Asakura Kagetoshi


Asakura Clan


Echizen Province

Lifespan:  Eishō 2 (1505) to 5/1 of Genki 3 (1572)

Rank:  bushō

Clan:  Kusakabe branch of the Asakura

Father:  Asakura Sadakage

Mother:  Daughter of Saitō Toshikuni

Adopted father: Asakura Norikage (Sōteki)

Children:  Kagemitsu, Kagetsune, daughter (wife of Fukuzumi Hidekatsu)

Asakura Kagetoshi was the fourth son of Asakura Sadakage, the ninth head of the Asakura clan in Echizen Province.    Kagetoshi was the younger brother of Asakura Takakage, a daimyō and the tenth head of the Asakura clan in Echizen.  Kagetoshi was also a son-in-law of Asakura Norikage (Sōteki), the lead commander of the Asakura army.  In the same manner as his father-in-law, Kagetoshi became proficient in the military arts, deploying to Kyōto in 1527 and to Kaga Province in 1531, after which he was appointed the gunji, or governor, for the Tsuruga District in Echizen.  Kagetoshi served in this role until 1558, when he assigned the duties to his eldest son, Asakura Kagemitsu.  After this assignment, Kagetoshi continued to support administration of the Tsuruga District while engaging in military affairs. 

In 1560, Kagetoshi held a cultural event for renga, or linked-verse poetry at the home base of the Asakura clan in Ichijōdani.  In 1562,  he further held an event for music composition, known as gokusui-no-en.  As entertainment, the participants sat alongside a flowing stream and were tasked with reading the lyrics to a song before a floating tray with sake passed by, drank the sake, and then performed the songs in a nearby hall.  These activities showed an interest in traditional arts that Kagetoshi shared with his father-in-law.  

In 1561, the Asakura responded to an appeal by the Takeda of neighboring Wakasa Province to suppress a rebellion by the Hemi clan, and Kagetoshi served as commanding general of the Asakura forces.  Between 1563 and 1568, Kagetoshi attacked Awaya Katsuhisa in the Mikata District of Wakasa, and asserted jurisdiction over the land by harvesting and absconding with the rice in the disputed areas, a practice known as karita rōzeki.

In 1564, during the deployment to Kaga, a dispute arose between Kagemitsu and Asakura Kageakira regarding who would serve as the commanding general.  Kageakira was the son of Asakura Kagetaka, with Kagetaka being the younger brother of Asakura Takakage, head of the clan. Kagemitsu lost this power-struggle, leading him to kill himself during the deployment. Indignant at this turn of events, Kagetoshi took Kagemitsu’s son with him to his territory and retired.  Thereafter, Kagetoshi and Kageakira experienced strained relations.  When Ashikaga Yoshiaki, the shōgun came to Ichijōdani, they argued over the seating arrangement, so that while one of them waited upon Yoshiaki, the other refused to attend.

Kagetoshi’s second son, Asakura Kagetsune, was killed by the Oda in the Battle of Kanagasaki Castle in 1570.  The role of governor for the Tsuruga District was abolished and Kagetoshi died in a state of despair.