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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

Son of Hatakeyama Masanaga's old opponent


style="text-align: justify;">Yoshihisa, whose death took place in 1489, left no son, and his father, the ex-shogun Yoshimasa, made tardy atonement to his brother, Yoshimi, the sometime priest, by obtaining the high office of shogun for the latter's son, Yoshitane, a youth of twenty-five. In the following year Yoshimasa died, and, two years later (1492), Yoshitane placed himself at the head of an army to resume the Omi campaign which Yoshihisa's death had interrupted. His opponent was of Minamoto lineage, head of the Rokkaku branch of the Sasaki family, whose representative in the days of the Kamakura Bakufu had been high constable of four provinces, Omi, Izumo, Aki, and Iwami.

That the shogun, Yoshihisa, and his successor, Yoshitane, turned their weapons so resolutely against this magnate was due to a cause illustrative of the abuses of the era. From the outset the Ashikaga sway over the provinces had been a vanishing quantity, and had disappeared almost entirely during the Onin War. Not alone did the writ of the sovereign or the shogun cease to run in regions outside Kyoto and its immediate vicinity, but also the taxes, though duly collected, did not find their way to the coffers of either Muromachi or the Court. Shugo there still existed, and jito and kokushi; but neither high constable nor land-steward nor civil governor acted as practical representative of any Central Government: each functioned for his own hand, swallowing up for his own

use, or for inclusion in some local fief, the manors which had once been the property of the State or of the Court nobility.

It was evidently of prime necessity from the Muromachi point of view that a state of affairs which crippled the shogun by impoverishing him should be remedied. Sasaki Takayori, head of the Rokkaku house, was a conspicuous product of his time. He had seized the manors of nearly fifty landowners in the province of Omi, and to punish his aggressions signally would furnish a useful object lesson. That was done effectually by Yoshitane's generals, and Sasaki had to flee from Omi. But the young shogun's triumph was short lived. He allowed himself to be drawn by Hatakeyama Masanaga into a private feud. We have already seen this Masanaga engaged with Yoshinari in a struggle for the Hatakeyama succession on the eve of the Onin War. Yoshinari was no longer alive, but he had bequeathed to his son, Yoshitoyo, a heritage of resentment against Masanaga, and the latter, who now held the post of kwanryo for the fourth time, induced the shogun to order an attack upon Yoshitoyo in the provinces of Kii and Kawachi. But Yoshitoyo managed to enlist the aid of the recently discomfited Sasaki, of the soldier-monks of Kofuku-ji, and, above all, of Hosokawa Masamoto, son of Hatakeyama Masanaga's old opponent, Hosokawa Katsumoto. With these co-operated the Yamana, the Isshiki, and other septs, so that Yoshitane found himself between two powerful armies, one in Kyoto, the other in Kii. In the sequel, Masanaga committed suicide, and the shogun, Yoshitane, escaped to Suwo.

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