Ashikaga Yoshizumi


Ashikaga Clan

Ashikaga Yoshizumi


Lifespan:  12/15 of Bunmei 12 (1480) to 8/14 of Eishō 8 (1511)

Rank:  shōgun

Title:  Junior Fifth Rank (Lower), Senior Fifth Rank (Lower), Director of the Imperial Cavalry for the Left Division, Supreme Shōgun, Junior Fourth Rank (Lower), Councilor, Lieutenant General of Imperial Guards for the Left Division, Junior Third Rank, Junior First Rank – Minister of the Left Division (honorary),  Grand Minister (honorary)

Bakufu:  Eleventh supreme shōgun of the Muromachi bakufu (in office from 1495-1508)

Clan: Ashikaga

Lord:  Matsudaira Kiyoyasu

Father:  Ashikaga Masatomo

Mother:  Daughter of Mushanokōji Takamitsu

Adoptive Father:  Ashikaga Yoshimasa, Ashikaga Yoshihisa

Siblings: Chachamaru, Yoshizumi, Jundōji, Oda Masaharu(?)

Wife: [Formal] Hino Ako; [Second] Daughter of security staff (either the daughter of Shiba Yoshihiro or Rokakku Takayori)

Children: Yoshiharu, Yoshitsuna

Ashikaga Yoshizumi served as the eleventh shōgun of the Muromachi bakufu from 1495 to 1508.  His father was Ashikaga Masatomo, known as the Horigoe kubō, a proxy for the shōgun in the Kantō Region.  Masatomo was the half-brother of Ashikaga Yoshimasa, the eighth shōgun.  Yoshizumi had the Buddhist name of Seikō while serving in the temple, and after returning to secular life, adopted the name of Yoshitō, followed by Yoshitaka and, finally, Yoshizumi.  His formal wife was Hino Ako, the niece of Hino Tomiko, the formal wife of Yoshimasa who wielded significant influence in the family for decades.

In 1493, Ashikaga Yoshiki (Yoshizumi’s cousin later known as Yoshitane), the tenth shōgun, was ousted by Hosokawa Masamoto, the deputy shōgun, in a dramatic coup d’etat known as the Meiō Political Incident (Meiō no seihen) that divided the Ashikaga family and ushered in the Sengoku period.  Yoshizumi became his successor as the eleventh shōgun.  In 1508, Ōuchi Yoshioki, the sengoku daimyō of Suō Province, raised an army to march upon Kyōto in support of Yoshitane.  This caused Yoshizumi to vacate his role and flee to Ōmi Province, later dying before he could reclaim his former position.

Life Events

Yoshizumi was born on 12/15 of 1480 as the son of Ashikaga Masatomo, the Horigoe kubō.  At the time, Yoshizumi’s half-brother, Chachamaru, was the eldest son and designated heir of Masatomo.  In 1486, upon the request of his uncle, Ashikaga Yoshimasa, Yoshizumi was designated as the heir to the Kōgen monastery in the Tenryū Temple in Kyōto.  In the sixth month of 1487, Yoshizumi entered the monastery and adopted the name of Seikō.

In the third month of 1489, Ashikaga Yoshimasa lost his successor upon the death by illness of his son, Ashikaga Yoshihisa, who was serving as the ninth shōgun.  The following year, Yoshimasa died, leaving empty the seat of the shōgun.  Seikō was considered as a candidate for successor; however, with the support of Hino Tomiko (Yoshimasa’s widow), Ashikaga Yoshiki (an elder cousin of Yoshizumi later known as Yoshitada), the son of Yoshizumi’s uncle known as Ashikaga Yoshimi, became the tenth shōgun.  Meanwhile, Tomiko planned to transfer to Seikō the Ogawa residence where she and Yoshihisa were residing.  On 4/27 of 1490, when this intention became known, Yoshimi suspected that Tomiko was preparing for Seikō to become the next shōgun, whereupon the following month he burned down the residence.  This caused a deterioration in the relationship between Tomiko and Yoshiki.

In the fourth month of 1493, Hosokawa Masamoto, the deputy shōgun, along with Hino Tomiko and Ise Sadamune, launched the coup d’état known as the Meiō Political Incident leading to the ouster of Yoshiki, while Seikō was designated the successor to Yoshimasa and assumed the role as the eleventh shōgun.  Nevertheless, Masamoto, Tomiko, and Sadamune held the authority within the bakufu.  Early in 1495, a coming-of-age ceremony was held for Seikō prior to the Imperial proclamation of his appointment as the shōgun.  A series of ceremonies followed pursuant to the precedent established by Yoshimasa, held at the residence of Masamoto where Seikō resided at the time.  Masamoto served as the individual in charge of crowning the young man, while Kujō Hisatsune (a son of Masamoto), Hosokawa Masakata, and Hosokawa Hisaharu tended to his hair, so that all of those assisting the ceremony were members of the Hosokawa family.  Masamoto planned to place black-lacquered headgear known as an eboshi upon Seikō, although Masamoto himself disliked wearing these pieces and was criticized by others scheduled to attend after the event was delayed.  Instead of the Ise clan, the Nikaidō clan was appointed to serve as the secretary of the mandokoro, or governing body of the bakufu, as established through precedent for the coming-of-age ceremonies for Ashikaga Yoshimasa and, prior to him, for Ashikaga Yoshimitsu.  Ise Sadamune thereby assigned the role of secretary to Nikaidō Naoyuki for a single day.

After the death of Tomiko, Yoshizumi matured and began to exercise independent authority, leading to conflict with Masamoto.  In the second month 1502, Masamoto indicated a desire to resign from his position as the deputy shōgun.  He departed the capital and traveled to Tanba Province, followed by Makishima Castle in Yamashiro, but Yoshizumi persuaded not to resign.  Later that year,  Yoshizumi sheltered in the Kinryū Temple in the Iwakura neighborhood of Kyōto.  While Masamoto and Sadamune requested to return to their positions, Yoshizumi appointed Takeda Motonobu as one of his associates (a role known as a shōbanshū).  Further, he ordered the execution of Gichū, the son of Ashikaga Yoshimi and half brother of Yoshiki serving as a monk at the Jisshō sub-temple in Kyōto, which Masamoto permitted.

However, as a result of the killing of Gichū, Masamoto lost the opportunity to become a candidate for the role of shōgun in lieu of Yoshizumi.  The two men maintained a cooperative relationship despite the persistence of political differences between them.  In 1504, when Masamoto aimed to remove a retainer of the Hosokawa named Yakushiji Motokazu from his position as the deputy military governor of Settsu Province, Yoshizumi ordered Masamoto to refrain from the dismissal.

In 1507, Masamoto was killed by the supporters of Hosokawa Sumiyuki, one of his adopted sons who had been removed from the line of succession, in the Lord Hosokawa Incident (Hosokawa-dono no hen).  This gave rise to the Eishō Disturbance (Eishō no sakuran), a decades-long succession struggle within the Hosokawa-Keichō family – the main branch of the Hosokawa clan.  In the fourth month of 1508, Yoshizumi learned that Ōuchi Yoshioki, the powerful sengoku daimyō from Suō Province, was planning to march upon the capital in support of the former shōgun, Ashikaga Yoshitada (formerly Yoshiki).  In advance of their arrival, Yoshizumi fled to the protection of Rokkaku Takayori in the Kuchiki Valley in Ōmi Province, and then to Mizuguki-Okayama Castle in the Gamō District.  That summer, Yoshizumi was removed from his role as shōgun and Yoshitada restored to his former position.

Thereafter, Yoshizumi endeavored to reclaim his title by having Hosokawa Sumimoto, Miyoshi Yukinaga, and Miyoshi Nagahide (Yukinaga’s son), launch attacks against Kyōto, only to be defeated by forces led by Hosokawa Takakuni, Ōuchi Yoshioki, and Hatakeyama Hisanobu.  He also plotted the assassination of Yoshitada, without success.  In 1510, Yoshitada ordered Takakuni and Yoshioki to counterattack Yoshizumi in Ōmi, but Yoshizumi prevailed against this attack through the efforts of the kokujin who supported him in Ōmi.  He further issued a written appeal for support to Ōtomo Chikaharu of Bungo Province in Kyūshū and Akamatsu Yoshimura of Harima Province.  However, in the autumn of 1511, Yoshizumi died of illness at the age of thirty at the Mizuguki-Okayama Castle just before a final showdown against Yoshitada, Takakuni, and Yoshioki at the Battle of Funaokayama.

Within ten days after Yoshizumi’s demise, the Battle of Funaokayama broke out, in which Hosokawa Sumimoto, Miyoshi Yukinaga, and Akamatsu Yoshimura were defeated and Yoshitada’s position as shōgun reaffirmed.  After the conflict, the two sides reconciled and two of Yoshizumi’s sons, Ashikaga Yoshiharu and Ashikaga Yoshitsuna, were transferred to Akamatsu Yoshimura and Hosokawa Yukimochi (the elder brother of Sumimoto), respectively.