Denchu on okite (殿中御掟)

Denchu on okite was a set of regulations Nobunaga ODA made Shogun Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA accept. Sixteen Articles were issued in January, 1569 and five Articles were added on January, 1570; as a result, it became regulations containing twenty-one Articles.

Nine Articles of denchu on okite

In October 1568, Nobunaga ODA came to Kyoto following Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA, and installed Yoshiaki as the 15th shogun of the Muromachi bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun.)
Under the slogan 'tenka fubu' (the realm subjected to military power), Nobunaga intended to unite all of Japan by himself; on the other hand, Yoshiaki also invited Kenshin UESUGI and Motonari MORI to Kyoto with the intention of restoring the shogunate government -- there were discrepancies between their opinions. Accordingly, relations between them gradually deteriorated. On February 9, 1569, in an order to limit shogun Yoshiaki's authority, Nobunaga issued nine Articles of denchu on okite to Yoshiaki and made him accept them.

Low ranking servants such as dohoshu (attendants) including goyo gakari (clerks), keibi gakari (security officers), and zatsuyo gakari (housemen) shall follow precedents.

If wanted by the shogun, kuge shu (court nobles), otomo shu (entourages), and moshitsugi (liaison officer) shall attend the shogun immediately.

Sobanshu (bodyguards) shall be ready if not commanded to.

When the shogun's retainer is to visit the imperial palace on business, the retainer shall ask the permission of Nobunaga. The shogun's retainer shall not visit the imperial palace for any other reasons.

Petitions shall not be submitted informally to the bakufu or the imperial court without consulting bugyonin (magistrate - retainer of the Oda family.)

Petitions to the shogun shall be forbidden.

Rules governing legal proceedings shall follow precedents.

Tobanshu (rapporteurs) shall not make any report to the shogun without consulting moshitsugi.

Bokan (residential retainer) serving at Ishiyama Hongan-ji Temple, warrior-monks of Enryaku-ji Temple on Mt. Hiei, doctors, and Onmyoji (Master of Yin yang) shall not be admitted to the shogunal residence without permission.

Two days after, on February 11, Nobunaga established denchu on okite containing sixteen Articles, which consisted of the above nine Articles and seven additional bylaws, and also made Yoshiaki accept them. Accordingly, Yoshiaki virtually became Nobunaga's puppet, and he could even hardly keep his political influence without Nobunaga's permission.

Additional five Articles to denchu on okite

On March 9, 1570, Nobunaga issued additional five Articles to denchu on okite to Yoshiaki and made him accept them, because Nobunaga saw that Yoshiaki tried to keep his political influence even after having the nine Articles of denchu on okite established.

諸国へ御内書を以て仰せ出さる子細あらば,信長に仰せ聞せられ,書状を添え申すべき事 (Should there be occasion for the shogun to send orders to the provinces in the form of gonaisho [a letter issued over the signature of the shogun], he shall inform Nobunaga, who will append his letter of endorsement).

御下知の儀,皆以て御棄破あり,其上御思案なされ,相定められるべき事 (All prior gogeji [shogunal directives] are void; new dispositions shall be made on this basis after careful consideration.)

公儀に対し奉り,忠節の輩に,御恩賞・御褒美を加えられたく候と雖も,領中等之なきに於ては,信長分領の内を以ても,上意次第に申し付くべきの事 (Should it happen that the shogun wishes to recognize or reward those who have given loyal service to kogi [the public authority, i.e., the shogun] without there being estates available for that purpose, Nobunaga will allot such, if must be, from his own domains, as the shogun may require.)

天下の儀,何様にも信長に任置かるるの上は,誰々によらず,上意を得るに及ばず,分別次第に成敗をなすべきの事 (Since the affairs of tenka (the realm) have in fact been put in Nobunaga's hands, he may take measures against anyone whomsoever according to his own discretion and without the need to obtain the shogun's agreement.)

天下御静謐の条,禁中の儀,毎時御油断あるべからざるの事 (As the realm is at peace, the shogun shall unfailingly attend to the affairs of the imperial court.)

The additional five Articles were much severer limitations of shogun's authority and political power than the sixteen Articles of the previous year. The fourth Article was significant among others, since it meant that Nobunaga could do anything at his own discretion without permission from the shogun. That is to say, the Article openly showed Nobunaga's intention of establishing despotism by using the shogun as his puppet. Incapable of retaliating against Nobunaga, Yoshiaki was forced to accept the Articles.


The twenty-one Articles of denchu on okite made the antagonism between Nobunaga and Yoshiaki conclusive. In order to defeat Nobunaga, Yoshiaki issued directions to defeat Nobunaga to Nagamasa ASAI, Yoshikage ASAKURA, Shingen TAKEDA, Kennyo HONGANJI, and Miyoshi sanninshu (three chief retainers of the Miyoshi clan) to form a league and lay a siege to Nobunaga, and opposed Nobunaga.

[Original Japanese]