Asakura Kageakira


Asakura Clan


Echizen Province

Lifespan:  Daiei 5 (1525) to 4/14 of Tenshō 2 (1574)

Rank:  bushō

Clan:  Asakura

Lord:  Asakura Yoshikage → Oda Nobunaga

Father:  Asakura Kagetaka

Mother:  Daughter of Karasumaru Fuyumitsu

Siblings:  Kageakira, Kagetsugu, Arishige

Children: Two

Asakura Kageakira was a family member of the Asakura clan in Echizen Province and later served as a retainer of the Oda.  He received one of the characters from Nobunaga’s name and changed his name to Tsuchihashi Nobuakira.  Kageakira was the son of Asakura Kagetaka.  Kagetaka was the  younger brother of Asakura Takakage.  Kageakira was a nephew of Asakura Yoshikage, lord of the clan.

While a member of the Asakura clan, Kageakira served as the gunji, or governor, of the Ōno District in Echizen, located at Iyama Castle.  Based on the seating precedence at ceremonies, Kageakira was a leading figure within the Asakura clan.  He often served as the lead commander in battles including, in 1564, during the campaign against uprisings by the adherents of the Ikkō sect in Kaga, in 1570, in pursuit of the Oda army at the Battle of Kanagasaki, and in invasions of Ōmi and Mino provinces.

Thereafter, Kageakira engaged in mortal combat with the Oda forces from the Kinai Region to Ōmi, and power struggles within the Asakura clan that led to estrangement between Kageakira and Yoshikage, the head of the clan.  In 1572, Oda Nobunaga had a fortress built near Odani Castle, which was held by the Azai of northern Ōmi who were allied with the Asakura.  Kageakira twice attempted to march to Odani in support of the defenders, but retainers including Maeba Yoshitsugu (later Katsurada Nagatoshi), Toda Nagashige, and Keya Inosuke switched their allegiance to the Oda.

In 1573, Kageakira refused to mobilize his forces to confront the Oda army surrounding Odani Castle in northern Ōmi owing to the exhaustion that had beset the men after a series of maneuvers. Yoshikage himself led forces in support of the Azai but lost and consequently provided an opportunity for Oda Nobunaga to invade Echizen, triggering the Siege of Ichijōdani Castle.  Kageakira advised Yoshikage to withdraw from Ichijōdani and to reconstitute his forces in the Ōno District.  Kageakira provided lodging for Yoshikage and his men upon their withdrawal, whereupon 200 troops under Kageakira betrayed their lord and surrounded the contingent.  While Yoshikage took his own life, his depeents including his mother (Kōtokuin), his wife, and children were captured.  Kageakira offered the decapitated head of Yoshikage, along with the hostages including surviving attendants, to Nobunaga, who accepted his surrender.

Kageakira joined in the march upon Kyōto and pacification of his territory.  At this time, he received one of the characters from Nobunaga’s name and changed his name to Tsuchihashi Nobuakira.  In 1574, when the local uprising promoted by Toda Nagashige aimed at eliminating Katsurada Nagatoshi escalated into larger-scale uprisings by the Ikkō-ikki in Echizen, Kageakira became a target of those fomenting the uprisings.  He fled from Iyama Castle to the Heisen Temple, causing the temple itself to become a target.

In the spring of 1574, while Kageakira and monks from the Heisen Temple attacked Murokoyama Castle defended by local supporters of the resistance, adherents of the Ikkō sect from the Hongaku Temple in the Wada area of Echizen led an assault against the main hall of the Heisen Temple.  Relinquishing the fight for the castle to return to the Heisen Temple, Kageakira took countenance of his inferior position, and died after charging into the enemy forces together with only three mounted soldiers.  Many warrior monks were killed or fled, while the attackers burned down the entire mountain on which the temple was situated.  Meanwhile, his two sons, ages twelve and six, were captured and killed.

In 1583, Kenkai, together which his younger brothers, Senkai and Nikkai, engaged in a bid to restore the Heisen Temple.  This work progressed with the blessing of Toyotomi Hideyoshi and others.