Ashikaga Gijin


Ashikaga Clan

Bushō and Monk


Lifespan:  8/15 of Genki 3 (1572) to 10/17 of Keichō 10 (1605)

Rank:  bushō; monk

Clan:  Ashikaga (shōgun family)

Father:  Ashikaga Yoshiaki

Mother:  Sako-no-kata

Siblings:  Gijin, Isshiki Yoshitaka (?), Nagayama Yoshiari (?)

Wife:  [Formal] Furuichi Taneko (later a consort of Emperor Goyōzei)

Children:  Jissō-in Yoshitaka, Enman-in Jōson

Ashikaga Gijin served as a bushō and monk from the Azuchi-Momoyama period until the early Edo period.  Although generally known as Gijin, after entering the priesthood, he adopted the name of Yoshitaka, then Gijin, and after returning to secular life, Takayama.

Gijin was born in 1572 as the eldest son of Ashikaga Yoshiaki, the fifteenth shōgun of the Muromachi bakufu.  Gijin was born to a consort, but Yoshiaki did not have a formal wife so Gijin was raised as the heir to the shōgun family.  Following a deterioration of relations between Yoshiaki and Oda Nobunaga, he incurred an attack by the Oda army and surrendered at the Battle of Makishima Castle.  Yoshiaki was expelled while Gijin, at the age of one, was transferred to the Oda to serve as a hostage.  Nobunaga then backed Gijin as the shōgun on the basis that Nobunaga stood at an even higher rank.  The Imperial Court, however, opposed Nobunaga’s growing hegemony and rejected the plan.

Ankokuji Ekei served as a mediator in the negotiations to arrange for Yoshiaki’s departure, during which the Mōri were informed that Gijin, as the son of Yoshiaki, should serve as the head of the upcoming new year’s ceremony.  By deposing Yoshiaki, the Muromachi bakufu had in fact ceased to function as a governing administration.  The complete elimination of the organs of the bakufu, including even in a nominal sense, would however provide just cause for resistance to the forces opposed to the Oda.  Therefore, plans were devised for Gijin to have a formal role.

Gijin became a priest of aristocratic heritage, or monzeki, at the Daijō sub-temple on the grounds of the Kōfuku Temple, rising to become the head priest of Kōfuku Temple.  Gijin wed Furuichi Taneko.  She bore two sons who became the high priests at the Jissō Temple in Kyōto and the Enman Temple in Ōmi Province.

Gijin died in 1605.  His sons did not have wives and therefore no natural children, leading to an end to the lineage of the Ashikaga family.