Ko no Moroyasu (高師泰)

KO no Moroyasu (? – April 1, 1351) was a Japanese military commander of the period of the Northern and southern Courts. His real family name was Takashina. He was a son of KO no Moroshige. His official ranks were Owari no kuni no kami (Governor of Owari Province) and Echigo no kuni no kami (Governor of Echigo Province). According to "Takashina Keizu" (genealogy of the Takashina clan), KO no Moroyasu was an older brother of KO no Moronao, while "Entairyaku" (Diary of Kinkata TOIN) describes Moroyasu as a younger brother.

As a servant of Takauji ASHIKAGA, KO no Moroyasu made a great contribution by raising an army against Kamakura bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) in 1333. Thanks to the contribution, next year he was appointed as bugyo of Zasso-Ketsudansho (agency of Kenmu government to file lawsuits) together with Norifusa UESUGI. In 1335, KO no Moroyasu went to Kamakura with Takauji to fight the Nakasendai War, defeating Tokiyuki HOJO. When an Imperial force led by a supreme commander Yoshisada NITTA came to hunt down and kill Takauji ASHIKAGA, KO no Moroyasu tried to intercept the invasion in the Mikawa Province but was defeated. However, when Takauji, who had been hiding himself in Kamakura, raised an army, KO no Moroyasu followed him and thoroughly beat Yoshisada's force in the Battle of Hakone and Takenoshita, contributing to the victory of Takauji.

Although Takauji moved his forces to Kyoto, they were pushed back by the Imperial forces and Takauji was forced to escape to Kyushu, where KO no Moroyasu played a remarkable role in battles in the Chikuzen Province and other areas. KO no Moroyasu achieved a military exploit in the Battle of Minato-gawa River as the vice-officer of Tadayoshi ASHIKAGA, a younger brother of Takauji. Moroyasu made a great contribution to the establishment of Muromachi bakufu militarily, including the attack on the Kanagasaki-jo Castle and the subjugation of Akiie KITABATAKE. When Masatsura KUSUNOKI raised an army in 1347, KO no Moroyasu, with the cooperation of his older brother KO no Moronao, successfully fought it off the following year, and even succeeded to invade and destroy Yoshino, the base of the Southern Court.

However, his success and great achievements as a busho gradually turned him arrogant. For example, Moroyasu destroyed the graveyard of the Sugawara clan to build a mountain villa on it, and even killed SUGAWARA no Arinori who had complained to Moroyasu about it. Tadayoshi ASHIKAGA, who tried to prevent confrontation between buke (military authority) and court nobles, temples and shrines, and KO no Moronao, who put priority on expansion of the power of shogunate government, started to conflict with each other over the initiative of the government (please refer to "Kanno Disturbance") and Moroyasu was regarded as a key figure of the latter group. Moroyasu and Moronao cooperated and once succeeded to bring down Tadayoshi, who then retired and entered the priesthood. Although Moroyasu headed to Chugoku region to conquer Tadafuyu ASHIKAGA, he returned to Kyoto in 1351 on receipt of the news in Iwami about Tadayoshi's submission to the Southern Court and raising his army, and followed Takauji to fight Tadayoshi. However, Moroyasu was defeated by Tadayoshi in Settsu Province, and as a condition for the peace negotiation, Moroyasu and Moronao accepted to become a priest. Then he changed his name to Dosho. On April 1, 1351, when he was taken to Kyoto by Tadayoshi, Moroyasu and his family, including Moronao and KO no Moroyo, a son of Moroyasu, were killed at Mukogawa, Settsu Province by Yoshinori UESUGI, a member of Tadayoshi group.

His talent as a busho was outstanding. He was also familiar with politics and appointed as bugyo of the lawsuit agency during the early period of the foundation of bakufu. However, his arrogance was the kiss of death, resulting in the death of himself and the destruction of his family.

[Original Japanese]