Shiba Yoshimasa (斯波義将)
Yoshimasa SHIBA (his first name also can be pronounced Yoshiyuki) (1350 - June 18, 1410) was a busho (Japanese military commander) and shugo daimyo (Japanese feudal lord serving as a provincial military governor) from the period of the Northern and Southern Courts (Japan) to the Muromachi period. His real family name was Genji. His family line stretched back to the Shiba clan, one of the Ashikaga family which descended from MINAMOTO no Yoshikuni, a son of MINAMOTO no Yoshiie who was the head of the Kawachi-Genji, one of the Seiwa-Genji family and Chinju-fu shogun (Commander-in-Chief of the Defense of the North). He was the fourth son of Takatsune SHIBA. His wife was a daughter of Mitsusada KIRA. He had children including Yoshishige (Yoshinori) SHIBA and a wife of Mitsuyori SHIBUKAWA. He was commonly called Kadenokoji-dono.
His real family name was Genji. He was from the family of the Ashikaga clan, a distinguished family of the Kawachi-Genji which was one of the Seiwa-Genji family. His family was the main branch of the Ashikaga family in Owari. It is said that his great-grandfather Ieuji or his father Takatsune took the surname of Shiba. He became the head of Sankanrei (three families in the post of the shogunal deputy).
(For details, see the article on the Shiba clan.)
Ienaga SHIBA, Ujitsuna SHIBA, Ujiyori SHIBA and Yoshitane SHIBA were his brothers. His uncle includes Iekane SHIBA who was the founder of the Oshu-SHIBA clan.
The family line goes from MINAMOTO no Yoshiie, MINAMOTO no Yoshikuni, Yoshiyasu ASHIKAGA, Yoshikane ASHIKAGA, Yoshiuji ASHIKAGA (the third head of Ashikaga family), Yasuuji ASHIKAGA, Ieuji SHIBA, Muneie SHIBA, Muneuji SHIBA, Takatsune SHIBA to Yoshimasa SHIBA.
Appointment as Kanrei (shogunal deputy) and downfall
During the era of the second shogun Yoshiakira ASHIKAGA of the Ashikaga bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by the Ashikaga clan), Kiyouji HOSOKAWA who was a steward (shogunal deputy) assisting a shogun fell from power in the Koan Coup. The bakufu subjugated Hosokawa because he invaded Kyoto on the side of the Southern Court (Japan) so that the post of steward became vacant. In 1362, Yoshimasa at the age of 13 became a steward by the recommendation of a dominant Shugo (provincial military governor), Doyo SASAKI who was a relative of the Shiba clan, and was appointed to Shugoshiki (provincial constable) of Ecchu Province in addition to Echizen Province. His father Takatsune led the shogunate government as a guardian of Yoshimasa, but fell from power and was confined in Echizen due to Doyo who was affiliated with Yoriyuki HOSOKAWA in the Join incident in August 1366. Recommended by Doyo, Yoriyuki became Kanrei as a successor.
Chief vassal of the bakufu
Yoshiakira died in 1367, and then Yoriyuki assisted the young third shogun Yoshimitsu ASHIKAGA as Kanrei shoku (Chief Advisor). When his father Takatsune died in Echizen, Yoshimasa was allowed to serve his old master again and then rejoined the shogunate government. Connected with Koshi SHIBUKAWA, a lawful wife of Yoshiakira, he sometimes confronted Yoriyuki over a conflict between local clans and shugodai (deputy military governor) in the territory of Echizen and became a force of the anti-Yoriyuki group. Takahide SASAKI who later got in bad term with Yoriyuki after the death of Doyo joined the force. In 1379, Yoshimasa rallied the anti-Yoriyuki shugo daimyo (feudal lords serving as provincial military governors) including Takahide and Yoriyasu TOKI and besieged Hana no Gosho (literally, Flower Palace), the Shogun's residence, by using arms to demand the dismissal of Yoriyuki. He succeeded in a coup to dismiss Yoriyuki and get the position of Kanrei. This is called Koryaku Coup. The edict to search and kill Yoriyuki was once released, but he was later set free. When Yoshimitsu established the shogunal authority and started vigorous administration, Yoshimasa's political position fell shaky. In 1391, Yoshimasa was dismissed from the post of Kanrei and Yoriyuki's younger brother Yorimoto HOSOKAWA became Kanrei. When Yoriyuki died in 1392, Yoshimasa rejoined the shogunate government and he served as Kanrei five times in total of 18 years. It is said that he was engaged in the dismissal of Sadayo (Ryoshun) IMAGAWA who was Kyushu Tandai (local commissioner). When the shogun Iemitsu entered priesthood, he followed Iemitsu to become a priest and took the name of Dosho (道将). In 1399, he joined the suppression of the Oei War where Yoshihiro OUCHI raised an army.
Leadership after the death of Iemitsu
After Iemitsu died in 1408, he appointed his son Yoshishige SHIBA to the Kanrei shoku and was given an important post to assist the fourth shogun Yoshimochi ASHIKAGA as Shukuro (chief vassal). As a successor of Yoshimitsu, Yoshimochi's younger brother Yoshitsugu ASHIKAGA was supported by the court noble society, but Yoshimasa blocked it in advance. Moreover, Yoshimasa took actions to criticize Yoshimitsu's policies after his death, such as encouraging Yoshimochi to decline the court rank of Daijo Tenno (the Retired Emperor) conferred posthumously on Yoshimitsu by the imperial court because of the lack of precedent and recommending him to stop Japan-Ming trade (tally trade). On July 28, 1409, he became Kanrei for fourth time despite he was a priest ("Noritoki kyo ki [diary of Noritoki YAMASHINA]" and others). On September 19, he handed over the Kanrei post to his grandson Yoshiaki SHIBA aged 11 to control the shogunate government by the Shiba clan, but died soon on June 18, 1410. He was 61. His homyo (posthumous Buddhist name) was Hoenjiden Dosho Sekkei (法苑寺殿道将雪渓).
Record of offices and ranks held
*Date according to old lunar calendar
On July 23, 1362, he served as a steward (Kanrei) of the bakufu. He was Jibu taifu (Senior Assistant Minister of the Ministry of the Civil Administration) at that time.
He resigned as a steward (Kanrei) on August 8, 1366.
He served as Kanrei again on leap April 28, 1379. He was Saemon no suke (assistant captain of the Left Division of Outer Palace Guards) at that time.
He was promoted to Jushiinoge (Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade) and was transferred to Sahyoe no kami (Captain of the Left Division of Middle Palace Guards) in December, 1382.
He resigned as Kanrei on March 12, 1391.
He became Kanrei on June 5, 1393. During his service, he was transferred to Uemon no kami (Captain of the Right Division of Outer Palace Guards) from Sahyoe no kami.
He resigned as Kanrei on leap April 23, 1398.