Shiba Yoshitoshi (斯波義敏)

Yoshitoshi SHIBA (1435 - December 18, 1508) was a shugo daimyo (a Japanese provincial military governor who became a feudal lord) in the late Muromachi period. His official rank was Sahyoe no kami (Head of the Left Division of the Middle Palace Guards): Jushiinoge (Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade). Later he was promoted to Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank). He was the shugo (military governor) of Echizen Province, Owari Province and Totomi Province. His father was Mochitane SHIBA and his father-in-law was Yoshitake SHIBA. Yoshihiro and Yoshio SHIBA were his sons. As Yoshitake SHIBA died young in October 1452, Yoshitoshi succeeded him as the head of the clan even though he was from a different branch of the family.

Conflicts with his senior vassal

Jochi KAI (the shugodai, deputy military governor, of Echizen and Totomi Provinces) was the vassal and steward of the Shiba clan and he was in charge of the family for years, along with Mochitane, Yoshitoshi's father, but they conflicted over the leadership of the family. When Yoshitoshi succeeded as the head of the clan, the conflict between the two became that of master and servant. As Jochi was running his territories such as Echizen and other provinces aggressively with support from Yoshimasa ASHIKAGA, the eighth shogun of the Muromachi bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) and Takakage ASAKURA (the seventh head of the ASAKURA clan), Yoshitoshi made a complaint to the bakufu about Jochi's tyrannical behavior. However, having had no one's support, he ended up holing up in Higashiyama Toko-ji Temple in 1457. In 1458, Yoshimasa, the shogun, tried to intervene between Jochi and Yoshitoshi but even so, the conflict between the two did not settle. In Echizen, Toshizane HORIE, the local Lord, in Yoshitoshi's faction and Takakage ASAKURA in Jochi's faction had a fight which caused the Battle of Choroku around August 1458.

In 1459, Yoshitoshi was ordered to form an army by Yoshimasa ASHIKAGA to rescue Masatomo ASHIKAGA, the Horigoe Kubo (shogunal deputy based in Horigoe). With the army he formed, he attacked Kanagasaki-jo Castle, which made Yoshimasa angry. As a result he forced Yoshitoshi to give up his position as the head of the clan and had Yoshihiro succeed to it. Yoshitoshi was exiled to Suo Province where Masahiro OUCHI was. In September 1459, the Battle of Choroku ended, giving victory to the Choji faction. After Jochi died, Matsuomaru, the head of the Shiga clan was disinherited in October 1461 as the result of the maneuver planned by Takakage and Sozen (Mochitoyo) YAMANA, so that Yoshikado SHIBA, Yoshikane SHIBUKAWA's son, succeeded to the position. Yoshitoshi, who because of this, sided against Yoshikado, tried to maneuver close associates of the bakufu into bringing his son back to the position as head of the family.

Buei Riots (Internal Conflicts in the Muromachi Bakufu)

Having accepted suggestions from his close associates, Sadachika ISE and Shinzui KIKEI, Yoshimasa pardoned Yoshitoshi when he came to Kyoto to see him in January 1464. In August 1466, Yoshimasa gave him the position as the head of the SHIBA clan and appointed him as the shugo (military governor) of the three provinces: Owari, Totomi and Echizen. However, Yoshikado, who lost his position as the head of the SHIBA clan, asked Sozen YAMANA, his father-in-law for assistance. Yoshinao ISSHIKI and Shigeyori TOKI were on his side and furthermore, when Masahiro OUCHI was pardoned on the advice of Sadachika in the same year, Katsumoto Hosokawa, who was against OUCHI's pardoning, stood up for Yoshikado, opposing Sadachika. In October 1466, the internal conflicts developed into the Bunsho Coup, in which Sadachika, Shinzui and Masanori AKAMATSU lost their positions and Yoshitoshi went back to Echizen province.

Onin War and the Battle against the ASAKURA clan

When the Onin War began in Kyoto, triggered by a combination of the matters of the succession of the Ashikaga shogun family, the conflict over the head of the Hatakeyama clan as well as the conflict in the Shiba clan, Yoshitoshi, who joined the eastern army led by Katsumoto HOSOKAWA, disregarded what was happening in Kyoto and quickly achieved military results in Echizen Province. In 1471, however, Takakage who went over to the eastern army employed strong-arm tactics against Yoshitoshi in Echizen Province.

Yoshitoshi ended up seeking refuge in Dobashi-jo Castle in Echizen-Ono from Takakage, who was close to unifying Echizen Province. However, in the beginning of 1475, Yoshitoshi was sent back to Kyoto by Takakage, having been caught while trying to flee an all-out attack on the castle by Takakage.
He tried in vain to regain Echizen Province by filing cases against the bakufu (Chokyo Case and Entoku Case)

Yoshitoshi's later years

In 1481, he wrote 'The Family Tree of the Shiba clan' that contains the achievements of the direct descendants of the Shiba clan and the stories of his succession to the clan leadership. In September 1485, Yoshitoshi resigned from politics and became a monk, taking the name of Dokai. He died at the age of 74 in 1508. His homyo (a Buddhist name given to a person who has died or has entered the priesthood) was 即現院殿道海深叟.

He enjoyed cultural activities such as renga (a genre of Japanese collaborative poetry).

1452 - succeeded as the head of the Shiba clan. Held a position as the shugo (military governor) of three provinces: Echizen, Owari and Totomi.

1459 - dismissed from the head of the Shiba clan. August 1466 - succeeded again as the head of the Shiba clan. October 1466 - dismissed again as the head of the Shiba clan.

January 27, 1473 - awarded Jugoinoge (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade). May have been appointed as Sahyoe no suke (Deputy of the Left Division of the Middle Palace Guards).

November 1475 - went to Owari Province.

August 31, 1478 - promoted to Jushiinoge (Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade). May have transferred to hold the position of Sahyoe no kami (Head of the Left Division of the Middle Palace Guards).

September 6, 1484 - promoted to Jusan mi (Junior Third Rank).

Listed below are the samurai who received the honor of henki (a shogun or a territorial lord bestows one of the kanji characters from their name on their vassals) from Yoshitoshi SHIBA (斯波義敏).

Toshisada ODA (織田敏定)
Toshihiro ODA (織田敏広)
Toshinobu ODA (織田敏信)
Toshimune ODA (織田敏信)
Hidetoshi ODA (織田秀敏)

[Original Japanese]