Ouchi Yoshihiro (大内義弘)

Yoshihiro OUCHI (1356-January 25, 1400) was the shugo daimyo (shugo, which were Japanese provincial military governors, that became daimyo, which were Japanese feudal lords) in the Muromachi period. He was the son of Hiroyo OUCHI. He had the sons, Mochiyo OUCHI and Mochimori OUCHI and a daughter (who was the wife of Chikayo OTOMO). Mitsuhiro OUCHI, Morimi OUCHI, and Hiroshige OUCHI were his brothers.

His father, Hiroyo, assisted Sadayo IMAGAWA who was the powerful shugo daimyo in Suo Province (Yamaguchi Prefecture) and served as Kyushu Tandai (local commissioner) after returning to allegiance to the Muromachi bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) from the Southern Court (Japan), in order to defeat the forces of the Southern Court in Kyushu. Due to the great achievement in defeating the opponent, Hiroyo was granted shugoshiki (post of provincial constable) in Buzen Province. After Hiroyo died, Yoshihiro served as shugoshiki in Iwami Province and Nagato Province as well as in Suo Province. He contributed to suppressing the Meitoku War that occurred in the wake of the internal conflict of the Yamana clan in 1391, and made efforts for the unification of Southern and Northern Courts by meditating between the Muromachi bakufu and the Southern Court in 1392. Such a series of his achievements additionally granted him shugoshiki in Izumi Province and Kii Province. In addition, he independently traded with the Ming Dynasty in China and expanded his influence to Kitakyushu (northern Kyushu) and Chugoku regions and even to the central part of Japan after fighting with the Hosokawa clan in Seto Inland Sea.

Yoshimitsu ASHIKAGA, who sought to weaken dominant shugo daimyo, put pressure on Yoshihiro and provoked him to go to the capital in 1399, but Yoshihiro refused Yoshimitsu's order and rose in revolt (the Oei War) together with Mitsukane ASHIKAGA who was Kamakura kubo (Governor-general of the Kanto region). Although Yoshimitsu dispatched Zekkai Chushin, a Zen monk, to Yoshihiro to surrender, Yoshihiro held up in a castle in Sakai City, in Izumi Province with his 5000 soldiers and waited for the reinforcements of Mitsukane. Yoshimitsu, with Hokoshu (the shogunal military guard), attacked by setting fire, and Yoshihiro was killed by Mitsuie HATAKEYAMA.
Posthumous name: Koshakuji dono Shuzan Ninjitsu

The Ouchi clan declined after the death of Yoshihiro. Yoshihiro excelled at waka poetry and his waka was selected in the "Shingoshui Wakashu," (New Later Collection of Gleanings of Japanese Poems).

His grave is located in Honei-zan Ruriko-ji Temple in Yamaguchi City, Yamaguchi Prefecture.
His portrait is owned by Yamaguchi Prefectural Yamaguchi Museum.

[Original Japanese]