Kyōgoku Disturbance


Kyōgoku Clan

Ōmi Province

The Kyōgoku Disturbance was a succession struggle comprising one of the disturbances within the Kyōgoku clan of Ōmi Province that ran from the Muromachi to Sengoku periods.


The Kyōgoku Disturbance ran for thirty-four years (from the date of death from illness of Kyōgoku Mochikiyo on 8/4 of Bunmei 2 (1470) to the date in Eishō 2 (1505) when his grandson, Kyōgoku Takakiyo, unified his territory).  This is separate from the succession struggle later triggered by Kyōgoku Takakiyo.

This is also referred to as the Bunmei Discord or Bunmei Conflict, but other events occurring at a similar time are known by those names, so the events covered in this section are called the Kyōgoku Disturbance.  The Bunmei Discord refers to a family disturbance involving the Ogasawara clan, the military governors of Shinano Province, while the Bunmei Conflict is another name for the Ōnin War (known as the Ōnin-Bunmei War for spanning two eras).

Divisions within the clan

At the height of the Ōnin-Bunmei War, Kyōgoku Mochikiyo (the head of the Kyōgoku clan) and Kyōgoku Katsuhide (his eldest son), died of illness one after another so the family could not decide upon a successor.  Mochikiyo had cherished the eldest son of Katsuhide named Otsu-dōjimaru more than the second son of Katsuhide, Mago-dōjimaru, who was the legitimate successor.  This led to a division of opinion among the retainers of the family.  A succession struggle ensued between the faction supporting Otsu-dōjimaru and the faction supporting Mago-dōjimaru.

The faction supporting Mago-dōjimaru included Mochikiyo’s third son, Kyōgoku Masatsune, along with Taga Takatada, the deputy military governor of Ōmi Province who originated from the Kyōgoku family.  Meanwhile, the faction supporting Otsu-dōjimaru included Mochikiyo’s second son, Kyōgoku Masamitsu, and Taga Kiyonao, the deputy military governor of Hida Province.  The dispute enveloped the Kyōgoku family.  In 1470, Mago-dōjimaru became the next head of the clan with his uncle, Masatsune, serving as his guardian.  Mago-dōjimaru was appointed to serve as the military governor of Ōmi, Hida, Izumo, and Oki provinces.

Nevertheless, the Kyōgoku family continued to be beset by discord.  In the ninth month of 1470, Masamitsu and Kiyonao who supported Otsu-dōjimaru switched sides to join the Western Army, reconciled with Rokkaku Takayori, and pressed an offensive against the faction supporting Mago-dōjimaru.  Rokkaku Masataka, the elder cousin of Takayori, was affiliated with the Eastern Army.  In the following year of 1471, Mago-dōjimaru died early, reigniting the succession struggle.

Clash of the Eastern and Western armies in Ōmi

Although Masamitsu and Kiyonao defeated Rokkaku Masataka, a counterattack by Takatada forced them into precarious circumstances.  Aided by Saitō Myōjun (the vice-deputy military governor of Mino), at the end of the ninth month of 1472, allied forces of the Western Army comprised of Otsu-dōjimaru, Masamitsu, Taga Kiyonao and Taga Munenao (father and son), Rokkaku Takayori, and Saitō Myōchin defeated the faction supporting Mago-dōjimaru, forcing Masatsune and Takatada to flee in defeat to Echizen.  With Masamitsu serving as his guardian, Otsu-dōjimaru inherited the headship of the clan and became the military governor of Hida, Izumo, and Oki province.  Later that same year, Masamitsu died of illness so Taga Kiyonao and Taga Munenao (father and son who were the deputy military governors) supported Otsu-dōjimaru.

After taking refuge in Izumo Province, in the ninth month of 1475, Masatsune and Takatada led kokujin from Izumo to the capital of Kyōto whereupon Masatsune was appointed by the bakufu to serve as the military governor of Ōmi and ordered to retake the province.  Aided by the Eastern Army including monks from the Enryaku Temple and Ogasawara Ienaga of Shinano, Masatsune and Takatada advanced into Ōmi and, in the area below Kannonji Castle, achieved a major victory against the allied armies of Rokkaku Takayori, Kyōgoku Takakiyo (Otsu-dōjimaru), and Taga Kiyonao (father and son) of the Western Army.  Defeated forces from the Rokkaku sheltered in Kannonji Castle while the Kyōgoku forces withdrew to Kōhoku.

In the tenth month of the same year, reinforcements from Toki Shigeyori (the military governor of Mino) and Shiba Yoshikado (the military governor of Echizen, Owari, and Tōtōmi) arrived in Ōmi, and counterattacks against the Western Army began.  Takakiyo, along with the allied forces of Rokkaku Takayori, Shiba Yoshikado, Toki Shigeyori, and Saitō Myōjun of the Western Army defeated Masatsune, Takatada, and their allies.  Despite forcing Takatada to flee in defeat to Kyōto, back-and-forth fighting continued after the end of the Ōnin-Bunmei War.

Family succession

In the seventh month of 1486, Masatsune (who was in Izumo at the time) joined his son, Kyōgoku Kimune, to travel to Kyōto.  In the next month, Taga Munenao (a retainer of Takakiyo) launched a rebellion against Masatsune and his son, causing Takakiyo to flee to the Kōka District.  In the tenth month, however, he returned to Kōhoku and defeated Munenao.  Munenao fled to Mino, whereupon, in 1487, he returned to Kōhoku aiming to continue the fight, but, in the fifth month, lost to Takakiyo and took his own life.

In the ninth month of 1487, Ashikaga Yoshihisa (the ninth shōgun) sought to restore the authority of the bakufu by joining an expedition intended to eliminate Rokkaku Takayori in southern Ōmi, an event known as the Chōkyō-Entoku Expedition.  Takakiyo participated on behalf of Yoshihisa, but, in the eighth month of 1488, at the height of the expedition against the Rokkaku, Masatsune raised arms, clashing at Matsuo in the Ika District of Ōmi.  Masatsune, Taga Tsuneie and their allies lost and fled to Umetsu in Ise.  In 1489, Masatsune, with the support of kokujin from Ōmi, ousted Takakiyo, whereupon Takakiyo, with the assistance of Saitō Myōjun (a powerful figure from Mino Province) fled to Tsuruga in Echizen, and then to Sakamoto in Ōmi.  In the eighth month of 1490, the Ashikaga bakufu recognized Masatsune as the head of the Kyōgoku and ordered the removal of Takakiyo.   

Nevertheless, Masatsune proved unable to prevent the misappropriation of territory under his command, causing disfavor with Ashikaga Yoshiki (the tenth shōgun and younger cousin of Yoshihisa), whereupon Masatsune was removed from his position.  In the twelfth month of 1492, Takakiyo was recognized as the head of the family and, in the ninth month of the following year, Takakiyo returned to northern Ōmi.  Masatsune turned to Amago Tsunehisa (the deputy military governor of Izumo) for support while Kimune continued the resistance in Ōmi.  In 1496, Saitō Myōjun lost to Rokkaku Takayori and was killed in action, after which Takakiyo fell into ruin, sojourning in Kaizu in Mino.


In the eighth month of 1499, Takakiyo, with the assistance of Uesaka Ienobu (a senior retainer of the Kyōgoku), returned to Kōhoku.  He repelled two assaults by Kyōgoku Kimune, the first in the sixth month of 1501 and the second in 1505.  In the winter of that same year, he reconciled with Kimune at the Nikkō Temple in Minoura, drawing to a close a family conflict that had persisted for over thirty-four years.  However, two years later, in 1507, Takakiyo compelled Kimune to kill himself.

Although Takakiyo became the head of the Kyōgoku clan, during this period of conflict, the provinces of Izumo, Oki, and Hida had been taken over by deputy military governors and kokujin, or provincial landowners.  Only a portion of northern Ōmi remained under their control.  Rokkaku Takayori overcame a conquest by the Ashikaga bakufu army, and, following the ouster of Ashikaga Yoshiki (the shōgun) in the Meiō Political Incident, secured his position as the leader of southern Ōmi.  However, in 1523, the kokujin in Ōmi divided into factions with each supporting one of his two sons, giving rise to another family conflict resulting in his bitter ouster from Ōmi.

In the end, the Kyōgoku clan became puppets of the ultimate victors – the Azai clan of northern Ōmi.