Miyoshi Yoshitsugu (三好義継)

Yoshitsugu MIYOSHI was a daimyo (Japanese territorial lord) in Kawachi Province in the Sengoku period (period of warring states). He was actually the last family head of the head family of the Miyoshi clan.

Succession to a family

He was born in 1551 as a son of Kazumasa SOGO, a younger brother of Nagayoshi MIYOSHI (there is another theory which says that the year of his birth was 1549). First he was called Shigemasa SOGO, but after a sudden death of his father in 1561, he was fostered by his uncle, Nagayoshi MIYOSHI.

In 1563, the heir of Nagayoshi, Yoshioki MIYOSHI, died early for his age and so he was adopted to Nagayoshi and changed his family name to Miyoshi. When Nagayoshi died in July 1564, he succeeded to the Miyoshi family supported by Miyoshi Sanninshu (Miyoshi Triumvirate) and became the family head of the Miyoshi family (according to another theory, Nagayoshi transferred the headship of the family and retired while he was alive).

A puppet as the family head

By the time he succeeded to the family, a senior vassal, Hisahide MATSUNAGA, and Miyoshi Triumvirate had already had the power which surpassed that of the head family, and so Yoshitsugu was no more than their puppet.

On June 9, 1565, he was given a letter '義' from the name of the 13th Shogun Yoshiteru (義輝) ASHIKAGA and renamed himself Yoshishige (義重), and also was appointed to Sakyo no Daibu (the chief of the public office which supervised the east half of Kyoto) by Yoshiteru's suggestion to the Emperor. On June 27, however, prevailed upon by Hisahide MATSUNAGA and Miyoshi Triumvirate, he attacked Nijo-gosho Palace, helped the assassination of Yoshiteru ASHIKAGA, and also expelled Christian missionaries from Kyoto (the Eiroku Incident).

After that, when Miyoshi Triumvirate and Hisahide MATSUNAGA got onto bad terms, Miyoshi Triumvirate backed up him to be the family head as their puppet, and so he fought against Hisahide. However, soon he fell out with the Triumvirate and was confined by them for a time, and on April 5, 1567, he escaped from the Triumvirate, allied himself with Hisahide and fought against the Triumvirate in Nara, where they had Todai-ji Temple burnt down in the battle on November 20, 10 (warrior clashes at the Great Buddha Hall of Todai-ji Temple).

The battle against Nobunaga ODA

When Nobunaga ODA came to Kyoto to back up Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA (a younger brother of Yoshiteru) in 1568, he surrendered to Nobunaga and was permitted the possession of the northern half of Kawachi Province and Wakae-jo Castle. In March 1569, through the mediation of Nobunaga, he married the younger sister of the 15th Shogun, Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA.

For a period of time after that, he fought against the anti-Nobunaga forces such as Miyoshi Triumvirate in and around Kyoto as a Nobunaga's vassal (the Battle of Noda-jo Castle and Fukushima-jo Castle), but around 1571 he allied himself with Hisahide to rebel against Nobunaga, and took part in the siege around Nobunaga. In 1572, he fought against Akitaka HATAKEYAMA and Akimoto HOSOKAWA on Oda's side (both were sons-in-law of Nobunaga) around Kawachi Province and Settsu Province, and won the battles.

However, after Shingen TAKEDA, who had been the strongest enemy of Nobunaga, died from a disease in April 1573, a counterattack of the Oda army began, and in July, his brother-in-law, Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA, was expelled from Kyoto; thus the Muromachi shogunate came to an end.


Yoshitsugu sheltered his expelled brother-in-law, Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA, in Wakae. It made Nobunaga angry, and so in November 1573, he was attacked by the Oda army headed by Nobumori SAKUMA under Nobunaga's command in the Wakae-jo Castle, and besides betrayed by his senior vassals called Wakae Triumvirate; thus the Wakae-jo Castle fell, and he killed himself and so did his wife and children. The age of death was 23. Consequently, the direct family line of Miyoshi family as a Sengoku daimyo (a territorial lord in the Sengoku period) ceased to exist.

[Original Japanese]