Yamana Sozen (山名宗全)

Sozen YAMANA (also known as Mochitoyo YAMANA) (July 6, 1404-April 15, 1473) was a Shugo (Military Governor) Daimyo in the Muromachi period. He was from the Yamana family, one of the four Clans who monopolized the position of head of the Samuraidokoro (the Board of Retainers). The Yamana family was a branch of the Nitta clan. He was the third son of Tokihiro YAMANA and his mother was a daughter of Moroyoshi YAMANA. His sons were Noritoyo YAMANA, Koretoyo YAMANA, Katsutoyo YAMANA, Masatoyo YAMANA, and Tokitoyo YAMANA, and his daughters became the wives of Katsumoto HOSOKAWA, Yoshikado SHIBA, and Takayori ROKKAKU. His real name was Mochitoyo, and he took the name Sozen after becoming a monk. His popular name was Kojiro.

Personal history

He inherited the reigns of the family in 1432. In 1435 his father Tokihiro died and in 1437 he was defeated in an uprising in Bingo by his brother, Mochihiro YAMANA, who was unhappy that Mochitoyo had inherited the family headship. In 1440 he became the Samurai-dokoro Tonin, Head of the Board of Retainers. Although he had sided with the sixth Shogun, Yoshinori ASHIKAGA, he fled without resistance during the Kakitsu Incident in 1441 when Mitsusuke AKAMATSU assassinated Yoshinori and started a war in the Province of Harima, nevertheless, he then led the main punitive force, defeating Mitsusuke and gaining the Akamatsu's domains, including Harima, to become the Shugo of eight provinces. In 1443 he adopted Hirotaka YAMANA's daughter and had her marry Norihiro OUCHI, and had another of Hirotaka's daughters marry Katsumoto HOSOKAWA in 1447, the Kanrei (shogunal deputy), creating a bond between his family and the Ouchi and Hosokawa clans.

In 1450 he became a buddhist monk and handed over the reigns of the family to his son Noritoyo. In 1454 he had a dispute with the eighth Shogun, Yoshimasa ASHIKAGA, over the position of the Akamatsu family and resigned from governmental affairs, taking up residence in Tajima. When Norihiro AKAMATSU attacked Sozen's grandchild, Masatoyo YAMANA, in Harima, he left with his forces from Tajima to expel Norihiro. In 1458 he was pardoned and returned to Kyoto. He had a disagreement with his son-in-law, Katsumoto, over Shogunal politics. In the dispute over who would take over the reigns of the Hatakeyama clan, one of the three Kanrei families, Katsumoto supported Masanaga HATAKEYAMA, while Sozen supported Yoshinari HATAKEYAMAand in the struggle over the reigns of the Shiba clan, Katsumoto supported Yoshitoshi SHIBA, while Sozen supported Yoshikado SHIBA.

In 1465, Yoshimasa ASHIKAGA's wife, Tomiko HINO, gave birth to a son and, wanting him to become Shogun, approached Sozen. In 1466, he conspired with Katsumoto to remove Sadachika ISE, the head of the Mandokoro, and Shinzui Kikei, in an incident called the Bunsho Coup. In December of the same year he forced Yoshinari HATAKEYAMA to go to Kyoto and meet the Shogun. In 1467 Masanaga HATAKEYAMA was replaced as Kanrei by Yamana's ally, Yoshikado SHIBA. Moreover, in the battle at Kami-Goryo-sha Shrine, he joined forces with Yoshinari to defeat Masanaga. Starting with an invasion of the province of Harima by Masanori AKAMATSU, an enemy of Sozen, in May, there were occasional confrontations between the two.

Sozen raised and took command of the Western Forces, which had assembled at the Izushi and Konokumayama-jo castles from various provinces, and marched to Kyoto (Onin War). At first he was in an inferior position to the Eastern Forces led by Katsumoto, who had taken control of the Shogun at Muromachi manor, but in August he joined forces with Masahiro OUCHI, who had come to Kyoto from Suo, and the situation became more balanced. In 1472 there were truce negotiations, but they failed due to the protests of Masanori AKAMATSU, and in May Sozen tried to commit suicide. In 1473 he died of disease, aged 69.
His posthumous Buddhist name is: 達碧院殿最高宗峰大居士

His tomb is at Shinjo-in Temple, an annexed temple of Nanzen-ji Temple (one of the five great Zen temples of Kyoto) in Sakyo Ward, Kyoto City.
86-11 Fukuchicho

Record of official title and rank
Months and days are written in old lunar calendar. In 1413, he came of age and took one character of the name of Shogun Yoshimochi ASHIKAGA, naming himself Mochitoyo.

In January 1439, he became Shoshiinoge (Senior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade) Saemon no suke (assistant captain of the Left Division of Outer Palace Guards).

On June 13, 1440, he became Samurai-dokoro Shoshi, Governor of the Samurai-dokoro, a position equal to the Samurai-dokoro Tonin.

On July 12, 1441, he resigned from the position of Samurai-dokoro Shoshi.

In January 1442, he was promoted and became Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank) Uemon no suke (Assistant Captain of the Right Division of Outer Palace Guards).

From 1444, he was Uemon no kami (Captain of the Right Division of Outer Palace Guards).

In 1450 he became a Buddhist monk, taking the name Soho.
He later changed his name to Sozen

In November 1454, he retired and handed the reigns of the family over to Noritoyo.

[Original Japanese]