Hosokawa Harumoto


Hosokawa Clan

Hosokawa Harumoto

Yamashiro Province

Lifespan:  Eishō 11 (1514) to 3/1 of Eiroku 6 (1563)

Name Changes:  Sōmeimaru → Harumoto

Other Names:  Rokurō (common)

Rank:  bushō, daimyō

Title:  Junior Fourth Rank (Lower), Master of the Western Capital Office

Clan:  Hosokawa-Keichō (main branch of the Hosokawa)

Bakufu:  Muromachi – Deputy Shōgun; military governor of Yamashiro, Settsu, Tanba, Sanuki, Tosa

Lord:  Ashikaga Yoshiharu → Ashikaga Yoshiteru

Father:  Hosokawa Sumimoto

Mother:  Seitai-in

Siblings:  Harumoto, Mochitaka (?), sister (formal wife of Hatakeyama Yoshitaka), sister (formal wife of Arima Shigenori)

Wife: [Formal] Daughter of Sanjō Kinyori, [Second] Daughter of Rokkaku Sadayori

Children:  Akimoto, Haruyuki (?), daughter (formal wife of Asakura Yoshikage), daughter (wife of Iinō Sadamune), daughter (顕栄室), 

Adopted Children:  Kyōkōin-Nyoshunni (daughter of Sanjō Kinyori)

Hosokawa Harumoto served as a bushō and daimyō during the Sengoku period.  Harumoto served as the thirty-fourth deputy shōgun of the Muromachi bakufu.  He was the seventeenth head of the Hosokawa-Keichō family and the military governor of Yamashiro, Settsu, Tanba, Sanuki, and Tosa provinces.

Harumoto’s formal wife was the eldest daughter of a noble named Sanjō Kinyori.  Owing to this connection, he was the brother-in-law of Takeda Shingen and Kennyo, the high priest of the Ishiyama-Hongan Temple.  Harumoto brought together the Hosokawa-Keichō family amidst internal conflict across the Kinai region.  He established his political governance and assumed the position as the deputy shōgun of the Muromachi bakufu but was later undermined in a rebellion by his retainer, Miyoshi Nagayoshi, dying before he could regain his stature.  Harumoto was the last deputy shōgun who wielded real authority.

Harumoto received one of the characters in his name from Ashikaga Yoshiharu, the twelfth shōgun of the Muromachi bakufu.  Prior to receiving a character from Yoshiharu, during a period when he was opposed to Yoshiharu, he used the common name of Rokurō in lieu of his real name.

Showdown with Hosokawa Takakuni

In 1514, Harumoto was born as the son of Hosokawa Sumimoto.  Sumimoto, along with Hosokawa Sumiyuki and Hosokawa Takakuni, was adopted by Hosokawa Masamoto.  Masamoto was the twelfth head of the Hosokowa-Keichō family – the main branch of the Hosokawa clan.  He further served as the kanrei, or deputy shōgun, of the Muromachi bakufu.  In the summer of 1507, Masamoto was assassinated by supporters of Sumiyuki, including Kōzai Motonaga and Yakushiji Nagatada in the Lord Hosokawa Incident.  This gave rise to a prolonged succession struggle known as the Eishō Disturbance that was not finally settled until 1531 when Sumimoto’s son, Harumoto, defeated Takakuni at the Collapse at Daimotsu.

After suffering a defeat to Takakuni, Sumimoto fled to Awa Province.  On 6/10 of Eishō 17 (1520), he died at Shōzui Castle in Awa.  Harumoto, at the age of seven, inherited the headship of the clan.  Unable to make-up for having less forces than Takakuni, Harumoto confronted difficult circumstances.  Meanwhile, Takakuni ousted Ashikaga Yoshitane, the eighth shōgun of the Muromachi bakufu, and backed Ashikaga Yoshiharu as the next shōgun, forcing him through as a replacement.  As Takakuni established himself as the most powerful individual in Japan, the opportunity for Harumoto to mount a counterattack receded.

On 7/13 of Daiei 6 (1526), while acting on the basis of slander from his younger cousin (Hosokawa Tadakata), Takakuni killed Kōzai Motomori who was under his command.  This caused Motomori’s siblings, Hatano Motokiyo and Yanagimoto Kataharu, to betray Takakuni, rupturing the forces led by Takakuni.  In an effort to take advantage of the precarious situation that Takakuni created for himself, in the tenth month, Harumoto (at the age of thirteen) with the support of Miyoshi Motonaga raised an army to overthrow Takakuni.  Within the same year, he advanced to the Kinai and converged with the Hatano forces who had turned against Takakuni.

While the conflict between Takakuni and Harumoto was an internal power-struggle for control of the Hosokawa-Keichō, Takakuni leveraged his position as the deputy shōgun of the bakufu and backed Ashikaga Yoshiharu as the shōgun.  This enabled Takakuni to call his forces the bakufu army in name.  As a result, the forces led by Harumoto were regarded as a rebel army.  This posed a risk of rebellion by allies seeking to protect themselves.  Harumoto sought to address this by backing Yoshiharu’s younger brother, Ashikaga Yoshitsuna.  In 1523, when Ashikaga Yoshitane first came from the capital to visit Muya in Awa Province, he aimed to acquire the support of the Hosokawa-Sanshū family but Harumoto was a ten-year-old child at the time so unable to offer support and Yoshitane died in despair in the fourth month of 1523.

Thereafter, Harumoto’s younger cousin, Hosokawa Mochitaka, who at the time was serving as the military governor of Awa based at the Hosokawa mansion, raised Yoshitsuna as the heir to the shōgun and Harumoto as the heir to the main branch of the Hosokawa family.  (Under another theory, Mochitaka was Harumoto’s natural younger brother (as the second son of Sumimoto.)

Early in 1527, the vanguard of the allied rebel army led by Yanagimoto Kataharu and Miyoshi Motonaga invaded the capital.  On 2/12 of Daiei 7 (1527), Takakuni’s army attempted to confront them at the Katsura River but lost at the Battle of Katsurakawara.  While continuing to back Yoshiharu, Takakuni was driven back to his base at Sakamoto in Ōmi. Harumoto set-up a main base in Sakai in Izumi Province.  In lieu of Takakuni’s administration which had lost their presence after departing from the capital, Harumoto established a shadow bakufu called the Sakai kubō with Yoshitsuna as the shōgun.

To this point, Miyoshi Motonaga had achieved exceptional results, but then came into conflict with Yanagimoto Kataharu and Miyoshi Masanaga from a collateral branch of the family.  Harumoto was also dissatisfied that Motonaga aimed to reconcile with Takakuni and heard slander in regard to Motonaga from Kataharu and others.  In 1529, this led to an indignant Motonaga traveling from the capital to Awa to suppress the military power of the Sakai kubō.  Meanwhile, Takakuni joined with Uragami Muramune, the deputy military governor of Bizen Province, to raise arms in a bid for a revival.  In 1530, when Kataharu ventured to intercept them, he was killed by an assassin engaged by Takakuni in Harima Province.  Takakuni and Muramune rode this momentum to invade Settsu Province, placing the Sakai kubō in a precarious situation.

By 1531, Takakuni had garnered control of a majority of Settsu while Kyōto was taken back by Naitō Hikoshichi of Takakuni’s faction.  After returning to the capital, Takakuni attempted an expedition to the domain of the Sakai kubō as part of an effort to overthrow Harumoto who threatened his role as the deputy shōgun.  The Sakai kubō was exposed to attack but, in the second month, Harumoto reconciled with Miyoshi Motonaga.  On 3/10 of Kyōroku 4 (1531), Takakuni was forestalled by a counterattack by Motonaga.  This resulted in a stalemate in Settsu and is known as the Battle of Nakajima.  On 6/4, Akamatsu Masasuke (Harumasa) arrived under the pretense of providing reinforcements to join the fight on behalf of Takakuni, but, instead, Masasuke betrayed Takakuni.  Acting in coordination with Harumoto, Masasuke attacked Takakuni’s forces from the rear while Motonaga attacked from in front.  This pincer attack caused Takakuni’s army to fall into disarray in an event known as the Collapse at Daimotsu.  Takakuni fled to Amagasaki nearby and attempted to hide in a barrel in an indigo dye shop but was apprehended and compelled to kill himself on 6/8 at the Kōtoku Temple.  This brought to an end the prolonged succession struggle known as the Conflict between the Hosokawa that was triggered by the assassination of Hosokawa Masamoto (the adoptive father of Sumimoto and Takakuni) in the sixth month of 1507.

Establishing his authority

After eliminating Takakuni as the authority, Harumoto shifted course from his previous policy to usurp political power as the Sakai kubō.  Harumoto reconciled with the then-current shōgun, Yoshiharu, while his effort to become the deputy shōgun led to conflict with Miyoshi Motonaga.  As long as Harumoto could become the head of the Hosokawa-Keichō family and assume the position as the deputy shōgun, he could accept having Yoshiharu remain as the shōgun.  Within just two months after removing Takakuni as their common enemy, conflicts within the Sakai kubō became manifest.  Despite having contributed to the overthrow of Takakuni, Motonaga was viewed as an impediment by the kunishū, or provincial landowners, in the Kinai region who consolidated under Harumoto.

Kizawa Nagamasa, a retainer of Hatakeyama Yoshitaka, was a patron of Harumoto.  After Motonaga attacked Nagamasa, kunishū from Settsu including Ibaraki Nagataka devised a plot with the aim to eliminate Motonaga and proposed to Shōnyo, the tenth high priest of the Hongan Temple, to initiate an uprising by the Ikkō-ikki.  Shōnyo willfully consented and, in 1532, without further involvement by the kunishū, the ikki forces killed Motonaga in Sakai and, further, expelled Ashikaga Yoshitsuna to Awa.  This is known as the Siege of Iimori Castle.  Yoshitaka, Nagamasa’s lord who received support from Motonaga, was also drawn-in and killed by the Ikkō-ikki.

After expelling opposition elements in the family and reconciling with Ashikaga Yoshiharu, the twelfth shōgun of the Muromachi bakufu, Harumoto focused his efforts on suppressing the Ikkō-ikki army who continued down a path of marauding and uprisings.  He cooperated with followers of the Hokke sect who were rivals of the Ikkō sect for influence in the Kinai and instigated the Hokke Uprising.  He also joined forces with Rokkaku Sadayori who was struggling against the Ikkō sect in Ōmi and, in the eighth month of 1532, attacked the Yamashina-Hongan Temple.  This is known as the Battle of Yamashina-Hongan Temple.  After burning down the Yamashina-Hongan Temple, he fought against the Ikkō sect who moved to the Ishiyama-Hongan Temple.  In 1533, he incurred a counterattack by the Ikkō-ikki and left Sakai to go into exile in Awaji Province.  Harumoto then returned to Ikeda Castle in Settsu to re-group with his forces.  In 1535, he settled.  These events are known as the Kyōroku-Tenbun Conflict.  In 1534, through the intermediation of Kizawa Nagamasa, Harumoto also settled with Miyoshi Nagayoshi (the lineal heir of Miyoshi Motonaga) and became a retainer.

In 1536, in response to the expanding influence of followers of the Hokke group (affiliated with the Nichren sect of Buddhism) in Kyōto, Harumoto combined forces with Rokkaku Sadayori and the Hieizan-Enryaku Temple (affiliated with the Jōdo Shinshū sect) to destroy them.  The series of events comprising this uprising are referred to as the Hokke Uprising, the Tenbun Hokke Conflict or, from the perspective of the Hokke sect, the Hokke Religious Persecution.  That same year, Harumoto also eliminated Hosokawa Harukuni, the younger brother of Takakuni (who led remnants of Takakuni’s forces in opposition to Harumoto) and stabilized the Kinai region.  In 1537, Harumoto was appointed Master of the Western Capital Office and, as the deputy shōgun, controlled the bakufu administration.  On 4/19, Harumoto wed the daughter of Sanjō Kinyori who was raised by Rokkaku Sadayori.  Meanwhile, various factors worked against Harumoto.  Namely, Ashikaga Yoshiharu (who had been an enemy of Harumoto) built-up his organs of power while Sadayori gained a more prominent voice within the bakufu.  Moreover, numerous hereditary retainers of the Hosokawa-Keichō family had previously aligned themselves with Takakuni during the long period of conflict against Sumimoto and Harumoto so, after the defeat of Takakuni, the family witnessed a loss of political acumen and power.  As a result, the position of the family within the bakufu declined precipitously.

Period of governance

In 1539, after going to the capital, Miyoshi Nagayoshi quarreled with Miyoshi Masanaga over seventeen manors in the Matta District of Kawachi Province known as the Seventeen Manors of Kawachi.  Harumoto backed Masanaga and came into conflict with Nagayoshi.  Through intermediation by Yoshiharu and Rokkaku Sadayori, he settled with Nagayoshi.  This conflict ended with only small skirmishes, but, in 1541, an increasingly arrogant Kizawa Nagamasa revolted and when requested to expel Masanaga, Harumoto refused and fled to Iwakura in the outskirts of Kyōto.  In 1542, he moved to Akutagawayama Castle in Settsu and counterattacked, and through the efforts of Nagayoshi, Masanaga, and Yusa Naganori of Kawachi, killed Nagamasa.  This is known as the Battle of Taihei Temple.

Nevertheless, the revolt continued.  In 1543, Takakuni’s adopted son, Hosokawa Ujitsuna, raised arms in Izumi Province under the banner of overthrowing Harumoto.  This revolt subsided within the year, but, in 1545, Hosokawa Motoharu, Hosokawa Motoyoshi, and Hosokawa Kuniyoshi (three generations in the former Takakuni’s faction) in Yamashiro Province and Naitō Kunisada in Tanba Province rebelled.  Harumoto led an assortment of forces including Miyoshi Nagayoshi and Miyoshi Masanaga to suppress the rebellion.  In the eighth month of 1546, Ujitsuna, with the support of Hatakeyama Masakuni and Yusa Naganori, raised arms again, blocking Nagayoshi’s movements and capturing most of Settsu Province.  In the ninth month, Ueno Kuniyoshi raised arms again and entered Kyōto so Harumoto fled to Tanba Province.

In the twelfth month, while staying in Sakamoto in Ōmi Province, Yoshiharu held a coming-of-age ceremony for his lineal heir, Yoshifuji (later known as Ashikaga Yoshiteru), and transferred the role of shōgun to him.  At this time, Rokkaku Sadayori was appointed as the vice-deputy shōgun, while Sadayori served in a ceremonial role as the person in charge of crowning Yoshifuji although this role was traditionally performed by the deputy shōgun.  It is surmised Sadayori did this because Harumoto, the deputy shōgun, was on deployment at the time.  There is also a theory that Harumoto was not the deputy shōgun and the seat was unfilled.  According to this theory, the deputy shōgun was only a ceremonial role at this time.  If Sakamoto had been rushed back to Sakamoto, it is expected that he would have been appointed as the deputy shōgun prior to the coming-of-age ceremony for Yoshifuji.  That was not in fact possible so Sadayori (the military governor of Ōmi) was appointed as the vice-deputy shōgun and Harumoto was not in the end appointed as the deputy shōgun.  In any event, contrary to tradition, having the Rokkaku who were of a lower status than the Hosokawa serve in the ceremonial role as the person in charge of crowning Yoshifuji was an insult to Harumoto.  On the day after the coming-of-age ceremony, Yusa Naganori (a senior retainer of Hatakeyama Masakuni who supported Ujitsuna) attended a pronouncement ceremony by the shōgun.  Working through Naganori, Ujitsuna aimed to become the deputy shōgun and serve in the ceremonial role as the person in charge of crowning Yoshifuji.  If Ujitsuna had been rushed back to Sakamoto, it is expected that he would have been appointed as the deputy shōgun prior to the coming-of-age ceremony for Yoshifuji.  That was not in fact possible and, as Harumoto’s father-in-law, it is surmised that Sadayori opposed this outcome by serving in the ceremonial role as the person in charge of crowning Yoshifuji based on his position as the vice-deputy shōgun.  Yoshiharu and his son consequently turned their support to Ujitsuna and opposed Harumoto.

In the eleventh month, Harumoto responded by moving from the base of Miyoshi Nagayoshi at Koshimizu Castle in Settsu to the Kannō Temple.  Following consultations with Nagayoshi who was on standby at Koshimizu Castle, in 1547, Harumoto counterattacked, defeating the supporters of Ujitsuna in Settsu and pacifying the province.  On 7/21, Nagayoshi prevailed against Ujitsuna and Yusa Naganori at the Battle of Shari Temple.  In the same month, througjh the cooperation of Rokkaku Sadayori, Harumoto also reconciled with Yoshiharu and the rebellion by Ujitsuna was finally quelled.

On 5/6 of Tenbun 17 (1548), Harumoto compelled Ikeda Nobumasa (a kokujin from Settsu who earlier defected to Hosokawa Ujitsuna during a revolt in 1546) to commit seppuku.  This act invited a revolt by Miyoshi Nagayoshi and other kokujin from Settsu.  In the eighth month, Harumoto refused a request from Nagayoshi for permission to eliminate Miyoshi Masanaga who was causing discord in the Miyoshi family.  In the tenth month, Nagayoshi defected to the side of Ujitsuna and rebelled against Harumoto, surrounding Enami Castle in Settsu.  Miyoshi Masakatsu (the son of Miyoshi Masanaga) was holed-up in the castle.  Abandoning him posed a risk that the kunishū in the Kinai would cut ties with him so, despite wielding less military power, Harumoto fought against Nagayoshi’s forces at Eguchi in Settsu.  Harumoto, however, avoided a frontal assault and instead sought to defer a showdown until after the arrival of the Rokkaku army.  As a result, the main force of Harumoto’s army was forestalled and defeated without a fight.  This is known as the Battle of Eguchi.  After losing Miyoshi Masanaga, Takabatake Naganao, and many others under his command, Harumoto feared that Nagayoshi’s forces would continue to attack in pursuit so he fled along with Yoshiteru to Sakamoto in Ōmi.

Later years

With the positions of shōgun and deputy shōgun in the capital vacated by Ashikaga Yoshiteru and Harumoto respectively, Miyoshi Nagayoshi and Hosokawa Ujitsuna filled the vacuum by going to Kyōto and seizing power.  This was the start of the Miyoshi administration.  After Harumoto fled to Ōmi, in 1550, Yoshiharu died so he backed Yoshiteru.  He then led remnants of his faction including Kōzai Motonari and Miyoshi Masakatsu and, operating from Nakao Castle on Mount Higashi and Tanba Province, aimed to recapture Kyōto but failed and abandoned the castle.  This is known as the Battle of Nakao Castle.

With the positions of shōgun and deputy shōgun in the capital vacated by Ashikaga Yoshiteru and Harumoto respectively, Miyoshi Nagayoshi and Hosokawa Ujitsuna filled the vacuum by going to Kyōto and seizing power.  This was the start of the Miyoshi administration.

In 1551, during the Battle of Shōkokuji, forces from Tanba led by Motonari and Masakatsu were defeated by the Miyoshi army.  In the first month of 1552, Nagayoshi and Yoshiteru settled and Yoshiteru went to Kyōto while Ujitsuna became the head of the Hosokawa clan.  Although his lineal heir, Sōmeimaru (later known as Hosokawa Akimoto), was tendered as a hostage to Nagayoshi, Harumoto did not accept the settlement and entered the priesthood.  He turned for support to Takeda Nobutoyo, the military governor of Wakasa Province and headed there from the capital.  Nobutoyo dispatched troops to Tanba in the territory of the Hosokawa.

Thereafter, his forces frequently headed south from Tanba to threaten the Miyoshi army.  In the third month of 1553, Yoshiteru and Miyoshi Nagayoshi parted ways and, in the seventh month, after being pardoned by Yoshiteru, Harumoto joined Yoshiteru to resume the fight against Nagayoshi.

In the eighth month, after Higashiyama-Ryōzen Castle (on the side of Yoshiteru) was toppled by the Miyoshi army, Harumoto and Yoshiteru fled to Kutsuki in Ōmi.

In Tanba Province, Kōzai Motonari and Miyoshi Masakatsu joined forces with Hatano Motohide and killed Naitō Kunisada of Nagayoshi’s faction but were then subject to a counterattack by Kunisada’s adopted son, Matsunaga Nagayori, a commander under Nagayoshi and almost all of Tanba was pacified.  Around 1557, Motohide was subdued by Nagayori and Tanba fell to the control of the Miyoshi.  In Harima, Motonari joined with the Akashi clan but, in 1555, the Akashi were attacked by and surrendered to the Miyoshi army, leaving Harumoto without options in front of the expanding power of Nagayoshi.

In 1558, Harumoto, while aiming to march to Kyōto, clashed against the Miyoshi army at Shōgunyama Castle.  This is known as the Battle of Kitashirakawa.  Through the intermediation of Rokkaku Yoshikata, Yoshiteru and Miyoshi Nagayoshi settled again and Harumoto halted his advance in Sakamoto in Ōmi.

In 1561, after retiring, Harumoto stood-up his second son, Hosokawa Haruyuki, as the head of the Hosokawa family, and, together with the Rokkaku and Hatakeyama, had them gather soldiers to oppose the Miyoshi in Ōmi.  Following a defeat by these forces to the Miyoshi army and the death in battle of Haruyuki, Harumoto settled with Miyoshi Nagayoshi but was held in confinement at the Fumonjii Castle in Settsu.

On 3/1 of Eiroku 6 (1563), Harumoto died at the Fumonji Castle.  He was fifty years old.

After the death of Harumoto, Hosokawa Akimoto inherited the headship of the Keichō family but was not appointed as the deputy shōgun.  Failing to regain his former authority, he fell into ruin.  Hosokawa Ujitsuna is surmised to have assumed the role as the deputy shōgun but this is not substantiated in historical records and he soon died.  Thereafter, no one was appointed as the deputy shōgun.  Later, Akimoto served Oda Nobunaga while his descendants turned to the Akita clan for support (with whom they had connections) and served as chief retainers of the Miharu domain.