Yoshiuji ASHIKAGA (the third head of ASHIKAGA family) (足利義氏 (足利家3代目当主))

Yoshiuji ASHIKAGA was a busho (Japanese military commander) during the early Kamakura period. He was a gokenin (a shogunal retainer) of the Kamakura bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun). He was the third son of Yoshikane ASHIKAGA. His mother was Tokiko, a daughter of Tokimasa HOJO (and a younger sister of Masako).

Even he was the third son, he took over as head of the family, because he was a birth child of the lawful wife of the Hojo clan. Because of this, he kept an intimacy with the Hojo clan through life, and he often supported the father and son, Yoshitoki HOJO and Yasutoki HOJO, at critical moments such as the Battle of WADA and the Jokyu War, and he dedicated himself to the achievement of the domination by the Hojo clan. He had a daughter of Yasutoki HOJO as his lawful wife. In addition, at the Jokyu War, he gained Mikawa Province on the Tokai-do Road between Kyoto (Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture) and Kamakura (Kamakura City, Kamakura Prefecture), and obtained a position for controlling cultural exchanges between east and west in Japan. For this reason, later, when his descendant Takauji ASHIKAGA conquered Rokuhara Tandai in Kyoto (the office of shogunal deputy in Kyoto placed by the Kamakura shogunate), the Ashikaga family could prevent the warriors of the Kamakura bakufu from going to the capital Kyoto along Tokai-do Road, in Mikawa Province. In Mikawa Province, he extended his power by inviting the Okochi clan, the grandchildren of MINAMOTO no Yorimasa, as his generals before the Okochi clan was adopted by the Nagasawamatsudaira family, and he let Osauji KIRA, his eldest child born out of wedlock, settle at the Kira-sou in Hazu District (presently located between Hazu District and Nishio City, Aichi Prefecture) and formed the Kira clan, a branch family of the Ashikaga clan (later, the Imagawa clan became a branch family of the Kira clan). He held positions such as Mikawa no kuni no kami (Governor of Mikawa Province), Mutsu no kuni no kami (the governor of Mutsu Province), and Musashi no kuni no kami (the governor of Musashi Province), and he entered into priesthood in 1241. In 1249, he built the Horaku-ji Temple of Shogizan (Ashikata city, Tochigi Prefecture).