Miyoshi Yukinaga (三好之長)

Yukinaga MIYOSHI was a Busho (Japanese military commander) in the Sengoku period (period of warring states). His real family name was the Minamoto clan. His family line was a branch family of the Ogasawara clandescended from the Kai-Genji (Minamoto clan), collateral line of Kawachi-Genji which was a family of the Seiwa-Genji. As for his Imina (personal name), Yukinaga, he was granted to use a portion of the real name of Shigeyuki HOSOKAWA, Shugo (a provincial military governor) of Awa Province.

Family Line

His family line was one of the retainers of the Hosokawa clan, a noble family which filled the post of Kanrei (shogunal deputy) of the Muromachi bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) for generations. His father was Nagayuki MIYOSHI. His children included Nagahide MIYOSHI. Some people say that Motonaga MIYOSHI, a child of Nagahide was also a child of Yukinaga. He was the great-grandfather (or grandfather) of Nagayoshi MIYOSHI and a great commander who seized an opportunity for the Miyoshi clan to make inroads into Kinai region (provinces surrounding Kyoto and Nara).

Biography

He was born in 1458 as a child of Nagayuki MIYOSHI.

He served the Hosokawa clan as a retainer and went on his first campaign in the Onin War and since then participated in many battles. In the issue of a successor to Masamoto HOSOKAWA who produced the golden days of the Hosokawa clan, he supported Sumimoto HOSOKAWA, an adopted child of Masamoto. After Masamoto was assassinated by a chief retainer of the Sumiyuki HOSOKAWA group, he overthrew Sumiyuki and came into power by backing up Shogun Yoshizumi ASHIKAGA with Sumimoto.

However, he was defeated in a power struggle with Takakuni HOSOKAWA, another adopted child of Masamoto and Yoshioki OUCHI and was forced to escape to Awa Province. Although he fought against Takakuni and Yoshioki from 1509 to recover Kyoto, he was defeated (Battle of Nyoigatake) and lost his son, Nagahide MIYOSHI.

In 1511, although he challenged Takakuni and Yoshioki to a decisive fight, he was defeated and withdrew to Awa Province (the Battle of Funaokayama). After he saw Yoshioki OUCHI having returned to Suo Province in 1518, he stirred up Kokujin (local samurai) of Settsu Province from November 1519 to defeat the Takakuni's army. Further, in January 1520, taking advantage of the confusion in Kyoto caused by a peasants' uprising in Yamashiro Province, he banished Takakuni and succeeded in gaining control of Kyoto, though temporarily.

In May, however, he was counterattacked by Takakuni who rearranged his troops and fought at Toji-in Temple in Kyoto. Since his troops were outnumbered, he was defeated and captured. And, on June 6, 1520, he was decapitated at Chion-ji Temple. He died at the age of 63. Yukinaga's two sons were also executed on the following day.

Personal Profile and Anecdotes

It is said that, when he was running away during the Battle of Toji-in Temple, he was unable to escape and captured due to his obese body. It is understood that Takakuni intended to employ him, but the bereaved family of Hisaharu HOSOKAWA who had been killed by Yukinaga required his execution, and so Takakuni reconsidered. Incidentally, the day, June 6 (lunar calendar: May 11) on which Yukinaga was executed falls on the same day (lunar calendar: May 11) on which Yukinaga had killed Hisaharu in the previous year.

Although Yukinaga was a great commander, he was unpopular due to his character of high-handed aspect. When he was executed, Romoki described as follows.
Although Miyoshi is very strong in the battles, the vengeance of Heaven has come down on him like this.'
He has perished all at once and Miyoshi is now a thoroughly most wicked person.'
All the people is now full of joy.'

Although Yukinaga died a regrettable death, his inroads into Kinai region formed the foundation of capturing power by Motonaga and Nagayoshi afterward and establishing the golden days of Miyoshi clan.