Battle of Funaokayama


Hosokawa Sumimoto

Yamashiro Province

Hosokawa Takakuni

Date:  8/23 of Eishō 8 (1511)

Location:  Funaokayama near Kyōto in Yamashiro Province

Synopsis:  This was one of the battles during the prolonged succession struggle between Hosokawa Sumimoto and Hosokawa Takakuni to become the head of the Hosokawa-Keichō family.  In this event, Sumimoto and the Hosokawa family of Awa fielded 6,000 men against a much larger contingent of allied forces under the command of Takakuni and Ōuchi Yoshioki.  The battle was limited to a single nighttime attack by Sumimoto’s army that failed, with senior commanders killed and Sumimoto returning to Awa to continue the resistance.

Commanders:  Hosokawa Sumimoto, Hosokawa Masakata, Hatakeyama Yoshihide, Akamatsu Yoshimura

Forces:  6,000

Losses:  Total unknown but including Hosokawa Masakata

Commanders:  Hosokawa Takakuni, Ōuchi Yoshioki, Hatakeyama Yoshimoto, Amaga Tsunehisa, Tagaya Takeshige (naval operations)

Forces:  20,000

Losses:  Unknown

The Battle of Funaokayama (Funaokayama gassen) occurred on 8/23 of Eishō 8 (1511), limited to a single nighttime attack.

Following soon after the Battle of Fukai, this conflict represented one event in a prolonged series of military clashes between rivals within the Hosokawa clan that occurred between 1509 and 1531, known as the Conflict between the Hosokawa (Ryō-Hosokawa no ran).  These events comprised the military component of a broader succession struggle between the three adopted sons of Hosokawa Masamoto.  Masamoto was an influential deputy shōgun, with de facto power over the bakufu. However, tensions arose from his choice of a successor, leading to his assassination in 1507, known as the Lord Hosokawa Incident (Hosokawa-dono no hen).  Intertwined with this struggle existed a rivalry between Ashikaga Yoshitane and Ashikaga Yoshizumi to serve as shōgun, all occurring in the midst of a decline in the capacity of the Muromachi bakufu to exercise authority in the capital of Kyōto and beyond.  This multi-faceted struggle is known as the Eishō Disturbance (Eishō no sakuran), commencing from the time of Masamoto’s assassination in 1507 until the defeat of Hosokawa Takakuni by Hosokawa Harumoto at the Collapse at Daimotsu (Daimotsu kuzure) in 1531.

In 1493, Ashikaga Yoshiki (later known as Yoshitada then Yoshitane), the shōgun, was ousted by Hosokawa Masamoto, the kanrei, or deputy shōgun, in a coup d’état known as the Meiō Political Incident (Meiō no seihen). Masamoto did not have any natural children, so he adopted three sons: Hosokawa Sumimoto, Hosokawa Sumiyuki, and Hosokawa Takakuni, which later gave rise to a violent succession struggle lasting for over two decades.  On 6/23 of 1507, Masamoto was assassinated by senior retainers of the faction that supported Sumiyuki, including Kōzai Motonaga and Yakushiji Nagatada, an event known as the Lord Hosokawa Incident.  The attackers also set upon the residences of Sumimoto and his close associate, Miyoshi Yukinaga, in Kyōto, who initially fled to the Kōga District of Ōmi Province.  Leveraging the strength of the kokujin, or local families of influence, in Ōmi, Sumimoto and Yukinaga soon returned to Kyōto to attack and kill Sumiyuki, as well as the assassins, Motonaga and Nagatada.

Just days later, the attackers had Ashikaga Yoshizumi, the shōgun, acknowledge Sumimoto as the successor to Masamoto and head of the Hosokawa clan.  These events served as the opening chapter of the Eishō Disturbance, a multi-faceted conflict for succession between the supporters of the two remaining adoptees of Masamoto (Sumimoto and Takakuni), combined with a rivalry within the Ashikaga family between Ashikaga Yoshitane and Ashikaga Yoshizumi for the role of shōgun, all in the broader context of a period of decline for the Muromachi bakufu and loss of governing authority in the capital and the provinces.

Taking advantage of disarray within the Hosokawa clan, in 1508, Ashikaga Yoshiki, the former shōgun, accompanied Ōuchi Yoshioki, the powerful sengoku daimyō from Suō Province, to commence a march toward Kyōto in a bid to regain his position.  Meanwhile, Takakuni raised arms with the aim of seizing control of the Hosokawa-Keichō family – the main branch of the clan.  This caused Yoshizumi to flee to Mizuguki-okayama Castle in Ōmi, whereupon Sumimoto and Yukinaga fled from Ōmi, finally landing in Awa Province in Shikoku.  After prevailing, Yoshiki changed his name to Yoshitane and assumed the role of shōgun for a second term, leading to the formation of a joint political administration led by Takakuni and Yoshioki.

In mid-1509, Sumimoto and Miyoshi Yukinaga sought to break out by crossing Lake Biwa, traversed the Ozeki Pass, and set-up an encampment with 3,000 forces in Nyoigatake.  In response, the allied forces of Takakuni and the Ōuchi numbering between 20,000 to 30,000 men took positions to surround Nyoigatake.  That night, in the Battle of Nyoigatake, the opposing forces clashed during a downpour, while Sumimoto and Yukinaga safely disappeared amidst the rain to Awa Province.  As such, the bid by Sumimoto and Yukinaga to capture Kyōto ended in failure.  Then, in 1511, Sumimoto assembled an army with members from clans across the Kinai to counterattack.  These forces achieved victories at the Battle of Fukai and Battle of Ashiyagawara.  After establishing a position at Nakajima Castle in Settsu Province, the army marched upon and captured Kyōto.  This caused Yoshitane and his supporters to escape to Tanba Province.  Thereafter, Yoshitane gradually increased the strength of his forces and began to re-approach the capital.

Course of events

Just prior to the outbreak of hostilities, an internal conflict erupted within the Rokkaku clan of Ōmi, which had served as the protector of Yoshizumi while exiled from the capital.  As a result, Rokkaku Takayori, the head of the clan, overruled impassioned appeals from the Iba clan (the deputy military governors of Ōmi) to continue support for Yoshizumi and, instead, sided with Yoshitane at the expense of Yoshizumi.  In 1511, soon after learning this news regarding his former ally, Yoshizumi died of an illness in despair.  His orphans were entrusted to Akamatsu Yoshimura of Harima and Hosokawa Yukimochi (the older brother of Sumimoto) of Awa.  Later, the orphans adopted the names of Ashikaga Yoshiharu and Ashikaga Yoshitsuna (the Awa kubō, or shōgun of Awa).  Despite the loss of Yoshizumi, Sumimoto’s army maintained their zeal, with Sumimoto appointing Hosokawa Masakata to serve as the commanding general to set-up an encampment and prepare for a defensive battle at a critical location between Tanba and Yamashiro provinces.

Ōuchi Yoshioki commanded a powerful army mobilizing a majority of the influential landowners of the western provinces.  En route to Kyōto, reinforcements for Sumimoto led by Akamatsu Yoshimura encountered resistance from supporters of Hosokawa Takakuni at Itami Castle in northern Settsu, preventing the forces from reaching the capital.  Moreover, Sumimoto’s backup to have the allied forces of the Hosokawa and Miyoshi from Awa land in Kinai did not materialize.  Yoshitane, Takakuni, and Yoshioki who had fled Kyōto maintained as before an army of more than 20,000 soldiers.  By comparison, Sumimoto’s forces only totaled 6,000 men, including 2,000 men under Hosokawa Masakata, 1,000 men under Hosokawa Mototsune, and 3,000 men under Yamanaka Tametoshi.  An attempt to launch a nighttime attack against the Ōuchi and Takakuni forces failed, with Masakata and others killed in action, so that Kyōto fell again to Yoshitane.

Consequences of the battle

Sumimoto returned to his home territory in Awa Province to devise another plan to recapture the capital.  With the support of Miyoshi Yukinaga, Sumimoto continued the resistance and, in 1520, landed in the Kinai and temporarily succeeded in capturing Kyōto.  However, at the Battle of Tōji Monastery, Yukinaga was captured and forced to take his own life in front of Takakuni.  Sumimoto escaped to Itami Castle in Settsu.  Having lost his short-lived administration, he became depressed and ill.  Subsequent attacks by Takakuni caused him to flee to Harima Province, and he finally died later in 1520 at Shōzui Castle in Awa.

During his extended stay in Kyōto, Ōuchi Yoshioki learned that rival clans in the western provinces, including the Amago of Izumo Province and the Takeda of Aki Province, began to take unsettling actions, while kokujin in the Ōuchi domain engaged in a series of rebellions.  In 1518, Yoshioki returned to Suō Province to focus on restoring his regional power.  He died of illness in 1529 without returning to the capital.

Takakuni attacked and defeated Sumitomo in a violent takeover of the clan.  In 1521, he ousted Yoshitane and installed Ashikaga Yoshiharu (Yoshizumi’s son) as shōgun.  This led to a confrontation with Sumimoto’s son, Hosokawa Harumoto.  In 1527, Takakuni was routed at the Battle of Katsurakawara by the allied forces of the Hatano and Miyoshi which proceeded to capture Kyōto.  In 1531, his army was decimated in a surprise attack by Akamatsu forces at the Collapse at Daimotsu, after which Harumoto ordered Takakuni to kill himself in the Kōtoku Temple in Amagasaki.

Primary bushō in the conflict

For Ashikaga Yoshitane, the primary generals included, in addition to Hosokawa Takakuni and Ōuchi Yoshioki, Hatakeyama Yoshimoto from Noto Province.  Further, it is likely that Hatakeyama Hisanobu of the Kawachi-Hatakeyama clan provided support given that he was an ally since the Meiō Political Incident in 1493.  Direct retainers in Yoshioki’s army, including Toida Hirotane and Sue Okifusa, in addition to daimyō divided between allies and enemies such as Amago Tsunehisa, Kikkawa Kunitsune, Mōri Okimoto (the older brother of Mōri Motonari), Yoshimi Yorioki, and Naitō Okimori participated.

For Ashikaga Yoshizumi, Hosokawa Sumimoto served as the commanding general, supported by Miyoshi Yukinaga, Hosokawa Masakata, Hosokawa Mototsune, Matsuda Yorisuke, the Awa-Hosokawa family, and many direct retainers of the Muromachi bakufu.  Supporting daimyō included Hatakeyama Yoshihide of Kawachi Province (opposed to Hatakeyama Hisanobu) and Akamatsu Yoshimura of Harima Province.  Soon after the battle, Sumimoto’s grandfather, Hosokawa Nariyuki (who served as Sumimoto’s guardian) died from illness, after which Yukinaga’s movements became unclear.

Meanwhile, the commander of the Ōuchi navy, Tagaya Takeshige, performed an important role by chasing down supporters of Yoshizumi who were attempting to flee as well as by securing the harbor of Sakai.  Access to the harbor was necessary to enable the forces sailing from Shikoku to land in Sakai.  Owing to an absence of naval power, Hosokawa Masakata could not attack Sakai, and the resources of Miyoshi Yukinaga and other members of the Awa-Hosokawa family were insufficient to overcome the Ōuchi defenders.  This resulted in a disadvantageous situation for Sumimoto as he endeavored to wage battle in the Kinai without reinforcements from Shikoku.