The Choroku–Kansei Famine (長禄・寛正の飢饉)

The Choroku–Kansei Famine was a country-wide famine that struck Japan in 1459 (the third year of the Choroku era) and lasted until 1461 (the second year of the Kansei era).

In 1459, a nation-wide drought, the Kyotoku war in the Kanto region, and a typhoon that struck the Kinai area triggered a famine in Japan that mainly affected the western part of the country. The following year, a seemingly endless cycle of rain-induced floods and droughts that was followed by insect damage and plague led to a nation-wide famine; a succession battle within the HATAKEYAMA clan and the battle of Choroku that the SHIBA clan fought made the situation in their respective territories even worse.

In September (August in old lunar calendar) 1459, when a typhoon hit Kyoto, the Kamo-gawa River was flooded, sweeping away many houses and killing countless numbers of people. In 1461, struggling with severe famine, many refugees fled to the city, which only worsened the situation. It is said that 82,000 lost their lives to famine and plague in Kyoto in the first two months of 1461 alone. However, Yoshimasa ASHIKAGA, the seii taishogun (literally, "great general who subdues the barbarians") of the Muromachi bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun), had no interest in the real world, renovated the Hana-no-gosho residence, and ignored the advice from the Emperor Gohanazono who became concerned with the situation. The turmoil led to the beginning of the Onin war five years later.

During the famine, Ganami of the Ji Sect served millet porridge in Kyoto. At the Hongan-ji Temple that was put under control of the Enryaku-ji Temple and was prohibited to conduct any Jodo Shin Sect-related activities, Rennyo tried to regain the temple's independence from the Enryaku-ji Temple while engaging himself in rescue efforts, but was met with anger, which triggered the so-called religious persecution in the Kansei Era.

[Original Japanese]