Hatakeyama Akitaka

畠山秋高

Hatakeyama Clan

Daimyō

Kawachi Province

Kii Province

Lifespan:  Tenbun 3 (1534) to 6/25 of Genki 4 (1573)

Rank:  bushō, daimyō

Title:  Chief of the Left Division of Outer Palace Guards

Clan:  Hatakeyama-Bishū

Bakufu:  Muromachi – Military Governor of Kii Province and one-half of Kawachi Province

Father:  Hatakeyama Masakuni

Siblings:  Takamasa, Masahisa, Akitaka

Hatakeyama Akitaka served as a bushō and daimyō during the Sengoku and Azuchi-Momoyama periods.  He was the military governor of Kii Province and one-half of Kawachi Province.

In 1534, Akitaka was born as the son of Hatakeyama Masakuni, the military governor and sengoku daimyō of Kawachi, Kii, and Etchū provinces and the head of the Hatakayama-Bishū family.

Akitaka supported his older brother, Hatakeyama Takamasa, who inherited the headship of the clan, and fought against Miyoshi Nagayoshi.  In 1560, however, the Miyoshi army attacked and toppled his base at Takaya Castle.  Akitaka, along with Takamasa and senior retainers including Yasumi Munefusa and Yusa Nobunori, was expelled from Kawachi to Kii.

In 1565, Ashikaga Yoshiteru, the thirteenth shōgun of the Muromachi bakufu, was killed by the Miyoshi Group of Three in an event known as the Eiroku Incident.  Takamasa then transferred headship of the clan to Akitaka (called Masayori at the time) while he focused on backing Ichijōin Kakukei, the younger brother of Yoshiteru, to become the next shōgun.  Supported by Takamasa and Munefusa, Kakukei returned to secular life and changed his name to Ashikaga Yoshiaki.  Masayori received one of the characters from the name of Yoshiaki and one of the characters from the name of Takamasa, adopting the name of Akitaka.

In 1568, after Oda Nobunaga marched with Yoshiaki to Kyōto to install him as the next shōgun, owing to the support of the Hatakeyama family for Yoshiaki, Akitaka received official recognition of his rights to one-half of Kawachi and returned to Takaya Castle.  However, a rival, Miyoshi Yoshitsugu, received recognition of rights to the other one-half of Kawachi Province.

In 1571, Yoshitsugu launched a rebellion and, together with Matsunaga Hisahide, attacked castles aligned with the Hatakeyama in Kawachi.  Akitaka joined Munefusa in resisting, but Yusa Nobunori, the deputy military governor, showed indications of supporting the Miyoshi, so there was a falling out between them.  On 1/4 of Genki 3 (1572), Akitaka was the target of an attempted assassination by Nobunori.  After relations deteriorated between Ashikaga Yoshiaki and Nobunaga, fearing Nobunaga’s power, Akitaka dropped his support for Yoshiaki and aligned with Nobunaga.  The majority of kokujin, or provincial landowners, in Kawachi supported Yoshiaki, so this placed Akitaka at odds with them.

Thereafter, on 6/25 of Genki 4 (1573), Akitaka was attacked by Nobunori and took his own life.

In 1575, after the Siege of Takaya Castle, Kawachi was placed under the governance of Sakuma Nobumori, a senior retainer of Oda Nobunaga.  Many of the former retainers of the Hatakeyama clan came under the command of Nobumori while the Hatakeyama clan preserved its bloodline only in the Arida District of Kii Province.  The headship of the Hatakeyama was inherited by Hatakeyama Sadamasa (the son of Akitaka’s older brother named Hatakeyama Masahisa) and the Hatakeyama continued in a role with responsibility for conducting ceremonies for the Edo bakufu.