Kaga Ikkō-ikki




Kaga Province

The Kaga Ikkō-ikki, which occurred from around Chōkyō 2 (1488) to Tenshō 8 (1580), was an uprising led by adherents of the Hongan Temple to protect their autonomy in Kaga Province.

Rennyo, the eighth generational head of the Hongan Temple of the Jōdo sect, resided in the Yoshizaki dormitory for monks in Echizen from 1474 to 1475.  Based on a bloodline of succession of previous masters in the Jōdo sect dating to Shinran (a Buddhist scholar during the Kamakura period), Rennyo successively integrated assorted schools affiliated with the Jōdo sect in the Hokuriku region.  In 1473,  upon request of Togashi Masachika, Rennyo intervened in an internal dispute in the family of the military governor. The following year, he overthrew Togashi Kōchiyo.  As a result, Rennyo expected to receive the protection of the military governor.  Instead, beginning in 1475, Masachika began acting on concerns over their accumulation of power by suppressing followers of the Hongan Temple.  Rennyo departed the Yoshizaki dormitory while the practitioners were chased by Masachika and fled to Etchū Province.

Next, as Ishiguro Mitsuyoshi of the Tonami District in Etchū joined with Masachika to suppress those who sought sanctuary, in 1481, they started an uprising in Etchū.  This led to the killing of Mitsuyoshi in an event known as the Etchū Ikkō-ikki.  Meanwhile, seeking recognition as the lord of all of Kaga Province, in the ninth month of 1487, Masachika participated in an expedition led by Ashikaga Yoshihisa (the ninth shōgun) against Rokkaku Yukitaka of Ōmi Province (known as the Magari Campaign).  However, owing to an increase in military expenditures caused by this deployment, kokujin opposed the campaign and, together with followers of the Hongan Temple who returned from Etchū, rose to action.

In 1488, these forces backed Togashi Yasutaka as the military governor and annihilated Masachika in Takao Castle (an event known as the Chōkyō Uprising).  Ashikaga Yoshihisa considered a campaign to eliminate the Ikkō-ikki, but owing to opposition by Hosokawa Masamoto (the deputy shōgun), followed by the demise of Yoshihisa, efforts to eliminate the Ikkō-ikki as well as the expedition against Rokkaku Yukitaka of Ōmi ended. Based on the presence of Renkō (abbot of the Matsuoka Temple), Rensei (abbot of the Kōkyō Temple), and Rengo (abbot of the Honsen Temple) as representatives of the sect in Kaga, the powers of governance gradually transitioned from the kokujin, or powerful local families, to the Hongan Temple.

However, from around 1506, failed attacks by the Ikkō-ikki against clans in surrounding provinces who suppressed them, such as the Battle of Kuzuryūgawa and the Battle of Hannyano, shook the governance of the Hongan Temple.  Moreover, efforts by the central authorities of the Hongan Temple to suppress their followers escalated, in 1531, into internal strife known as the Kyōroku-Tenbun Conflict during which many followers and kokujin were purged.  In 1546, the Oyama hall for monks was constructed and, from this base, expanded the Ikkō-ikki throughout the Hokuriku region.

The Hongan Temple clashed with the Asakura clan of Echizen in 1555 and 1564, with Uesugi Kenshin of Echigo in the first half of the 1570’s, and, thereafter against Oda Nobunaga.  In 1572, with Sugiura Gentō serving as commander-in-chief, the Ikkō-ikki demonstrated their ferocity by violently clashing with and defeating the Uesugi army over a period of several months.  However, after the arrival of the main force of the Uesugi army under Kenshin, the battle situation deteriorated, and the Ikkō-ikki suffered a major defeat at the Battle of Shiritarezaka, casting a shadow over the future prospects of the ikki forces.

The surrender of the Ishiyama-Hongan Temple, and, following an attack by Sakuma Nobumori, the fall of their primary quarters in Oyama in the Ishikawa District of Kaga resulted in the dissolution of the uprisings.