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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

But Yoshinari did not acquiesce


Not

merely inequalities of wealth operated to produce political unrest. It has also to be noted that each great military family supported a body of armed retainers whose services were at all times available; further, we must remember that the long War of the Dynasties had educated a wide-spread spirit of fighting, which the debility of the Ashikaga Bakufu encouraged to action. The Onin disturbance had its origin in disputes about inheritance. It has been recorded that the high post of kwanryo (governor-general) in the Muromachi polity was filled by a member of one of three families, the Hosokawa, the Hatakeyama, and the Shiba. The Hosokawa were the most powerful, and had for representative in the middle of the fifteenth century an administrator, Katsumoto, who to extensive erudition and a profound knowledge of medicine added very exceptional gifts of statecraft and organizing ability. The Hatakeyama had for head Mochikuni, called also Tokuhon, a man of parts; and it happened that the rival family of Yamana was led by Mochitoyo, or Sozen, who, on account of his powerful physique, shaved head, and peculiar complexion, sometimes received the name of the "Red Monk" (Aka-nyudo).

Tokuhon being without a legitimate son, adopted his nephew, Masanaga, but subsequently desired to secure the succession to Yoshinari, a son borne to him by a concubine. This change was not viewed with equanimity by all the vassals of Tokuhon, and to solve the problem the latter

appealed to the shogun, Yoshimasa, who authorized the death of Masanaga. Tokuhon, in his capacity of kwanryo, naturally had much weight with the shogun, but Yoshimasa's conduct on that occasion must be attributed mainly to a laisser-aller mood which he had then developed, and which impelled him to follow the example set by the Imperial Court in earlier times by leaving the military families in the provinces to fight their own battles. Masanaga sought succour from Hosokawa Katsumoto, and that magnate, welcoming the opportunity of avenging an old injury at the hands of the Hatakeyama, laid siege to the mansion of Tokuhon, who barely escaped with his life, his son, Yoshinari, fleeing to the fortress of Wakae, in Kawachi, whence he was presently driven by the forces of Katsumoto and Sozen, then acting in conjunction but destined afterwards to become bitter enemies.

The shogun, true to his complacent policy, now recognized Masanaga as head of the house of Hatakeyama, Tokuhon having just died (1455). But Yoshinari did not acquiesce. In 1456, he marched with a Kawachi army against Masanaga, and a deadly struggle was barely prevented by the intervention of the shogun. Thenceforth, the Hatakeyama became divided into two families, Masanaga's branch being the more powerful, but Yoshinari obtaining favour at Muromachi and being nominated kwanryo. Owing, however, to some petty causes, the shogun's good-will was subsequently estranged, and Yoshinari had to flee from Kyoto, pursued by Masanaga, who now held a commission from Muromachi to kill him. A seven-years' fight (1460-1467) ensued in Kawachi and Yamato. Yoshinari displayed greatly superior skill as a strategist, and finally Yamana Sozen, who had always entertained a good opinion of him even while opposing his succession at the outset, openly espoused Yoshinari's cause. The immediate result was that Masanaga, who had been named kwanryo in 1464, had to give way to SOzen's nominee, Shiba Yoshikado, and found himself in deadly peril.


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