Hosokawa Hisaharu


Hosokawa Clan


Awaji Province

Lifespan:  14xx to 5/11 of Eishō 16 (1519)

Rank:  bushō

Title:  Governor of Awaji

Clan:  Hosokawa-Awaji (family of the military governor of Awaji)

Bakufu:  Muromachi – military governor of Awaji

Father:  Hosokawa Shigeharu

Children:  Hikoshirō

Hosokawa Hisaharu served as a bushō during the late-Muromachi and Sengoku periods.  He was the military governor of Awaji Province and the seventh and final head of the Hosokawa-Awaji family of the military governor.

Hisaharu was born as the son of Hosokawa Shigeharu, a bushō and military governor of Awaji during the late-Muromachi period.  He received one of the characters in his name from Ashikaga Yoshihisa, the ninth shōgun of the Muromachi bakufu, and adopted the name of Hisaharu.  He is surmised to have attended his coming-of-age ceremony during the term of office of Yoshihisa (from 1473 to 1489).  Therefore, Hisaharu was likely born between 1460 and 1470.

In 1485, following the death of his father, Hisaharu inherited the headship of the Hosokawa-Awaji family and became the military governor of Awaji.  It is expected that he then attended his coming-of-age ceremony.  At this time, Hosokawa Masamoto served as the deputy shōgun of the Muromachi bakufu and led the affairs of the bakufu, ushering in the period of peak prosperity of the Hosokawa-Keichō family.  In 1505, Hisaharu obeyed orders of Masamoto to invade Sanuki Province to fight against Hosokawa Shigeyuki and Miyoshi Yukinaga but was defeated.

In the sixth month of 1507, Masamoto was assassinated by Kōzai Motonaga and Yakushiji Nagatada, supporters of Hosokawa Sumiyuki, in an event known as the Lord Hosokawa Incident (Hosokawa-dono no hen).  This gave rise to a prolonged succession struggle between his three adopted sons:  Hosokawa Sumiyuki, Hosokawa Sumimoto, and Hosokawa Takakuni.  This is known as the Eishō Disturbance (Eishō no sakuran).

In the course of these events, Hisaharu came into conflict with Takakuni.  In 1511, Sumimoto raised arms against Takakuni in Izumi Province, an event known as the Siege of Fukai Castle.  Hisaharu acted in concert by raising arms in Awaji and invaded Settsu Province but was defeated at the Battle of Ashiyagawara and retreated to Awaji.  Owing to his vulnerable position, Hisaharu surrendered to Takakuni.  Nevertheless, as evidenced by the condition that Ashikaga Yoshitane and Takakuni grant the position military governor of Awa Province to Hisaharu’s lineal heir, Hosokawa Hikoshirō, he succeeded in bringing them into his camp.  This outcome, however, created an enemy out of the Hosokawa-Sashū family who had lost Hosokawa Shigeyuki and Hosokawa Yukimochi in succession.  When, in the ninth month of 1517, Miyoshi Yukinaga invaded Awaji, Hisaharu was defeated and fled to the harbor town of Sakai in Izumi Province.  On 5/11 of Eishō 16 (1519), Hisaharu was murdered in Awa by Yukinaga.  Thereafter, there was a possibility that his lineal heir, Hikoshirō, would inherit the headship of the Hosokawa-Awaji family in recognition of his contributions to eliminate Yukinaga at the Battle of Tōji Monastery in 1520, but after Awaji was placed under the control of the Hosokawa-Sashū family and the Miyoshi clan, the Hosokawa-Awaji came to an end as a family of the military governor of the province.