Hojo Takatoki (北条高時)

Takatoki HOJO was the 14th regent to Kamakura bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) (office between 1316 - 1326). He was a direct descendant of the Tokuso family (the direct line of the regency Hojo family). He was the third son of the 9th regent Sadatoki HOJO.


He had his genpuku (celebrate one's coming of age) in 1309, and he took office as kozamurai bugyo (magistrate to guard Shogun in attendance). In 1311, his father Sadatoki and his uncle, who was the 10th regent Morotoki HOJO, passed away. In 1316, his family and Uchi-Kanrei (head of the Tokuso family) Nagasaki clan acted as guardians, and he became the 14th regent at age of 14. Uchi-Kanrei Nagasaki clan, who took duty of household management of Hojo family, increased reins of power in the shogunate government at the late Kamakura period, and Takasuke NAGASAKI and Takasuke's father Takatsuna NAGASAKI had clout at Takatoki's time.

Takatoki ordered Nichiro, who was a disciple of the late Nichiren, to hold dialogue confrontation against Shoshu (various religious schools) at denchu (shogunal residence). Nichiro sent his disciple Nichiin (1264 - 1328) as his replacement for the debate, as Nichiro himself was at old age. Kamakura denchu mondo dialogue (a disciple Nichijo took records) was held from January 30, 1319 to November 5, 1319. Seii taishogun (literally, "great general who subdues the barbarians") of the time was a miyashogun (shogun from the Imperial Court), Imperial Prince Morikuni. Result was that disciple of Nichiren, Nichiin (Nichiin's disciple was Nichijo, and second-generation pupils were Nichijin [Jinmon lineage of Hokke sect] and Nichiden [Nichiren sect Rokujo monryu] [the Rokujo Lineage]) defeated Shoshu in all arguments therefore Takatoki permitted propagation of Daimoku sect (Nichiren sect).

Activity of Akuto (a villain in the medieval times) in various provinces, rebellion of Ezo (northerners) in Oshu and Ando clan War had happened while his office in regent. Shochu Disturbance, which was a plan to overthrow the Kamakura Bakufu plotted by Emperor Godaigo in Kyoto in 1324, was prevented by Rokuhara Tandai (an administrative and judicial agency in Rokuhara, Kyoto). Suketomo HINO, who was a close associate of Emperor Godaigo, was exiled to Sadoga-shima Island and others who involved in the plot were also punished. In 1326, he retired the post of regent at age of 24, as he fell ill. Nagasaki clan, who supported Takatoki's biological child Kunitoki, and Adachi clan, who supported Takatoki's brother Yasuie, opposed over the succession of Kanrei post (karyaku no sodo [Karyaku rebellion]). Sadaaki HOJO took office as a regent in March but resigned soon after. The issue was settled as Moritoki HOJO took office of a regent in April.

In 1331, an incident had happened that Takatoki's close associates was punished as Takatoki tried to kill Enki as a criminal. In August, Emperor Godaigo plotted overthrowing the Shogunate again and hid in Mt. Kasagi. Masashige KUSUNOKI took up arms in Kawachi and Genko War broke out. He sent army to suppress, and in March 1332, he again exiled Emperor Godaigo to Oki-no-shima Island and executed close associate Toshimoto HINO. Emperor Kogen who was of Jimyoin Line was put up to the Imperial Throne.

In 1333, Emperor Godaigo escaped Oki and took up arms in Mt. Senjo in Hoki Province. Bakufu sent Takaie NAGOE of Hojo family and his head gokenin (an immediate vassal of the shogunate in the Kamakura and Muromachi through Edo periods) Takauji ASHIKAGA of Shimotsuke Province to Kyoto, to suppress forces of overthrowing the Shogunate in Saigoku (western part of Japan, especially Kyushu, but ranging as far east as Kinki). Takaie was killed by army of Norimura (Enshin) AKAMATSU, and Takauji deserted to Emperor Godaigo and overran Rokuhara Tandai. In Kanto region, Yoshisada NITTA, who was a gokenin in Kozuke Province and took up arms, won successive victories against the army of bakufu and advanced into Kamakura. When the army of Nitta invaded into Kamakura, Takatoki retreated to Kasaigayatsu Tosho-ji War at the ancestral temple of Hojo family. There he committed suicide by his own sword, with Hojo family and vassals. He died at age of 31.

Personal Profile

According to records established in later generation, including Japanese classics "Taiheiki" (The Record of the Great Peace), "Masukagami" (The Clear Mirror), "Horyakukanki" (A History Book of the 14th century in Japan) and "Kamakura kudaiki" (Records of nine generations of the Kamakura), he tends to be described as a tyrant who enjoyed dogfight and dengaku (ritual music and dancing in shrines and temples) and the trend continues in History in Edo to Meiji period. "Horyakukanki" describes that Takatoki was in poor health and "Kanazawa Library Ancient Documents" describes personality of Takatoki seen by his family. He had close friendship with Zen monk such as Soseki MUSO and was also found of Buddhist painting.

Chronological records

Date according to old lunar calendar

In 1309, he had his genpuku (celebrate one's coming of age).

Around end of November to beginning of December 1311 (October 1311 in old lunar calendar), he was ranked as Jugoinoge (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade) and was appointed to Sama no gon no kami (Provisional Captain of Samaryo, Left Division of Bureau of Horses).

On August 6, 1316 (July 10, 1316 in old lunar calendar), he was appointed to a regent.

On April 29, 1317 (March 10, 1317 in old lunar calendar), he was promoted to Jushiinoge (Junior Forth Rank, Lower Grade) and transferred to Sagami no kami (governor of Sagami Province).

In February 1319 (January 1319 in old lunar calendar), he was transferred to Shuri gon no daibu (Provisional Master in the Office of Palace Repairs).

On March 25, 1326 (February 13, 1326 in old lunar calendar), he entered into priesthood. He took a second name, Sokan.

He committed suicide with his sword on July 12, 1333 (May 22, 1333 in old lunar calendar). He died at age of 31. His homyo (a Buddhist name given to a person who has died or has entered the priesthood) was Getsurinjidensokan.

[Original Japanese]