Ouchi Harumochi (大内晴持)

Harumochi OUCHI (born in 1524, date of birth unknown - June 19, 1543) was the adopted heir of Yoshitaka OUCHI who was Sengoku daimyo (Japanese territorial lord in the Sengoku period (period of warring states)) who lived in Yamaguchi, Suo Province (Yamaguchi Prefecture). His biological father was Fusafuyu ICHIJO from Nakamura, Tosa Province. His mother was an older sister of Yoshitaka OUCHI and was also a concubine of Fusafuyu. Some documents say that Harumochi was actually the fourth son of Fusaie ICHIJO.

His childhood name was Taro. After celebrating his coming of age, he called himself Tsunemochi ICHIJO, started to call himself Harumochi OUCHI, after being granted and using one of the Chinese characters used in the name of Yoshiharu ASHIKAGA, when he was adopted by the Ouchi family. After death, his name became Yoshifusa OUCHI, after being granted and therefore using a particular Chinese character from the shogun family, because of his father-in-law's achievement in government-related affairs.

Harumochi was adopted by Yoshitaka OUCHI, who did not have any sons, when he was three years old. He was good at literature as well as military arts and was also known to have extensive knowledge about waka (traditional Japanese poems of thirty-one syllables) and Kangen (gagaku musical piece without dance), and possibly because of his noble Ichijo family line, Yoshitaka was fond of him very much. In particular, how Yoshitaka treated Haruhide OTOMO (Yoshinaga OUCHI) who later became his adopted son was greatly different from how he treated Harumochi (note, however, this was mostly due to the fact that a legitimate son Yoshitaka OUCHI (written with a different set of Chinese characters) was born to Yoshitaka after Haruhide was adopted).

After Tsunehisa AMAGO of Izumo Province died in 1541, Yoshitaka led Harumochi and others to invade Izumo in January, 1542; however, the Ouchi force was devastated due to the betrayal of Hisasuke MITOYA and Tsunemitsu HONJO, and as a result, Yoshitaka and Harumochi decided to retreat to Suo by different ships. The ship however overturned on the way, and Harumochi drowned. He was 20 years old.

After Harumochi's death, through his father's influence with the government, Yoshitaka was granted the Chinese character 'Yoshi' which was used in the name of the shogun family, he was given the posthumous name Yoshifusa OUCHI, and a memorial service was held for him. For this reason, Harumochi was also listed as Yoshifusa in family trees created in later generations. Also, those who were saddened by Harumochi's death enshrined him at what is later known as Ouchi Gongen (Ouchi-jinja Shrine).

[Original Japanese]