Toki Yoriyasu (土岐頼康)

Yoriyasu TOKI (1318-February 11, 1388) was a dominant Shugo daimyo (shugo, which were Japanese provincial military governors, that became daimyo, which were Japanese feudal lords) in the period of the Northern and Southern Courts (Japan). He was the sixth son of Yorikiyo TOKI from a family of the Toki clan. He was a grandchild of Yorisada TOKI, the first Shugo (provincial constable). His official court rank was Jushiinoge (Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade), being admitted to the court and daizen no daibu (Master of the Palace Table).


After Yorikiyo died during a war, with Yorito TOKI, his uncle he moved from place to place to fight against the Southern Court (Japan) at many places. In 1342, Yorito, the soryo (heir) of the Toki clan assaulted Emperor Kogon and was executed, so Yoriyasu took over the soryo position and became the Shugo of Mino Province. He relocated his headquarter to Kawate-jo Castle and brought the Saito clan, a powerful regional clan in Mino Province to submission. Once the Toki family carried out a revolt in cooperation with the Southern Court but Yoriyasu won the battle and suppressed Mino Province.

Yoriyasu had a strong armed group, called Kikyo ikki (uprising) from the Toki family and always made military contributions and supported for Takauji ASHIKAGA, the Seii Taishogun (literally, "great general who subdues the barbarians") during the Kanno Disturbance, so he was awarded Shugoshiki (post of provincial constable) of Owari Province in 1352. In 1353, Yoshiakira ASHIKAGA was attacked by the Southern Court side and escaped from Kyoto with Emperor Gokogon, then Yoriyasu welcomed them at Kojima, Ibi County. In 1354, he was ranked with hyojoshu (a member of the Council of State). After Takauji passed away in 1358, he entered into priesthood and called himself Zenchu.

In 1360 he was awarded Shugoshiki of Ise Province position, so Yoriyasu became the Shugo of three important provinces in Tokai-do Road and the Toki clan enjoyed the most prosperous time. He was a very strong busho and was also talented at making a Waka (a traditional Japanese poem of thirty-one syllables) and his works were included into Chokusen wakashu (anthology of Japanese poetry compiled by Imperial command).

As a shukuro (a chief vassal of a samurai family) who served Takauji, he contributed to the shogunate administration and was given an important post. At the time of Yoshimitsu ASHIKAGA, the third shogun, he was opposed to Yoriyuki HOSOKAWA, the shogunal deputy and went back to his province without permission, then Yoshimitsu gave an order to track down and kill him. However, Yoriyasu apologized and was forgiven, and he was back to government. During the Koryaku Coup in 1379, Yoriyasu colluded with Yoshimasa SHIBA; he advised Yoshimitsu to banish Yoriyuki HOSOKAWA, his political enemy and Yoriyuki was ousted from power.

In 1387 after Yoriyasu's death, Yasuyuki TOKI, an adopted child took over the soryo position, however Yoshimitsu wanted to aggrandize power of the shogun and plotted an internal conflict in the Toki clan to weaken strong influence of the Toki clan, Yasuyuki was driven to raising an army but attacked by the army of the bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) and brought to ruin (The War of Yasuyuki TOKI).

Yoriyasu's nephew Yoritada TOKI was assigned to the Shugo of Mino Province but power of the Toki clan dramatically decreased and returned to the Shugo of only Mino Province.