Lifespan: Eishō 17 (1520) to 11/12 of Genki 3 (1572)
Other Names: Yoshitsuna → Yoshiyori → Tsuguyori → 雪山 (monk’s name), Shirō-jirō (common), chūnagon (self-proclaimed title meaning councilor of the second rank of the Imperial Court)
Rank: bushō, daimyō
Title: Junior Fifth Rank (Lower), Governor of Hida, Junior Fourth Rank (Lower), Chief of the Right Division of Outer Palace Guards, Junior Third Rank, State Councilor
Clan: Mitsuki → Anekōji
Father: Mitsuki Naoyori
Siblings: Yoshiyori, Mitsuki 真證, Mitsuki Yorikazu, Mitsuki Muneyuki, Mitsuki Naohiro, Mitsuki Hisayori
Wife: [Formal] Daughter of the Ema clan, [Second] Daughter of the Mukai-Anekōji
Children: Yoritsuna, Akitsuna, daughter (wife of Saitō Nobutoshi)
Adopted Children: Mitsuki Kunitsuna (son-in-law)
Anekōji Tsuguyori served as a bushō, a court noble in the Muromachi bakufu, and a daimyō. He served as the head of the Mitsuki clan of Hida Province and, later, as the head of the Mitsuki-Anekōji clan.
In 1520, Yoshiyori (early name of Tsuguyori) was born as the eldest son and designated heir of Mitsuki Naoyori who governed the southern portion of Hida Province. In 1554, Naoyori died of illness so Yoshiyori succeeded him as the head of the family.
Early in the fifteenth century, the Anekōji family split into three branches comprised of the Kojima (the main branch of the family based at Kojima Castle), the Furukawa (based at Furukawa Castle), and the Mukai (also known as the Mukai-Kojima family owing to their base at Mukai-Kojima Castle). Each family carried the title of provincial governor, but the Kojima were the only official governors while the other two branches are surmised to have only assumed the title. The Muromachi bakufu favored the Kojima in recognition of their status as the main branch.
In the third month of 1556, Yoshiyori decimated Anekōji Takatsuna, the head of the Furukawa, causing the end of the family. After the Mukai (members of the Anekōji family) were eliminated by the Ushimaru clan, Yoshiyori garnered control of all of Hida Province. He then allied with the Kojima. This branch of the family had relations with the Mitsuki-Anekōji from the time of Yoshiyori’s father, Naoyori.
In 1558, Yoshiyori approached Ashikaga Yoshiteru (the thirteenth shōgun of the Muromachi bakufu) and Konoe Sakihisa, the kanpaku, or chief advisor to the Emperor and, following consultations, was invested by the Imperial Court with the title of Junior Fifth Rank (Lower) and Governor of Hida, becoming the official governor of Hida.
Maneuvers with the Imperial Court
Continuing his maneuvers, in the tenth month of 1559, Yoshiyori obtained recognition for his eldest son and heir, Anekōji Yoritsuna, to be a member of the Anekōji family serving as the official governors of Hida. In 1560, Yoshiyori was invested with the title of Junior Fourth Rank (Lower) and Yoritsuna was invested with the title of Junior Fifth Rank (Lower) and Assistant Captain of Outer Palace Guards of the Left Division. As such, Yoritsuna received official recognition as the heir to the Furukawa family. A series of events occurring soon thereafter were not well-received by the Imperial Court, giving rise to deliberations as to whether to permit the Mitsuki-Anekōji family (from the Koichijō lineage of the Fujiwara clan) to inherit the position as provincial governors of Hida. Owing to the political maneuvering of Yoshiyori, his request was granted.
In the second month of 1562, Yoshiyori was awarded the title of Junior Third Rank and promoted to the position of a court noble. He received one of the characters from the name of Konoe Sakitsugu (later known as Konoe Sakihisa), the kanpaku, or chief advisor to the Emperor, and adopted the name of Anekōji Tsuguyori. Tsuguyori attained a level of stature unmatched in Hida, whereupon he then sought to obtain the title of Vice-Councilor of State. Furukawa Mototsuna of the Furukawa and a former provincial governor of Hida, held the titles of Junior Second Rank and Provisional Vice-Councilor of State, so he aimed to receive the same rank. On 12/1 of the same year, via the shōgun, Ashikaga Yoshiteru, he petitioned Konoe Sakitsugu but, on 12/11, was denied by Emperor Ōgimachi. On 12/18, Sakitsugu attempted one more time to petition on behalf of Tsuguyori, but, on 12/20, the request was rejected again. In this way, Tsuguyori could not achieve his objective. Nevertheless, refusing to give-up his ambition, thereafter, he self-proclaimed the title of Vice-Councilor of State.
In the third month of 1563, Tsuguyori was appointed as a State Councilor and he had Yoritsuna serve as a chamberlain. In the seventh month, he relinquished his role as a State Councilor.
Contests in Hida Province
Despite attaining higher official titles, Tsuguyori engaged in persistent confrontation with Ema Tokimori of the Yoshiki District in northern Hida. During the Eiroku era (1558 to 1570), Tokimori received support from Takeda Shingen, the sengoku daimyō governing Kai and Shinano provinces, and came under his command. Tsuguyori responded to the threat by forging relations with Uesugi Kenshin, the sengoku daimyō of Echigo and Etchū provinces. Nevertheless, in 1564, after incurring an invasion by retainers of the Takeda led by Yamagata Masakage and Kiso Yoshimasa, Tsuguyori surrendered and, under pressure to make concessions, allocated a portion of his territory to the Ema clan. For a temporary period, Tsuguyori was compelled to submit to the Takeda clan.
Following the invasion of Hida by the Takeda, Tsuguyori informed the Uesugi, upon which forces from Ettchū deployed to Hida in support of the Anekōji. At the Fifth Battle of Kawanakjima, Uesugi Kagetora faced-off against Takeda Shingen for sixty days, after which the Takeda withdrew from Hida. Ema Tokimori of the Eda clan (kokujin, or provincial landowners, in Hida) who was aligned with Takeda tendered a hostage and surrendered. The headship of the Eda clan transferred to Ema Terumori while the Anekōji maintained their independence in Hida.
In the ninth month of 1569, Oda Nobunaga marched upon the capital to install Ashikaga Yoshiaki as the fifteenth shōgun of the Muromachi bakufu. In 1570, in response to orders from Nobunaga to visit the capital, Tsuguyori sent his eldest son and heir, Yoritsuna, whose formal wife was a daughter of Saitō Dōsan. In Kyōto, Yoritsuna established friendly relations with Nobunaga.
In 1572, Tsuguyori was requested by Uesugi Kenshin to deploy with his troops to Etchū Province. Kenshin invaded Etchū in a bid to defeat the Ikkō-ikki forces from Kaga and Etchū, leading to the Battle of Shiritarezaka in the ninth month of 1572.
Owing to illness, Tsuguyori could not travel and, instead, he sent Ema Terumori as his proxy. On 10/18 of the same year, he informed the Uesugi clan that he would also dispatch his eldest son, Yoritsuna.
On 11/12 of Genki 3 (1572), Tsuguyori died and was succeeded by Yoritsuna. The formal wives of Yoritsuna and Oda Nobunaga were sisters (daughters of Saitō Dōsan). Through this connection, Yoritsuna maintained a family relationship with Nobunaga.