Hatakeyama Group of Seven

畠山七人衆

Hatakeyama Clan

Hatakeyama Group of Seven

Noto Province

The Hatakeyama Group of Seven was a political organ comprised of seven senior retainers of the Noto-Hatakeyama clan (also known as the Nanao-Hatakeyama) who managed clan affairs for a period of years during the Sengoku period.  The group was headed by Nukui Fusasada along with Yusa Tsugumitsu, the deputy military governor of Noto.  After the dissolution of this organ in 1560, Tsugumitsu and Chō Tsugutsura continued to perform leading roles in clan affairs.  However, owing to betrayal by Tsugumitsu, Tsugutsura was assassinated at the Siege of Nanao Castle.

The Noto-Hatakeyama family experienced its period of peak prosperity under Hatakeyama Yoshifusa (the seventh head of the family), but, after the death of Yoshifusa, the clan affairs were conducted by a council of seven clan elders described below.

Hatakeyama Yoshitsugu, the eighth head of the clan, served as a puppet of the Group of Seven while the policies of the Hatakeyama family were entrusted to the Group of Seven led by Nukui Fusasada.

The First Hatakeyama Group of Seven (1552 to 1553)

Itami Fusakata, Taira Fusatomo, Chō Tsugutsura, Nukui Fusasada, Miyake Fusahiro, Yusa Sōen, Yusa Tsugumitsu

The Second Hatakeyama Group of Seven (1553 to 1555)

Igawa Mitsunobu, Jinbō Fusanobu, Chō Tsugutsura, Nukui Tsugumune (the son of Fusasada), Miyake Fusahiro, Miyake Tsunakata, Yusa Sōen

Collapse of the organ and the Political Incident Eiroku 9

Yusa Tsugumitsu was a senior retainer of the Hatakeyama family from the Yusa clan who originally governed their landholdings as the deputy shōgun of Noto.  Meanwhile, owing to his knowledge of cultural arts, Nukui Fusasada was elevated to the role of chief retainer by Yoshifusa.

Before long, a power-struggle erupted between the two retainers, and, in the era of Hatakeyama Yoshitsuna (the ninth head of the family), Fusasada ousted Tsugumitsu in an event known as the Battle of Ōtsuki-Ichinomiya.  In this way, no one else among the Group of Seven was on a par with Fusasada so he became the real holder of power in the Hatakeyama family.

Hatakeyama Yoshitsuna served as a sengoku daimyō and the ninth head of the Noto-Hatakeyama succeeding his father, Hatakeyama Yoshitsugu (a sengoku daimyō and the eighth head of the Noto-Hatakeyama).  Together with a close associate named Igawa Yoshimune, Yoshitsuna plotted and assassinated Nukui Fusasada (the head of the First Hatakeyama Group of Seven) to reclaim power by removing Fusasada from his role as the holder of power in the clan.  In an event known as the Kōji Rebellion, the Nukui clan, together with the Miyake clan and adherents of the Ikkō sect in Kaga, joined forces to launch a rebellion against Yoshitsuna.   The Nukui backed Hatakeyama Harutoshi, a member of the Hatakeyama family, to become the next head of the clan.

While the rebels initially imposed losses on Yoshitsuna’s forces, after a five-year struggle, by early 1560, the Nukui opposition faction was swept from Noto while Yoshitsuna achieved nearly complete victory and the rebellion came to an end.  Survivors including Nukui Takakage, Miyake Keipo, and Miyake Tsunahisa appeared to have surrendered.  To consolidate power, Yoshitsuna limited the authority of senior retainers who had formerly served in the Hatakeyama Group of Seven, implementing autocratic rule and allowed Yusa Tsugumitsu to return to service of the clan.

A period of stability existed for a while under the governance of Yoshitsuna but, in 1566, Chō Tsugutsura and Yusa Tsugumitsu launched an armed insurrection, ousting Yoshitsuna and Yoshitsugu in an event known as the Political Incident of Eiroku 9.  Tsugutsura and Tsugumitsu welcomed the return of the Nukui and Miyake clans and backed Hatakeyama Yoshinori (Yoshitsuna’s eldest son) in a puppet administration controlled by the senior retainers similar to the structure under the Hatakeyama Group of Seven.

Thereafter, the puppet administration continued but the periods of rule of Yoshinori as the tenth head of the clan and Hatakeyama Yoshitaka (Yoshinori’s younger brother) as the eleventh head of the clan were short-lived.  Under one theory, they were assassinated by the Yusa and others.

Confrontation between Yusa Tsugumitsu and Chō Tsugutsura

Chō Tsugutsura was third in line in the Group of Seven, but as he acquired more power, Yusa Tsugumitsu (as the head of the group) pulled in a former opponent in Nukui Kagetaka to oppose Tsugutsura.  After invading Echizen Province, the authority of Oda Nobunaga extended to Noto whereupon Tsugutsura approached the Oda.  This led to opposition from Tsugumitsu who leaned in favor of the Uesugi, bringing to the surface the power-struggle between the two retainers.  After backing Hatakeyama Haruōmaru, the political circumstances within the Hatakeyama family became very unstable as to whether to align with the Uesugi or the Oda.

Being close to Haruōmaru, Tsugutsura’s policies were carried out and the Hatakeyama family came into conflict with the Uesugi.  On the basis that Jōjō Masashige (Hatakeyama Yoshinori) should properly serve as head of the clan, Uesugi Kenshin attacked the base of the Hatakeyama clan at Nanao Castle, leading to the Siege of Nanao Castle.  After the initial attack was repelled, Tsugutsura sent his son, Chō Tsuratatsu, as a messenger to Azuchi Castle to request reinforcements from the Oda to prepare for a second assault on the castle, whereupon a decision was made for the defenders to hole-up in the castle.  However, as a result of a rebellion by Tsugumitsu and Kagetaka acting in concert with the Uesugi family, Nanao Castle fell and, beginning with Tsugutsura, most of the Chō family was killed.  Upon orders of Nobunaga, Shibata Katsuie headed toward Nanao Castle to serve as a rear guard, but the reinforcements did not arrive on time and, during the retreat at the Battle of Tedorigawa, the forces were attacked by the Uesugi army.  Power-struggles between these senior retainers of the Hatakeyama clan were an underlying cause of both the Battle of Tedorigawa and the preceding Siege of Nanao Castle.

The Siege of Nanao Castle led to the decimation of the Noto-Hatakeyama clan and, thereafter, Yusa Tsugumitsu took control of Nanao Castle and the province as a whole.

After the death of Uesugi Kenshin, the Oda clan backed Chō Tsuratatsu and attacked Nanao Castle, executing Tsugumitsu and his son after their surrender.  Noto was placed under the control of Shibata Katsuie while the Chō clan led by Tsuratatsu served as yoriki, or security officers, for Katsuie.  After the demise of the Shibata family, the Chō continued as a senior retainer of the Maeda family of Kaga, included as one of the Eight Families of Kaga.