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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

Yoshimasa retired from office and


1472, a new feature was introduced: Hatakeyama joined the Eastern Army by order of the shogun, Yoshimasa. This was not merely a great accession of numerical strength, it also opened the road to the north where the Hatakeyama estates lay, and thus the Eastern Army found a solution of the problem which dominated the situation at Kyoto--the problem of provisions. The scale of success now swung in the direction of Hosokawa and his allies. But still no crushing victory was won, and meanwhile the war had continued seven years, with immense loss of life and treasure. There is evidence that alike Katsumoto and Sozen were fain to sheathe the sword in 1472, but during the long struggle conditions had developed which rendered peace difficult. In May, 1473, Sozen died and was followed to the grave in less than a month by Katsumoto. Still the struggle went on in a desultory way until December, 1477, when the Yamana forces burned their cantonments and withdrew, Yoshimi coming to terms with Muromachi and retiring to Mino. Peace at length dawned for Kyoto. But not yet for the provinces. There the sword was not immediately sheathed. In Echizen, Owari, and Totomi the great Shiba family was subjected to weakening onsets by the Asakura, the Oda, and the Imagawa. In Kaga, the Togashi house was divided against itself. In Kyushu there were bitter struggles between the Shimazu and the Ito, the Sagara and the Nawa, and the Otomo, the Shoni, and the Ouchi. Finally, Shinano, Suruga, and Mikawa were all
more or less convulsed.


In 1474, Yoshimasa retired from office and, at the close of the year, his nine-year-old son, Yoshihisa, succeeded him as shogun, the kwanryo being that Hatakeyama Yoshinari whose appearance in the field practically terminated the Onin War. The shogun Yoshimasa was in his thirty-ninth year at the time of this abdication, and he survived for sixteen years, not the least dissipated of his life, in which he instituted costly art reunions and carried self-indulgence to its extreme. During these years Tomi and her younger brother, Ise Sadachika, acquired such influence as to interfere in the administration, and under the pretext of procuring funds to rebuild the palace destroyed during the Onin War, they restored the toll-gates which had previously stood at the seven chief entrances to Kyoto, appropriating all the proceeds.

The young Yoshihisa could scarcely fail to be tainted by such an environment. Much to his credit, however, he showed sagacity and diligence, eschewing his father's luxurious habits, studying literature and military art, and taking lessons in statecraft from the ex-regent, Ichijo Kaneyoshi. Very early he became familiar with scenes of violence, for, goaded to madness by the taxes exacted at the seven toll-gates, a mob of the metropolitan citizens rose in arms, beat off the troops sent to quell them and threatened to sack the city, when, they were appeased by the issue of a tokusei ordinance, which, as already explained, meant the remission of all debts and the cancellation of all financial obligations. Socialism in such a genial form appealed not only to the masses but also to bushi who had pledged their property as security for loans to meet warlike outlays or the demands of luxurious extravagance.

Alike in the home provinces and in distant Kaga, Noto, Etchu, and the south, tokusei riots took place. Notably incompatible with any efficient exercise of Muromachi authority was the independence which the provincial magnates had now learned to display. They levied what taxes they pleased; employed the proceeds as seemed good to them; enacted and administered their own laws; made war or peace as they wished, and granted estates or revenues to their vassals at will. In short, the bushi had gradually constructed for themselves a full suit of feudal garments, and to bring them once again under the effective control of the sovereign or the shogun was almost a hopeless task. Yoshihisa might perhaps have refrained from attempting it had the empire been at peace. But, in truth, the empire was on the threshold of a century-long struggle compared with which the Onin War proved a bagatelle. The mutterings of the coming storm made themselves very audible during the years of Yoshihisa's early manhood. The Uesugi septs, and the Hojo and the Satomi, were fighting in the Kwanto; the western provinces, the central provinces, and Kyushu were the scenes of constant conflicts, and no prospect of tranquillity presented itself. Yoshihisa determined to undertake the work of subjugating the whole country as Yoritomo had done effectually and as Takauji had done partially. But he died in his twenty-fifth year when engaged in conducting a campaign against the Rokkaku branch of the Sasaki family, in Omi province; a campaign which but for his death would certainly have been successful.

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