Imagawa Ujiteru


Imagawa Clan

Sengoku Daimyō

Suruga Province

Lifespan:  Eishō 10 (1513) to 3/17 of Tenbun 5 (1536)

Name Changes:  Ryūōmaru → Ujiteru

Other Names:  Hikogorō

Rank:  sengoku daimyō

Title:  Junior Fourth Rank (Lower), Governor of Kazusa

Clan:  Imagawa (a branch of the Kira clan descended from the Ashikaga clan from the lineage of Minamoto no Yoshikuni of the Seiwa-Genji)

Bakufu:  Muromachi – Military governor of Suruga, Military governor of Tōtōmi

Lord:  Ashikaga Yoshiharu

Father:  Imagawa Ujichika

Mother:  Jukeini

Siblings:  Ujiteru, Hikogorō, Genkō Etan, Shōji Senjō, Yoshimoto, Ujitoyo, sister (wife of Kira Yoshitaka), Zuikei-in (wife of Hōjō Ujiyasu), sister (wife of Matsudaira Chikayoshi, later, wife of Udono Nagamochi), sister (wife of Naka-no-mikado Nobutsuna), sister (wife of Sena Ujitoshi), sister (wife of Sekiguchi Chikanaga), sister (wife of Ōtani Yoshihide)

Imagawa Ujiteru served as a sengoku daimyō of Suruga Province during the Sengoku period.  He was the tenth head of the Imagawa clan.


In 1513, Ujiteru was born as the lineal heir of Imagawa Ujichika, the shugo daimyō of Suruga and the ninth head of the Imagawa clan.  In 1525, he attended his coming-of-age ceremony and adopted the name of Ujiteru.  On 6/23 of Daiei 6 (1526), his father died and he inherited the headship of the clan.  At the time, he was fourteen years old so his mother, Jukeini, supported him as his guardian.

Thereafter, Jukeini herself held the real authority but, from around 1532, Ujiteru began a new administration.  In 1532, he conducted land surveys in Tōtōmi Province and strengthened relationships with the central authorities of the Muromachi bakufu including by sending gifts to the Imperial Court in Kyōto.  Ujiteru maintained the alliance with the Gohōjō clan of Sagami Province established in the era of Ujichika.  He excelled in the military arts.  In 1535, Ujiteru joined forces with Hōjō Ujitsuna of Sagami and provided backing to kokujin, or provincial landowners, opposing Takeda Nobutora of Kai Province.  He fought against the forces of Nobutora in the mountains of the Tsuru District of Kai.  As an outcome of this operation, Ujiteru is deemed to have temporarily occupied as much as one-half of Kai.

In 1536, Uiteru, together with Reizei Tamekazu, a noble and a poet, headed toward Odawara to participate in a poetry event but, on 3/17 of Tenbun 5 (1536), he died.  He was twenty–four years old.  According to the diaries of Tamekazu and retainers of the Takeda clan, on the same day, Ujiteru’s next younger brother, Imagawa Hikogorō, who was in a position to succeed Ujiteru, also died.  Ujiteru’s death triggered a succession struggle between the next younger brother, Sengaku Shōhō (later known as Imagawa Yoshimoto) who had entered the priesthood from an early age and Genkō Etan, a younger brother of a different mother.  This is known as the Hanakura Conflict.  Although Ujiteru was of frail health, there are assorted theories as to why Hikogorō suddenly died on the same day, including as a result of epidemic, poisoning, or the taking of his own life.

Governance of the territory held by the Imagawa

Over forty documents remain as historical records that were issued by Ujiteru himself during his period of governance.  In addition, there are fifteen documents issued by his mother, Jukeini, between the time that Ujiteru inherited the headship of the clan until he was succeeded by Yoshimoto.

During the era of Ujiteru, there were few military actions outside of the territory of the Imagawa.  Ujiteru adhered to the policies established by his father, Ujichika, and is surmised to have maintained a stable governance although he is deemed to be of frail health.  Land surveys were conducted in his territory.  Documents issued during the era of Ujiteru refer to various policies including for the promotion of commerce.  Others refer to the appointment of the sons of provincial landowners (such as the Fuji and Okitsu clans) to serve as members of the umamawari, or cavalry, of the Imagawa army.  According to one scholar, this may be viewed as a new policy but owing to the lack of records it cannot be confirmed that this practice began in the era of Ujiteru.

Numerous nobles traveled from Kyōto for stays in Suruga Province.  This contributed to the formation of the Imagawa culture including, among other pursuits, the hosting of poetry events.  Ujiteru was a cultured individual, studying waka, or classical poetry, under Reizei Tamekazu and participating in poetry readings.  He possessed traditional works including the shinkokin-wakashū, a compilation of poems from the early Kamakura period.