Hosokawa Yoriyuki (細川頼之)

Yoriyuki HOSOKAWA (1329 - April 2, 1392) was a warrior, politician and Bakufu Kanrei (shogun deputy) between the Northern and Southern Courts period and the Muromachi period. His childhood name was Yakuro. Umanosuke (Assistant Captain, Right Division of Bureau of Horses), Umanokami (Captain, Right Division of Bureau of Horses) and Governor of Musashi Province. His official rank was Jushiinoge (Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade). The year of his birth was arrived at by calculating back from the year he died, but different documents give him different ages.

Being a warrior belonging to the Hosokawa clan under the Ashikaga clan, he fought against the Southern Court in Shikoku region such as Awa, Sanuki and Iyo and was on the bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) side during the Kanno Disturbance. After being assigned as Kanrei, he led the shogunate government implementing Hanzeirei (order allowing military governors, or Shugo, to collect half of the taxes from manors and demesnes as military fund) and making peace with the Southern Court while assisting the youthful Yoshimitsu ASHIKAGA. He was ousted in Koryaku Coup but was later absolved and returned to the shogunate government.

Family History

Father was Yoriharu HOSOKAWA and mother was KUROSAWA no Zenni. His brothers include Yoriari HOSOKAWA, Akiharu HOSOKAWA, Yorimoto HOSOKAWA and Mitsuyuki HOSOKAWA. Yoriyuki HOSOKAWA's wife was a daughter of Hose JIMYOIN (持明院保世) and became the wet nurse of the third Seii Taishogun (literally, "great general who subdues the barbarians") of Muromachi bakufu Yoshimitsu ASHIKAGA, and so it is thought that his own child, who would have been the same age as Yoshimitsu, died in early. His adoptive son was Motoyuki HOSOKAWA. Yoriyuki's younger brother Yorimoto HOSOKAWA was adopted by Yoriyuki and thereby became Kanrei, the Hosokawa clan being one of the families that occupied that positoin through the Muromachi period, the others being the Shiba clan and the Hatakeyama clan.

From birth to Appointment as Kanrei

He was born in Hosokawa-go, Mikawa Province (present-day Okazaki City, Aichi Prefecture). "Zatsu Zatsu Shui," a collection of Edo period anecdotesm mentions Yoriyuki as a bright child, and "Hosokawa Sansho Rykuden" includes a story of a competition in strength between Yoriyuki and his cousin Kiyouji HOSOKAWA. It is also known that Yoriyuki went with his father Yoriharu to listen to Buddhist sermons delivered by Muso Soseki and that he was influenced by what he heard. However, he is first mentioned inj historical sources in relation to his military maneuvers in Awa during the Kanno Disturbance, which had started as a feud within the Ashikaga shogunal family. Yoriyuki was with Yoriharu who was in the army of Shogun Takauji ASHIKAGA but in 1350 when the Military Governor of Awa Province, Yorikiyo OGASAWARA, took advantage of the unrest to join the Southern Army, Yoriyuki was dispatched to Awa in place of Yoriharu. In 1352, Yoriharu was killed in action at the Awa camp, when the Southern Army attacked. Yoriyuki led an army to Kyoto to avenge his father and joined Yoshiakira ASHIKAGA who was the heir of Takauji, Yoriari (his own brother) who was leading an army from Sanuki, and other allies to fight in the Battle of Otokoyama, at which the army of the Southern Court was defeated.

While Yoriyuki was in Kyoto, the army of the Southern Court recovered and became a threat in Awa. Thus, having inherited his fathers territory and been appointed as Umanosuke and Military Govenor of Awa Province, Yoriuki returned to Awa and spent the next few years managing his territory. During the war with the Southern Court, Yoriyuki battled against some of the powerful Kokujin (including the Ogasawara clan of Awa and Kawano clan of Iyo) and gradually tightened his control over his territory in Shikoku. Meanwhile, Tadafuyu ASHIKAGA, a son of Takauji by his concubine, with the approval of the Southern Court, gathered together anti-bakufu factions including Tokiuji YAMANA and his allies and threated Kyoto as well as wielding influence from Chugoku region to the Iyo Province (Ehime Prefecture). The bakufu put together a large army with Yoshiakira at its head to subjugate Tadafuyu. Yoriyuki, who was in Awa, was ordered in 1354 to go to Iyo Province and replace Michimori KAWANO as the Military Governor. In the following year, Yoshiakira advanced but Kyoto was taken by Tadafuyu with help of the defection of Takatsune SHIBA, the Military Governor of Echizen Province, and Yoshiakira withdrew. Yoriyuki then joined Yoshiakira in a campaign to recapture Kyoto, and fought the Battle of Settsu Konai. After the defeat of the Southern Army, Yoriyuki spent time in Kyoto, visiting Kenshun with his cousin Kiyouji, and being appointed Umanokami. In the following year (1356), another effort was made to put down Tadafuyu. Yoriyuki was appointed as Military Governor of Bingo Province and as the commander of an operation to hunt down and kill Tadafuyu who was flourishing in Kyushu. It is said that Yoriyuki had been denied the right to seize assets of the enemy side by Shogun Takauji and had thus decided to decline the foregoing appointment and return to Awa, but was persuaded to return to Kyoto by his cousin Kiyouji.

After appointing a member of the Shinkai clan, who had been an influential minor official, as the acting Military Governor of Awa Province, Yoriyuki headed to the Chugoku region to deal with the Southern Army. Yoriyuki took control of a number of provinces including Bizen, Bitchu, Bingo, Aki and Iyo, introducing to each one military rule which included demands for military assistance and the award of citations for military success. He also enacted policies such as Shoryo Ando (authorization of land ownership and guarantee of feudal tenure) and granted himself the authority to act as regional Military Governor. Yoriyuki was referred to as 'Chugoku Taisho' (General of the Chugoku region) for being the military commander and 'Chugoku Kanrei' (the shogunal deputy for the Chugoku region) for being the regional administrator, though it remains unclear whether these were official positions under the bakufu. It appears that Takauji intended to use Yoriyuki as a counterbalance to the influence that Tadafuyu wielded over the Chugoku region as Nagato Tandai (post created by the bakufu as advanced protection against Mongol invasion).

While Yoriyuki was bringing the Chugoku region under control by keeping the Tadafuyu's army confined, Shogun Takauji died in Kyoto. Yoshiakira succeeded Takauji as shogun and Yoriyuki's cousin Kiyouji was appointed to the post of the steward. In 1362, after losing his position in a power struggle against the Shiba clan, Doyo SASAKI and others, Kiyouji joined the Southern Court and went to Awa. Ordered in April to deal with Kiyouji by Shogun Yoshiakira, Yoriyuki destroyed Kiyouji's army, whicharrived in Sanuki province in July, at Utazu (Utazu-cho, Ayauta-gun, Kagawa Prefecture).

While Yoriyuki was on the campaign to put down Kiyouji, Tadafuyu's influence increased again, but was brought under control when former allies such as Hiroyo OUCHI and Tokiuji YAMANA returned to the bakufu side. It is said that Yoriyuki played a role in persuading Tokiuji. When the Chugoku region had been stabilized, Yoriyuki was dismissed from the post of Chugoku Kanrei and the Hosokawa clan lost their dominion in the Chugoku region. Yoriyuki then concurrently assumed the post of Military Governor of Sanuki and Tosa Provinces and the post of Shikoku Kanrei (shogunal deputy for the Shikoku region), and proceeded to drive out the Kawano clan and unify Shikoku. When Yoshimasa (or Yoshiyuki) SHIBA, the Kanrei of the bakufu, and his father Takatsune SHIBA were brought down by a conspiracy involving Doyo and his allies (an event known as Joji Coup), Yoriyuki was ordered to return to the shogunate, and in 1367, immediately before the death of the second Shogun Yoshiakira ASHIKAGA, asumed the post of Kanrei and with the support of the anti-Shiba faction, including Doyo and the Akamatsu clan.

Administration during years as Kanrei

After assuming the post of Kanrei with support of the anti-Shiba faction including Doyo SASAKI and Norisuke AKAMATSU, Yoriyuki counseled the third shogun Yoshimitsu ASHIKAGA who was only 11 years old on his appointment, helping establish Yoshimitsu's authority as shogun by ensuring he was promoted through the official rankes, making arrangements his education and training as a court noble, and constructing his new residence, Hana no Gosho (literally, the Flower Palace). Starting in the capacity of regent to the shogun, Yoriyuki enacted statutes including a thrift law and Hanzeirei (Oan no Taiho (major law enacted during the Oan era)) to protect estates belonging to court nobles, temples and shrines in 1368.

In August 1370, when Emperor Gokogon confidentially consulted his advisors in the Northern Court about abdicating in favor of his biological son Imperial Prince Ohito (later Emperor Goenyu), the Retired Emperor Suko insisted that his biological son Imperial Prince Yoshihito was the rightful heir, thus causing a problem over the Imperial Succession. Yoriyuki sided with the Emperor side believing that the situation should be settled by an Imperial proclamation and wanting to avoid getting overly involved, but when the retired emperor countered by lobbying Koshi SHIBUKAWA, the wife of Yoshiakira, and her allies, Yoriyuki used Ichoku (a royal command included in a will) left by Kogonin to block their interference. He also brought a social trend for ostentatiousness known as Basara under control.

Additionally, a feud between the traditional Buddhist faction at Mt. Hiei and elsewhere and the emerging Zen Sect faction at the Nanzen-ji Temple of the Gozan (Gozan: the five most important Rinzai temples of Kyoto) and elsewhere developed into a political issue. The bakufu was subsidizing the continuing construction of the tower gate at Nanzen-ji Temple proposed by chief priest of Tenryu-ji Temple Shunoku Myoha, but when Jozan Sozen, a priest at Nanzen-ji Temple, criticized Tendai in his book for his part in a feud between Nanzen-ji Temple and Onjo-ji Temple, the Mt. Hiei side reacted vehemently demanding that Imperial Court sentence Jozan Sozen be banished and the tower gate be destroyed. When the Sanmon (abbreviation of Sanmon-ha, a school of Tendai Sect with its head temple at Mt. Hiei) side came to Kyoto carrying a mikoshi (a portable miniature shrine), Yoriyuki blocked their goso (an aggressive tactic used by monks to intimidate persons of power to acquiesce to their demands in the name of a religious authority represented by mikoshi) by securing the Imperial Palace. Jozan Sozen was subsequenltly banished at the request of the Imperial Court, but the tower gate construction resumed. The Sanmon, however, continued their goso, demanding destruction of the tower gate, and out of fear, the Imperial Court and military commanders eventually gave in and agreed to remove the tower gate. The Gozan side protested against the bakufu ruling with Shunoku Myoha resigning from the post of the resident priest, actions which crated a division between the bakufu and the Gozan faction.

With respect to measures against the Southern Court, Yoriyuki pushed ahead with negotiations successfully inducing the defection of Masanori KUSUNOKI to the Ashikaga side. In 1370, he supported efforts to control the Kyushu region by dispatching his personal friend Sadayo IMAGAWA (Ryoshun) to Kyushu drive out the Southern faction which included Imperial Prince Kanenaga (also known as Kaneyoshi).

Koryaku Coup
Yoriyuki's administration was bogged down due to power struggles with factions such as the Shiba clan and the Yamana clan, the interference of Yoshiakira's wife Koshi SHIBUKAWA and the temple factions, and the resistance of the Southern Court, and, to add to his problems, there there was no end in sight to the campaign to subdue Kyushu led by Sadayo IMAGAWA. Yoriyuki offered his resignation on several occasions but was always turned down and returned to office by Yoshimitsu. In 1379, when the Hosokawa clan was unsuccessful in repressing the Southern Court in the Kii region, Yoshimitsu assigned troops to Ujikiyo YAMANA and his allies to subdue the Southern Court. Then, when Yoshimitsu assigned troops to Yoriyuki, the Shiba clan and Yoriyasu TOKI, the military commanders of the troops, joined by the Kyogoku clan which had switched allegience to the Shiba clan, staged a coup d'etat known as Koryaku Coup, moving their armies to Kyoto, surrounding the shogunal residence and demanding the resignation of Yoriyuki. On receiving Yoshimitsu's order to retire, Yoriyuki headed to his territory in Shikoku with his clan and, becoming a priest along the way. Yoshimasa SHIBA assumed the post of Kanrei after Yoriyuki, which led to the personnel within the bakufu becoming dominated by the Shiba clan and certain of the policies being revoked.

Although Yoshimitsu was against the subjugation of Yoriyuki desired by the Shiba clan, the Kawano clan, on learning of the coup, rejoined the bakufu from the Southern Court. The Kawano clan then joined the forces with the Shiba clan, obtained an Imperial letter allowing the subjugation of Yoriyuki, and set out to attack Yoriyuki. In his time as Kanrei, Yoriyuki had ordered hs brother Yoriari to recruit local lords and samurai as Hosokawa retainers and now called on their services to defeat the Kawano clan and the Masauji HOSOKAWA, the son of the late Kiyouji HOSOKAWA. In 1381 Yoriyuki made peace with the Kawano clan and was then able to rule over his territories.

Reinstatement and the Final Years of Yoriyuki

Yoriyuki's younger brother Yorimoto HOSOKAWA appealed to the shogunate for a pardon for Yoriyuki and, when Yoshimitsu made a pilgrimage to Itsukushima-jinja Shrine in 1389, organized the provision boats to take Yoshimitsu to Utatsu in the Sanuki Province where he granted Yoriyuki a pardon. In 1391, Yoshimasa SHIBA resigned the post of Kanrei and, on the order of Yoshimitsu, Yoriyuki returned to Kyoto. When his brother Yorimoto HOSOKAWA succeeded Yoshimasa SHIBA as Kanrei, Yoriyuki assisted with government affairs and returned to the shogunate administration as a senior retainer. Yoshimitsu had wanted Yoriyuki to becom Kanrei again but Yoriyuk declined the offer on account of having become a priest. And so, instead, Yorimoto became Kanrei and Yoriyuki his aide. This led to Yoshimitsu holding Gozensata (private meetings with the shogun to pass judgement on legal cases) in a format which facilitated the participation of Yoriyuki in discussions of important matters of the bakufu. Note that this precedent was later used by Yoshimitsu who, after passing down the post of shogun to his heir Yoshimochi ASHIKAGA and becoming priest, applied it so that he could personally preside over meetings in the shogunate administration.

Yoriyuki was appointed Military Governor of Bingo Province in 1390. He fought against Ujikiyo YAMANA in the Meitoku War that broke out in the same year. He died from a severe cold in April 1392. He was 64.

The funeral was organized by Yoshimitsu and held at Sokoku-ji Temple. His Kaimyo (posthumous Bhuddist name) was 永泰院殿桂巌常久大居士.

Personal Profile

Cultural Activity and Religion
He was familiar with Waka (Japanese poems), Shibun (prose and poetries) and Renga (linked verses), and some of his Waka were selected to be part of Chokusenshu (anthology of poems collected by Imperial command). Some papers he wrote about military affairs are also in existence. Yoriyuki is said to have been inspired by a Zen monk Muso Soseki in his youth and later practiced Zen Buddhism and built a number of temples including Keitoku-ji Temple and Jizo-in Temple (Nishikyo Ward) in Kyoto and Kosho-ji Temple in Awa.

Based on consolatory letters sent after a fire and other documents, Yoriyuki's residence in Kyoto is thought to have been located around Rokujo Madenokoji (Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto City) which woud have been close to his work until the bakufu was relocated to Hana no Gosho (Muromachi-dai, Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto City).

As a child Yoriyuki was bright, and he is also said to have taken part in a test of strength with his cousin Kiyouji.

He said he would resign from the post of Kanrei to enter the priesthood but was prevented from doing so by Yoshimitsu.

During meetings, he would deliberately provoke the wrath of Yoshimitsu so that subsequent admonishment would be seen by the others in attendance and promote Yoshimitsu's authority.

When in the army during the Meitoku War, Yoriyuki stole food from the altar in a temple.


Documents, Studies and Articles

"Taiheiki," a classic military epic about the period of the Northern and Southern Courts. The story ends with a volume in which Yoriyuki assumes the post of Kanrei. It is said that Yoriyuki was personally involved in editing this book.

"Hosokawa Yoriyuki-ki" (Tale of Yoriyuki HOSOKAWA), there are some credibility issues concerning the contents of this documents.

"Hosokawa Yoriyuki-hoden" (Supplementary Book on Yoriyuki HOSOKAWA) by Junjiro HOSOKAWA, 1891
"Hosokawa Kiyouji and Hosokawa Yoriyuki" by Nobuo INOKUMA, 1959, published by Kamata Kousaikai
"Hosokawa Yoriyuki" by Makoto OGAWA, featured in Jinbutsu Sosho ISBN 4642051759 Yoshikawa Kobunkan, Inc., 1972

Grave, Wooden Statue and Portrait

Yoriyuki is buried in the grounds of Jizo-in Temple on Mt. Kinugasa (in Nishikyo Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture), one of the temples he built himself, and his gravestone, a mound-shaped natural stone, remains today. The collection at Jizo-in Temple includes a portrait and wooden statue of Yoriyuki in Buddhist monk attire, and a portrait of his wife.

[Original Japanese]