Ashikaga Yoshikatsu (足利義勝)

Yoshikatsu ASHIKAGA was the seventh seii taishogun (literally, "great general who subdues the barbarians") of the Muromachi bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun). He was the elder brother from same mother of Yoshimasa ASHIKAGA, who was the eighth seii taishogun, and Yoshimi ASHIKAGA. He was a half brother of Masatomo ASHIKAGA, who was Horigoe Kubo.
(Reign: December 28, 1442 - August 25, 1443)

On March 28, 1434, he was born as the first son of Yoshinori AHIKAGA, who was the six Shogun.

As the Kakitsu War occurred and his father, Yoshinori, was assassinated by the vassal Mitsusuke AKAMATSU in 1441, he succeeded to the shogunate at the age of nine supported by Mochiyuki HOSOKAWA and others and became the seventh Shogun. As he was infant and had no political capability, the real power was held by Mochiyuki HOSOKAWA, who was the kanrei (shogunal deputy), and after Mochiyuki's death, Mochitoyo YAMANA or Shigeko HINO, who was Yoshikatsu's real mother, seized the real power and they subjugated Mitsusuke AKAMATSU, who caused the Kakitsu War, and suppressed the tokusei ikki (an uprising demanding debt cancellations) of Kakitsu.

Yoshikatsu held office for only eight months and died on August 25, 1443. He was ten years old when he died. With respect to the cause, there are several views, such as a fall from a horse, assassination and death from disease. In the taiga-drama (NHK Historical Drama) 'Hana no Ran' (literally, turmoil by flower), the view of a fall from a horse was adopted. In reality, however, it is told that the death caused by dysentery is the most reliable view. His younger brother, Yoshimasa ASHIKAGA was selected as the shogun to succeed him.

As an infant shogun had continued for two generations, Yoshikatsu and Yoshimasa, the Imperial Court and influential Shugo daimyos (Japanese territorial lord as provincial constable) had involved in shogunate administration and the dignity of the shogun had started to waver remarkably.

Although it is told that his grave existed in Ankoku-ji Temple Rishoto Keiunin, it doesn't exist now because Keiunin was lost by fire. Whereabouts of his remains is unknown even today. However, a wooden statue exists in Toji-in Temple.

Record of offices and ranks held

September 13: Ranked at Jugoinoge (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade)
December 28: He celebrated his coming of age and assumed the name Yoshikatsu. On the same day, he was promoted to Shogoinoge (Senior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade) and assumed the position of Sakone no chujo (Middle Captain of the Left Division of Inner Palace Guards). At the same time, he received an official appointment to the seii taishogun.

February 13: Promoted to Jushiinoge (Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade)
August 25: He passed away. His posthumous Buddhist name was Keiunin Eizan Doshun Daikoji. August 27: he was posthumously promoted to Juichii (Junior First Rank) and Sadaijin (Ministry of the Left).

Persons who were granted to use a portion of Yoshikatsu's name

Katsumoto HOSOKAWA
Katsumitsu HINO

[Original Japanese]