Hosokawa Harumoto (細川晴元)

Harumoto HOSOKAWA was both a busho (Japanese military commander) and a daimyo (Japanese feudal lord), who lived from the late Muromachi era through to the Sengoku period (period of warring states). His family name was the Minamoto clan. His family came from a line of the Hosokawa clan, a branch family of the Ashikaga clan, which belonged to the Kawachi-Genji (Minamoto clan) as a branch of Seiwa-Genji (Minamoto clan). His government position was Ukyo no daibu (mayor of the right capital district) with the rank of Jushii (Junior Fourth Rank). He had Kinyori SANJO's eldest daughter as his legal wife, thereby becoming the brother-in-law of Shingen TAKEDA and Kennyo HONGANJI. 'Harumoto' was received the characters in his name after the 12th Shogun, Yoshiharu ASHIKAGA, however, since he and Yoshiharu were at first hostile to each other, he identified himself as 'Rokuro HOSOKAWA' for a long time. He will be referred to as Harumoto in the following.


He was born a son of Sumimoto HOSOKAWA in 1514. Upon the death of Sumimoto in Awa Province in 1520, he took over the family estate at the age of seven.

He joined forces with Motonaga MIYOSHI to attack Takakuni HOSOKAWA in 1526, then, in 1527, he and Yoshitsune ASHIKAGA made Sakai, Izumi Province their base and appointed Yoshitsuna as Shogun (Sakai kubo) after Takakuni escaped to Omi with the 12th Shogun, Yoshiharu ASHIKAGA. He directed Motonaga MIYOSHI to arrange for Takakuni to commit suicide at Kotoku-ji Temple (Amagasaki City) in Settsu Province in 1531 (the Battle of Daimotsu-kuzure).

But, soon he conflicted with Motonaga and killed him in Sakai in 1532 by inciting the Ikko-Ikki Riots in cooperation with Sho'nyo HONGANJI and Nagamasa KIZAWA. Following the murder of Motonaga, his worsening relations with Yoshitsuna ASHIKAGA led to Yoshitsuna's ouster, and he reconciled with the Shogun, Yoshiharu ASHIKAGA. Later, Ikko-shu conflicted with Sakai kubo leading to attacks, Harumoto received the cooperation of an opposing religious sect, the Hokke sect, to provoke the Hokke-Ikki Riots, and also attacked Yamashina Hongan-ji Temple allied with the Rokkaku clan in Omi in the territory where the Ikko sect was most active. In 1536, he killed all the believers of the Hokke sect, which was growing in influence in Kyoto allied with the Rokkaku clan of Enryaku-ji Temple on Mt. Hiei (Tenmon-Hokke Rebellion). He was appointed as Ukyo no daibu (mayor of the right capital district) in 1537 to control the shogunate government.

In 1543, Takakuni HOSOKAWA's adopted son Ujitsuna HOSOKAWA raised up in arms to defeat Harumoto. Ujitsuna was in partnership with Masakuni HATAYAMA and Naganori YUSA. At the same time, Shogun Yoshiharu ASHIKAGA passed the shogunate position on to his natural son Yoshiteru ASHIKAGA in 1546 to support Ujitsuna and oppose Harumoto. In response to this, Harumoto expelled Yoshiharu and his men to Omi-Sakamoto and continued fighting.

Meanwhile, Motonaga's progeny Nagayoshi MIYOSHI, who was taking over the family estate as the head of the Miyoshi family, requested Harumoto to kill his kin Masanaga MIYOSHI in 1548, however, this request was rejected by Harumoto and Nagayoshi switched to the Ujitsuna side in 1549. Consequently, Harumoto lost the war (the Battle of Eguchi) in battle with Nagayoshi in Settsu-Eguchi. Harumoto lost many followers, including Masanaga MIYOSHI and Naganao TAKABATAKE, in this war, so he escaped to Omi together with Shogun Yoshiteru and Yoshiharu, resulting in the demise of the Hosokawa government.

Subsequently, under Shogun Yoshiteru ASHIKAGA, Harumoto continued fighting with Nagayoshi MIYOSHI with the support of Harumoto remnants including Motonari KOZAI and Masakatsu MIYOSHI and the anti-Miyoshi forces in the Kinai (countries near Kyoto) including Yoshikata ROKKAKU and Takamasa HATAKEYAMA, however, he suffered a series of defeats, and reconciled with Nagayoshi in 1561 through the intervention of Yoshikata. He received Teihatsu (a tonsure) and retired to Fumon-ji Temple (Takatsuki City) in Settsu-Tonda.

He died on April 3, 1563. He was fifty years old.

[Original Japanese]