Toki Shigeyori


Toki Clan

Mino Province

Toki Shigeyori

Lifespan:  Kakitsu 2 (1442) to 4/3 of Meiō 6 (1497)

Rank:  bushō; shugo daimyō

Titles:  Governor of Mino, Master of the Eastern Capital Office

Clan:  Isshiki (or Aeba or Saraki) → Toki

Father:  Isshiki Yoshitō (or Aeba Motoaki or Saraki Mitsutoshi)

Adoptive Father: Toki Mochimasu

Siblings:  Isshiki Yoshiari (?), Isshiki Yoshinobu (?), Isshiki Yoshikiyo (?)

Wife:  Daughter of Saitō Toshinaga (younger sister of Saitō Myōjun)

Children: Masafusa (Yoritsugu), Ōhata Sadayori, Saraki Hisayori, Motoyori, Kayazu Yorifusa, unknown (adopted by Rokkaku Takayori)

Toki Shigeyori served as a bushō and shugo daimyō during the Muromachi and Sengoku periods.  Shigeyori was the military governor of Mino and eleventh head of the Toki clan.  He was the adopted son of Toki Mochimasu.  His natural father was Isshiki Yoshitō and uncle was Isshiki Yoshinao.  There are also theories that he was either the son of Aeba Motoaki (Bitchū-no-kami) from a branch of the Toki known as the Aeba clan or the son of Saraki Mitsutoshi (the younger cousin of Mochimasu).  After being adopted, he received a character from the name of the eighth shōgun, Ashikaga Yoshishige (later known as Yoshimasa) and was called Shigeyori.

Under the prevailing view, Shigeyori was born as the son of Isshiki Yoshitō, the governor of the Chita District in Owari, a neighboring province of Mino.  His sibling was Isshiki Yoshiari, the military governor of Tango Province and heir to the main branch of the Isshiki family which was based in Tango.  In addition to Tango, the Isshiki clan also served as the military governors of Ise Province and stood as a well-established member of the Ashikaga clan.  Along with the Akamatsu, the Kyōgoku, and the Yamana, the Isshiki were one of four influential military families who exclusively served on rotation as heads of the samurai-dokoro, the body responsible for military and security affairs of the Muromachi bakufu.

Toki Mochimasu, the military governor of Mino, had an eldest son named Toki Mochikane who died at an early age, so he planned for his grandson, Toki Kijumaru, to be his designated successor.  This plan, however, invited opposition from the deputy military governor, Saitō Toshinaga, who backed Shigeyori from the Isshiki clan and resisted Mochimasu.  In 1456, Mochimasu was compelled to retire and Shigeyori became the next military governor of Mino.  As in this instance, beginning around the middle of the Muromachi period, many deputy military governors gained more power than the military governors under whom they served, and in Mino as well, the Saitō clan were the real power-brokers in the province despite being deputy military governors.

Upon the outbreak of the Ōnin-Bunmei War from 1467, Shigeyori affiliated with the western army, leading 8,000 mounted soldiers to set-up camp and engage in battle in Kyōto.  In Mino, Saitō Toshifuji, the deputy military governor under the guardianship of his uncle, Saitō Myōchin, remained to protect the province.  Powerful kokujin, or provincial families of influence, including the Tomishima and Nagae clans (former deputy military governors who lost and were ousted by the Saitō) joined the eastern army and attacked the Saitō clan, giving rise to an internal conflict in Mino.  Myōchin defeated the Tomishima and Nagae clans, and to the extent that the eastern army backed the bakufu and the Imperial court, the Saitō were concerned that Mino could become a base for the enemy, so they seized the landholdings of the hōkōshū, or military arm under the direct command of the bakufu in Mino, along with the manors owned by nobles, temples and shrines located in Mino, in a bid to lock down the province.  Myōchin’s influence spread to Owari, Ise, Ōmi, and Hida, and he could handle Shigenori at his own will as well as exert a level of control over the western army.

In 1477, upon settlement of the Ōnin-Bunmei War, Shigeyori protected Ashikaga Yoshimi and Ashikaga Yoshiki (father and son) who had been the nominal leaders of the Western Army and returned to Mino.  Yoshimi and Yoshiki resided at Kawate Castle in Mino.  The presence of nobles who fled the capital along with members of the Ashikaga clan enabled the culture of Kyōto to flourish in the town surrounding Kawate.  Upon the death of Myōchin in 1480, his two nephews, Saitō Toshifuji (the deputy military governor) and Saitō Toshikuni (his younger brother of a different mother, commonly known as Saitō Myōjun – the name adopted upon entering the priesthood) quarreled over the issue of succession in an event known as the Mino-Bunmei Conflict.  Toshikuni prevailed and the Saitō clan grew stronger.

In 1487, upon the outbreak of the Chōkyō-Entoku Expedition, Ashikaga Yoshihisa (the ninth shōgun) led the bakufu army and assorted daimyō on a campaign aimed to eliminate Rokkaku Yukitaka in Ōmi.  After having provided sanctuary to Yoshimi and Yoshiki in Kawate, Shigeyori determined that he would be the next target of the bakufu army.  He promptly raised arms and hid in the mountains of Mino to prepare an attack to intercept the bakufu army.  Owing to the death by illness of Yoshihisa at the encampment in Magari, the campaign failed and the bakufu army returned to the capital without an invasion of Mino.

In 1494, Shigeyori, who was fond of his fourth son, Toki Motoyori, removed his eldest son, Toki Masafusa, from the line of succession as part of a plan for Motoyori to become his designated successor.  He then had the vice-deputy military governor, Ishimaru Toshimitsu, back Motoyori and fought against Saitō Myōjun who advocated for Masafusa.  After convincing Myōjun, Shigeyori had them temporarily settle by ousting Nishio Naonori in connection with the Battle of Funada.  In the sixth month of 1495, Shigeyori resumed his battle against Myōjun, but was defeated.  In the seventh month of 1495, he fled in defeat against the Saitō, transferred leadership of the family to Masafusa, retired, and adopted the name of Sōan.  Motoyori and Ishimaru Toshimitsu continued the resistance, but, in 1496, lost to Myōjun and took their own lives.

Shigeyori died in 1497 at the age of fifty-six.

Although Saitō Myōjun was, in fact, in charge of provincial affairs, with the exception of the Battle of Funada in the latter years of his life, the notoriety of the Toki clan of Mino, both inside and outside the province, increased dramatically during this period.  Accordingly, many members of the nobility fled to Mino to avoid the war.  However, after the Battle of Funada, Myōjun and his son, Saitō Toshichika, died in an uprising while en route to an expedition intended to eliminate Rokkaku Takayori who supported Ishimaru Toshimitsu.  Thereafter, the Toki clan became mere puppets of the kokujin, while the Saitō also receded and Mino sank into a period of further chaos.