Conflict between the Hosokawa


Hosokawa Sumimoto



Hosokawa Takakuni

Date:  Eishō 6 (1509) to Tenbun 1 (1532)

Location:  Various locations in and around Kyōto in Yamashiro Province and Sakai in Izumi Province

Synopsis:  The assassination of Hosokawa Masamoto, the deputy shōgun, in 1507 triggered a prolonged succession struggle among his adopted sons for control of the Hosokawa-Keichō family.  In the course of this conflict, Hosokawa Sumimoto (followed by his son, Hosokawa Harumoto), of the Awa branch of the Hosokawa clan defeated a rival faction led by Hosokawa Takakuni, who was supported by Ōuchi Yoshioki, the sengoku daimyō of Suō Province.  The conflict lasted for over two decades, with a surprise attack against Takakuni resulting in his ultimate demise at the Collapse at Daimotsu.

Commanders:  Hosokawa Sumimoto, Hosokawa Harumoto, Miyoshi Yukinaga, Miyoshi Motonaga, Akamatsu Yoshimura, Hosokawa Masakata, Hosokawa Mototsune, Hosokawa Hisaharu

Forces:  Varies by battle

Losses:  Varies by battle

Commanders:  Hosokawa Takakuni, Ōuchi Yoshioki, Kawarabayashi Masayori, Kōzai Motomori, Yanagimoto Kataharu

Forces:  Varies by battle

Losses:  Varies by battle

The Conflict between the Hosokawa (Ryō-Hosokawa no ran) was marked by a prolonged series of military clashes between rival factions within the Hosokawa clan that occurred between 1509 and 1531.


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 Muromachi bakufu. However, tensions arose from his choice of a successor, leading to his assassination on 6/23 of 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 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) on 6/4 of 1531.

In the spring of 1508, Hosokawa Sumimoto and Yoshizumi fled in succession to Ōmi Province, while Takakuni entered Kyōto.  Ashikaga Yoshiki (later known as Yoshitada followed by Yoshitane) and Ōuchi Yoshioki arrived at the city of Sakai in Izumi Province, whereupon Takakuni came to meet them and inherited the role as head of the Hosokawa-Keichō family. Yoshiki then traveled from Sakai to Kyōto and reclaimed his position as shōgun.  Symbolic of his role as head of the Hosokawa-Keichō family, Takakuni was conferred the title of Master of the Western Capital Office, while Yoshioki was awarded the titles of Master of the Eastern Capital Office, assistant deputy shōgun, and military governor of Yamashiro.

The turmoil associated with these events set the stage for the Conflict between the Hosokawa – over two decades of conflict between Hosokawa Takakuni, Ōuchi Yoshioki and their supporters on one side against forces from Awa Province including Hosokawa Sumimoto, his son (Hosokawa Harumoto), and the Miyoshi clan.

The succession of events

In the sixth month of 1509, Hosokawa Sumimoto and Miyoshi Yukinaga planned an attack on Kyōto, but this was repelled by the allied forces of Takakuni and Yoshioki at the Battle of Nyoigatake.

Thereafter, Takakuni invaded Ōmi Province, after which Sumimoto and Yukinaga fled to Awa Province.  Yukinaga’s son, Miyoshi Nagahide, lost and went to Ise Province whereupon he killed himself following an attack by Kitabatake Kichika. 

In 1510, Takakuni’s forces invaded Ōmi again, but were defeated by kokujin, or families of local influence, who supported Sumimoto. 

In the summer of 1511, Sumimoto prepared for and deployed forces to take the fight to Takakuni on two fronts.  One contingent sailed from Awa Province in Shikoku to the city of Sakai in Izumi Province to engage in the Battle of Fukai, while another group landed in Hyōgo in Settsu Province, triggering the Battle of Ashiyagawara.  Sumimoto planned for a pincer attack on Kyōto in coordination with Ashikaga Yoshizumi who was taking refuge in Ōmi Province. 

At the Battle of Fukai, Hosokawa Masakata and Hosokawa Mototsune served as the commanding generals.  The army landed on the shore of the metropolis of Sakai and set-up an encampment at Fukai Castle.  Takakuni responded by ordering the deployment of an army of 20,000 men comprised of kokujin, or local families of influence, in Settsu, including members of the Ikeda, the Itami, the Miyake, the Ibaraki, the Aiu, the Fukui, the Ōta, the Irie, and the Takatsuki clans.  This led within one week to a loss for Takakuni, whereupon Sumimoto’s forces advanced to Nakajima Castle. Akamatsu Yoshimura, the military governor of Harima and Bizen provinces, converged with Sumimoto’s army for the advance.

After establishing a position at Nakajima Castle in Settsu Province, the army marched upon and captured Kyōto.  This caused Ashikaga Yoshitane and his supporters, Hosokawa Takakuni and Ōuchi Yoshioki, to escape to Tanba Province.  Thereafter, Yoshitane gradually increased the strength of his forces and began to re-approach the capital.

The Battle of Ashiyagawara occurred over a period of approximately two weeks in the environs of the Ashiyagawa Plain and Takao Castle in Settsu Province.  After forces under the command of Hosokawa Hisaharu (the military governor of Awaji Province) landed in Hyōgo, Kawarabayashi Masayori, lord of Takao Castle, informed Takakuni, whereupon Takakuni dispatched a vanguard of thirty mounted soldiers including Yanagimoto Muneo, Hatano Tanemichi, Nose Yoritoyo, and Araki Daisuke, along with 3,000 reinforcements, to set-up a base on the shore of Ashiya.  Masayori solidified defenses on the mountainside surrounding Takao Castle. 

Hisaharu’s army was joined by the jizamurai from the Nada area.  Reinforcements in Takakuni’s army initiated fighting on the plains alongside the Ashiya River while Masayori led operations on the mountainside.  A relative of Masayori named Kawarabayashi Shingorō (who was aligned with Sumimoto) applied pressure against the castle, toppling the outer citadel, for which he later received a letter of commendation from Sumimoto.  According to one source, the main castle was on the mountaintop, Takaoyama Castle, whereas the outer citadel, Ashiya Castle, was at the base of the mountain.  Despite losing the outer citadel, Masayori continued the fight, killing over two hundred soldiers in Hisaharu’s army.   Thereafter, the attacking forces pursued Masayori’s men to the village of Yuhara in the Arima District of Settsu.

Soon after the Battle of Fukai and the Battle of Ashiyagawara, in the summer of 1511, an internal conflict erupted within the Rokkaku clan of Ōmi, which had served as the protector of Ashikaga 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. Upon learning this news regarding his former ally, Yoshizumi died of an illness in despair. Thereafter, Takakuni and Yoshioki prevailed in a single nighttime clash known as the Battle of Funaokayama.  Hosokawa Masakata killed himself, while Sumimoto retreated to Awa.

In 1517, Miyoshi Yukinaga controlled the Awaji navy, so he attacked Awaji and Hosokawa Hisaharu, the military governor of Awaji, fled to the city of Sakai in Izumi Province.  In the autumn of 1518, the Amago clan of Izumo Province and the Takeda clan of Aki Province initiated movements viewed as threatening by Yoshoki, while kokujin in the Ōuchi domain were relinquishing their support for the clan, so, after having resided in Kyōto for approximately a decade, Ōuchi Yoshioki returned to Suō Province.  In the fifth month of 1519, Hosokawa Hisaharu surrendered to Sumimoto, but was then killed by Yukinaga.

In the eleventh month of 1519, Sumimoto and Yukinaga landed in Hyōgo in Settsu Province, and captured Koshimizu Castle from Kawarabayashi Masayori at the Battle of Koshimizu Castle.  In the second month of 1520, Takakuni lost to Sumimoto and Yukinaga in Settsu Province, while Ashikaga Yoshitane colluded with Sumimoto.

Takakuni fled to Sakamoto in Ōmi.  However, with the support of Rokkaku Sadayori, Kyōgoku Takakiyo, and Naitō Sadamasa of Tanba Province, he attacked Kyōto and defeated Sumimoto and Yukinaga in the fifth month of 1520 at the Battle of Tōji Monastery.  Yukinaga visited Takakuni and plead with Takakuni to spare his life but was compelled to kill himself upon demand of Sanshirō, the adopted son of Hosokawa Hisaharu.  Moreover, Sumimoto was banished to Settsu.  On 6/10 of 1520, Sumimoto died of illness at Shōzui Castle in Awa Province.

In the third month of 1521, Takakuni banished Ashikaga Yoshitane, the shōgun, and backed Ashikaga Yoshiharu (Yoshizumi’s son) as the twelfth shōgun.  Meanwhile, Uragami Muramune, a senior retainer of Akamatsu Yoshimura, had Yoshimura confined and later assassinated.  In the eleventh month of 1521, Takakuni assumed the role of kanrei, or deputy shōgun, for Yoshiharu’s coming-of-age ceremony, and then resigned the following month.

In the tenth month of 1524, senior retainers of Takakuni including Kōzai Motomori and Yanagimoto Kataharu defeated supporters of the Hosokawa-Awa family in Izumi Province.  In the seventh month of 1526, Takakuni executed Motomori on the basis of slander by Hosokawa Tadakata, the military governor of Tanba Province and head of the Hosokawa-Tenkyū family.  This led Motomori’s older brother, Hatano Tanemichi, Kataharu, and others to ally with the Hosokawa-Awa family led by Hosokawa Harumoto and Miyoshi Yukinaga to raise arms in Tanba.  Takakuni dispatched Tadakata to attack them in Tanba but he lost and retreated.

In the second month of 1527, Tanemichi and Kataharu attacked Kyōto, defeating Takakuni and Tadakata in a confrontation at the Katsura River known as the Battle of Katsurakawara.  Takakuni and Kataharu supported Ashikaga Yoshiharu and fled to Sakamoto in Ōmi.  Hosokawa Harumoto and Miyoshi Motonaga backed Ashikaga Yoshitsuna, the younger brother of Yoshiharu and adopted son of the former shōgun, Ashikaga Yoshitane, advanced to Sakai, and controlled the capital in the role of Sakai kubō.  In 1528, Takakuni attempted to re-take the capital, but lost to Harumoto.   Hosokawa Tadakata betrayed Takakuni in favor of Harumoto.  In 1530, Yanagimoto Kataharu died while deploying to Harima Province.  Takakuni joined with Uragami Muramune to attack Kyōto. 

Early in 1531, Miyoshi Motonaga counterattacked, resulting in a major loss for Takakuni at the Battle of Nakajima in Settsu Province.  In the sixth month of 1531, Takakuni then lost to Motonaga in the Collapse at Daimotsu and fled to Amagasaki but was soon captured and killed himself.  Uragami Muramune died in the same conflict.  The following month, Kizawa Nagamasa killed Hosokawa Tadakata.  Motonaga opposed Nagamasa, but Nagamasa was closely protected by Harumoto.

In 1532, Harumoto joined with Nagamasa and Shōnyo (a monk) and sent Ikkō-ikki forces to attack Motonaga in Sakai.  Motonaga lost and killed himself.  Harumoto reconciled with Ashikaga Yoshiharu, the shōgun.  This was followed by the Tenbun Disturbance (Tenbun no sakuran).