Akazawa Tomotsune (赤沢朝経)

Tomotsune AKAZAWA was a Japanese military commander who lived during the Sengoku Period (Period of Warring States), or the late Muromachi period. His original surname was Minamoto. The Akazawa clan originated from Seiwa-Genji (Minamoto clan) and was also a collateral family of Kawachi-Genji (Minamoto clan), and additionally, the clan was a branch family of the Ogasawara clan, who served as the Military Governor of Shinano Province and descended from Kai-Genji (Minamoto clan). Tomotsune called himself Nyudo Soeki after handing over the headship of the family.

The Akazawa clan was based at Shiozaki-jo Castle in Shinano Province, and Tomotsune handed over the headship of the family to his heir, Masatsune, before going up to Kyoto. He taught 'kyuhotekiden' (a generic term given to Japanese archery, horsemanship, and etiquette and formal manners) of the Ogasawara school to Masamoto HOSOKAWA, who was a kanrei (deputy to the shogun) of the Muromachi bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun), and this led him to serve Shogun Yoshimasa ASHIKAGA as a teacher of Japanese archery and to take charge of the Mushadokoro (a division in charge of guarding over a residence of a retired emperor or a cloistered emperor).

Subsequently, he rendered distinguished services in battles in various places such as Yamashiro Province, Kawachi Province, and Yamato Province as a chief vassal of Masamoto HOSOKAWA, and he was appointed Shugodai (deputy of Shugo, provincial constable) of Kamisangun (literally, "upper three counties," which was a generic term given to Kuze County, Tsuzuki County, and Soraku County) of Yamashiro Province, a kyujin (upper class samurai who has his own territory or who is given a territory by his lord) of 17 bakufu-ryosho (territories under the direct control of the bakufu) in Kawachi Province, and a daikan (local governor) of Gokasho, Yamashiro Province, which was a territory of the Konoe family.

In 1504, he attempted to dethrone his lord Masamoto to enthrone Masamoto's adopted son Sumimoto HOSOKAWA in conspiracy with Motokazu YAKUSHIJI, but they were overcome and arrested by Motokazu's younger brother Nagatada YAKUSHIJI and his team. Masamoto spared Tomotsune's life, however, because of his great bravery, he was eventually forgiven in 1505.

After that, in 1506, he invaded Yamato Province as a vassal of Masamoto and defeated Yoshihide HATAKEYAMA and Hisanobu HATAKEYAMA, and he also conquered the military forces owned by temples and shrines, resulting in the establishment of peach in Yamato Province. Additionally, he contributed to the expansion of the influence of the Hosokawa clan by taking part in a number of battles in various places within the Kinai (the five capital provinces surrounding the ancient capitals of Nara and Kyoto) region with Yukinaga MIYOSHI.

In 1507, he attacked Yoshiari ISSHIKI, who was based in Tango Province, by order of Masamoto, but during the battle, he was informed of the assassination of Masamoto by his vassal Nagatada YAKUSHIJI on August 11 (the Eisho Disturbance). He attempted to withdraw the troops to Kyoto, but Yoshiari ISSHIKI and the local samurai in Tango Province made a counterattack, which led Tomotsune to commit suicide on August 14.

[Original Japanese]