Miyoshi Yukinaga


Miyoshi Clan

Miyoshi Yukinaga

Awa Province

Lifespan:  Chōroku 2 (1458) to 5/11 of Eishō 17 (1520)

Rank:  bushō

Bakufu:  Muromachi bakufu

Clan:  Miyoshi

Lord:  Hosokawa Shigeyuki → Hosokawa Masayuki → Hosokawa Masamoto → Hosokawa Sumimoto

Father:  Miyoshi Nagayuki

Siblings:  Yukinaga, Katsutoki, Kazuhide

Children:  Nagahide, Yorizumi, Akutagawa Nagamitsu, Naganori

Miyoshi Yukinaga served as a bushō during the Sengoku period.  Yukinaga was the great-grandfather (or grandfather) of Miyoshi Nagayoshi.  He was well-known for having created the opportunity for the Miyoshi clan to advance into the Kinai.

Service to the Hosokawa-Sanshū family

Yukinaga was the eldest son of Miyoshi Nagayuki, the most powerful warlord in Awa Province.  He served Hosokawa Shigeyuki of the Sanshū family, a cadet family of the Hosokawa and the military governors of Awa.  Yukinaga received one of the characters in his name from Shigeyuki.  In 1467, after the Ōnin-Bunmei War erupted, Shigeyuki deployed to Kyōto to aid Hosokawa Katsumoto, the deputy shōgun of the Muromachi bakufu and head of the Hosokawa-Keichō family – the main branch of the Hosokawa clan.  Upon orders of Shigeyuki, Yukinaga sailed from Awa to participate in his first deployment.  In 1471, Yukinaga suddenly opposed the Sanshū family which he served, and took refuge in the valley area of Iyayama.  He was then attacked by Shigeyuki’s oldest brother, Hosokawa Masayuki, and Ichinomiya Nagamitsu, surrendering in 1473.

The Muromachi bakufu lost its authority in the Ōnin-Bunmei War, while uprisings broke out in the Kinai.  Yukinaga was able to grasp the nuances of the sentiment behind the uprisings, inciting and leading these activities.  On 6/11 of Bunmei 17 (1485), Yukinaga tried to free a captured thief but was persuaded by Katsumoto’s son, Hosokawa Masamoto, to stay.  In the eighth month, Yukinaga was eyed as the ringleader of an uprising by locals in Kyōto, whereupon, on 8/9, Masamoto and Taga Takatada, the deputy of the security office, surrounded his lodge.  However, aware of the circumstances, Yukinaga had slipped away the previous night to seek protection from Hosokawa Masayuki. Masamoto and the others then surrounded Masayuki’s residence, and demanded that Yukinaga be turned over, but Masayuki either refused or said that he had killed Yukinaga so Masamoto lifted the siege and withdrew.

From the following day, Yukinaga instigated uprisings again, attacking a money broker to steal pawns.  This series of events involving Yukinaga at the height of uncertainty regarding succession of the Sanshū family by the youthful Masayuki stirred dissatisfaction toward Masayuki and Yukinaga among retainers of the clan.  Some retainers returned on their own accord to Awa to plan a rebellion.

In the tenth month of 1485, Yukinaga returned with Masayuki to an unstable situation in Awa and suppressed the rebellion, traveling again to the capital as though nothing had occurred.  Yukinaga was not punished because he was regarded as an invaluable resource by Shigeyuki and his son, Masayuki.  It was not unusual for retainers of daimyō to be mixed up with the members of local uprisings and punishing them could undermine military capabilities.  Yukinaga quickly became known in Kyōto owing to his involvement in the local uprisings.

Service as a retainer of the Hosokawa-Keichō family

In 1488, after Masayuki died at an early age, Yukinaga served Masayuki’s younger brother, Hosokawa Yoshiharu.  In 1497, Yoshiharu also died early, so that his eldest son, Hosokawa Yukimochi, became the military governor of Awa with his grandfather, Shigeyuki, providing support.  Yukimochi’s younger brother, Hosokawa Sumimoto, was adopted by Masamoto, who had no natural children of his own.  On 2/19 of Eishō 3 (1506), Yukinaga went to Kyōto as a member of the vanguard for Sumimoto.  Yukinaga served Sumimoto after Sumimoto transferred from the Awa branch of the Hosokawa to the Keichō family.  He was at the rank of a lieutenant until around this time.

Thereafter, Yukinaga participated in numerous battles upon orders from Masamoto.  In the eighth month of 1506, he was ordered to support Akazawa Tomotsune on a deployment to Yamato Province.  After the battle, he paid a visit to the Kasuga Shrine in Nara.  On the administrative front, Yukinaga served as the secretary for Sumimoto, making efforts to resolved disputes concerning the collection of annual rice taxes.  Compared to the period two decades prior when he led uprisings in the capital, Yukinaga had settled down.  However, this gradual acquisition of power bred jealousy among some around him.  This led to a power-struggle between Yukinaga on one hand and Hosokawa Hisaharu (the military governor of Awaji Province) and Kōzai Motonaga (the deputy military governor of Yamashiro Province and secretary of Hosokawa Sumiyuki, one of the other adopted sons of Masamoto) on the other.

Eishō Disturbance

Yukinaga supported Sumimoto in the struggle to determine a successor to his lord, Masamoto.  In 1507, upon orders of Masamoto and Sumimoto, Yukinaga joined in an attack against Isshiki Yoshiari.  After Masamoto returned to the capital in early summer, Yukinaga followed him with Sumimoto.  On 6/23, Masamoto was assassinated by Kōzai Motonaga and Yakushiji Nagatada.  The next day, Yukinaga and Sumimoto were attacked by Motonaga and others while lodging at the Budda Temple.  Yukinaga protected Sumimoto and together fled to Aochi Castle in Ōmi Province with the assistance of Yamanaka Tametoshi from the Kōka District.

Motonaga and Nagatada supported Hosokawa Sumiyuki to become lord of the Keichō family, but several months after the assassination of Masamoto, were decimated in a counterattack by members of the Hosokawa family including Hosokawa Takakuni, Hosokawa Hisaharu, and Hosokawa Masakata.  Yukinaga then returned from Ōmi to the capital, backed Ashikaga Yoshizumi as the eleventh shōgun, and seized control of the bakufu.  Although Sumimoto had, at this time, become head of the Keichō family, Yukinaga was in charge of political affairs.

Yukinaga and Sumimoto, however, did not always experience smooth relations.  Yukinaga often acted arrogantly in the course of administering the bakufu, causing Sumimoto to seek to return to his home province of Awa and live in seclusion.  Yukinaga and Sumimoto reconciled after settling several issues.  These included persuading Ashikaga Yoshizumi to remain in the capital despite his concerns of regarding service as shōgun after Sumimoto’s departure and executing an official of the bakufu named Kajiwara upon orders of Sumimoto. When Sumimoto was invited to attend a drama performance at the residence of Hosokawa Hisaharu, Yukinaga accompanied him with a long sword.  Thereafter, Yukinaga underwent the rites of tonsure, adopted the monk’s name of Kiun, and assigned the role of secretary to Sumimoto to his eldest son, Miyoshi Nagahide.

Conflict between the Hosokawa

Meanwhile, a threat was approaching from the west.  Ashikaga Yoshiki (later known as Yoshitada then Yoshitane) who formerly served as the tenth shōgun and was a cousin of Ashikaga Yoshizumi, had been ousted from his position by Masamoto in the Meiō Political Incident.  However, after learning of the unexpected death of Masamoto and resulting internal conflict, Yoshiki viewed this as an opportunity to return to the capital.  He then requested support from Ōuchi Yoshioki, the powerful sengoku daimyō from Suō Province where Yoshiki had taken refuge, to march upon Kyōto, which led to the massing of forces from the western region and Shikoku.

Sumimoto approached his grandfather who had renounced secular life and Hosokawa Takakuni to engage in peace maneuvers with Yoshioki.  However, at this time, Sumimoto had a falling out with Takakuni owing to suspicions of an insurrection by Takakuni, and he was also avoided by Yukinaga.  Consequently, on 3/17 of Eishō 5 (1508), Takakuni feigned a visit to the Ise Shrine and instead fled to the base of his cousin, Niki Takanaga, the military governor of Iga Province.  This caused the peace strategy to fall apart.

Allies of Takakuni including Itami Motosuke from Settsu, Naitō Sadamasa from Tanba, Kagawa Mototsuna, and Kōzai Kunitada raised arms in concert with him to support his march to Kyōto.  Yukinaga responded by accompanying Sumimoto to Kōka in Ōmi, safely fleeing with the assistance of Yamanaka Tametoshi.  Yoshizumi also escaped to Ōmi.  Yoshiki and Yoshioki arrived at the city of Sakai in Izumi Province, whereupon Takakuni came to meet them and inherited the role as head of the Hosokawa-Keichō family.  Yoshiki then traveled from Sakai to Kyōto and reclaimed his position as shōgun.  Symbolic of his role as head of the Hosokawa-Keichō family, Takakuni was conferred the title of Master of the Western Capital Office, while Yoshioki was awarded the titles of Master of the Eastern Capital Office, assistant deputy shōgun, and military governor of Yamashiro.

After fleeing from Kyōto, Yukinaga made plans to reclaim his former position.  Relations between Yoshiki and Yoshioki did not go well, leading to a rumor that Yoshioki would return to his home province of Suō.  Moreover, toward the end of the eleventh month, another rumor circulated that Yukinaga and forces in support of Yoshizumi were planning an attack against Kyōto, but this was avoided because Yoshioki did not return to his home province.

On 6/17 of Eishō 6 (1509), Yukinaga led a contingent of 3,000 soldiers to establish a base in Nyoigatake on Higashiyama located on the border of Yamashiro and Ōmi but were defeated in a counterattack by Takakuni and Yoshioki.  At the Battle of Nyoigatake, Miyoshi Nagahide (Yukinaga’s eldest son) and Miyoshi Yorizumi (Yukinaga’s second son) were attacked by Kitabatake Kichika (the son-in-law of Takakuni) at Yamada in Ise and killed themselves.  After this loss, Yukinaga and Sumimoto covertly returned to Awa.  Yukinaga took steps to rebuild his forces in Awa, solicited help from neighbors, and prepared for a counterattack.  Meanwhile, in a letter sent to Ōtomo Chikaharu, Yoshizumi noted the flurry of activity from his place of exile in Ōmi.

In 1511, Yukinaga aligned with Yoshizumi and, on 7/7, landed in Sakai with Sumimoto.  At this time, Hosokawa Masakata and Hosokawa Hisaharu, along with Akamatsu Yoshimura of Harima Province, allied with one another based on their mutual support for Yoshizumi, enabling Masakata’s army to defeat Takakuni’s men in the Battle at Fukai Castle in Izumi Province.  Then, at the Battle of Ashiyagawara, forces under the command of Hisaharu converged with the Akamatsu army and launched an attack that toppled Takao Castle in Settsu defended by Kawarabayashi Masayori, a retainer of Takakuni.  Several days later, Masakata led forces into Kyōto, causing Yoshioki and Takakuni to flee to Tanba Province, while Kyōto fell to Sumimoto.

Yoshioki and Takakuni avoided the conflict, gathered in Tanba Province, and once again marched east toward Kyōto, leading to a final showdown between the supporters of Yoshizumi and Yoshitane at Funaokayama to the north.  In this Battle of Funaokayama, Yoshitane was represented by a force of over 20,000 men, and, just ten days before the showdown, Yoshizumu died at the age of thirty-two.  The commanders who supported Yoshizumi concealed his death and fought, but the forces were at an overwhelming disadvantage.  The Ōuchi army, which served as the main force, incurred a nighttime attack by the soldiers fighting for Yoshizumi.  Hosokawa Masakata died in action while Sumimoto fled to Settsu.

Soon after this defeat, Yukinaga contended with further misfortune.  Hosokawa Shigeyuki, the grandfather of Sumimoto and patron of Yukinaga, died of illness.  In the first month of 1512, Hosokawa Yukimochi, Sumimoto’s older brother and successor of Shigeyuki, also died.  This resulted in a cessation of the conflict for the ensuing seven years while Yukinaga was compelled to suspend efforts to recapture the capital.

Recapture of Kyōto and the final period

On 8/2 of Eishō 15 (1518), Ōuchi Yoshioki returned to his home in Suō Province, making Takakuni’s administration vulnerable to his enemies.  Eyeing Yoshioki’s departure as an opportunity, on 5/11 of 1519, Yukinaga killed Hosokawa Hisaharu, a supporter of Takakuni.  This act owed to Hisaharu’s betrayal in addition to conflict with Yukinaga and may have been a plot launched by Yukinaga in furtherance of his goal to secure direct control of Awaji Province as well as portions of the Seto Inland Sea.

In the tenth month of 1519, Ikeda Nobumasa of the Arima District of Settsu sided with Sumimoto and took shelter in Shimono-Tanaka Castle.  On 10/22, Kawarabayashi Masayori attacked on behalf of Takakuni but lost.  Yukinaga and Sumimoto landed on 11/6 in Hyōgo and surrounded Masayori at Koshimizu Castle in Settsu in the Siege of Tanaka Castle.  During the siege, on 12/19, a rumor circulated that Yukinaga and his father had been killed in action in Kyōto giving encouragement to the defenders, but it turned out to be misinformation.

In the first month of 1520, an attempt by Naitō Sadamasa and Itami Kunisuke (supporters of Takakuni) to aid the defenders in Koshimizu Castle resulted in defeat, and the castle fell on 2/3.  At this time, villagers entered Kyōto, caused turmoil, and demanded orders for debt cancellations.  Takakuni’s forces retreated while under pursuit by groups from Nishi-no-oka, killing those who fell behind or taking their body armor.  On 2/16, Yukinaga headed toward Amagasaki while, on 2/18, Takakuni fled to Sakamoto in Ōmi.  Around this time, Yoshitane began to oppose Takakuni and collude with Sumimoto, so he no longer coordinated movements with Takakuni and stayed in the capital.

After defeating Takakuni, Yukinaga did not immediately enter Kyōto, but instead set-up an encampment on 2/20 at Ōyamazaki to wait.  On 3/18, he issued a debt cancellation order and took steps to protect the residents, but the Miyoshi army laid waste to certain areas including Fushimi-no-shō and Misu-no-shō.  On 3/27, he entered Kyōto for the first time in nine years, and, on behalf of Sumimoto who was taking refuge in Itami Castle in Settsu, managed political affairs and the prosecution of supporters of Takakuni.  On 5/1 of 1520, he gave thanks as the representative of Sumimoto to Ashikaga Yoshitane, the shōgun, for recognizing Sumimoto as the successor to the Hososkawa-Keichō family – the main branch of the Hosokawa clan. These events represented the height of Yukinaga’s achievements.

After fleeing to Ōmi, Takakuni coordinated with Rokkaku Sadayori and Gamō Sadahide to assemble 20,000 soldiers from assorted clans including the Asakura and Toki and led the huge army on a march toward Kyōto.  Yukinaga commanded only 4,000 to 5,000 forces from Shikoku.  At the Battle of Tōji Monastery, Yukinaga had some initial success, but soldiers from Shikoku including from the Kaifu, Kume, Kawamura, and Tōjō families soon surrendered to Takakuni’s forces, resulting in a major defeat for the Miyoshi army.  Yukinaga, along with Akutagawa Nagamitsu (his son), Miyoshi Naganori, and Shingorō (his nephew), then hid in the Donge Temple in Kyōto.

Takakuni learned of Yukinaga’s hiding place, but the temple refused his demand to turn-over Yukinaga, so he promised to spare the lives of Yukinaga and his associates.  Over the next few days, first Nagamitsu and Naganori, then Yukinaga and Shingorō, surrendered.  At this time, Yukinaga had the appearance of a priest.  This, however, was a tactic of Takakuni to lure the men out of the temple.  On the same day as their surrender, Yukinaga and Shingorō were slayed at the Hyakumanben-Chion Temple.  Meanwhile, Yukinaga’s sons, Nagamitsu and Naganori, were executed the day after.

Having followed these events from Itami Castle, Sumimoto then returned to Awa Province, but was ill of health and soon died.  He was succeeded by his son, Hosokawa Harumoto.  Yukinaga was succeeded by his grandson, Miyoshi Motonaga (the eldest son of Nagahide) as head of the Miyoshi clan.  Motonaga offered support to Harumoto and built his forces in Awa with the aim of toppling Takakuni.

Personal qualities

According to the diary of a physician in Kyōto, after the major defeat at the Battle of Tōji Monastery, Yukinaga did not flee and was captured because he could not walk even ten steps on account of being overweight.

One view is that Takakuni suddenly changed his mind and slayed Yukinaga upon the strong request of Sanshirō, the orphan of Hisaharu.  Yukinaga was killed one year after the killing of Hisaharu.

Yukinaga was detested by citizens of Kyōto as an upstart powerbroker from another province.  One record depicts unhappy laborers working on a construction site, while others show satirical depictions of Yukinaga as viewed in that period.