Kagawa Motokage (香川元景)

Motokage KAGAWA was a Shugodai (deputy military governor) of West Sanuki Province who lived during the Muromachi Period and the Sengoku Period (Japan). He was the castellan of Amagiri-jo Castle in Sanuki Province. He served the Hosokawa-keicho family. His government post was Nakatsukasanojo (Secretary of Ministry of Central Affairs). His name (元景) was also written as 基景. Although several people named 'Motokage' appear in materials on the Kagawa clan, here we describe the person who was active around Tenbun era (1532-1554) and considered to be the father of Yukikage KAGAWA. Motokage', who appears in a certain history simulation game, is a mistake and is actually 'Yukikage KAGAWA'.


He was born into the Kagawa clan in Sanuki Province at the end of Muromachi Period. The Kagawa clan had served as Shugodai of Sanuki Province for generations together with the Yasutomi clan in Tosan. Also it was divided into two families, Zaikoku (staying in original province) and Zaikyo (staying in Kyoto), to make every effort toward conflicts in the Kinai region (provinces surrounding Kyoto and Nara). The Zaikyo Kagawa family, which held a post to support the Keicho family to implement government affairs, held various posts including Toshiyori-shu (senior vassals handling government affairs), Kanrei-banshu (officials accompanying Kanrei [the shogun's deputy]) and Kanrei-nai-ikennin (a senior vassal of Kanrei) as a member of Keicho Uchishu (inner group of the Keicho family). However, the Kagawa Soryo (government) family died out because Motoaki died in battle during the Onin War. It is considered that the Zaikoku Kagawa family then became the Soke (the head family).

Masamoto HOSOKAWA came into real power of the bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) through the Meio Coup, but the domestic conflict intensified due to the succession dispute in the Keicho family and the split in the vassals. In 1507, Motokage succeeded the Soryo family of Kagawa clan after Mitsukage KAGAWA, who was his father and a valet of Masamoto HOSOKAWA, had died in battle in the Kinai region. After that, the Hosokawa family was repeatedly in domestic conflict as it was divided between the powers of Takakuni HOSOKAWA, Masataka and Sumimoto HOSOKAWA, who succeeded the Hosokawa-keicho family with the support of Yukinaga MIYOSHI and so on. Then Yoshioki OUCHI came to the capital (Kyoto), exalting Yoshitane, the former Shogun, and formed an alliance with Takakuni to attack Sumimoto. Two days after Motokage surrendered to the Takakuni forces with the Yasutomi clan, the Takakuni forces defeated Yukinaga MIYOSHI in Kyoto and banished Yoshizumi ASHIKAGA and Sumimoto to Omi Province. Sumimoto escaped to Awa Province, but soon died of an illness. Takakuni became Kanrei and attained control of real power. But, in 1518, the Hosokawa family split again, as Yoshioki OUCHI returned to Suo Province. Motokage fought on Sumimoto's side at first, and later on Takakuni's side. But Takakuni HOSOKAWA was defeated and killed in July, 1531, by Harumoto HOSOKAWA, who succeeded Sumimoto after his death. Motokage started the domestic administration of his own province while serving under Harumoto, who had become new Kanrei. The Kagawa clan started on the road to independence.

[Original Japanese]