Imagawa Norimasa (今川範政)

Norimasa IMAGAWA was shugo daimyo (shugo, which were Japanese provincial military governors, that became daimyo, which were Japanese feudal lords) from the period of the Northern and Southern Courts through the early Muromachi Period. He was the fourth family head of the Imagawa clan in Suruga Province.

In 1409, he took over as the family head due to his father Yasunori's death (there are various theories regarding the year of Yasunori's death and it is also said that he might have taken over earlier than 1409). When the War of Zenshu UESUGI happened in 1416, he protected Mochiuji ASHIKAGA who was the Kamakura kubo (Governor-general of the Kanto region) and took flight from Kamakura escaping from Zenshu UESUGI's attack. Then, by order of shogun Yoshimochi ASHIKAGA, he led the army with Fusakata UESUGI to invade into Kamakura. He defeated the army of Zenshu and managed to suppress the war. Winning the confidence of bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun), he was appointed to the important post of vice-shogun. After Yoshinori ASHIKAGA succeeded as the next shogun, Norimasa, in favor with Yoshinori, was given important posts. He worked as a watchdog over Kamakura when the confrontation between Kamakura kubo Mochiuji and shogun Yoshinori became serious. In 1432, he entertained shogun Yoshinori who was on a sightseeing trip to Mt. Fuji.

In his later years, he doted on his youngest son, 千代秋丸, and tried to pass on the family estate to 千代秋丸. This caused a serious succession dispute between 千代秋丸 and the legitimate son, Noritada IMAGAWA. Norimasa died in despair on May 27, 1433, during the dispute. He was seventy years old when he died. After his death, Yoshinori was afraid that Kamakura kubo would interfere with young 千代秋丸 if he took over Imagawa's family estate. Thus Yoshinori ruled that Noritada, who was already a grown-up, was to take over Imagawa's family estate.

Norimasa was not only a top-rated busho (Japanese military commander), but also a man of culture who showed distinguished talent in waka and calligraphy.

[Original Japanese]