Ashikaga Yoshimitsu

Ashikaga Yoshimitsu

was the 3rd shogun of the Ashikaga shogunate who reigned from 1368 to 1394 during the Muromachi period of Japan. Yoshimitsu was the son of the second shogun Ashikaga Yoshiakira. [Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). [,M1 "Annales des empereurs du japon," p. 307.] ]

In the year after the death of his father Yoshimitsu in 1367, Yoshimitsu became "Seii Taishogun" at age 11. [Titsingh, [,M1 p. 308.] ] Significant events shape the period during which Yoshiakira was shogun:
* 1368 -- Yoshimitsu appointed shogun; Chōkei ascends southern throne.Ackroyd, Joyce. (1982) "Lessons from History: The "Tokushi Yoron"," p. 329.]
* 1369 -- Kusunoki Masanori defects to Ashikaga. [see above] ]
* 1370 -- Imagawa Sadayo sent to subdue Kyushu. [see above] ]
* 1371 -- Attempts to arrange truce. [see above] ]
* 1373-1406 -- Embassies between China and Japan. [see above] ]
* 1374 -- En'yū ascends northern throne. [see above] ]
* 1378 -- Yoshimitsu builds Hana-no-Gosho. [see above] ]
* 1379 -- Shiba Yoshimasa Kanryō. [see above] ]
* 1380 -- Kusunoki Masanori rejoins Kameyama; southern army suffers reverses. [see above] ]
* 1382 -- Go-Komatsu ascends northern throne; resurgence of southern army. [see above] ]
* 1383 -- Yoshimitsu's honors; Go-Kameyama ascends southern throne. [see above] ]
* 1385 -- Southern army defeated at Koga. [see above] ]
* 1387-89 -- Dissension in Toki family in Mino. [see above] ]
* 1389 -- Yoshimitsu pacifies Kyushu and distributes lands; Yoshimitsu opposed by Kamakura Kanryō Ujimitsu. [see above] ]
* 1390 -- Kusunoki defeated; Yamana Ujikiyo chastises Tokinaga. [see above] ]
* 1391 -- Yamana Ujikyo attacks Kyoto -- Meitoku War.Ackroyd, p. 330.]
* 1392 -- Northern and Southern courts reconciled under Go-Komatsu. [see above] ]
* 1394 -- Yoshimitsu officially cedes his position to his son; [Titsingh, [,M1 p. 321.] ] Yoshimochi appointed shogun. [see above] ]
* 1396 -- Imagawa Sadayo dismissed. [see above] ]
* 1397 -- Uprising in Kyushu suppressed. [see above] ]
* 1398 -- Muromachi administration organized. [see above] ]
* 1399 -- Ouchi Yoshihira and Ashikaga Mitsukane rebel -- Ōei War. [see above] ]
* 1402 -- Uprising in Mutsu suppressed. [see above] ]
* 1406 -- Yoshimitsu appointed "Nippon Koku-Ō" (King of Japan) by Chinese emperor.
* 1408 -- Yoshimitsu dies. [see above] ]


Yoshimitsu constructed his residence in the Muromachi section in the capital of Kyoto in 1378. As a result, in Japanese, the Ashikaga shogunate and the corresponding time period are often referred to as the Muromachi shogunate and Muromachi period. [Morton, W. Scott "et al." (2004). [ "Japan: Its History and Culture," p. 89.] ]

Yoshimitsu resolved the rift between the Northern and Southern Courts in 1392, when he persuaded Go-Kameyama of the Southern Court to hand over the Imperial regalia to Emperor Go-Komatsu of the Northern Court. Yoshimitsu's greatest political achievement was that he managed to bring about the end to "Nanboku-cho" fighting. This event had the effect of firmly establishing the authority of the Muromachi shogunate and suppressing the power of the regional daimyo who might challenge that central authority. [Turnbull, Stephen. (2005). [ "Samurai Commanders," p. 31.] ]

Although Yoshimitsu retired in 1394 and his son was confirmed as the fourth shogun Ashikaga Yoshimochi, the old shogun didn't abandon any of his powers. Yoshimitsu continued to maintain authority over the shogunate until his death.Titsingh, [,M1 p. 325.] ] In 1404, Chinese Ming Dynasty sent Zheng He to Japan in a diplomatic trip. Ming Dynasty entitled Yoshimitsu "The King of Japan" and presented him a "The King of Japan" seal, which he accepted. Yoshimitsu replied in letter ending with "The King of Japan, your vassal Yoshimitsu."( _ja. 日本国王臣源義満), willing to improve relations with China and profit from trades, in what the Chinese considered tribute. [Worden, Robert (1994). [ "Kamakura and Muromachi Periods, 1185-1573,"] "A Country Study: Japan." Federal Research Division, Library of Congress.]

Yoshimitsu died suddenly in 1408 [see above] ] at age 50. [Turnbull, [,M1 p. 32.] ] After his death, his retirement villa became Rokuon-ji, which today is famous for its three-storied, gold-covered reliquary known as "Kinkaku." So famous is this single structure, in fact, that the entire temple itself is often identified as the Kinkaku-ji, the Temple of the Golden Pavilion. [Pier, Garrett. (1915). [,M1 "Temple Treasures of Japan," p. 228] -237.]

Eras of Yoshimitsu's "bakufu"

The years in which Yoshimitsu was shogun are more specifically identified by more than one era name or "nengō". [Titsingh, [,M1 pp. 308] -321.]

:"Nanboku-chō" southern court
*Eras as reckoned by legitimate Court (as determined by Meiji rescript):
** "Shōhei" (1346-1370)
** "Kentoku" (1370-1372)
** "Bunchū" (1372-1375)
** "Tenju" (1375-1381)
** "Kōwa" (1381-1384)
** "Genchū" (1384-1393)

:"Nanboku-chō" northern court
*Eras as reckoned by pretender Court (as determined by Meiji rescript):
** "Ōan" (1368-1375)
** "Eiwa" (1375-1379)
** "Kōryaku" (1379-1381)
** "Eitoku" (1381-1384)
** "Shitoku" (1384-1387)
** "Kakei" (1387-1389)
** "Kōō" (1389-1390)
** "Meitoku" (1390-1393)‡

:"Post-Nanboku-chō" reunified court
*Eras merged as "Meitoku" 3 replaced "Genchū" 9 as Go-Kameyama abdicated.
** "Meitoku" (1393-1384)‡
** "Ōei" (1394-1428)



* 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)
* Morton, W. Scott and J. Kenneth Olenik. (1973). "Japan: Its History and Culture." New York: McGraw-Hill. Newton Abbot, Devon: David & Charles. 10-ISBN 0-715-35768-9; 13-ISBN 978-071-535768-2 (cloth) [reprinted by McGraw-Hill, New York, 2004. 10-ISBN 0-071-41280-8; 13-ISBN 978-0-071-41280-3 (paper)] [ ... Click for digitized, limited-view copy of this book.]
* Pier, Garrett Chatfield. (1914). [ "Temple Treasures of Japan."] New York: Frederick Fairchild Sherman.
* 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-test copy of this book (in French.]
* Turnbull, Stephen. (2005). [ "Samurai Commanders."] Oxford: Osprey Press. 10-ISBN 1-841-76743-3; 13-ISBN 978-1-841-76743-7 (paper)
* Worden, Robert L. (1994). [ "Kamakura and Muromachi Periods, 1185-1573; Economic and Cultural Developments,"] "A Country Study: Japan." Washington, D.C.: Federal Research Division, Library of Congress.

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