Kizawa Nagamasa


Kizawa Clan


Kawachi Province

Lifespan:  Meiō 2 (1493) to 3/17 of Tenbun 11 (1542)

Rank:  bushō

Title:  Junior Fifth Rank (Lower), Assistant Master of the Eastern Capital Office

Clan:  Kizawa

Lord:  Hatakeyama Yoshitaka → Hatakeyama Ariuji

Father:  Kizawa Fuhan

Siblings:  Nagamasa, Nakatsukasa-taifu, Sama-no-jō

Children:  Magokurō, Sukemasa (Magoshirō)

Kizawa Nagamasa served as a bushō and deputy military governor of Kawachi Province and the southern district of Yamashiro Province.  He was also the lord of Iimoriyama Castle in Kawachi and Shigisan Castle in Yamato Province.


Nagamasa was born as the eldest son of Kizawa Fuhan, a bushō who served Hatakeyama Yoshihide.

The Kizawa clan served as hikan, or servants, to the Hatakeyama clan since the fourteenth century.  In the era of Nagamasa, the Hatakeyama were divided between two competing families – the Hatakeyama-Sōshū and the Hatakeyama-Bishū.  Nagamasa initially served Hatakeyama Yoshitaka of the Hatakeyama-Sōshū family founded by Hatakeyama Yoshinari.  However, as though to distance himself from the continuing discord, he gradually operated independently.

Nagamasa endeavored to raise his status after joining the Hosokawa-Keichō family, the main branch of the Hosokawa clan.  He demonstrated his craftiness at eliminating political enemies in the religious conflict between members of the Ikkō-ikki religious band and their rivals in the Hokke sect, a prolonged conflict in Kyōto known as the Hokke Uprising.  Within one generation, he acquired the power to become a leader in the family, renowned in Kinai, but with the achievement came isolation, and, in the end, he perished in battle against Miyoshi Nagayoshi.

The use of manipulation and duplicity

Nagamasa approached Hosokawa Harumoto at a time when Harumoto was making progress in the long-running conflict against his archrival, Hosokawa Takakuni, for the role of kanrei, or deputy shōgun.  Harumoto supported Ashikaga Yoshitsuna, the Sakai kubō – an alternative administration to the central authorities in Kyōto.  Harumoto’s sister was the formal wife of Nagamasa’s lord, Hatakeyama Yoshitaka – a supporter of the Sakai kubō.

In the eleventh month of 1530, Nagamasa served upon orders of Harumoto in the defense of Kyōto, enduring attacks by Naitō Hikoshichi from Shōgunyama Castle on Mount Higashi.  Hikoshichi was aligned with Takakuni.  In the midst of attacks by Takakuni in Settsu Province on 3/7 of Kyōroku 4 (1531), Nagamasa judged the spirited forces under Takakuni to pose a significant danger, and temporarily disappeared.  He reappeared on 6/4 at the Collapse at Daimotsu, when Harumoto defeated Takakuni’s forces in a surprise pincer attack.  Days later, Harumoto’s forces captured Takakuni in Amagasaki and compelled Takakuni to kill himself.  This outcome marked a victory for Harumoto and the Sakai kubō, drawing to an end the Conflict between the Hosokawa, which had persisted for over two decades.  Nagamasa contributed to this action by capturing Hosokawa Tadakata and having him commit seppuku as well.   

Following the defeat of their common enemies, cracks began to emerge in the solidarity that had earlier formed in the faction supporting Ashikaga Yoshitsuna, the Sakai kubō.  Harumoto, who had served as the central figure in this faction, aimed to reconcile with Ashikaga Yoshiharu, the twelfth shōgun of the Muromachi bakufu based in Kyōto.  Harumoto’s influential retainer, Miyoshi Motonaga, attempted to dissuade Harumoto from restoring relations with Yoshiharu.  Hatakeyama Yoshitaka came around to support Motonaga, leading gradually to a confrontation between the two sides.

Nagamasa’s efforts to foster a direct relationship with Harumoto by going above the Hatakeyama clan to which he owed allegiance were viewed as a threat by Yoshitaka and Motonaga, driving them to form a closer bond.  Out of concern for his own welfare, Nagamasa conspired with his uncle, Miyoshi Masanaga (who viewed Motonaga as an enemy among members of the Miyoshi clan), using slander to cause a split between Harumoto and Motonaga.  Nagamasa incurred two attacks by Yoshitaka and Motonaga against his base at Iimoriyama Castle.  In the sixth month of 1532, Nagamasa received reinforcements of Ikkō warrior monks who responded to an appeal from Harumoto, launching a counterattack.  This enabled Nagamasa to escape his predicament at the Siege of Iimori Castle.  The ferocious counterattack led Yoshitaka to kill himself while the monks proceeded to attack the Kenpon Temple in Izumi Province, the base for the Miyoshi in the Kinai.  Motonaga was compelled to take his own life and the Sakai kubō was extinguished.

Although Nagamasa was able to exploit the confrontation between the Ikkō sect and the Hokke sect to eliminate political enemies, the Ikkō-ikki army turned toward Yamato Province, leading to conflict and violence among other sects such as at the Kōfuku Temple in Nara.  This gave rise to a new conflict known as the Tenbun Conflict.  At this time, Ashikaga Yoshiharu served as shōgun, Harumoto as deputy shōgun, and Ibaraki Nagataka as vice-deputy shōgun.  Upon orders from Nagataka, Nagamasa made significant efforts to respond to and suppress the conflict, whereupon he formed an alliance with the Hokke sect to oppose the Ikkō-ikki.  Once the Ikkō-ikki were weakened, then the Hokke became an obstacle so, in 1536, he overthrew them in the Hokke Uprising. 

Thereafter, in an effort to restore relations with the Ikkō sect, Nagamasa began to actively exchange writings and gifts with Shōnyo, the tenth high priest of the Hongan Temple, and his guardian, Renjun.  In 1534, he mediated between Miyoshi Nagayoshi (the orphan of Motonaga) and Harumoto, enabling Nagayoshi to become a retainer of Harumoto.  At this time, Harumoto served as the military governor of Yamashiro Province.  Harumoto then appointed Nagamasa as the deputy military governor of the southern district of Yamashiro even though Nagamasa was a retainer of another family.  This may have been possible through Nagamasa’s use of his personal connections established in his role as a servant of the Hatakeyama, the military governors prior to the Hosokawa-Keichō family.  By this means, Nagamasa became one of the most influential figures in the Kinai.

Control by two Hatakeyama families

The Hatakeyama clan serving as the military governors of Kawachi Province was divided between the Sōshū family (founded by Hatakeyama Yoshihiro) who were puppets of the Kizawa clan, and the Bishū family (founded by Hatakeyama Masanaga) who were in robust condition.

In 1534, Hatakeyama Tanenaga served as the head of the Bishū family.  Once it was learned that he had allied with the Hongan Temple to resist Harumoto, Nagamasa joined with Yusa Naganori, a senior retainer of the Bishū family, and banished Tanenaga to Kii Province.  Initially, Nagamasa supported Tanenaga’s younger brother, Hatakeyama Nagatsune, as a puppet.  Following negotiations with Harumoto, Nagatsune was removed and another younger brother named Hatakeyama Haruhiro became the designated successor and gained the support of Yusa Naganori.  This, however, lasted only a short while after the authorities in the bakufu refused to acknowledge the appointment.

In 1536, Nagamasa supervised the construction of Shigisan Castle in a mountainous area of Yamato Province near the border with Kawachi Province.

In 1538, after negotiations with Naganori, Hatakeyama Yakurō and Hatakeyama Ariuji were supported by the Bishū and Sōshū families respectively.  By achieving joint governance of the families, Nagamasa and Naganori could hold the real power of the Hatakeyama clan.  Nagamasa may have sought reconciliation between the two branches in response to the threat posed by the Ikkō-ikki.

Thereafter, Nagamasa’s ambitions grew beyond the governance of Kawachi, extending to provinces throughout Kinai.  In particular, he held a deeply rooted fixation with Yamato Province which was formerly within the territory of the Sōshū branch, posing a major threat to the local families of influence.  Around this time, Nagamasa had Shigisan and Nijōzan castles built in locations allowing access to both provinces.  From 1537, he allied with the Tsutsui clan to suppress the Ochi clan and seize control of Yamato.

A turning point

Miyoshi Nagayoshi and Ikeda Nobumasa, a powerful kokujin from Settsu Province, began to gain prominence in Kinai.  Nagamasa facilitated a return by Nagayoshi to the service of Harumoto owing to the need for support from the Miyoshi clan to achieve a reconciliation based on their close ties to the Hokke sect.  Notwithstanding his young age, Nagayoshi gradually gained influence within Harumoto’s administration.  Initially, he made amends with Harumoto (who had been one of his father’s rivals) and was assigned control of Koshimizu Castle. While steadily expanding his influence in the Kinai, Nagayoshi aimed to recapture the former territory of his father that had been seized by Nagamasa.

In addition to changes in the external environment, Nagamasa entered into a confrontation with Yusa Naganori over leadership of the Hatakeyama families.  Nagamasa endeavored to resist Naganori’s plans to reach a settlement with the former head of the clan, Hatakeyama Tanenaga, and expel Nagamasa.  Attempts to strengthen his relationship with Harumoto through mediation by Renjun failed.  Meanwhile, Hatakeyama Nagatsune was killed amidst uncertain circumstances while Nagamasa could be seen acting with increasing arrogance within the clan.

The final chapter

In the eighth month of 1541, Nagamasa disagreed with Harumoto and Nagayoshi over the treatment of Shiokawa Masatoshi of Yamashita Castle in Settsu, a former supporter of Hosokawa Takakuni.  Nagamasa then allied himself with Itami Chikaoki and Miyake Kunimura, powerful kokujin from Settsu, to oppose Harumoto and Nagayoshi.  In the tenth month, he dispatched reinforcements to Yamashita Castle and defeated Nagayoshi and Nobumasa who had laid siege to the castle.  The forces attacked Nobumasa’s base at Harada Castle and proceeded to Kyōto with the intention to back Ashikaga Yoshiharu, the shōgun.  Yoshiharu, however, fled to Sakamoto in Ōmi Province, while Harumoto retreated to Iwakura on the outskirts of Kyōto.  This made Nagamasa a traitor to the bakufu.  Moreover, owing to his estrangement from Masatoshi and Kunimura who quickly reconciled with Harumoto, Nagamasa experienced a deepening sense of isolation.

In 1542, a political disturbance erupted in Takaya Castle in Kawachi.  Retainers in the Kizawa faction were purged, Hatakeyama Yakurō was banished, while Hatakeyama Tanenaga restored relations with Naganori and resumed his role as head of the clan.

Nagamasa lost the support of the Hatakeyama-Bishū family and could not gain support from Ariuji of the Hatakeyama-Sōshū family.  As Nagamasa confronted an increasingly dire situation, former kokujin from Yamato Province who served primarily as servants of the Sōshū family, such as Yagyū Ieyoshi, were the only ones who still supported him.  An attempt to recapture Takaya Castle failed.  On 3/17, Nagamasa fought the bakufu army near the remains of the Taihei Temple in Kawachi, dying in action against the allied forces of the Hosokawa, the Miyoshi, and the Yusa at the Battle of Taihei Temple.

In addition to Nagamasa, many members of the family died in the battle.  Nijōzan and Shigisan castles fell soon thereafter, extinguishing Nagamasa’s influence.  Remnants of the family joined with former retainers of Hosokawa Takakuni, raising arms in the twelfth month under the leadership of Hosokawa Ujitsuna and giving rise to the Conflict of Hosokawa Ujitsuna.  Following the demise of Nagamasa, Tsutsui Junshō emerged as an influential figure, after which Nagayoshi dispatched forces led by Matsunaga Hisahide to suppress him.