Miyoshi Group of Three

三好三人衆

Miyoshi Nagayasu

Miyoshi Sōi

Iwanari Tomomichi

Miyoshi Clan

The Miyoshi  Group of Three refers to a group of three bushō who supported the Miyoshi administration after the death of Miyoshi Nagayoshi, the sengoku daimyō of the Kinai and Awa Province and deputy military governor of Settsu Province for the Muromachi bakufu during the Sengoku period.  Namely, this group included Miyoshi Nagayasu, Miyoshi Sōi, and Iwanari Tomomichi.  All three of them were senior retainers and members of the Miyoshi clan.  In certain historical accounts, they are referred to simply as the Group of Three.

In the era of Miyoshi Nagayoshi (1522 to 1564), each of the members of the group served as mainstays of the family, each leading army divisions.  According to one theory, Nagayasu was the senior elder in the Miyoshi family, Tomomichi was the representative of the band of retainers on a par with Matsunaga Hisahide, while Sōi, having originated from the camp of Hosokawa Harumoto, served as the conduit to former retainers of the Hosokawa clan as well as groups based in Sakai.

In 1564, after the death of Miyoshi Nagayoshi, his nephew and designated successor, Miyoshi Yoshitsugu, was too young to succeed him, and Nagayoshi’s younger brothers also died, so the Miyoshi Group of Three came to prominence as the guardians of the young Yoshitsugu.

In 1565, in an event known as the Eiroku Incident, the group assassinated Ashikaga Yoshiteru (the thirteenth shōgun of the Muromachi bakufu) who sought to restore the authority of the shōgun in the wake of the death of Nagayoshi.

Later, the group joined forces with Shinohara Nagafusa, Miyoshi Yasunaga, and Tsutsui Junkei in opposition to Yoshitsugu and Matsunaga Hisahide.  This was one of the causes for tumult within the Miyoshi administration – a situation that served to the advantage of Oda Nobunaga of Owari who backed Ashikaga Yoshiaki as the next shōgun who would be subordinate to the authority of Nobunaga himself.

In 1568, the group opposed Nobunaga’s march upon Kyōto to install Ashikaga Yoshiaki as the fifteenth shōgun, but, after incurring a series of defeats, witnessed a decline in their power.  Toward the end of the Eiroku era (1558 to 1570), Sōi died of illness.  In the eighth month of 1573, Tomomichi was killed in the Second Siege of Yodoko Castle while acting in concert with Ashikaga Yoshiaki’s failed bid to oppose Oda Nobunaga. Thereafter, Nagayasu’s whereabouts became unknown.  Accompanying a decline in the authority of the Miyoshi clan in the Kinai (the provinces around the capital of Kyōto, namely, Yamashiro, Yamato, Settsu, Kawachi, and Izumi), the activities of the Miyoshi Group of Three came to a complete end.