Hosokawa Yoriharu (細川頼春)

Yoriharu HOSOKAWA (c. 1304 - March 14, 1352) was a busho (Japanese military commander) who lived from the late Kamakura period to the period of the Northern and Southern Courts (Japan). His father was Kimiyori HOSOKAWA. He had two brothers, Kazuuji HOSOKAWA and Morouji HOSOKAWA. Satozawa-zenni (里沢禅尼) was one of his wives. His children included Yoriyuki HOSOKAWA, Yoriari HOSOKAWA, Yorimoto HOSOKAWA, Akiharu HOSOKAWA and Mitsuyuki HOSOKAWA. He was also known as Genkuro. Yoriharu served as Kurodo (Chamberlain), Gyobu no taifu (Senior Assistant Minister of the Ministry of Justice) and Sanuki no kami (the governor of Sanuki Province), and was awarded the official court rank of Jushiinoge (Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade). Some people believe that he was born in 1299.

Brief personal history

In 1333, during the late Kamakura period, when the Genko Rebellion occurred as a result of an anti-shogunate movement led by Emperor Godaigo, the Hosokawa clan joined the army of Takauji ASHIKAGA. Yoriharu assumed office as Kurodo in the Kenmu Restoration. When Takauji rebelled against the Kenmu government after the Nakasendai Rebellion, the Hosokawa clan followed Takauji and was dispatched to Shikoku when Takauji's army retreated to Kyushu. After conquering Shikoku, the Hosokawa clan fought in the Battle of Minato-gawa River and other battles, while Yoriharu himself fought in the Battle of Uchino in Kyoto and joined the attack on Yoshisada NITTA, who supported the Southern Court group and escaped to the Hokuriku region along with Takatsune SHIBA after the establishment of two separate imperial courts represented by different emperors (the Southern and Northern Courts).

Yoriharu was appointed the Shugo (Military Governor) of Awa and Bingo Provinces in 1338 by the Ashikaga government and conquered the Ogasawara clan, which had served as the Shugo of these provinces during the Kamakura period. Taking advantage of the death of Yoshisuke WAKIYA, who supported the Yoshino Imperial Court (Southern Court), Yoriharu attacked Iyo Province (currently Ehime Prefecture) to drive the Odachi clan out of power and stood in opposition to the Kono clan, which held political power in Iyo. During the Kanno Disturbance, which developed from the opposition within the Ashikaga government between Tadayoshi ASHIKAGA, a younger brother of Takauji, and a group led by Takauji and his steward KO no Moronao, Yoriharu joined the Moronao group and ruled Echizen Province as its Shugo by driving Takatsune SHIBA, a member of the Tadayoshi group, out of the Shugo position. This brought him into conflict with the Shiba clan, which continued to affect his family until the generation of his son Yoriyuki, who served as Kanrei (a high political post during the Muromachi period) in the government.

Yoriharu joined battle against Tadafuyu ASHIKAGA, a son of Takauji, who rose in rebellion in Kyushu, and as Moronao mounted a coup d'etat to drive Tadayoshi out of power, Yoriharu sent his army to subdue Akiuji, his cousin, who had run away. When Tadayoshi, supported by the Southern Court, gained a military advantage, Yoriharu sent his army to his territory, Awa Province, to oppose Tadayoshi, and tried to place local political powers under his control by various means, such as appointing the Atagi clan, which had a powerful navy in Kii Province, as a Jito (steward); however, he encountered opposition from families in the Ogasawara clan, and the conflict with the Ogasawara clan, which supported the Southern Court, continued until the generation of his son Yoriyuki. In 1352, when Masanori KUSUNOKI, Akiyoshi KITABATAKE and Akitsune CHIKUSA, who supported the Southern Court, attacked Kyoto, Yoriharu fought a battle to protect Yoshiakira ASHIKAGA and died near Shichijo-Omiya at the age of 49 or 54.

Yoriharu built Shoryuji-jo Castle in Nagaokakyo City, Kyoto Prefecture. His portrait is included in the collection of the Eisei-Bunko Museum.

[Original Japanese]