Ashikaga Yoshinori

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Ashikaga Yoshinori

Ashikaga Yoshinori(足利 義教, July 12, 1394 – July 12, 1441) was the sixth shōgun of the Ashikaga shogunate who reigned from 1429 to 1441 during the Muromachi period of Japan. Yoshinori was the son of the third shōgun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. [1] His childhood name was Harutora (春寅).

<i>Shōgun</i> de facto military dictator of feudal Japan (1185-1868)

The Shōgun was the military dictator of Japan during the period from 1185 to 1868. The shogunate was their administration or government. In most of this period, the shōguns were the de facto rulers of the country, although nominally they were appointed by the Emperor as a ceremonial formality. The shōguns held almost absolute power over territories through military means. Nevertheless, an unusual situation occurred in the Kamakura period (1199–1333) upon the death of the first shōgun, whereby the Hōjō clan's hereditary titles of shikken (1199–1256) and tokusō (1256–1333) dominated the shogunate as dictatorial positions, collectively known as the Regent Rule (執権政治). The shōguns during this 134-year period met the same fate as the Emperor and were reduced to figurehead status until a coup d'état in 1333, when the shōgun was restored to power in the name of the Emperor.

The Ashikaga shogunate, also known as the Muromachi shogunate, was a dynasty originating from one of the plethora of Japanese daimyō which governed Japan from 1338 to 1573, the year in which Oda Nobunaga deposed Ashikaga Yoshiaki. The heads of government were the shōgun. Each was a member of the Ashikaga clan.

Muromachi period division of Japanese history running from approximately 1336 to 1573

The Muromachi period is a division of Japanese history running from approximately 1336 to 1573. The period marks the governance of the Muromachi or Ashikaga shogunate, which was officially established in 1338 by the first Muromachi shōgun, Ashikaga Takauji, two years after the brief Kenmu Restoration (1333–36) of imperial rule was brought to a close. The period ended in 1573 when the 15th and last shogun of this line, Ashikaga Yoshiaki, was driven out of the capital in Kyoto by Oda Nobunaga.



Ashikaga Yoshimitsu 3rd shogun of the Ashikaga shogunate

Ashikaga Yoshimitsu was the 3rd shōgun of the Ashikaga shogunate, which was in power from 1368 to 1394 during the Muromachi period of Japan. Yoshimitsu was Ashikaga Yoshiakira's third son but the oldest son to survive, his childhood name being Haruō (春王). Yoshimitsu was appointed shōgun, a hereditary title as head of the military estate, in 1368 at the age of ten; at twenty he was admitted to the imperial court as Acting Grand Counselor. In 1379, Yoshimitsu reorganized the institutional framework of the Gozan Zen 五山禅 establishment before, two years later, becoming the first person of the warrior class to host a reigning emperor at his private residence. In 1392, he negotiated the end of the Nanboku-chō imperial schism that had plagued politics for over half a century. Two years later he became Grand Chancellor of State, the highest-ranking member of the imperial court. Retiring from that and all public offices in 1395, Yoshimitsu took the tonsure and moved into his Kitayama-dono (北山殿) retirement villa which, among other things, boasted a pavilion two-thirds covered in gold leaf. There, he received envoys from the Ming and Joseon courts on at least six occasions and forged the terms of a Sino-Japanese trade agreement that endured for over a century. In recognition for his diplomatic efforts, the Chinese sovereign pronounced Yoshimitsu "King of Japan". In 1407, he set into motion a plan to become "Dajō tenno" (太上天皇), a title customarily applied to a retired emperor. Although unrealized due to his sudden death the following year, this last venture was particularly audacious because Yoshimitsu never actually sat on the Japanese throne. Late in his career, it appears Yoshimitsu sought to legitimize his transcendent authority through the idiom of Buddhist kingship, deploying ritual, symbols, and monumentalism to cast him as a universal monarch or dharma king, not unlike his counterparts in Southeast Asia. His posthumous name was Rokuon'in (鹿苑院).

Emperor Chōkei was the 98th emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession. He reigned from 1368 through 1383. His personal name was Yutanari (寛成).

Ashikaga Yoshikatsu 7th shogun of the Ashikaga shogunate

Ashikaga Yoshikatsu was the 7th shōgun of the Ashikaga shogunate who reigned from 1442 to 1443 during the Muromachi period of Japan. Yoshikatsu was the son of 6th shōgun Ashikaga Yoshinori with his concubine, Hino Shigeko (1411–1463). His childhood name was Chiyachamaru (千也茶丸). Hino Tomiko, Wife of Ashikaga Yoshimasa at first was bethroted with Yoshikatsu.

Shogunal succession

After the death of the fifth shōgun Ashikaga Yoshikazu in 1425, the fourth shōgun Ashikaga Yoshimochi resumed his role as head of the shogunate. Yoshimochi had no other sons, nor did he name a successor before he himself died in 1428. [1]

Ashikaga Yoshikazu was the 5th shōgun of the Ashikaga shogunate who reigned from 1423 to 1425 during the Muromachi period of Japan. Yoshikazu was the son of the fourth shōgun Ashikaga Yoshimochi.

Ashikaga Yoshimochi 4th shogun of the Ashikaga shogunate

Ashikaga Yoshimochi was the 4th shōgun of the Ashikaga shogunate who reigned from 1394 to 1423 during the Muromachi period of Japan. Yoshimochi was the son of the third shōgun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu.

Yoshinori, who had been a Buddhist monk since the age of ten, [2] became Sei-i Taishōgun on the day of Yoshimochi's death. From amongst the handful of possible Ashikaga candidates, his name was selected by the shogunal deputy ( Kanrei ), Hatakeyama Mitsuie, who drew lots in the sanctuary of Iwashimizu Hachiman Shrine in Kyoto; and it was believed that Hachiman's influence had affected this auspicious choice. [3]

Kanrei(管領) or, more rarely, kanryō, was a high political post in feudal Japan; it is usually translated as shōgun's deputy. After 1349, there were actually two Kanrei, the Kyoto Kanrei and the Kantō Kanrei.

Kyoto Designated city in Kansai, Japan

Kyoto, officially Kyoto City, is the capital city of Kyoto Prefecture, located in the Kansai region of Japan. It is best known in Japanese history for being the former Imperial capital of Japan for more than one thousand years, as well as a major part of the Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe metropolitan area.

Significant events which shaped the period during which Yoshinori was shōgun:

Yoshinori strengthened the power of the shogunate by defeating Ashikaga Mochiuji in the Eikyo Rebellion of 1438. During the period, Chinese contacts were increased and Zen Buddhism gained influence, which had broad cultural consequences. [10] For example, the Hon-dō or main hall at Ikkyu-ji is today the oldest standing Tang-style temple in the Yamashiro (southern Kyoto Prefecture) and Yamato (Nara Prefecture) Provinces. It was built in 1434 and was dedicated by Yoshinori. [11]

Foreign relations

In 1432, trade and diplomatic relations between Japan and China were restored. Both had been discontinued by Yoshimochi. The Chinese emperor reached out to Japan by sending a letter to the shogunate via the kingdom of the Ryūkyū Islands; Yoshinori responded favorably. [3] [12]

According to Mansai Jugo Nikki (満済准后日記), the system of the Tosen-bugyō (唐船奉行) was established in 1434 to mediate overseas trade. The functions of the Tosen-bugyō included: (1) defending trading ships in Japanese waters, (2) procuring export goods, (3) mediating between the Muromachi shogunate and shipping interests, and (4) managing record-keeping. It is significant that the Muromachi shogunate was the first to appoint the executive officers of the samurai class to high positions in its diplomatic bureaucracy. After Yoshinori's time, the totosen (渡唐船) (the fleet of ships going from Japan to Ming China) consisted of the ships belonging principally to three different kinds of owners: the Muromachi shōgun, temples, and the shugo daimyō . [6]


Yoshinori was notorious for his oppressive measures and unpredictable dictatorial whims. [13] Yoshinori was assassinated by the Akamatsu family of military governors who invited him to a Noh performance at their residence and assassinated him during the evening play. [14] Yoshinori was 48 at the age of his assassination which was organized by Akamatsu Mitsusuke, who had learned that Yoshinori planned to bestow on a youthful male favorite three provinces belonging to Mitsusuke; [15] shortly thereafter, it was determined that his 8-year-old son, Yoshikatsu, would become the new shōgun. [16]

Although the Ashikaga line continued through this seventh shogun, the power of the shōguns gradually eroded and the shogunate fell into decline. [17] The mere fact of that assassination and treason had become a reality served to undercut the previous military ethic of loyalty. [18]

Eras of Yoshinori's bakufu

The years in which Yoshinori was shogun are more specifically identified by more than one era name or nengō . [19]


  1. 1 2 Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du japon, p. 331. , p. 331, at Google Books
  2. Crompton, Louis, Homosexuality and Civilization, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2003. p. 423.
  3. 1 2 Keene, Donald. (2003). Yoshimasa and the Silver Pavilion , p. 16–17, at Google Books
  4. 1 2 3 4 Ackroyd, Joyce. (1982) Lessons from History: The Tokushi Yoron, p. 330.
  5. Ackroyd, p. 330; Keene, p. 78
  6. 1 2 Kinihara, Misako. The Establishment of the Tosen-bugyō in the Reign of Ashikaga Yoshinori" (唐船奉行の成立 : 足利義教による飯尾貞連の登用), Tokyo Woman's Christian University: Essays and Studies. Abstract.
  7. 1 2 Yasaka Pagoda, Kyoto.
  8. Ackroyd, p. 330; Mochiuji's suicide at Hōkoku-ji
  9. Ackroyd, p. 330; Okinawa Prefecture (2004).This is Okinawa, p. 3.
  10. JAANUS (Japanese Architecture and Art Net Users System). Kitayama bunka(北山文化).
  11. Yoshinori & Hon-do, Shuon'an Ikkyuji (1334).
  12. Keene, Yoshimasa and the Silver Pavilion , p. 78, at Google Books
  13. Kitagawa, Joseph M. "Some Reflections on Japanese Religion and Its Relationship to the Imperial System, Japanese Journal of Religious Studies. 1990/17:2–3, p. 24.
  14. Eason, David. "Warriors, Warlords, and Domains." Japan Emerging: Premodern History to 1850. Ed. Karl F. Friday. Boulder, CO: Westview, 2012. 233-42. Print.
  15. Crompton,ibid.
  16. Titsingh, p. 340. , p. 340, at Google Books; Screech, Timon. (2006). Secret Memoirs of the Shoguns: Isaac Titsingh and Japan, 1779–1822, p. 234 n.10; n.b., Yoshinori (b. 1394 – d. 1441) = 48yrs. and Yoshikatsu (b. 1434 – d. 1443) = 8yrs. In this period, "children were considered one year old at birth and became two the following New Year's Day; and all people advanced a year that day, not on their actual birthday."
  17. Keene, Yoshimasa and the Silver Pavilion , p. 4, at Google Books
  18. Blum, Mark et al. (2005). Rennyo and the Roots of Modern Japanese Buddhism, p. 17.
  19. Titsingh, pp. 331-340. , p. 331, at Google Books

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See also

Commons-logo.svg Media related to Ashikaga Yoshinori at Wikimedia Commons

Preceded by
Ashikaga Yoshikazu
Shōgun :
Ashikaga Yoshinori

Succeeded by
Ashikaga Yoshikatsu