Imperial Prince Kanenaga (懐良親王)

Imperial Prince Kanenaga (Kaneyoshi) (c. 1329 - May 8, 1383) was the prince of Emperor Godaigo. His mother was the daughter of Tamemichi NIJO. He was a seisei taishogun (literally, "great general who subdues the western barbarians") of the Southern Court (Japan) during the period of the Northern and Southern Courts (Japan). From this, he was called seisei shogun no miya (Imperial Prince). He enhanced the force of Seiseifu fortress based in Waifu, Higo province (Kikuchi City, Kumamoto Prefecture), and achieved the heyday of the Southern Court in the Kyushu region.

Refer to the section of how to read the names of princes of Emperor Godaigo because his name has two readings.

After the Kenmu Restoration collapsed, Emperor Godaigo dispatched his princes to various regions to gain support forces. In 1336 (there are various theories regarding the year of the incident), Emperor Godaigo appointed the young Imperial Prince Kanenaga to seisei taishogun, and sent him to Kyushu. The Imperial Prince, with the support of Yorimoto GOJO or others, crossed the sea to Kutsuna-jima Island, Iyo Province (Matsuyama City, Ehime Prefecture) in Shikoku region, and stayed there for a few years with the support of Sadayasu UTSUNOMIYA in that region or Kumano Suigun Navy, pirates around Seto Inland Sea.

After that, he landed in Satsuma Province around 1341. He was in Taniyama-jo Castle, making an effort to solicit various Gozoku (local ruling family) in Kyushu, while he confronted the Shimazu clan on the side of Muromachi bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) in the Northern Court (Japan). Finally, he won Takemitsu KIKUCHI or Korenao ASO in Higo Province over to his side, and entered Waifu-jo Castle to open Seiseifu fortress in 1348, which was his start-up of Kyushu-keiryaku (governing the Kyushu region). He continued to struggle with Noriuji ISSHIKI and Yoshinaga NIKI in Hakata, the commanders in chiefs of Kyushu region deployed by Ashikaga Shogunate around this time.

When the infighting of the bakufu called the Kanno Disturbance in which Shogun Takauji ASHIKAGA and Takauji's younger brother, Tadayoshi ASHIKAGA fought in 1350, the adopted child of Tadayoshi, Tadafuyu ASHIKAGA entered Kyushu. Yorinao SHONI in Chikuzen Province supported Tadafuyu, and consequently Kyushu turned out to be a three-way struggle between the bakufu, Tadafuyu, and the Southern Court. However, Tadayoshi was killed in 1352, and Tadafuyu left for China. This triggered Noriuji ISSHIKI to attack Yorinao SHONI, but Takemitsu KIKUCHI, who was asked to support Noriuji, won a great victory over the Isshiki forces in the Battle of Harisurubaru (Dazaifu City, Fukuoka Prefecture). What's more, Imperial Prince Kanenaga who led the Kikuchi and Shoni forces defeated Ujiyasu OTOMO in Bungo Province, and Noriuji ISSHIKI escaped from Kyushu.

After Noriuji ISSHIKI left, Yorinao SHONI switched to the bakufu side. The southern court forces, including Takemitsu KIKUCHI, Taketsura AKABOSHI, Sadahisa UTSUNOMIYA, Nagayuki KUSANO, defeated Yorinao SHONI in the Battle of Chikugo-gawa River (the Battle of Ohobaru, Ogori City, Fukuoka Prefecture) in 1359, and conquered Dazaifu, a stronghold of Kyushu in 1361.

The bakufu appointed Ujitsune SHIBA and Yoshiyuki SHIBUKAWA to Kyushu Tandai (local commissioner) in the generation of the second Shogun, Yoshiakira ASHIKAGA. However, conquering Kyushu did not go well, and in 1367, Yoriyuki HOSOKAWA, a Kanrei (shogunal deputy) who supported the third young shogun, Yoshimitsu ASHIKAGA, appointed and dispatched Sadayo (Ryoshun) IMAGAWA to Kyushu Tandai.

When Gensho SHU in Ming sent to Imperial Prince Kanenaga a sovereign's message that SHU required to have Imperial Prince Kanenaga suppress the pirates called wako (Japanese pirates) that were active in Kyushu around that time, at first, Kanenaga refused. However, later on, Kanenaga followed SHU, and he was granted the title of 'King of Japan Kanenaga' (based on the record of "Taiso Jitsuroku" - the history of the founder) under sakuho (homage by Chinese emperors), and with the help of Ming's authority and power, Imperial Prince Kanenaga built the Southern Court force in Kyushu, even though the Southern Court forces had waned in the center of the politics.

Thereafter, Imperial Prince Kanenaga was forced by Sadayo (Ryoshun) IMAGAWA to leave Dazaifu and Hakata, and Kyushu was settled after Tadafuyu ASHIKAGA surrendered to the bakufu. Kanenaga was said to have died of disease in Yabe-mura, Chikugo Province after he ceded the post of seisei shogun to the Imperial Prince Yoshinari (prince of Emperor Gomurakami).

Because Imperial Prince Kanenaga was in Sakuho relationship (vassal relationship) with Ming as '良懐,' to commence Japan-Ming trade (the tally trade), the Northern Court or the Shimazu clan in Satsuma Province had to use the name of '良懐' to send an ambassador to Ming until Yoshimitsu was granted the title of 'King of Japan' under sakuho by Kenbun-tei (Jianwen Emperor). At first, Yoshimitsu ASHIKAGA was regarded by Ming as 'a vassal of Jimyo who competed for the rank of Japanese King with 良懐', and had difficulty with having Ming approve Yoshimitsu as a partner for diplomatic relations.

Grave site, Mausoleum
His grave site was said to be in several places; the Imperial Household Agency approved the one in Yatsushiro City, Kumamoto Prefecture. He was enshrined in Yatsushiro-gu Shrine in Yatsushiro City during the Meiji period.

'Why don't we march first and win the battle against Ming in front of Mt. Garan and enjoy playing sugoroku (Japanese game) afterwards' (賀蘭山前に相逢うて、いささか以って博戯せん)

Farewell poem composed on the eve of his death
'雲井にものぼるべき身のさはなくて 雲雀の床に音をのみぞなく'

[Original Japanese]