Hosokawa Kiyouji (細川清氏)

Kiyouji HOSOKAWA (date of birth unknown - August 22, 1362) was a warlord during the Nanbokucho period (the period of the Northern and Southern Courts) in Japan and court official in the Muromachi Shogunate. Father: Kazuuji HOSOKAWA.
Siblings: Yorikazu HOSOKAWA, Masauji HOSOKAWA, Ieuji HOSOKAWA
Children: Masauji HOZOKAWA
Originally called "Motouji," he later went by the name "Kiyouji." Sakon no shogen (Lieutenant the Left Division of Inner Palace Guards), Iyo no Kami (Governor of Iyo Province) and Sagami no kami (governor of Sagami Province).


Kiyouji was born in the hamlet of Hosokawa-go (present-day Okazaki City in Aichi Prefecture). The Hosokawa clan was one family within the Ashikaga clan and, during the battles with the Southern Court, was ordered by the Ashikaga Shogunate to support the Northern Court; in Kanno Disturbance, which was an internal struggle within the Ashikaga clan, the Hosokawas sided with Takauji ASHIKAGA, the seii taishogun (literally, "great general who subdues the barbarians"). His father, Kazuuji died in 1342 and Kiyoji was directed by his uncle, Yoriharu HOSOKAWA to fight for the Southern Court and Tadayoshi ASHIKAGA.

In 1352, he became the shugo (military governor) of Iga Province (former name for western area of Mie Prefecture). In June 1353, he was serving as feudal lord at the time of the invasion of Kyoto by Tadafuyu ASHIKAGA and is said to have carried Emperor Gokogon on his back across a mountain range at Shiotsu in Omi (former name for Shiga Prefecture). In September 1354, became the shugo (military governor) of Wakasa Province (former name of south west area of Fukui Prefecture) as well as assuming the roles of Hyojoshu (a member of Council of State) and Hikitsuke tonin (chairman of the court of justice). In the following year, 1355, when Tadafuyu's forces invaded Kyoto, the stronghold at To-ji Temple was defeated, and in 1358 he became a central figure in the Shogunate when appointed as a court official by Yoshiakira ASHIKAGA, the 2nd Shogun. In December 1359 he planned the mopping-up operation of the Southern Court military forces in Kawachi and departed on campaign together with the Kanto region commander Kunikiyo HATAKEYAMA who had come to the capital (Kyoto) from Kamakura.

Kiyouji overcame the opposition of the nobility and the influence of temples and shrines; since there were many instances of coercion including forcing payment of Hanzei (fief taxes) in Wakasa Province, the Shogunate had to address many fief related disputes involving the Shiba clan and political opponents of similar standing such as Yoshinaga NIKI. In May 1360 Kiyouji and Kunikiyo departed on a campaign to Kawachi to mop-up the Southern Court military forces, but brought the soldiers back to Kyoto and successfully drove out Yoshinaga.

Although Kiyouji held control in the Shogunate, with Kunikiyo returning to Kamakura and advances by the Southern Court forces, opposing factions were plotting to overthrow him. In September 1361 whilst Kiyouji was absent, the Shogun Yoshiakira received permission from Emperor Gokogon to hunt down and kill Kiyouji, and Kiyouji made good an escape to Wakasa Province together with his younger brothers Yorikazu and Nobuuji. In the classic text "Taiheiki" (The Record of the Great Peace), it is noted that the ringleader behind the downfall of Kiyouji was the ambitious Doyo SASAKI. In "Nan-Taiheiki" (a critique of the historical epic "Taiheiki") written by Sadayo IMAGAWA (Ryoshun), Kiyouji is innocent and there is speculation about the machinations of the Doyo clique.

Kiyouji, who had escaped to Wakasa, pleaded his innocence, but joined the Southern Court side in the Settsu Province. In December he captured Kyoto with the Masanori KUSUNOKI and Yorifusa ISHIDO group but faced Shogunate counterattacks, and in 1362 escaped to the easily defendable Awa Province with the Hosokawa clan and comrades in arms. Kiyouji moved to the Sanuki area and Yoshiakira ordered Kiyouji's cousin Yoriyuki HOSOKAWA, who was shugo (military governor) of Awa Province to hunt down and kill him; however, Kiyouji made alliances with Nobutane SASAKI of Shodo-shima Island and the Shiwaku marines of the Shiwaku-shoto Island Chain, set up a sea-blockade and fought Yoriyuki using Shiramine Castle and Takaya Castle (present day Sakaide City and Utazu-cho Ayauta-gun, Kagawa Prefecture) as bases. According to the classic text "Taiheiki," Kiyouji was tricked by Yoriyuki into splitting his forces, and was killed while fighting alone on horseback. Later Kiyouji's son Masauji also joined the Southern Court and fought the shogunate.

Sakaide City has the graves of Kiyouji and his vassals ("The 36") and the Hosokawa Shogun Sensekihi (battle site monument to Hosokawa Shogun).

[Original Japanese]