The Etchū kubō was a political administration formed by Ashikaga Yoshiki, the tenth shōgun of the Muromachi bakufu in Hōjōzu in the Izumi District of Etchū Province after he was deposed from his position in a coup d’etat known as the Meiō Political Incident. At the time, this administration was also referred to as the Etchū gosho. Other current references include the Hōjōzu Administration, the Hōjōzu bakufu, and the Etchū bakufu.
The Meiō Political Incident occurred in 1493. While Yoshiki was away from Kyōto, Hosokawa Masamoto (the deputy shōgun), Hino Tomiko, and Ise Sadamune supported Ashikaga Yoshizumi as the eleventh shōgun, and launched the coup d’etat. The primary reason for Masamoto to launch this coup owed to a dispute over governance. After becoming shōgun, Yoshiki promised that he would delegate ruling powers to Masamoto, but as he matured, he began to manage these affairs himself. This was an issue as to who would lead the bakufu administration, the shōgun or the deputy shōgun.
In the capital, residents who supported Yoshiki expressed scorn and caused commotion in the city. Emperor Gotsuchi-mikado temporarily resigned in protest to the removal of Yoshiki given his approval of the original appointment. The disturbance did not soon fade, so that it required over eight months until Ashikaga Yoshizumi was declared the supreme shōgun (seiitai shōgun). Owing to these circumstances, the transfer of the role from Yoshiki to Yoshizumi was held after the death of Emperor Gotsuchi-mikado. (Under an alternate theory, offerings by Masamoto to the Imperial Court were insufficient so the Court was slow to move forward.) Masamoto dispatched an army to Kawachi and defeated Yoshiki and Hatakeyama Masanaga, causing Masanaga to take his own life. Yoshiki surrendered at the base of Uehara Motohide (a retainer of Masamoto) carrying only family treasures in the form of armor and swords that had been kept in the Ashikaga family since the time of Ashikaga Takauji, whereupon he was taken to Kyōto and confined in the Ryōan Temple.
While in confinement, Yoshiki learned that he was to be sent to Shōdo Island, so, in the summer of 1493, he escaped from Kyōto with the help of some close associates. Yoshiki went to the coastal area of Hōjōzu in Etchū Province under the control of Hatakeyama Masanaga. Yoshiki relied upon one of Masanaga’s retainers, Jinbō Naganobu, at Hōjōzu Castle in the Naka-shinminato neighborhood of Imizu. He then reconstructed the Shōkō Temple to serve as his palace. This site was located in Ishimaru near Hōjōzu Castle. Yoshiki exercised his authority by means of written directives issued through his bugyōnin, or commissioners.
In his role as leader of the Etchū kubō, Yoshiki was not merely a powerless fugitive. He had established a political administration in Etchū backed by military units. This was referred to as the Hōjōzu bakufu similar to the Sakai bakufu of Ashikaga Yoshitsuna and the Tomo bakufu of Ashikaga Yoshiaki. In 1499, Yoshitada (formerly known as Yoshiki) moved his base to Echizen Province, bringing to an end the period of governance in Etchū. Thereafter, Yoshitada was referred to as the Echizen kubō.
Key figures in the Etchū kubō included:
- Hatakeyama Hisanobu, the military governor of Etchū Province
- Togashi Yasutaka, the military governor of Kaga Province
- Uesugi Sadazane, the military governor of Echigo Province
- Asakura Sadakage, the military governor of Echizen Province
- Nobles with a close association to the bakufu including members of the Hino family, Ano Suetsuna, Matsudono Tadaaki, and Asukai Masuyasu
- Commissioners of the bakufu including Ise Sadayori, Yoshimi Yoshitaka, and Hatakeyama Masachika
- Kano Sakyō-no-suke, Isshiki 視元
The Etchū kubō maintained a close relationship with Hosokawa Masamoto and the central authorities in Kyōto, so individuals frequently traveled to and from Kyōto and Etchū Province for visits. While in Hōjōzu, Yoshiki was visited by Sōgi, an expert in linked-verse poetry, and received collections of poems from nobles in Kyōto. Landholdings controlled by direct retainers of the bakufu located in the environs of Hōjōzu Castle such as the Iwashimizu-Hachiman Shrine provided an independent economic base for Yoshiki and funding needed to support travel to and from the capital. During this period, the Jinbo clan asserted control over the landholdings of temples, shrines, and nobles, as well as of other daimyō and direct retainers of the bakufu in Etchū.