Rokkaku Yoshiharu (六角義治)

Yoshiharu ROKKAKU was a daimyo (Japanese territorial lord) in the Sengoku Period, based in Minami Omi Province. He was the head of the Rokkaku clan. He was sometimes referred to as Yoshisuke ROKKAKU.

Succession to Family

In 1545, Yoshiharu was born the eldest son and heir of Yoshikata ROKKAKU. His mother was a daughter of Yoshifusa HATAKEYAMA, a daimyo based in Noto Province in the Sengoku Period. Yoshikata's lawful wife, a daughter of Yoshifusa, died young; he then married the younger sister of his late wife as his second wife. Yoshiharu was born a son of the younger sister. His mother died young in 1547.

He succeeded to the family and became the head in 1559, when his father Yoshikata retired. However, it is believed that his father was still at the helm. He was dispatched to Kyo (Kyoto) under the guidance of his father in 1561, when the family united with Takamasa HATAKEYAMA in Kawachi Province to attack the Miyoshi clan.

Kannonji Family Feud

In 1563, Katatoyo GOTO, a senior vassal who was winning a particularly good reputation within the Rokkaku clan, was killed with his son at Kannon-ji Temple (Kannonji family feud). The incident destabilized the Rokkaku clan; some retainers left to serve a neighbor, Nagamasa AZAI. As a result of the feud, Yoshiharu and his father were expelled from Kannonji-jo Castle by their rebel retainer forces. Two vassels, Sadahide GAMO and Katahide GAMO, exerted themselves to have them returned to Kannonji-jo Castle.

In 1565, miyoshi sanninshu (three chief retainers of the Miyoshi clan) and Hisahide MATSUNAGA killed Shogun Yoshiteru ASHIKAGA in Kyo (Kyoto). Yoshiharu sheltered Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA, the younger brother of Yoshiteru, who was in exile. Miyoshi sanninshu approached Yoshiharu and offered the post of kanrei (shogunal deputy) as a bargaining chip; in response, Yoshiharu expelled Yoshiaki.

On June 15, 1567, he had no other choice but to sign the Rokkakushi shikimoku (bunkokuho by Rokkaku clan), which was a bunkokuho (the law individual sengoku-daimyo enforced in their own domain); the purpose of the law was to suppress each lord's authority. It is generally believed that he was forced to transfer responsibility for the family to his younger brother, Yoshisada ROKKAKU; however, there are different thoughts on this issue.


He united with his former enemy, the Mitoshi clan forces, to fight against Nobunaga ODA upon Nobunaga's invasion in 1568. Supported by Tomomichi IWANARI, a member of miyoshi sanninshu, he demonstrated do-or-die resistance and initially sent Nobunaga away. However, Nobunaga reinvaded in the following year, when the Rokkaku's resistance came loose. After a fierce battle, Mitsukuri-jo Castle, where the Rokkakus cloistered themselves, surrendered. The Rokkaku forces relocated their foothold to Koga County. He continued to vex the Nobunaga's side by forming an alliance with the Azai clan and the Asakura clan. At Nobunaga's request, the Imperial court mediated a settlement between Nobunaga and Rokkaku, Azai, and Asakura. However, Nobunaga, who rebuilt his forces, unilaterally broke the settlement and ruined Asakura and Azai; Yoshiharu once again reconciled with Nobunaga. With his foothold in Koga County, he arranged Siege around Nobunaga by mobilizing Ashikaga Shogunate houses, Uesugi in Echigo Province and Takeda in Kai Province. Yoshiharu and his father Yoshikata continued to fight against Nobunaga; however, they gradually disappear from historical records.

His Later Years

After Nobunaga's death, the Toyotomi clan took power. He was witnessed at an inuoumono (dog-hunting event, a skill of an archery) hosted by Kanpaku (regent) Hidetsugu TOYOTOMI, where he served as a kyuba shinanyaku (trainer for archery and horsemanship). He is believed to have served Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI as an otogishu (adviser). He served Hideyori TOYOTOMI as a master of bow and arrow after Hideyoshi's death. It is believed that he had become a priest. He died on November 14, 1612. Died at age 68.

Ihai (ancestral tablets) of his father Jotei (Yoshitaka) and Yoshiharu himself were placed at Ikkyu-ji Temple in Uji, Kyoto.