Hatakeyama Yoshitsuna


Hatakeyama Clan

Sengoku Daimyō

Noto Province

Lifespan:  15xx to 12/21 of Bunroku 2 (1594)

Rank:  sengoku daimyō

Title:  Master of the Office of Palace Repairs

Clan:  Hatakeyama (Noto-Hatakeyama family)

Bakufu:  Muromachi – military governor of Noto

Lord:  Ashikaga Yoshiteru

Father:  Hatakeyama Yoshitsugu

Siblings:  Yoshitsuna, Yoshiharu

Wife:  [Formal]  Daughter of Rokkaku Yoshikata

Children:  Yoshinori, Yoshitaka

Hatakeyama Yoshitsuna served as a sengoku daimyō in Noto Province during the Sengoku period.  He was the ninth head of the Noto-Hatakeyama clan.  Yoshitsuna was born as the son of Hatakeyama Yoshitsugu, the eighth head of the Noto-Hatakeyama.

Background of the Noto-Hatakeyama

The Noto-Hatakeyama experienced its period of peak prosperity under Hatakeyama Yoshifusa, the seventh head of the clan.  In 1545, after the death of Yoshifusa, the clan was inherited by his second son, Hatakeyama Yoshitsugu, because Yoshifusa’s eldest son, Hatakeyama Yoshishige, died early.

In 1547, Yoshitsugu’s uncle (Hatakeyama Suruga) who was exiled to Kaga, obtained support of the Ikkō-ikki (followers of the Ikkō sect based in Kaga) and invaded Noto.  This was known as the Battle of Oshimizu in the Hakui District of Noto.  In 1550, owing to conflict between senior retainers, namely,  Yusa Tsugumitsu and Nukui Fusasada, a portion of Nanao Castle was burned down in armed clashes known as the Noto Tenbun Conflict.  Owing to his inability to control his band of retainers, Yoshitsugu lost his authority as a sengoku daimyō, so the senior retainers established an organ headed by clan elders called the Hatakeyama Group of Seven to exercise authority on his behalf.  While Yoshitsugu became a puppet, the members of this group, led by Nukui Fusasada, became the real holders of power in the clan.  In 1551, Yoshitsugu took responsibility for discord in the clan including the Noto Tenbun Conflict by transferring headship to his eldest son, Yoshitsuna, and retiring.  Thereafter, he served as a guardian of Yoshitsuna.

Service as the ninth head of the clan

In the early period of Yoshitsuna’s rule, Yoshitsugu served as his guardian, while clan affairs were led by the Hatakeyama Group of Seven, so there are few accounts of substantive actions by Yoshitsuna until 1555.  In this year, Yoshitsugu, together with a close associate named Igawa Yoshimune, 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.  By this means, Yoshitsugu temporarily regained power, but, later, efforts to further reinforce his authority stirred opposition from the senior retainers.

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 Yoshitsugu and Yoshitsuna.   The Nukui backed Hatakeyama Harutoshi, a member of the Hatakeyama family, to become the next head of the clan.  In an event known as the Kōji Rebellion, the rebels initially imposed losses on Yoshitsuna’s forces, and occupied Sotoura (the portion of the Noto Peninsula facing the Sea of Japan).  Nevertheless, 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.  Inspired by his victory over the rebels, he conducted autocratic rule and permitted Yusa Tsugumitsu to return to service of the clan.

From the end of the Kōji Rebellion in 1560, a period of stability ensued.  In 1561, the exchange of gifts with the shōgun family resumed, while permission was received from the Imperial Court for construction of the Keta Grand Shrine as an ichinomiya, or shrine of the highest rank in the province.  Yoshitsuna was also engaged in diplomatic affairs.  In 1562, after Jinbō Nagamoto was attacked by Uesugi Kenshin, the powerful daimyō from neighboring Echigo Province, Yoshitsuna was requested by the Nagamoto to mediate a settlement.  That same year, Yoshitsuna obeyed the Imperial sanction to rebuild the Keta Grand Shrine.  Through the offices of the Imperial Court and the bakufu, Yoshitsuna himself donated coins in the amount of 7,000 hiki.

Rebellion and ouster

In 1566, Chō Tsugutsura, Yusa Tsugumitsu, and Yashiro Toshimori launched an armed insurrection, ousting Yoshitsuna and Yoshitsugu from Noto.  The rebels then backed Yoshitsugu’s grandson, Hatakeyama Yoshinori (Yoshitsuna’s eldest son), to succeed Yoshitsugu.  This event is known as the Political Incident of Eiroku 9.  Tsugutsura and Tsugumitsu welcomed the return of the Nukui and Miyake clans and supported Yoshinori in a puppet administration controlled by the senior retainers similar to the structure under the Hatakeyama Group of Seven.  Drawing upon marital relationships with the Rokkaku clan, the pair were able to flee to territory under their control in Sakamoto in Ōmi Province.

Between 7/7 and 10/26 of Eiroku 11 (1568), Yoshitsuna changed his name to Yoshitane.  That same year, with the support of Rokkaku Yoshikata, Yoshitsuna and Yoshitsugu raised arms in a bid to return to Noto.  Joining forces with Uesugi Kenshin and Jinbō Nagamoto, the allied army invaded Noto, but the action ended in failure.  Subsequent plans to restore their authority failed.

During the period from 1566 to 1569 while efforts were underway to reclaim his position, Yoshitsuna maintained a personal relationship with a well-known doctor named Manase Dōsan.  Dōsan served Ashikaga Yoshiteru (the thirteenth shōgun of the Muromachi bakufu) and Emperor Ōgimachi.  Dōsan also established a school of medicine influenced by Chinese medicinal practices.  In this respect, successive generations of the heads of the Noto-Hatakeyama family valued culture, demonstrating a strong interest in the art of medicine.  Meanwhile, Yoshitsuna sought a remedy for paralysis.

In later years, Yoshitsuna may have become a retainer of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, but this is not confirmed.  Yoshitsuna died on 12/21 of Bunroku 2 (1593) in Yogoura in the Ika District of Ōmi Province.

Anecdotes and character

Although Noto was in the Hokuriku Region, Yoshitsuna maintained relations with Rokkaku Yoshikata and Ashikaga Yoshiaki as well as with the central authorities in Kyōto.

After the Political Incident of Eiroku 9, Yoshitsuna temporarily changed his named to Yoshitane but, several years later, reverted to Yoshitsuna.  A close associate named Togi Tsunamori who accompanied Yoshitsuna to Ōmi followed suit by changing his name to Togi Tanemori.

Written accounts from later periods frequently refer to him as Yoshinori, but this name does not appear in primary sources.

Yoshitsuna’s stylized signature was very similar in appearance to that of his grandfather, Hatakeyama Yoshifusa.

Igawa Mitsunobu was one of Yoshitsuna’s attendants.  During Yoshitsuna’s term as head of the clan, he served in the group of elders to support Yoshitsuna and, after Yoshitsuna went into exile in Ōmi, regularly served under Yoshitsuna in diplomatic and other affairs.

Yoshitsuna’s sons, Hatakeyama Yoshinori and Hatakeyama Yoshitaka, were backed by senior retainers to serve as puppet leaders of the clan, but died before their father.