Yamana Tokiuji (山名時氏)

Tokiuji YAMANA (1303 - April 22, 1371) was a busho (Japanese military commander) who lived from the late Kamakura period to the period of the Northern and Southern Courts (Japan). His Father was Masauji YAMANA and his mother was a daughter of Shigefusa UESUGI. His children: Moroyoshi YAMANA, Ujikiyo YAMANA, Yoshimasa YAMANA, Tokiyoshi YAMANA, Ujifuyu YAMANA and others.


He was born in a family of gokenin (vassal) which was a branch of the Nitta clan in Kozuke Province. According to "Nan-Taiheiki" (a critique of the historical epic "Taiheiki") written by Sadayo IMAGAWA (also known as Ryoshun), his family is described to have lived a life of a common farmer, but it is unthinkable that the Yamana clan was in a low rank because it had been a gokenin from the time of establishment of Kamakura bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) and it had matrimonial relations with the Uesugi clan. This description could be supposed that Sadayo IMAGAWA looked down on the Yamana clan who was his rival.

Due to the matrimonial relations with the Uesugi clan who was a relative of the Ashikaga clan by marriage and others, he didn't followed Yoshisada NITTA who was the soryo (heir) of the Nitta clan, but participated Takauji ASHIKAGA's estrangement from Emperor Godaigo, the Battle of Minatogawa (the Battle of the Minato-gawa River) and so on. In the battle with the Southern Court (the Yoshino Court), he mopped up of the Nawa clan and became Shugo (military governor) of Hoki.

In 1350 when Kanno Disturbance occurred, that was a consequence of the conflict in the Ashikaga family between Tadayoshi ASHIKAGA, a younger brother of Shogun Takauji, and KO no Moronao, a shitsuji (steward) of the Ashikaga family, Tokiuji at first supported Moronao and joined the coup d'etat for the rejection of Tadayoshi, but in December he escaped from Kyoto to belong to the Southern Court and obeyed Tadayoshi who had destroyed Moronao. After the death of Tadayoshi in 1351, he temporarily changed his position to the Shogun side, but due to the conflict with Doyo SASAKI on the position of Shugo in Izumo and others, in 1353, he raised an army against the bakufu and advanced to Izumo. In June, with Masanori KUSUNOKI and others who were the Southern Court side he expelled Yoshiakira ASHIKAGA and occupied Kyoto, but it was recaptured in July. Tokiuji, after the evacuation to his own territory, supported Tadafuyu ASHIKAGA who was an illegitimate child of Shogun Takauji and had influence at one time in Kyushu, and in December 1354, the following year, he occupied Kyoto again with Takatsune SHIBA, Tadatsune MOMONOI and others, but then evacuated.

After that, taking advantage of the political disorder of the bakufu, he expanded his influence in Sanin and fought with the Akamatsu clan in Harima. In the bakufu, Yoriyuki HOSOKAWA was appointed to Kanrei (Shogunal Deputy) in 1367 and the war against the Southern Court became lulled, the Ouchi clan and the Yamana clan were persuaded to return to allegiance by the bakufu. Tokiuji, on the condition of the assurance of his territory, defected from Tadafuyu, and in August 1363, he went up to Kyoto and returned to allegiance with Muromachi bakufu following the Ouchi clan. In the bakufu, he was a busho of anti-Yoriyuki party along with Koshi SHIBUKAWA, lawful wife of Yoshiakira, Yoshimasa SHIBA and Hiroyo OUCHI who also had returned to allegiance with the bakufu and others. He died at the age of 73.