Aburakawa Nobuyoshi


Aburakawa Clan


Kai Province

Lifespan:  Unknown to 10/4 of Eishō 5 (1508)

Rank:  bushō; lord of Katsuyama Castle

Clan:  Aburakawa

Father:  Takeda Nobumasa

Mother:  Sister of Oyamada Nobunaga

Siblings:  Takeda Nobutsuna, Nobuyoshi, Iwate Tsunayoshi, Matsuo Nobukata, Kaerikumo 軒宗存

Children:  Nobusada, Nobumori, Shinren, Yakurō, Seikurō, and Chinpōmaru

Aburakawa Nobuyoshi served as a bushō for the Takeda and as lord of Katsuyama Castle in Kai Province.  Nobuyoshi was the son of Takeda Nobumasa, head of the Takeda clan and shugo daimyō of Kai.  He was the great uncle of Takeda Shingen, the sengoku daimyō of Kai.  Nobuyoshi originated from the Aburakawa clan based in the Yamanashi District in the central portion of Kai.

In 1416, Uesugi Zenshū, the former deputy shōgun of Kantō, raised arms against Ashikaga Mochiuji in a conflict known as the Uesugi-Zenshū Conflict (Uesugi Zenshū no ran). Mochiuji was the fourth generational head of a political administration known as the Kamakura kubō in Kai Province.  Takeda Nobumitsu, a shugo daimyō and brother-in-law of Zenshū, joined him in support.  Zenshū attacked the palace of Mochiuji in Kamakura, causing Mochiuji to flee with the help of Imagawa Norimasa to Ōmori in Suruga Province.  Ashikaga Yoshimochi, the shōgun of the Muromachi bakufu, supported Mochiuji by issuing a directive to subdue Zenshū. 

Imagawa Norimasa and Uesugi Fusakata, the military governor of Echigo Province, dispatched forces to Kamakura, leading to the elimination of Zenshū and his supporters, including Nobumitsu, and the return of Mochiuji to Kamakura.  Nobumitsu’s death provided an opportunity for the Atobe clan, the powerful deputy military governors of Kai, to take over as the military governors of Kai, but Nobuyoshi’s father, Nobumasa, expelled the Atobe.  Meanwhile, the Anayama from the Kawachi area and the Oyamada from the local district acquired influence as new kokujin in Kai.

In 1492, Takeda Nobutsuna, the eldest son of Nobumasa, retired to Ochiai in the Higashi District.  Thereafter, Nobumasa began to have disagreements with Nobutsuna, and indicated his intent to assign leadership of the clan to Nobuyoshi based in Aburakawa. This period witnessed a deepening power-struggle between the Takeda, as the military governor of Kai, and the newly influential kokujin, triggering discord within the central Takeda clan as well.

On one side of the conflict stood Nobumasa and Nobuyoshi, together with kokujin of Kai, including the Kurihara and Anayama clans.  On the other side was Nobutsuna, supported by the Yamauchi-Uesugi clan (the deputy shōgun of Kantō), kokujin from Kai, and reinforcements from the Imagawa of Suruga Province and Hōjō Sōun of Izu Province.  In 1493, on the Shiogo Plain in the Higashi District, Nobuyoshi overwhelmingly defeated Nobutsuna, but, in 1494, despite support from the Oyamada clan (local landowners) and the Katō clan (kokujin in the district), Nobuyoshi lost in battle against Nobutsuna, ending-up in an inferior position.  In 1495, Hōjō Sōun invaded Kai, but the Meiō Earthquake caused widespread damage across the Tōkai Region.  After this event, the warring parties agreed to a temporary cessation of hostilities.

Conflict within the Takeda clan continued after the successive deaths of Nobumasa and Nobutsuna in 1505.  Following the demise of Nobutsuna (Nobumasa’s eldest son), Takeda Nobutora (Nobutsuna’s eldest son), acquired leadership of the clan.  Owing to his youth, certain allies of Nobuyoshi opposed having Nobutora lead the clan.  This included Iwate Tsunayoshi  (Nobuyoshi’s younger brother) based in Iwate, Oyamada Yatarō from the local district, and Kurihara Masatane.  In the midst of this uncertainty, the Kōgaku Temple hosted an event to dedicate certain district lands to the temple.  Nobuyoshi pledged his landholdings to the temple with the approval of the Oyamada.  A priest having the court title of kōfuku daibu sent a letter of gratitude to which Kawamura Shigeie, a senior retainer of Nobutoshi, responded.

In 1508, Nobutora’s forces attacked Nobuyoshi in the Battle of Katsuyama. The conflict led to the death of Nobuyoshi, and notably to three of his sons (Yakurō, Seikurō, and Chinpōmaru), Iwate Tsunayoshi, and Kurihara Masatane.  Nobutora prevailed, bringing to a violent end the prolonged struggle for control of the Takeda clan.  Following this battle, the Aburakawa do not appear in accounts as a powerful family.  Aburakawa Fujin, born in 1528, was a consort of Takeda Shingen (Nobutora’s eldest son) who bore several children.  In 1550, Nobuyoshi’s son, Nobutomo, served Nobutora and was killed in battle at Unohara in Shinano Province, while Nobutomo’s son, Aburakawa Hikosaburō, was killed in 1561 in the Fourth Battle of Kawanakajima.