Ikko Ikki (一向一揆)

Ikko ikki (literally, "Ikko-sect riot") is a general term for riots during Japan's Sengoku period (period of warring states) (Japan) caused by followers of the Hongan-ji Temple branch within the Jodo Shinshu sect (the True Pure Land Sect of Buddhism), which was also called the "Ikko" or "only one direction (to heaven)" sect.

In an effort to avoid disturbances, the leadership of the Jodo Shinshu Honganji organization organized its followers of warriors, farmers, and craftsmen/merchants, thereby instituting a religiously based autonomous government over them. In 1488, after the Ikko ikki destroyed the shugo (military governor) of Kaga Province, Masachika TOGASHI, society learned of their great power. Until the last days of the Sengoku period, when the Ikko ikki were finally suppressed by Nobunaga ODA and others, Ikko ikki managed to set up and govern peaceful, prosperous neighborhoods all over the country. Because their main strongholds, including Osaka in Settsu Province, Nagashima-cho in Ise Province (Mie Prefecture today), and the Yahagi-gawa River basin in Mikawa Province were all in the low-lying wetlands, some have suggested the Ikko ikki may have developed advanced flood control techniques (without which it would have been difficult to create prosperous communities in such flood-prone areas).

The Ikko ikki initiated dozens of large-scale assaults (including the Battle of Kuzuryu-gawa River) in an attempt to restore their control over Yoshizaki-gobo Temple in Echizen Province, which had been usurped by the Asakura clan, and later, they fought with such powerful men as Nobunaga ODA and Harumoto HOSOKAWA, who had begun to fear that the sheer size of the Ikko riots (ikki) threatened to shake the very foundations of warrior rule; in the end, the Ikko ikki itself became somewhat analogous to Sengoku daimyo (Japanese territorial lord in the Sengoku period), and fought for hegemony over Japan.

But in 1580, when their resistance to Nobunaga ODA was quelled, the Ikko (Jodo Shinshu) sect patriarch, Kennyo, was forced to flee the Ikko stronghold of Osaka, and thereafter a rift appeared in the power structure of Hongan-ji Temple itself, and from that point on one heard of Ikko ikki no more.

The major Ikko ikki

1466: The Battle of Kanamori in Omi Province, the first recorded Ikko ikki
1474: The Ikko ikki of Echizen
1480: The Ecchu Ikko ikki of Ecchu Province
1488: The Kaga Ikko ikki
1531: The Daisho ikki
1532: The Kinai (or "Nara") Ikko ikki
1563: The Mikawa Ikko ikki
1567: The Ise Nagashima Ikko ikki
1570: The Battle of Ishiyama

[Original Japanese]