Hosokawa Mochitaka


Hosokawa Clan


Awa Province

Lifespan:  Eishō 13 (1516) to 6/17 of Tenbun 22 (1553) (under previous theory – born in 1497)

Rank:  bushō

Title:  Governor of Sanuki

Clan:  Awa-Hosokawa

Bakufu:  Muromachi – military governor of Awa Province

Lord:  Hosokawa Harumoto

Father:  Hosokawa Sumimoto (under previous theory – Hosokawa Yukimochi)

Siblings:  Harumoto, Mochitaka, sister (formal wife of Hatakeyama Yoshitaka), sister (formal wife of Arima Shigenori), sister (wife of Kume Yoshihiro), sister (wife of Akamatsu Harumasa)

Wife:  [Formal]  Daughter of Ōuchi Yoshioki),  [Consort] Koshōshō (daughter of Okamoto Mokusai)

Children:  Saneyuki

Hosokawa Mochitaka served as a bushō during the Sengoku period.  He was the military governor of Awa Province.  Mochitaka was the ninth head of the Awa-Hosokawa family of military governors based in Shōzui Castle in Awa.

Issues of lineage

There are uncertainties concerning Mochitaka’s lineage.  Previously, Mochitaka was regarded as born in 1497 as the son of Hosokawa Yukimochi.  This made Hosokawa Harumoto a younger cousin.  One historical account dated 3/3 of Kyōroku 5 (1532), however, notes that Mochitaka was Harumoto’s younger brother, while an account of the Hosokawa family from the sixth month of 1531 notes that Mochitaka was fifteen or sixteen years old at the time.  Therefore, Mochitaka may have been born in 1516 or 1517.  In this case, Mochitaka would not be the son of Yukimochi who is regarded to have died in 1512.  A previous theory of Yukimochi dying of illness in the Tenbun era (1532 to 1555) is no longer deemed valid.

Other accounts do not identify Mochitaka as the son of Yukimochi, so their purported relationship as father and son appears a creation of later eras.  Under one theory, Mochitaka was the son of Hosokawa Sumimoto and younger brother of Harumoto.  After the Battle of Funaokayama, one of the reasons that Sumimoto refrained from conflict with Takakuni for a while may have owed to problems concerning the choice of a successor to Yukimochi so he could not depart from Awa.

Service to Hosokawa Harumoto

Mochitaka diligently supported Hosokawa Harumoto in his struggle against Hosokawa Takakuni to become the head of the main branch of the Hosokawa-Keichō family.  In 1531, he led an army across the Seto Inland Sea from Awa to Izumi Province, and contributed to the defeat of Takakuni in a final showdown known as the Collapse at Daimotsu.  However, after opposing an attempted attack by Harumoto against Miyoshi Motonaga, Mochitaka separated from Harumoto and returned to his home province of Awa.  Thereafter, through the mediation efforts of Ashikaga Yoshiharu (the twelfth shōgun of the Muromachi bakufu) and Kōshōin Shūteki who accompanied Hosokawa Sumimoto from the Awa-Hosokawa family, he reconciled with Harumoto and welcomed Ashikaga Yoshitsuna (from an offshoot of the Ashikaga shōgun family) to Awa.

In 1539, upon request of Akamatsu Harumasa (Masamura), Mochitaka deployed to Bitchū Province, and fought against Amago Haruhisa (Akihisa) of Izumo Province but was defeated.

In 1549, Harumoto was defeated by Miyoshi Nagayoshi and sent fleeing to Ōmi Province.

The Shōzui Incident

On 6/17 of Tenbun 22 (1553), Mochitaka was cornered by Miyoshi Jikkyū and killed himself at the Kenshō Temple near the castle.  He was thirty-seven or thirty-eight years old.  This is known as the Shōzui Incident.  There are assorted theories for the killing.  Under one theory, Jikkyū discovered a plot by Mochitaka to oppose Miyoshi Nagayoshi by supporting Ashikaga Yoshihide (Ashikaga Yoshitsuna’s son) in a march to the capital.  Under another view, Mochitaka was threatened by Jikkyū’s growing power in Awa and sought to assassinate him, which plot was leaked to Jikkyū.  Finally, Jikkyū may have learned that Mochitaka was supporting a revival by Hosokawa Harumoto.  Nevertheless, there are many uncertainties as to the circumstances surrounding a sudden confrontation between Mochitaka and Jikkyū given his neutrality during the peak of fighting between Nagayoshi and Harumoto.

According to one account, Mochitaka conspired to kill Jikkyū at a sumō event but a retainer of Mochitaka serving as a magistrate named Shinomiya Yokichibei secretly informed Jikkyū so the plot was exposed.  Jikkyū gathered 3,000 soldiers whereas Mochitaka had a unit of only about 100 umamawari, or mounted soldiers.  Mochitaka sought reinforcements at the Kenshō Temple, but few responded to the call, whereupon he killed himself, while two of his retainers, Seisō Uemon and Hasuike Shōnosuke died.  As a result, Mochitaka’s son, Hosokawa Saneyuki, became the next governor of Awa Province.  Meanwhile, the incident spurred some of Mochitaka’s retainers, such as Kume Yoshihiro, to avenge the death of their lord, triggering the Battle of Yariba in the latter half of 1553.