Joraku (上洛)

"Joraku" is a term which means to enter in Kyoto. It originated from the fact that the capital Kyoto was called 'Rakuyo' or 'Keiraku' as an elegant name compared to an ancient capital of the Han dynasty.

The origin
In a narrow sense it means to guard the seii taishogun (literally, "great general who subdues the barbarians") of the Muromachi shogunate in Kyoto at the end of the Muromachi Period (Sengoku Period in Japan), and as a result it was considered to obtain the authority necessary to control the whole country.

In the past Kyoto was also called 'Rakuyo' by making an analogy to Rakuyo (洛陽), the capital of China, and going to Kyoto was called 'joraku (上洛),' which had the same meaning of the term 'jokyo (going to Tokyo)' at present in a broad sense.

The antonym is "geraku." Geraku means to leave from Kyoto. Besides, unlike the gorgeous image of joraku, it was sometimes compared to the reduced circumstances.

The Joraku in the Sengoku Period

In the middle of the 16th century, the chaotic political situation which had continued for more than 100 years after the Onin War turned into a somewhat normal condition not only for territorial lord called daimyo in the Sengoku Period, but also for common people.

In the situation that the powers of each place were independent, there was no substantial meaning to rule Kyoto which was already devastated by the fires of war, but the Palace of shogun was still in Kyoto, so that the guard of shogun was the best opportunity to show their powers. It was because it was an honor as the recuperator of the ost order to bring back the shogun of the Ashikaga family, who was expelled by a vassal such as the Hosokawa and Miyoshi clans, to Kyoto and guard him.

For this reason, each daimyo in the Sengoku Period that held strong power planned joraku, but nobody could succeed, prevented by the struggles in each territory. For example, Yoshimoto IMAGAWA was killed on the way to joraku by Nobunaga ODA's force and Kenshin UESUGI was blocked by fear of internal conflict or the snow and was not able to advance westward to Kaga Province. In addition, Shingen TAKEDA died of an illness on the way. The territories of these daimyo were so far from Kyoto that they had to settle the resistance on the way or the internal conflict of their own territories one by one if they wanted to achieve joraku.

Only two people, Yoshioki OUCHI with Yoshitane ASHIKAGA at the head in the Eisho era and Nobunaga ODA with Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA at the head in the Eiroku era who could be said to really achieve joraku under such situation. In addition, youthful Kenshin UESUGI and Nobunaga ODA went to Kyoto, aiming to be granted an audience with the shogun.

The legitimate reason of joraku by Yoshioki OUCHI was recovery of the old order, namely to revive the rule of the Ashikaga shogunate. However, in the case of the Ouchi clan, before it was completed, he was prevented by the force of the anti-Ouchi forces, like the Amago clan, and was forced to return to his own territory. The aims of daimyo in Sengoku Period following these were the almost same as the policy of Yoshioki OUCHI and were not even realized.

However, Nobunaga ODA intended to create a new order using military power instead of making use of the old authority, and his joraku was performed on this basis. Joraku under Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA was not aimed at a tentative recovery of the old order, but was solely by using military power and ruling the whole country.

[Original Japanese]