Toki Yorito (土岐頼遠)

Yorito TOKI (? - January 6, 1343) was a military commander who lived from the late Kamakura period through the period of the Northern and Southern Courts (Japan). He was the sixth son of Yorisada TOKI.

He, together with his father, served Takauji ASHIKAGA, was a great soldier who fought in many places, and was known as 'Basara.'
He fought against a large number of military commanders from the Southern Court (Japan) such as Taketoshi KIKUCHI in the Battle of Tatarahama in 1336, Yoshisada NITTA in Kyoto in the same year, Akiie KITABATAKE in the Battle of Aonogahara in Mino Province in 1338, and against Yoshisuke WAKIYA (younger brother of Yoshisada).

In the Battle of Aonogahara, while the entire bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) force (with 80,000 horse soldiers according to "Taihei ki" (Record of Peace against the Foreigners)) was badly defeated against the much larger force from the Oshu district led by Akiie KITABATAKE (with 500,000 horse soldiers according to "Taihei ki"), Yorito led 1,000 elite horse soldiers, fought like a demon, and distinguished himself in battle.

In 1339, he took over the family headship when his father died and then he was appointed to the Director of Mino Province.
He later continued to fight in many places and his battlefield reputation continued to grow, but this caused him to become rude, and in October, 1342, when the drunk Yorito came across the ox wagon of Emperor Kongon on the way home from a kasagake competition (horseback archery competition), under the influence of alcohol, he kicked (some say he shot with an arrow) the ox wagon saying, 'Did you say it was the Emperor ('in')? Or, did you say it was a dog ('inu')? If it's a dog, just shoot it.'
Takauji's younger brother Tadayoshi ASHIKAGA became furious when he was informed of this event, and ordered the arrest of Yorito. Yorito at one point returned to Mino Province and plotted a rebellion which failed. He then ran to Rinsen-ji Temple where Soseki MUSO was but was captured, and finally in January of the following year, he was beheaded in Rokujo-Gawara in Kyoto.

Basara daimyo (unconventional warriors) in general more or less downplayed conventional authority such as the Imperial Court, but for Tadayoshi, the Retired Emperor Kogon was the only authority (chiten no kimi (supreme ruler)) that guaranteed a legitimate reason for the appointment of his older brother, Takauji, to Seii Taishogun (literally, "great general who subdues the barbarians") and the reason for Emperor Komyo's ascent to the throne, and therefore, Tadayoshi thought that forgiving his behavior would threaten his authority and would negate the legitimacy of the Muromachi bakufu. In order to protect the legitimacy of the post of his older brother, Takauji, and of the Muromachi bakufu, he prioritized maintenance of the authority of the Retired Emperor Kogon over the life of the meritorious retainer.

According to Soseki MUSO, Yorito's skill as a warrior was widely recognized, and therefore, people continued to beg for his life until immediately before the execution. Because his battle performance was highly recognized a number of times, the Toki clan which would have been discontinued otherwise was allowed to keep its existence, and its family headship was taken over by his nephew, Yoriyasu TOKI.