Kira Yoshinobu (吉良義信)

Yoshinobu KIRA, whose birth and death year is unknown, was a busho (Japanese military commander) in the Muromachi period. He was the heir of Yoshizane KIRA. And he was the chatelain of Saijo-jo Castle. He was the fifth heir of the Saijo Kira clan (the Kami Kira family). His childhood name was Saburo. His rank and title in the Imperial Court reached Jushiinoge (Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade), Sahyoe no suke (Assistant Captain of the Left Division of Middle Palace Guards), and Jibu taifu (Senior Assistant Minister of the Ministry of the Civil Administration). His son was Yoshimoto KIRA.

When the Onin War broke out, Yoshinobu's father Yoshizane KIRA left Kyoto for Mikawa Province on June 28, 1467, chasing Yoshifuji KIRA of the Tojo Kira clan who began to attack Yoshizane's fief in Mikawa. At that time, Yoshizane made his son Yoshinobu attend the shogun Yoshimasa ASHIKAGA, instead of allowing him to come with him.

On September 25, 1467, Katsumoto HOSOKAWA laid siege to the Shogun's palace and checked people coming in and out of the palace, saying some busho in Hokoshu (Shogun's direct controlled army) took the side of the western camp in the war. On Katsumoto's reporting about this, Emperor Gotsuchimikado ordered him through messengers, Yoshinobu KIRA and Dainagon (chief councilor of state) Kimiharu SANJO, to clearly announce the name of busho while taking the western side and to expelling them. And on investigation, twelve names of busho were listed, and the list was handed in to the shogun Yoshimasa on September 30. Just like the emperor, Yoshimasa ordered the listed twelve busho to leave the Shogun palace through messengers Kimiharu SANJO and Yoshinobu KIRA. The twelve busho became furious, and they prepared for battle on the spot. On the same day, it was rumored that the forces of Sozen YAMANA would break into Dairi (the Imperial Palace) and abduct Emperor and Daijo tenno (the Retired Emperor). So Yoshinobu guarded the Imperial Palace as the top-ranking warrior, and he urged the listed 12 once again with Sanjo leave the Shogun's palace in the name of the Emperor and the Shogun, and he at last persuaded them into exiting the premises (cf. "Oninki" [The Record of the Onin War]).

Oninki says the western camp burned down many samurai residences on October 8, and Kira's one was mentioned on its top. In November (or December), Yoshinobu's uncle Yoshinao KIRA died from a disease in Kyoto.

When the Onin War ended, Yoshinobu actively developed an association with court nobles including Masaie KONOE along with his father Yoshizane, so the name of Noshinobu frequently appeared in "Gohokoinki" (Diary of Masaie KONOE). When Yoshizane died on August 25, 1481, Yoshinobu was in mourning for some time, and on January 24, 1482, he went to work for the Muromachi bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) for the first time after his succession to the family headship.

In 1487, Yoshinobu served in a war waged by Yoshihisa ASHIKAGA against Takayori ROKKAKU in Omi Province, and in 1491, Yoshinobu served again in a war waged by Yoshitane ASHIKAGA against the same enemy.

In 1493, Yoshiki (Yoshitane) lost his position in the Coup of Meio, and Yoshizumi ASHIKAGA became the new shogun. For some time after that, Yoshinobu continued to work for the Muromachi bakufu, but in January and February of 1499, he pretended to be sick and stopped working for the bakufu, and thereafter until 1501, he stayed in his residence for three years. Presumably, he might have kept contact during this period with the former shogun Yoshiki (Yoshitada) who had fled to a province lying to the west.

Between July and August of 1507, Masamoto HOSOKAWA was killed by men of his adopted child Sumiyuki HOSOKAWA, and a fight broke out between Sumiyuki and Masamoto's another adopted child Sumimoto HOSOKAWA, so Yoshinobu guarded the Imperial Palace with about 30 soldiers under his command.

On July 15, 1508, the former shogun Yoshitada (Yoshitane) entered Kyoto, when Yoshinobu provided Yoshitada with his own residence in Ichijo Muromachi as the temporary shogun's palace, and Yoshitada held Inuoumono (a dog-hunting event) and Noh (a Japanese musical dance drama) there.

On September 18, 1511, Sumimoto HOSOKAWA advanced into Kyoto, so Shogun Yoshitada fled to Tanba Province and Yoshinobu accompanied Yoshitada, and on the same day, Kira's residence, which was being used as a temporary palace for the shogun, was set on fire and burned down. But the forces of Sumimoto were routed in the Battle at Mt. Funaoka, so Yoshinobu returned to Kyoto with Yoshitada.

On March 22, 1512, a banquet was held in the reconstructed Kira's residence, where Yoshioki OUCHI and others were invited.

Outliving his heir Yoshimoto KIRA, Yoshinobu transferred his family headship to his legitimate grandson Yoshitaka KIRA on November 8, 1516 (cf. "Muromachike Gonaishoan").

Yoshinobu's death date is unknown. His posthumous Buddhist name is Jorakuinden Shunzantoko Daizenteimon (常楽院殿峻山棟公大禅定門).

[Original Japanese]