Ashina Morioki


Ashina Clan

Sengoku Daimyō

Mutsu Province

Lifespan:  Tenbun 16 (1547) to 6/5 of Tenshō 2 (1574)

Rank:  bushō, sengoku daimyō

Titles:  Junior Fourth Rank (Lower), Master of the Office of Palace Repairs

Bakufu:  Muromachi

Clan:  Ashina

Father:  Ashina Moriuji

Mother:  Daughter of Date Tanemune

Wife:  [Formal] Fourth daughter of Date Harumune (Hikohime)

Siblings:  Morioki, Moritaka (adopted from the Nikaidō), wife of Komine Yoshichika

Children:  Kosugiyama Godai (Entsu-in – adopted daughter of Ashina Moritaka, wife of Ashina Yoshihiro)

Ashina Morioki served as a sengoku daimyō during the Sengoku period.  Morioki was the seventeenth head of the Ashina clan based at Kurokawa Castle in Aizu in Mutsu Province.

In 1547, Morioki was born as the son of Ashina Moriuji, the sixteenth head of the Ashina clan.  There are various theories concerning his year of birth, but it is generally regarded as 1547.  His mother was Moriuji’s formal wife, the daughter of Date Tanemune.  Morioki was the first son born as an heir to Moriuji after ten years of marriage.

Similar to his father, Morioki was known for having wisdom and courage.  In 1561, after succeeding his father as head of the clan, Morioki invested energy in expanding their domain, however, there are questions regarding this series of events and whether Moriuji would have ceded control of the clan to Morioki (fifteen years old at the time) and retired during the prime years of Moriuji’s work.  Moreover, around this time, the Ashina clan was beset by both internal and external challenges and given that Moriuji continued to actively serve as the representative of the Ashina family after the succession by Morioki, it may have actually been a nominal retirement.

In 1566, Moriuji presented a written pledge (known as a kishōmon) to Date Tanemune to propose that Tanemune offer his younger sister, Hikohime (the fourth daughter of Date Harumune), to become the formal wife of Morioki.  Tanemune accepted this offer whereupon Hikohime became Morioki’s wife. This marriage proposal had also been raised in 1558 but was not consummated then.  One of the reasons cited is that Morioki was too young at the time.

In 1560, the Ashina allied with the Shirakawa-Yūki in a clash against the Nasu clan known as the Battle of Odakura.  Although few details are known, the battle resulted in injuries to Nasu Suketane, the head of the Nasu clan.

In 1574, Morioki died of illness, or, perhaps, alcohol poisoning.  In 1562, and, again in 1571, Moriuji issued prohibitions in his territory for the production of alcohol, so it is surmised this may have been related to Morioki’s habit that led to his demise.  However, at the time of the first prohibition, Morioki was sixteen years old, so it is questionable whether he had a drinking habit at that age.  If he had died from alcohol poisoning, then his illness would have been over a long period of time.  Moreover, Morioki’s wife sent letters to Date Terumune, but if Morioki had been ill from the effects of alcohol for a period of years, then she may have sent the letters to Terumune on behalf of Morioki.

Morioki did not have an heir, so Moriuji adopted Moritaka, a former hostage from the Nikaidō clan, who assumed the name of Ashina Moritaka and became Moriuji’s successor.

Morioki had one daughter with his formal wife named Renmitsu.