Ashikaga Yoshimasa

was the 8th shogun of the Ashikaga shogunate who reigned from 1449 to 1473 during the Muromachi period of Japan. Yoshimasa was the son of the sixth shogun Ashikaga Yoshinori.Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). [,M1 "Annales des empereurs du Japon," p. 342.] ]

In the third year of "Kakitsu," on the 21 day of the 7th month (1443), 10-year-old Shogun Yoshikatsu died of injuries sustained in a fall from a horse. He had been shogun for only three years. His 8-year-old brother, Yoshinari, was then named shogun. [Titsingh, [,M1 p. 342.] ] Several years after becoming shogun, Yoshinari changed his name to Yoshimasu, by which name he is better known. [Titsingh, [,M1 p. 346;] ] [Titsingh, p. 340; Screech, Timon. (2006). [,M1 "Secret Memoirs of the Shoguns: Isaac Titsingh and Japan, 1779-1822," p. 234 n.10] -- "Yoshikatsu (b.1434 - d.1443) = 8yrs. In this period, [,M1 "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."] "]

hogunal succession

Significant events shape the period during which Yoshimasu was shogun:
* 1443 -- Southern supporters steal Imperial regalia.Ackroyd, Joyce. (1982) "Lessons from History: The Tokushi Yoron," p. 331.]
* 1445 -- Hosokawa Katsumoto, Kyoto Kanryō. [see above] ]
* 1446 -- Southern army suffers crushing defeat. [see above] ]
* 1448 -- Remnants of souther dynasty suppressed. [see above] ]
* 1449 -- Yoshimasa appointed shogun; Ashikaga Shigeuji appointed Kantō Kubō.
* 1450-55 -- Disturbances in Kamakura between Kubō and Kanryō. [see above] ]

Events leading up to civil war

A number of decisions lead eventually to armed conflict:
* 1454 -- Dissension of Hatakeyama succession. [see above] ]
* 1455 -- Dissension in Kamakura Kubō's line: "Koga Kubō" (1455-1583) established. [see above] ]
* 1457 -- "Horikoshi Kubō" (1457-91) established. [see above] ]
* 1458 -- Imperial regalia restored to Northern Court. [see above] ]
* 1460 -- Hatakeyama rebels against Yoshimasa. [see above] ]
* 1464 -- Yoshimasa adopts Ashikaga Yoshimi. [see above] ]
* 1466 -- Yoshihisa born; Emperor Go-Tsuchimikado ascends throne. [see above] ]
* 1466 -- Dissension over Shiba succession. [see above] ]
* 1467 -- Outbreak of Ōnin War. [In the name "Ōnin" War," the noun "Ōnin" refers to the "nengō" (Japanese era name) after "Bunshō" and before "Bunmei"." In other words, the "Ōnin" war occurred during the "Ōnin" era, which was a time period spanning the years from 1467 through 1467. Although the fighting continues long after, the conflict came to be identified with the "nengō" in which it began.]

Ōnin War

By 1464, Yoshimasa had no son as heir; and so he adopted his younger brother, Ashikaga Yoshimi, in order to avoid any conflicts which might arise at the end of his shogunate. However, in the next year, Yoshimasa was surprised by the birth of a son. The infant's birth created a conflict between the two brothers over who would follow Yoshimasa as shogun. By 1467 the simmering dispute had evolved, encouraging a split amongst the powerful "daimyō" and clan factions. The armed conflict which ensued has come to be known as the Ōnin War. This armed contest marks the beginning the Sengoku period of Japanese history, a troubled period of constant military clashes which would last over a century. A number of developments affect the unfolding Ōnin War's battles:
* 1468 -- Yoshimi joins Yamana Sōzen. [see above] ]
* 1469 -- Yoshihisa appointed heir to shogunate. [see above] ]
* 1471 -- Asakura Takakage appointed Shugo of Echizen province. [see above] ]
* 1473 -- Yamana Sōzen and Hosokawa Katsumoto both die. [see above] ]

In the midst of on-going hostilities, Yoshimasa retired in 1473. He relinquishes the position of "Seii Taishogun" to his young son who became the ninth shogun Ashikaga Yoshihisa; but effectively, Yoshimasa continues to hold on to the reigns of power. With the leaders of the two warring factions dead and with the ostensible succession dispute resolved, the rationale for continuing to fight fades away. The exhausted armies dissipate; and by 1477, open warfare is ended.
* 1477 -- The Ōnin War is considered at an end. [see above] ]

Yoshimasa's heirs

When Yoshimasa declared that Yoshihisa would be the next shogun after he stepped down from that responsibility, he anticipated that his son would out-live him. When Shogun Yoshihisa died prematurely, Yoshimasa reassumed the power and responsibility he had wanted to lay aside. Shogun Yoshimasa adopted the son of his brother, Yoshimi. In 1489, Shogun Yoshitane was installed; and Yoshimas retired again. Before Yoshimasa died in 1490, he again adopted a nephew as heir, this time the son of his brother, Masatomo. Although Yoshitane did outlive Yoshimasa, his shogunate would prove short-lived. Yoshitane died in 1493.Ackroyd, p. 298.]

Shogun Yoshimasa was succeeded by Shogun Yoshihisa (Yoshimasa's natural son), then by Shogun Yoshitane (Yoshimasa's first adopted son), and then by Shogun Yoshizumi (Yoshimasa's second adopted son). Yoshizumi's progency would directly succeed him as head of the shogunate. In the unforeseeable future, power struggles from outside the clan would also lead to a brief period in which the great-grandson of Yoshitane would be installed as a puppet leader of the Ashikaga shogunate. [see above] ]

Higashiyama culture

During Yoshimasa's reign Japan saw the growth of Higashiyama Culture, [JAANUS (Japanese Architecture and Art Net Users System). [ "Higashiyama bunka" (東山文化).] ] famous for Japanese tea ceremony ("Sado"), Japanese flower arranging ("Kado" or "Ikebana"), "Noh" Japanese drama, and Indian ink painting. Higashiyama culture was greatly influenced by Zen Buddhism and saw the rise of Japanese aesthetics like "Wabi-sabi" and the harmonization of imperial court ("Kuge") and samurai ("Bushi") culture.

In 1489, the retired Yoshimasa built Jishoji Temple (Also known as Ginkaku-ji Temple and Silver Pavilion) in Kyoto, one of the current most famous tourist attractions in the ancient capital.

Eras of Yoshimasa's "bakufu"

The years in which Yoshimasa was shogan are more specifically identified by more than one era name or "nengō". [Titsingh, [,M1 p. 331] -361.]
* "Hōtoku" (1449-1452)
* "Kyōtoku" (1452-1455)
* "Kōshō" (1455-1457)
* "Chōroku" (1457-1460)
* "Kanshō" (1460-1466)
* "Bunshō" (1466-1467)
* "Ōnin" (1467-1469)
* "Bunmei" (1469-1487)
* "Chōkyō" (1487-1489)
* "Entoku" (1489-1492)



* Ackroyd, Joyce. (1982) "Lessons from History: The Tokushi Yoron." Brisbane: University of Queensland Press. 10-ISBN 0-702-21485-X; 13-ISBN 978-0-702-21485-1 (cloth)
* Keene, Donald. (2003). "Yoshimasa and the Silver Pavilion: The Creation of the Soul of Japan." New York: Columbia University Press. 10-ISBN 0-231-13056-2; 13-ISBN 978-0-231-13056-1 (cloth) -- 10-ISBN 0-231-13057-0; 13-ISBN 978-0-231-13057-8 (paper)
* Titsingh, Isaac, ed. (1834), [Siyun-sai Rin-siyo/Hayashi Gahō, 1652] , "Nipon o daï itsi ran; ou, Annales des empereurs du Japon." Paris: Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland. [ ... Click for digitized, full-text copy of this book (in French).]

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