Hatakeyama Mochikuni (畠山持国)

Mochikuni HATAKEYAMA (1398-April 12, 1455) was a Kanrei (Shogun's deputy) of the Muromachi shogunate during the Muromachi period. He was also the shugo (constable) of the provinces of Kawachi no kuni, Kii no kuni, and Ecchu no kuni. He was the son of Mitsuie HATAKEYAMA. He held the official rank of Jushiinoge (Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade) Saemon no kami. He later rose to the rank of Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank).
On becoming a buddhist priest, he took the name Tokuhon

The AKAMATSU, ISSHIKI, and Mochikuni's HATAKEYAMA Clans benefited from Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu's rule, increasing their strength and influence but, as the powerful SHIBA and YAMANA Clans weakened, these three Clans increasingly became an obstacle for the shogun authorities. Of the three, the HATAKEYAMA Clan, especially, formed the core of the shogunate and was a constant nuisance for generations of shoguns. When Mitsuie HATAKEYAMA died, the sixth Shogun, Yoshinori ASHIKAGA, began a rule of terror, the so called 'Bannin Kyofu (Ten Thousand People Horror,)' mainly to increase pressure on the three families. Mitsusuke AKAMATSU was defeated in 1427, and Yoshitsura ISSHIKI was assassinated in 1440. Yoshinori began attacking the HATAKEYAMA Clan in 1441 and Mochikuni was forced to step down and hand over the family estate to his younger brother, Mochinaga HATAKEYAMA. However, Mitsusuke was affected by Yoshinori's policies more than Mochikuni and assassinated the Shogun in 1441 in what is known as the Kakitsu Incident. Mochikuni immediately raised an army to attack Mochinaga and established a power base in Yamato to oppose the Kanrei, Mochiyuki HOSOKAWA. With Yoshikatsu ASHIKAGA, the son of Yoshinori, becoming the 7th shogun and the AKAMATSU Clan defeated, Mochiyuki stepped down from the Kanrei position and was replaced by Mochikuni. The same year, he entered a Buddhist monastery and took the name Tokuhon nyudo. After Yoshikatsu died of illness in 1443, he began a political campaign for Yoshimasa ASHIKAGA to become the next shogun.

While Mochikuni was still childless he had named his younger brother, Mochitomi HATAKEYAMA, as his successor but with the birth of his son, Yoshinari HATAKEYAMA, he excluded his brother and made his son the heir. However, he was forced to abandon the plan in the face of opposition from some of his vassals and named Mochitomi's son, Masanaga HATAKEYAMA (Yasaburo) as his successor. However, his vassals had split into pro-Yoshinari and pro-Yasaburo factions and, in 1454, the pro-Yoshinari YUSA Clan attacked the home of the pro-Yasaburo JINBO Clan, triggering the beginning of a bloody internal conflict.. At first the pro-Yoshinari faction had the upper hand, but the pro-Yasaburo faction, aided by Katsumoto HOSOKAWA and Sozen YAMANA (seeking to weaken the HATAKEYAMA Clan), rallied, continuing the fierce struggle. In 1455, Mochikuni died from illness, having been unable to end the fighting. He died at the age of 58.

The HATAKEYAMA Clan feud was continued by Yoshinari and Yasaburo's younger brother, Masanaga HATAKEYAMA and, together with the war of succession between the ASHIKAGA Shogun family and the Shiba (the Buei Disturbance), led to the start of the Onin War.

[Original Japanese]