Motonari Mouri (1/2)conspiracy god

Motonari Mori

Motonari Mori

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Motonari Mori (1497-1571)
place of birth
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Hiroshima castle

Hiroshima castle

Throughout the Sengoku period, there was a feudal lord from Aki Province (present-day Hiroshima Prefecture) in the Chugoku region who grew to become a powerful force, the Mori clan. At the beginning of the Sengoku period, Motonari Mori was born into the Mori clan, a small wealthy family in Aki Province. Motonari endured many hardships from an early age, and even though he was threatened by the powerful Ouchi and Amago families, he became the ruler of the Chugoku region. This time, I would like to take a look at Motonari Mori, who lived through the Sengoku period, mainly in the Chugoku region.

Motonari was born into the Mori family.

The Mori family of Aki Province (present-day western Hiroshima Prefecture) was founded by Sumitsu Mori, the fourth son of Hiromoto Oe, a close aide to Minamoto no Yoritomo, who founded the Kamakura Shogunate. During the period of the Northern and Southern Courts, he moved to Yoshida Koriyama, Aki Province (present-day Akitakada City, Hiroshima Prefecture), where he gained power as an influential national. However, in the Muromachi period, Aki Province had a difficult time due to interference from powerful feudal lords such as the Yamana clan, the Ouchi clan, and the Amago clan. Meanwhile, Motonari Mori was born in 1497 as the son of Hiromoto Mori.

Motonari was born in 1497, the year when the Onin War ended in the capital of Kyoto, and the Meio Coup, a coup d'état led by Hosokawa Masamoto and Hino Tomiko, took place. One theory is that the Sengoku period began with the Meio Coup, so Motonari Mori was born at the beginning of the Sengoku period.

Motonari's birth and adoptive mother Sugi Okata

Motonari Mori was born in 1497 as the second son of Hiromoto Mori, a native of Aki Province. His birthplace is Suzuo Castle (Fukuhara Castle), where his mother's parents lived, and there is a stone monument commemorating his birth.

His father, Hiromoto, quickly handed over the position of head of the family to his eldest son, Okimoto Mori, and moved to Tajihisarugake Castle with his second son, Motonari. However, when Motonari was 10 years old, both his father and mother passed away, and his vassal, Motomori Inoue, took away Tajihi Sarukake Castle, where he lived, and he became a wanderer.

The person who helped him through this difficult situation was his father's concubine, Sugi Okata. Even after Okimoto passed away, Sugi Okata remained with the Mori family and became Motonari's adoptive mother and raised him. During this time, Okimoto Mori, Motonari's older brother and the head of the Mori family, is said to have served in Kyoto following the Ouchi family to which he belonged.

In 1511, Sugi Okata received permission from his older brother Okimoto, who was in Kyoto, to celebrate Motonari's Genpuku. As a branch of the Mori family, he called himself Tajihi (Tanhi) Motonari.

However, in 1516, five years after the Genpuku celebration, his eldest brother Okimoto suddenly passed away. As his uncle, Motonari took guardianship of Yukimatsumaru, the son of his deceased brother. It was during the time when he was under the guardianship of this nephew that he made his first battle and achieved great results. However, in 1523, his nephew Mori Yukimatsumaru, who was his guardian, passed away. Since the direct line of the Mori family had ceased to exist, Motonari Mori took over as head of the family at the age of 27 and became the head of the Mori family.

Mr. Amago and Mr. Ouchi

Now, Motonari Mori inherited the main Mori clan from a branch family. Around the time of inheriting the headship of this main family, or even before that, the Mori family was sandwiched between the Ouchi family, a shugo daimyo in Suo Province (present-day Yamaguchi prefecture) located in the west, and the Amago family, a daimyo in the San'in region in the east. It was.

He belonged to the Ouchi family when his older brother, Okimoto Mori, died, but he switched to the Amago family when Motonari Mori was guardian of his nephew.

However, the Amago family was dissatisfied with Motonari Mori's appointment as head of the family and intervened with the Mori family. Other vassals supported and opposed Motonari's half-brother Mototsuna Aiai. Motonari was busy trying to tighten up Aki Province by purging his vassals who rebelled against him. From this point on, Mori Motonari left the Amago family and belonged to the Ouchi family.

Yoshitaka Ouchi, the head of the Ouchi family, sought to strengthen his relationship with the Mori family. He lobbied the Imperial Court to appoint Motonari Mori to an official rank, and as a result, Motonari was also given an official rank, and became a major figure in showing the support of the Ouchi family and the Imperial Court to other Aki people. On the other hand, Motonari gave his eldest son as a hostage to the Ouchi family and strengthened their relationship.

Battle of Yoshida Koriyama Castle and Gassan Toda Castle

In the 8th year of Tenbun (1539), the Amago family, whose influence in Aki Province had declined, assembled 30,000 soldiers and attacked Yoshida Koriyama Castle, the residence of Mori Motonari. Motonari holed up in Koriyama Castle with 3,000 soldiers and repulsed them with the help of Kokujinshu of Aki Province and the Ouchi family (Battle of Yoshida Koriyama Castle). Motonari wrote about this battle in his diary (Mōri Motonari District Yamakagejo Diary) and submitted it to the Muromachi Shogunate, showing that Aki Province was being run mainly by Motonari Mōri in the central political world.

In the same year, he expelled the Aki Takeda family, the shugo daimyo of Aki Province, to become the Ouchi family, and became the master of Aki Province in both name and reality.
However, this happened three years later. In 1542, a subjugation force led by the Ouchi family attacked the Gassan-Toda Castle of the Amago family, and Motonari Mori also participated. This battle resulted in the total collapse of the Ouchi family, and Motonari was ordered to join the Tono army, the last of his allies. At this time, vassals of the Mori family took Motonari's place and saved him from a predicament, allowing him to return to Aki Province.

From this point on, the conflict between the Ouchi family and the Amago family became protracted, and during this battle Motonari Mori tightened his grip on Aki Province and gathered power.

Expansion of power in Aki Province and Mori Ryokawa

In 1544, Mori Motonari adopted his third son, Tokujumaru (later known as Takakage Kobayakawa), into the Takehara Kobayakawa family. The Takehara Kobayakawa family was a relative of the Mori family, but they had no heir. The Takehara Kobayakawa family had a powerful navy and gained a foothold in the Seto Inland Sea.

Furthermore, Takakage Kobayakawa was appointed as the head of the Numata Kobayakawa clan, which was the main family of the Takehara Kobayakawa family. Shigehira Kobayakawa, the head of Numata Kobayakawa, was young and blind, so he forced him to become a priest and ordered his third son, Takakage, to manage the Kobayakawa family.

Meanwhile, in 1547, he sent his second son, Motoharu, to the Yoshikawa family, the family home of Motonari's legal wife Myoku. Yoshikawa Okitsune, who was the nephew of his legal wife Myoku and the head of the Yoshikawa family, gave important positions to new vassals, and as a result, the family was split in two. As a result, Motonari forced Okitsune to retire (later assassinated) and installed Motoharu Yoshikawa as the head of the family. The second son, Motoharu Yoshikawa, and the third son, Takakage Kobayakawa, helped Mouri during Motonari's lifetime, and even after his death, and they came to be known as ``Mouri Ryokawa.''

Battle of Itsukushima

While Motonari Mori was consolidating his power in Aki Province, there was an atmosphere of unrest within the Ouchi family, to which the Mori family belonged. There was a conflict between the military faction, led by Sue Harukata, who wanted to expand outside of their territory through military invasions, and the Bunji faction, led by Taketo Sagara, who wanted to prioritize domestic governance through stable politics. Meanwhile, the head of the family, Yoshitaka Ouchi, who had suffered a crushing defeat at Gassan-Tomida Castle, had lost interest in the battle.

Motonari Mouri's article continues

Tomoyo Hazuki
Writer(Writer)I have loved history and geography since my student days, and have enjoyed visiting historical sites, temples and shrines, and researching ancient documents. He is especially strong in medieval Japanese history and European history in world history, and has read a wide range of things, including primary sources and historical entertainment novels. There are so many favorite military commanders and castles that I can't name them, but I especially like Hisashi Matsunaga and Mitsuhide Akechi, and when it comes to castles, I like Hikone Castle and Fushimi Castle. Once you start talking about the lives of warlords and the history of castles, there's a side of you that can't stop talking about them.
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