Lifespan: Meiō 4 (1495) to 1/2 of Tenbun 21 (1552)
Rank: bushō, shugo daimyō, sengoku daimyō (of southern Ōmi Province)
Title: Junior Fourth Rank (Lower), Junior Assistant Head of the Board of Censors
Bakufu: Muromachi – military governor of Ōmi and assistant deputy shōgun
Lord: Ashikaga Yoshitane → Ashikaga Yoshiharu
Father: Rokkaku Takayori
Siblings: Ujitsuna, Sadayori, Ōhara Takayasu, Wada Takamori, Umedo Takazane, Shingen, sister (wife of Imadegawa Suetaka), sister (wife of Kyōgoku Kimune)
Children: Daughter (second wife of Hosokawa Harumoto), Yoshikata, Yoshiyori, daughter (formal wife of Toki Yoriaki), Kitanokata, daughter (wife of Takeda Nobutoyo), Nyoshun-ni
Rokkaku Sadayori served as a bushō, shugo daimyō, and sengoku daimyō of southern Ōmi Province. He further served as the assistant deputy shōgun of the Muromachi bakufu, and military governor of Ōmi. Sadayori was the fourteenth head of the Rokkaku clan. He held the title of Junior Fourth Rank (Lower) and Junior Assistant Head of the Board of Censors.
In 1495, Sadayori was born as the second son of Rokkaku Takayori, the sengoku daimyō of southern Ōmi.
In 1499, Sadayori underwent the rights of tonsure and served as a disciple of Keijo Shūrin at the Rokuon sub-temple on the grounds of the Shōkoku Temple in Kyōto. Although he returned for a while to Ōmi, by 1503, he returned to study under Shūrin again. In the fourth month of 1504, at the Jishō sub-temple on the grounds of the Shōkoku Temple, Sadayori formally entered the priesthood and adopted the name of Kōshitsu Jōki and was called Kōgetsusai.
In 1516, his older brother, Ujitsuna was ill in bed owing to injuries sustained in battle against the Hosokawa clan, and died at an early age in 1518, so Sadayori left the priesthood and inherited the headship of the clan. He served as an attendant to Ashikaga Yoshitane (the tenth shōgun of the Muromachi bakufu) and made contributions on the battlefield to defeat Hosokawa Masakata.
In 1520, he assisted Hosokawa Takakuni by defeating Miyoshi Yukinaga, a bushō under the command of Hosokawa Sumimoto, at the Battle of Tōji Temple. This brought to an end the Conflict between the Hosokawa. Later, after Yoshitane came into conflict with Takakuni and fled, Sadayori contributed along with Takakuni by backing Ashikaga Yoshiharu, the twelfth shōgun. In 1546, in recognition of his merit, Yoshiharu appointed Sadayori as the assistant deputy shōgun and conferred the title of Junior Fourth Rank (Lower).
Meanwhile, he intervened in the central authorities as a backer of the Ashikaga shōgun family and fought against Miyoshi Nagayoshi in the Battle of Eguchi. When Sadayori learned that Azai Hisamasa, the lord of northern Ōmi, became feeble-minded and unable to manage his band of retainers, he attacked the Azai family and put them under his command, laying the foundation for the peak years of the Rokkaku clan.
Sadayori died on 1/2 of Tenbun 21 (1552) at the age of fifty-eight. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Rokkaku Yoshikata.
Skills and achievements
Sadayori demonstrated skill at provincial governance. In 1523, he ordered his band of retainers to gather at Kannonji Castle to plan for the destruction of other castles in the area, marking the first time such an event appears in historical records in Japan. This is considered the basis for the one castle per province directive in later eras.
Sadayori devised the well-known free-market policies implemented by Oda Nobunaga known as raku-ichi raku-za. To foster economic development, Sadayori issued a free-market directive, gathering merchants below the castle and turning Kannonji into a thriving commercial metropolis. Nobunaga followed this precedent and expanded the free-market policies.
Sadayori was adept at strategic diplomacy, having many of his daughters marry into the families of other daimyō. Serving as a patron of the Ashikaga shōgun family, he had power to influence the central political authorities at the time.