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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

And Izumi under that of Hosokawa



When swords were sheathed after the long and wasting War of the Dynasties, the Ashikaga found themselves in a strong position. Having full control of the Court, they could treat as a rebel anyone opposing them by force of arms, and their partisans were so numerous in Kyoto and its vicinity that they could impose their will upon all. In the east, the Kwanto was effectually ruled by a branch of their own family, and in the north as well as in the south they were represented by tandai, who governed stoutly and loyally. But trouble began very soon. In Kyushu the office of tandai was held by Imagawa Ryoshun, a man ever memorable in Japanese history as the author of the precept that military prowess without education is worse than useless. Ryoshun had been selected for service in Kyushu by the great shitsuji of Muromachi, Hosokawa Yoriyuki, who saw that only by the strongest hands could the turbulent families of the southern island be reduced to order--the Shimazu, the Otomo, the Shoni, and the Kikuchi. Everything went to show that Imagawa would have succeeded had not that familiar weapon, slander, been utilized for his overthrow. The Otomo chief persuaded Ouchi Yoshihiro to traduce Ryoshun, and since the Ouchi sept exercised great influence in the central provinces and had taken a prominent part in composing the War of the Dynasties, the shogun, Yoshimitsu, could not choose but listen to charges coming from such a source. Imagawa

Ryoshun was recalled (1396), and thenceforth Kyushu became the scene of almost perpetual warfare which the Muromachi authorities were powerless to check.


It was to the same Ouchi family that the Muromachi shogun owed his first serious trouble after the close of the War of the Dynasties. The ancestor of the family had been a Korean prince who migrated to Japan early in the seventh century, and whose descendants, five and a half centuries later, were admitted to the ranks of the samurai. The outbreak of the War of the Dynasties had found the Ouchi ranged on the Southern side, but presently they espoused the Ashikaga cause, and distinguished themselves conspicuously against the Kikuchi in Kyushu and, above all, in promoting the conclusion of the dynastic struggle.

These eminent services were recognized by Ouchi Yoshihiro's appointment to administer no less than six provinces--Nagato, Suwo, Aki, Buzen, Kii, and Izumi. In fact he guarded the western and eastern entrances of the Inland Sea, and held the overlordship of western Japan. At his castle in Sakai, near Osaka, he amassed wealth by foreign trade, and there he received and harboured representatives of the Kusunoki and Kikuchi families, while at the same time he carried on friendly communications with the Doki, the Ikeda, and the Yamana. In short, he grew too powerful to receive mandates from Muromachi, especially when they came through a kwanryo of the Hatakeyama family who had just risen to that distinction.

Suddenly, in November, 1399, the Ouchi chief appeared in Izumi at the head of a force of twenty-three thousand men, a force which received rapid and numerous accessions. His grounds of disaffection were that he suspected the shogun of a design to deprive him of the two provinces of Kii and Izumi, which were far remote from the other five provinces in his jurisdiction and which placed him within arm's length of Kyoto, and, further, that no sufficient reward had been given to the family of his younger brother, who fell in battle. There were minor grievances, but evidently all were pretexts: the real object was to overthrow Muromachi. The shogun, Yoshimitsu, acted with great promptitude. He placed Hatakeyama Mitsuiye at the head of a powerful army, and on January 18, 1400, Sakai fell and Yoshihiro committed suicide. Thereafter the province of Kii was placed under the jurisdiction of the Hatakeyama family, and Izumi under that of Hosokawa, while the Shiba ruled in Echizen, Owari, and Totomi. In short, these three families became the bulwarks of the Ashikaga.

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