Echizen]
July 7, 1471: The army of the Kai side was defeated by the army of Takakage in Echizen. August 16, 1471: The army of Takakage was defeated by the army of the Kai side in Echizen, Kawamata. September 17, 1471: The army of the Kai side was defeated by the army of Takakage in Echizen, Sabae, etc. November 2, 1471: The battle between the army of Ikeda kageyusaemon no jo (presumably Tokitada) and the army of Takakage ended in a draw in Echizen, Shimizudani. September 17, 1472: The army of the Kai side was defeated by the army of Takakage in Echizen, Fuchu (fall of Fuchu shugosho - provincial administration). September 19, 1472: The army of the Kai side was defeated by the army of Takakage in Echizen, Nagasaki. September 9, 1473: The army of the Kai side was defeated by the army of Takakage in Echizen, Hiyama, etc. February 13, 1474: The army of the Kai side was defeated by the army of Takakage in Echizen, Somayama. March 30, 1475: The army of the Ninomiya side was defeated by the army of Takakage in Echizen, Inuyama. December 10, 1475: The army of Ninomiya Sakon no shogen (Lieutenant the Left Division of Inner Palace Guards), Ninomiya Suruga no kami (the governor of Suruga) was defeated by the army of Takakage in Echizen, Ino. December 10, 1475: The army of Ninomiya Sakon no shogen (Lieutenant the Left Division of Inner Palace Guards) and Ninomiya Suruga no kami (the governor of Suruga) was defeated by the army of Takakage in Echizen, Ino.