Miyoshi Jikkyū


Miyoshi Clan

Awa Province

Miyoshi Jikkyū

Lifespan:  Daiei 7 (1527) to 3/5 of Eiroku 5 (1562)

Rank:  bushō

Title:  Governor of Buzen

Clan:  Miyoshi

Bakufu: Muromachi

Lord:  Hosokawa Harumoto → Hosokawa Mochitaka → Miyoshi Nagayoshi

Father:  Miyoshi Motonaga

Siblings:  Nagayoshi, Jikkyū, Atagi Fuyuyasu, Sogō Kazumasa, Noguchi Fuyunaga

Wife:  [Formal] Daughter of Kume Yoshihiro, [Second Wife]  Koshōshō (daughter of Okamoto Mokusai)

Children:  Nagaharu, Sogō Masayasu, Atagi Jingorō, daughter (wife of Shingai Sanetsuna)

Miyoshi Jikkyū served as a bushō during the Sengoku period.  He was a retainer of the Miyoshi clan.  Jikkyū was born as the second son of Miyoshi Motonaga.

History of his name

Jikkyū was a Buddhist name adopted while he was still living.  In primary sources from the period, he is identified under the secular name of Yukisō and, later, as Yukitora.

Initially, he had the childhood name of Senmanmaru.  Later, he adopted the name of Yukisō, but, prior to the seventh month of 1552, he adopted the name of Yukitora.  He began using the Buddhist name of Jikkyū between the sixth to eighth months of 1558, but, depending upon the source, the secular names of Yoshikata and Yukiyasu are shown.  According to one account, his real name was Yoshikata, but this cannot be confirmed from primary sources.  There may be confusion in later periods between this name and another name used by Sogō Masayasu of Miyoshi Yoshikata (with “kata” in a different character).  Moreover, during the period when the Miyoshi clan opposed Ashikaga Yoshiteru (the thirteenth shōgun), members of the Miyoshi were not likely to have been using the same character for “Yoshi” as in the name of the shōgun in their own names.

In one account, Miyoshi Buzen-no-kami Yoshikata (the son of Miyoshi Nagayoshi) killed Ashikaga Yoshiteru, and, in a chronicle of the Miyoshi family, Miyoshi Yoshikata was the second son of Miyoshi Nagayoshi who killed himself at Wakae Castle.  This may be confused with Miyoshi Yoshitsugu who was Jikkyū’s nephew.  The secular name of Yukiyasu also appears, but when written in the gyōsho, or semi-cursive script, the characters for “Yasu” and “Tora” appear similar, giving rise to more errors in the correct reading of the name.

Owing to uncertainty on the date of each name change, this profile uses the name of Jikkyū from beginning to end.


In 1527, Jikkyū was born as the second son of Miyoshi Motonaga.  There is also a theory that he was born one year earlier in 1526.  Miyoshi Nagayoshi was his older brother, while younger brothers included Atagi Fuyuyasu, Sogō Kazumasa, and Noguchi Fuyunaga.  Owing to the early death in battle of his father, he carried important political responsibilities from the time of his childhood.  A donation document dated 8/9 of Tenbun 1 (1532) shows the childhood names of Nagayoshi and Jikkyū as Miyoshi Senkumamaru and Senmanmaru, respectively.  This was forty-nine days after the death of his father.

His older brother, Nagayoshi, served Hosokawa Harumoto, the head of the Hosokawa-Keichō family, but Jikkyū served Hosokawa Mochitaka, the head of the Awa-Hosokawa family, a cousin of Harumoto.  This appears to have been for the purpose of the Miyoshi clan maintaining influence in Shikoku.  In 1539, Jikkyū followed Mochitaka, serving as the commander of Miyoshi forces in battle against the Kōno clan in Iyo Province.

In 1544, Jikkyū accompanied his older brother to Kyōto, and, by 1546, adopted the name of Buzen-no-kami.  To oppose Hosokawa Ujitsuna, Hatakeyama Masakuni, and Yusa Naganori who were in conflict with Hosokawa Harumoto, in the autumn of 1546, Jikkyū’s forces sailed across the sea and achieved an overwhelming victory at the Battle of Shari Temple in 1547.  Thereafter, Jikkyū participated in numerous battles across Iyo, Sanuki, and Izumi provinces, contributing to the expansion of Nagayoshi’s influence in the region.  Jikkyū’s younger brother, Sogō Kazumasa, became the lord of Kishiwada Castle in Izumi on Honshū, so Sanuki in Shikoku also came under Jikkyū’s de facto control.  By this means, Jikkyū was in charge of the political and military affairs of the Miyoshi family in Shikoku.

In the sixth month of 1553, Jikkyū cornered Hosokawa Mochitaka, forcing him to take his own life at the Kenshō Temple.  Jikkyū backed Mochitaka’s son, Hosokawa Saneyuki, to succeed Mochitaka as the head of the Awa-Hosokawa family.  Individuals from Mochitaka’s faction including Kume Yoshihiro and Sano Tanba, opposed him, but Jikkyū defeated them at the Battle of Yariba.  Jikkyū acquired complete authority within the Awa-Hosokawa family, while the kokujin, or provincial landowners, in Awa and Sanuki came under the command of the Miyoshi.  To secure the political standing of Nagayoshi, Jikkyū expelled members of Mochitaka’s faction and sought to gain control of Awa, but many people either resented him, were jealous, or were close to Hosokawa Saneyuki, and their covert feud with him prevented Jikkyū from achieving his objective.

Jikkyū led forces from Shikoku for the Harima Expedition from 1554 to 1555 and at the Battle of Kitashirakawa in 1558.  In 1560, Jikkyū joined Nagayoshi in a rout against Hatakeyama Takamasa (the military governor of Kawachi) and Yasumi Munefusa.  After expelling his opponents, Jikkyū was appointed as the next military governor of Kawachi.  In 1562, however, during a counterattack by Takamasa with backing from the Negoro group of Kii Province (a band of warrior monks), Jikkyū was killed in action at the Battle of Kumeda.  He was thirty-six years old.  Moreover, his cherished servants and attendants also died in the battle.  Jikkyū was succeeded by his son, Miyoshi Nagaharu.

At the moment Jikkyū was killed, Nagayoshi was attending a renga, or linked-verse poetry, event at Iimori Castle.  Upon receiving the news of Jikkyū’s death, without emotion, he recited a linked-verse poem that impressed others in attendance.


In certain accounts, Jikkyū is portrayed as a ferocious warrior far removed from culture.  This created the image of a wicked bushō who murdered his lord, Hosokawa Mochitaka.  In fact, however, Jikkyū studied the tea ceremony from Takeno Jōou, a merchant and tea master from Sakai.  He constructed the Myōkoku Temple in Sakai and acquired a deep knowledge of period culture.  The extensive relationships that his father, Miyoshi Motonaga, had with the wealthy merchants and craftsmen of Sakai provided the opportunity for Jikkyū to meet with some of the preeminent cultural figures of the period.  Among renowned individuals in Sakai, Jikkyū was closest to Tsuda Sōtatsu (the father of Tsuda Sōgyū, a well-known tea master).  He also had exchanges with Imai Sōkyū, Kitamuki Dōchin, and Sen no Rikyū, inviting them to his residence.

Jikkyū affiliated with the Hokke school of the Nichiren sect of Zen Buddhism, which had a large following in Kyōto until crushed for a period by adherents of the Enryaku Temple in an event known as the Hokke Uprising.  Jikkyū donated a separate residence to a scholarly monk named Nichikō for the founding of the Myōkoku Temple in the northern manor in Sakai.  The lot was 300 meters across from east to  west and 500 meters from north to south.  Meanwhile, Nagayoshi and other members of the Miyoshi family followed Dairin Sōtō and Shōrei Sōkin of the Daitoku Temple school of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism and built the Nanshū Temple in the southern manor of Sakai, having both economic as well as cultural impacts.  Jikkyū entered the priesthood soon after killing his lord, Hosokawa Mochitaka.  It is surmised that his desire for repentance for the murder of Mochitaka influenced his decision to enter the priesthood and affiliate with Nichikō; however, as noted, he first began using the Buddhist name of Jikkyū in 1558, five years after the death of Mochitaka.

Jikkyū was not as passionate about waka and renga as his older brother, Nagayoshi, but directed his attention to the tea ceremony instead.  According to the diary of Yamanoue Sōji, a leading disciple of Sen no Rikyū, Jikkyū possessed over fifty valuable tea utensils, and, while also a bushō, was an individual of refined taste.  Jikkyū was the only bushi whom Sōji referred to as being of this nature.  Moreover, among the valuable pieces owned by Jikkyū, Sōji praised the crescent moon tea kettle as of unparalleled quality.  This kettle, along with many of the other pieces owned by Jikkyū, were transferred to Oda Nobunaga and lost to fire during the coup d’état against Nobunaga known as the Honnō Temple Incident on 6/2 of Tenshō 10 (1582).

His death poems in the waka style are well-known.  There is a story that, at the memorial service for Jikkyū, Takeno Jōou recited such a poem to express feelings of lament, but this is not correct because Jōou had died before Jikkyū’s own death in battle.

Family matters

One account notes that Jikkyū extorted Koshōshō (the daughter of Okamoto Mokusai and consort of Hosokawa Mochitaka and, later, the second wife of Jikkyū); however, many of the stories surrounding Koshōshō derive from military chronicles written in later eras during the Edo period and cannot be authenticated.

Jikkyū’s children included Miyoshi Nagaharu, Sogō Masayasu, and Atagi Jingorō (who inherited the Atagi family).  In 1568, at the Buddhist ceremony marking the seventh anniversary of his death, there is a reference in the diary of Nichikō by which it is made clear that Nagaharu and Masayasu were children of a different mother.