Hosokawa Harukuni


Hosokawa Clan


Yamashiro Province

Lifespan:  Eighth month of Eishō 13 (1516) to 8/29 of Tenbun 5 (1536)

Name Changes:  Toramasu → Harukuni

Other Names:  Hachirō (common), Harufusa

Rank:  bushō

Clan:  Hosokawa-Yashū

Father:  Hosokawa Masaharu

Siblings:  Takakuni, Harukuni, Michimasa (Terumasa)

Children:  Michitada

Adopted Children:  Michimasa (nephew raised as one’s child)

Hosokawa Harukuni served as a bushō during the Sengoku period.  He was the fifth head of the Hosokawa-Yashū, a cadet family of the Hosokawa-Keichō – the main branch of the Hosokawa clan.

Harukuni was born as the son of Hosokawa Masaharu.  He was the younger brother of Hosokawa Takakuni, the deputy shōgun of the Muromachi bakufu.  At the time that Takakuni inherited the Hosokawa-Keichō family, his father, Masaharu, did not have any other sons, giving rise to succession concerns.  In the eighth month of 1516, the birth of Harukuni resolved the problem.

When Harukuni was three years old, Masaharu died of illness so custody of Harukuni was given to his older brother who was over thirty years older than Harukuni.  In 1526, Harukuni, together with Hosokawa Ujitsuna (the adopted son of Takakuni), attended his coming-of-age ceremony.  Given that Harukuni was eleven years old and had not yet entered into service for Ashikaga Yoshiharu, the twelfth shōgun, the context for this appeared to be an effort to stabilize the headship of the Yashū family.  Harukuni did not use the name of Awa-no-kami as an official title but is surmised to have called himself by this name as the future successor to Masaharu.  This also reflects the fact that, after the demise of Hosokawa Tanekuni, Takakuni did not adopt Harukuni.

In 1531, during the Collapse at Daimotsu, Takakuni was killed in battle against Miyoshi Motonaga and Hosokawa Harumoto.  Harukuni was then backed by elements of Takakuni’s faction in Settsu and Tanba provinces to become the next head of the Hosokawa-Keichō family.  In the fifth month of 1533, he raised arms in Yamashiro Province and fought against Harumoto.  Initially, Harukuni, with support from the Ishiyama-Hongan Temple, was in a superior position vis-à-vis Harumoto.  In the sixth month, he defeated and killed Yakushiji Kuninaga, a bushō in Harumoto’s faction, but during the ensuing winter, was attacked and defeated during the Hokke Uprising instigated by Harumoto.  A reconciliation between the Ishiyama-Hongan Temple and Harumoto left Harukuni vulnerable.  On 8/29 of Tenbun 5 (1536), owing to a betrayal by Miyake Kunimura who colluded with Harumoto, Harukuni was compelled to take his own life at the Tennō Temple in Settsu.

Within the Hosokawa family, there was an awareness that Harukuni’s position had changed from being the successor to the Bōshū family rather than the Yashū family.  It appears that Ujitsuna (from the Hosokawa-Tenkyū family which was of higher status than the Bōshū family) opposed Harukuni being named as the successor of Takakuni and did not participate in the rebellion.

When Ujitsuna, the adopted son of Takakuni, later raised arms against Harumoto, the fact that Miyake Kunimura who joined Ujitsuna’s camp was not questioned in regard to the details of his past is indicative of the sensitive relationship between Ujitsuna and Harukuni.

After the demise of Harukuni, the headship of the Yashū family was inherited by his younger brother, Hosokawa Michimasa, but Michimasa and his lineal heir, Hosokawa Michitada, were relegated to the position of kokujin, or provincial landowners, in Bitchū.  The conflict with Harumoto in the Kinai was taken over by Ujitsuna.