Nakasendai War (中先代の乱)

The Nakasendai War was a rebellion that occurred in July 1335 in which Tokiyuki HOJO, a bereaved son of Takatoki HOJO (the 14th shikken [shogunal regent] of the Kamakura bakufu [Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun]), raised an army, with the support of Yorishige SUWA (the period of Northern and Southern Courts) of Shinano Province, with the aim to restore the Kamakura bakufu. It is called the Nakasendai War based on the fact that Tokiyuki HOJO temporarily occupied Kamakura during the period between the former administration (Hojo clan) and the subsequent administration (Ashikaga clan).


At the end of the Kamakura period, Emperor Godaigo launched an anti-shogunate movement and senior vassals of the bakufu, including Takauji ASHIKAGA, joined forces with the emperor. Kamakura was occupied by Yoshisada NITTA in 1333 and the Hojo clan fell. After the fall of the Kamakura bakufu, the Kenmu Restoration, which was a direct rule by the emperor, started. In Kamakura, the Kamakura shogunfu (local institution of Kenmu government) was established, and Imperial Prince Nariyoshi, a prince of Emperor Godaigo, and Naoyoshi ASHIKAGA, Takauji's younger brother, were appointed to its head and shikken respectively. However, the Kenmu government failed to gain the support of samurai and the remnants of the Hojo clan repeatedly revolted against the government at various places. In 1335, a conspiracy became apparent in which court noble Kinmune SAIONJI and the Hino clan, who had a relationship with the Hojo clan since they served as kanto moshitsugi (court-appointed liaison with the bakufu) during the Kamakura period, sheltered Yasuie (Tokioki) HOJO, a younger brother of Takatoki HOJO who was in hiding in Kyoto, and attempted to overthrow the government in support of Emperor Gofushimi of the Jimyoin line. Although Kinmune and others were killed after they failed to assassinate Emperor Godaigo, Yasuie escaped and appealed to the remnants of the Hojo clan in various places to raise an army.

Tokiyuki, who was in hiding in the Hojo clan's former territory, Shinano Province, raised an army with the support of hereditary vassals such as Yorishige SUWA and the Shigeno clan. In the Hokuriku region, Tokikane NAGOSHI, a member of the Hojo clan, raised an army in response to Tokiyuki. The Hoshina clan and the Shinomiya clan who sided with Tokiyuki attacked the forces of Sadamune OGASAWARA, military governor of Shinano Province, in the battle of Aonuma and moved from place to place along the Shinano-gawa River to fight. In the meantime, the Suwa clan and the Shigeno clan attacked the provincial government office of Shinano Province, forced the governor (Kiyohara-shi Mahito Bo) to commit suicide, entered Musashi Province and advanced toward Kamakura. Tokiyuki's force defeated the army of the Kamakura shogunfu at various places including Onakagegahara, and defeated the army of Naoyoshi ASHIKAGA which came from Kamakura in order to intercept Tokiyuki's force. Naoyoshi escaped from Kamakura together with Yoshiakira ASHIKAGA, a very young son of Takauji, and Imperial Prince Nariyoshi, a prince of Emperor Godaigo. In Kamakura, Imperial Prince Morinaga, a prince of Emperor Godaigo, was being confined after he was expelled from the Kenmu Government. When escaping from Kamakura, Naoyoshi made his vassal Yoshihiro FUCHINOBE kill Imperial Prince Morinaga in secret. Tokiyuki's force defeated Naoyoshi at Tegoshigawara, Suruga Province and occupied Kamakura for a while. Naoyoshi stayed in Mikawa Province, sent a report on the war to Kyoto and sent back Imperial Prince Nariyoshi.

Being informed of Tokiyuki's rebellion, Takauji ASHIKAGA requested Emperor Godaigo to permit him to suppress Tokiyuki and to confer on him the title of so-tsuibushi (job title which has the right of government, military affairs and police authority) and seii taishogun (literally, a general who subdues the barbarians) that were necessary for the establishment of military government. Emperor Godaigo, however, refused such requests. Takauji went to the front without obtaining the emperor's authorization, but Emperor Godaigo later conferred the title of seii taishogun on Takauji. After uniting with Naoyoshi, Takauji repeatedly defeated Tokiyuki's force at Hashimoto and Sayo no nakayama in Totomi Province, Sagami-gawa River in Sagami Province, and so on. Tokiyuki fled from Kamakura 20 days after he occupied it and Yorishige SUWA etc. committed suicide.

In Kamakura, Takauji gave onsho (reward grants), at his discretion, to those who followed him in the battle of suppressing the war, ignored the Kenmu Government's order to return to Kyoto and became alienated from the Kenmu government.

Tokiyuki was in hiding at various places after he fled from Kamakura. After the Northern and Southern Courts were established, he was pardoned by the Southern Court (Japan) in Yoshino and fought against Ashikaga's forces as a member of the forces of the Nitta clan and Akiie KITABATAKE. However, he was captured by Ashikaga's force in 1352 and was executed in Kamakura in the next year.

[Original Japanese]