Miura Tokitaka


Miura Clan


Sagami Province

Lifespan:  Ōei 23 (1416) to 9/23 of Meiō 3 (1494)

Rank:  bushō

Clan:  Sagami-Miura

Bakufu:  Muromachi – Military Governor of Sagami

Father:  Miura Takaaki

Siblings:  Tokitaka, Deguchi Takanobu, sister (wife of Ōmori Ujiyori)

Children:  Takanori

Adopted Children:  Takahira, Yoshiatsu

Miura Tokitaka served as a bushō from the late Muromachi period to the early Sengoku period.  He was the head of the Sagami-Miura clan, serving as the military governor of Sagami Province under the Ōgigayatsu-Uesugi family.  Tokitaka was the lord of Misaki Castle (also known as Arai Castle) in the Miura District of Sagami.

Rebellion against the Kamakura kubō

In 1416, Tokitaka was born as the son of Miura Takaaki.  In the year of his birth, Takaaki was complicit in the Revolt of Uesugi Zenshū and removed by Ashikaga Mochiuji (the Kamakura kubō) from his position as the military governor of Sagami.  Tokitaka served Mochiuji and was said to have been appointed as the military governor of Sagami in 1429, but there are also alternate theories.

In 1438, in an effort to subdue Uesugi Norizane, the deputy shōgun of the Kantō, Mochiuji entered the Kōan Temple in Musashi while Tokitaka was ordered to stay behind to protect the Kamakura administration.  Ashikaga Yoshinori, the sixth shōgun of the Muromachi bakufu, then ordered the subjugation of Mochiuji.  As Mochiuji headed toward Mount Hakone to intercept the bakufu army, Tokitaka joined forces with the Uesugi clan and launched a rebellion, leading his army from the Miura Peninsula to occupy Kamakura and compelling Mochiuji and his son, Ashikaga Yoshihisa, to take their own lives in an event known as the Eikyō Conflict.

As this event, Tokitaka obeyed the Ōgigayatsu-Uesugi and became the de facto lord of Sagami Province.  Tokitaka earned the trust of Uesugi Mochitomo, the head of the Ōgigayatsu-Uesugi family.  Tokitaka’s sister bore a daughter with Ōmori Ujiyori of western Sagami (Tokitaka’s niece) who was wed to Mochitomo’s second son, Takahira.  Takahira was then adopted by Tokitaka, becoming Miura Takahira.  The son born to Tokitaka’s niece, Miura Yoshiatsu, was also adopted.

Entering the priesthood and succession struggle

After the outbreak of the Kyōtoku Conflict between Ashikaga Shigeuji (Mochiuij’s son who became the next Kamakura kubō (later the Koga kubō) and the Uesugi clan, Tokitaka obeyed Mochitomo and fought against Shigeuji’s backers while aiming to establish Ashikaga Masatomo (the older brother of a different mother of Ashikaga Yoshimasa, the eighth shōgun) as the next kubō.  However, owing to an unstable situation in the Kantō, Masatomo did no enter Kamakura and, instead, went to Horigoe in Izu Province and adopted the title of the Horigoe kubō.

Owing to suspicions that the Ōgigayatsu-Uesugi who governed Sagami and the Miura and Ōmori clans who were under their command prevented Masatomo’s entry into Kamakura, a senior retainer of Masatomo named Shibukawa Yoshikane slandered them by asserting that Uesugi Mochitomo, along with Tokitaka, Ōmori Ujiyori and Ōmori Saneyori (father and son) were seeking to rebel.

In 1462, Tokitaka took responsibility in lieu of Mochitomo and entered the priesthood with the aim of resolving the situation.  It is surmised that this is related to the retirement of Chiba Sanetane at this time.

By this means, Takahira inherited the headship of the clan, but, later, after the birth of his natural son, Miura Tokinori, he aimed for Takanori to become Takahira’s successor, triggering opposition by Takahira and Yoshiatsu (father and son).  In 1486, Uesugi Sadamasa (Takahira’s younger brother of a different mother) inherited the Ōgigayatsu-Uesugi family.  Sadamasa was wary of a senior retainer named Ōta Dōkan who achieved reknown for subduing Nagao Kageharu in an event known as the Revolt of Nagao Kageharu.  Sadamasa invited Dōkan to the Kasuya residence and assassinated him.  This triggered unrest among his retainers owing to the respect for Dōkan by those inside and outside the clan.  Takahira saw this as an opportunity so he transferred headship of the Miura clan to Yoshiatsu, returned to the service of the Ōgigayatsu-Uesugi family, and attempted to become its next head.  Upset at Takahira for these actions, Tokitaka joined with Sadamasa to oust Takahira and Yoshiatsu and reclaim their authority.  As a result, Takahira absconded to Awa Province while Yoshiatsu sought protection from Ōmori Ujiyori, his grandfather on his mother’s side of the family.

Theories concerning his demise

In 1494, Yoshiatsu, who had entered the priesthood under the name of Dōsun, received support from the Ōmori clan to rebel and attack the Miura District.  He toppled Misaki Castle and forced Tokitaka and Takahira to kill themselves.  Locals said it served as retribution for the betrayal and elimination of his lord, Ashikaga Mochiuji in the Eikyō Conflict.

Based on recent research, questions have been raised with respect to the rebellion by Yoshiatsu and Tokitaka’s taking of his life.  This account of events is drawn primarily from records associated with the Ōmori clan and the Gohōjō clan who attacked and destroyed the Sagami-Miura clan with substantiating evidence.  Moreover, almost one month before the day that Tokitaka’s was said to have taken his own life, Ōmori Ujiyori died of illness and the Ōmori clan was in disarray over issues of succession.  The circumstances existing at this time were not conducive for the Ōmori to launch a rebellion on behalf of Yoshiatsu.

At this time, the Ōgigayatsu-Uesugi and Yamanouchi-Uesugi clans were in the midst of the Chōkyō War.  One of the participants, Uesugi Sadamasa, who was opposed to Takahira and Yoshiatsu, died in an accident just 10 to 20 days after the death of Tokitaka.

Meanwhile, the state of the Miura clan and the surrounding circumstances were extremely fluid, so, even if Tokitaka did in fact die between the fall and winter of 1494 and was succeeded by Yoshiatsu, there are many uncertainties with respect to what actually occurred.  Therefore, whether Tokitaka died by taking his own life or from illness, and under what circumstances Yoshiatsu succeeded him as the head of the clan, remain unknown.