Yamashina Tokitsugu (山科言継)

Tokitsugu YAMASHINA (June 16, 1507 - April 7, 1579) was a court noble of Japan, and was promoted from Kura no kami (Chief of Kuraryo, Bureau of Palace Storehouses) to Gon Dainagon (provisional major counselor) during the Sengoku period (period of warring states).
His father was Tokitsuna YAMASHINA, and his child was Tokitsune YAMASHINA; descent from the Tachibana clan
He was known for his friendship with daimyo (Japanese territorial lord) in the Sengoku period.


Yamashina family was the side line of the Nakanomikado family which was a branch family of the Shijo family of the Northern House of the Fujiwara clan. He held social standing as part of the Urin family, but during the Sengoku period, he faced a sluggish period together with other court nobles. He experienced a de facto misappropriation of Yamashima Ward which had been the territory of Yamashina family for generations by the Muromachi bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) on July 10, 1548. Under such circumstances, he was a person with versatile talents including Waka; he was a student of Kineda SANJONISHI, kemari (a game played by aristocrats in the Heian period), Chinese medicine, a feast, Sugoroku (Japanese backgammon), as well as Yusoku kojitsu (court and samurai rules of ceremony and etiquette) which was his family business, sho (Japanese flute) and medicine manufacture.
His most remarkable talent among them was `building up a network of connections.'

He had to perform to reconstruct the finance pressed under the reigns of Emperor Gonara and Emperor Ogimachi as Kura no kami who was the financial general director of the Imperial Court. The greatest source of revenue for the imperial court at that time came from donations by daimyo. Tokitsugu had to strive to get donations, and visited many places.

In 1533, he visited Nobuhide ODA in Owari Province as Gaku bugyo that performs music and dance. He instructed Nobuhide or Nobuhide's vassals under Masahide HIRATE in Waka, Kemari to enhance the network of connections, and later on, he negotiated a donation from Nobuhide towards the enthronement ceremony for the emperor. In 1556, he visited Jukei-ni who was his aunt-in-law and Yoshimoto IMAGAWA and Yoshimoto's mother in Suruga Province to ensure their donations. In 1566, he appealed to Masamura MIZUNOYA, the senior vassal of Yuki clan, and succeeded in restoring goryosho (the Imperial or shogunate's estate); he recommended the assignment of Masamura to Jugoinoge (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade), Ise no kuni Kokushi (the governor of Ise Province) as a token of his appreciation.

Tokitsugu's talent to build up a network of connections was not always focused on the upper class. Tokitsugu's friendly character made him the court noble who was popular among common people; he sometimes took a bath with common people; he utilized his medical knowledge and treated not only the emperor or court nobles but also common people in Kyoto without charging them for the treatment.

After the Eiroku Incident, he became an emissary proclaiming Yoshihide ASHIKAGA's assignment to the fourteenth seii taishogun (literally, "great general who subdues the barbarians") of the Muromachi bakufu, and on the same day, he was asked by Yoshiaki ASHIKAGAWA who was a rival to Yoshihide to perform an official Ganpuku ceremony and request rank promotion for Yoshiaki through Yoshiaki's emissary. Tokitsugu was confused by this situation, but readied himself to go to Settsu Province in which Yoshihide lived after accepting Yoshiaki's request (subsequently, the request for Yoshiaki's promotion was rejected, and Yoshiaki went through Genpuku ceremony himself). When Yoshiaki was backed by Nobunaga ODA and went to Kyoto, he demanded disciplinary action towards the person responsible for assigning Yoshihide to the former Shogun. First, he was afraid as being named as the most responsible person who served as emissary, and stayed at home. However, he was requested to help the ceremonial imperial proclamation of Shogun without being charged, for that he had helped Yoshiaki requesting Yoshiak's promotion, and he instructed Nobunaga's vassals including Sadakatsu MURAI on their outfits.

Later in his life he was promoted to Gon Dainagon as the first person in the Yamashina family (in 1569), and took an active role in negotiation with Nobunaga ODA. Nobunaga also visited the residence of Yamashina on the way back from his visitation of Nijo Castle in the same year.

His books include: collection of poem selected by him, "Collection of High Courtier Tokitsugu" (consists of "Shusui Gusosho" (1527 - 1541) and "Collection of Gon dainagon Tokitsugu" (1562 - 1574); his diary, "Tokitsugu Kyoki." The latter was recorded over the course of fifty years (1527 - 1576), and it was reported by court nobles, daimyo (Japanese territorial lord) in the Sengoku period, and Nobutsuna KAMIIZUMI in detail. Furthermore, it recorded details on medical practices he performed, thus it is said that "Tokitsugu Kyoki" is the oldest medical record that exists in high volume format in Japan.

It was his financial skill and personality that allowed him to be granted the incredible rank of Juichii (Junior First Rank) in November, 1915, more than 300 years after his death, for his work dedicated towards continuing the Imperial Court and taking charge of finance and external negotiation.

[Original Japanese]