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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

His colleague being Uesugi Akifusa Ogigayatsu Uesugi


All this contributed materially to educate the nation's artistic faculties, but the cost was enormous and the burden of taxation correspondingly heavy. It was under this financial pressure that Yoshimasa approached the Ming emperor seeking pecuniary aid. Thrice the shogun's applications were successful, and the amounts thus obtained are said to have totalled three hundred thousand strings of cash (equivalent of L450,000, or $2,200,000). His requests are said to have assumed the guise of appeals in behalf of famine-stricken people, but there is no evidence that any of the presents were devoted to that purpose. Partial apologists for Yoshimasa's infatuation are not wanting. Thus, it is alleged that he was weary of failure to reform the administration; that the corruption and confusion of society induced him to seek consolation in art; that outside the precincts of his palace he was restrained by the provincial magnates, and inside he had to obey the dictation of his wife, Tomi, of her brother, Katsumitsu, and of his own favourite page, Ise Sadachika, so that only in his tea reunions and his private theatricals could a semblance of independence be obtained; that his orders were not obeyed or his injunctions respected by any save the artists he had gathered around him, and that in gratifying his luxurious tastes, he followed the example of his grandfather, Yoshimitsu. But such exculpations amount to saying that he was an essentially weak man, the slave of his surroundings.


The lawlessness of the time and the indifference with which the shogun's mandates were treated find illustration in the story of the Kwanto. When (1439) Mochiuji perished, the only member of his family that survived was his five-year-old son, Shigeuji. This child placed himself under the protection of Muromachi. It will be remembered that Uesugi Norizane, lamenting his unwilling share in Mochiuji's destruction, had entered religion. His son, Noritada, was then appointed to act as manager (shitsuji) to Shigeuji, his colleague being Uesugi Akifusa (Ogigayatsu Uesugi). But the Yuki family, who had given shelter to two sons of Mochiuji, objected to bow their heads to the Uesugi, and persuaded Shigeuji to have Noritada killed. Therefore, the partisans of the murdered man placed themselves under the banner of his brother, Fusaaki, and having received a commission from Muromachi as well as a powerful contingent of troops under Imagawa Noritada, they marched in great force against Kamakura from Kotsuke, Kazusa, and Echigo.

Kamakurawas well-nigh reduced to ruins, but Shigeuji retired to the fortress of Koga in Shimosa, and his cause against the Uesugi was espoused by the eight families of Chiba, Koyama, Satomi, Satake, Oda, Yuki, Utsunomiya, and Nasu, thenceforth known as the "eight generals" of the Kwanto. Against such a league it was difficult to operate successfully. Masatomo, a younger brother of Yoshimasa, built for himself a fortress at Horigoe, in Izu, which was thereafter known as Horigoe Gosho (the Horigoe Palace), Shigeuji in his castle of Koga being designated Koga Kuba (the Koga shogun). Castle building acquired from this time greatly increased vogue. Uesugi Mochitomo fortified Kawagoe in Musashi; Ota Sukenaga (called also Dokan), a vassal of the Ogigayatsu Uesugi, built at Yedo a fort destined to have world-wide celebrity, and his father, Sukekiyo, entrenched Iwatsuki in the same province of Musashi. Thus the Kwanto became the arena of warring factions.

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