Matsunaga Street (1/2)A daimyo at the mercy of the people of Japan

Matsunaga Street

Matsunaga Street

Article category
Matsunaga Street (1543-1577)
place of birth
Nara Prefecture
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Tamon Castle

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During the Sengoku period, Miyoshi Nagayoshi took control of the country centered on the Kinki region. The person who helped Nagayoshi was Hisashi Matsunaga. Hisahide eventually becomes Yamato Shugo Daimyo. Hisahide's eldest son was Dori Matsunaga. However, Hisahide and Hisamichi father and son entered into a civil war with the Miyoshi family. The Matsunaga family, who were in a disadvantageous situation, asked Oda Nobunaga for help and became affiliated with him. However, the Matsunaga family was cornered by the Oda family. This time we will take a look at Matsunaga Dori.

Hisashi Matsunaga, father of Dori Matsunaga

Michi Matsunaga's father, Hisashi Matsunaga, worked for the Miyoshi family. However, he did not serve the Miyoshi family for generations, but was appointed locally as a secretary to Nagayoshi Miyoshi. From then on, as Nagayoshi's power expanded, he rose through the ranks from Yufushi to magistrate and then to military commander who led the army. Nagayoshi also highly valued Hisashi Matsunaga's talent and made him useful as his right-hand man, having him negotiate with the Muromachi Shogunate and the Imperial Court. 
Dori Matsunaga was born into the Matsunaga family, a senior vassal of the Miyoshi family.

Succession of the family headship from the birth of Dori Matsunaga

Dori Matsunaga was born in 1543 as the eldest son of Hisashi Matsunaga, a vassal of Nagayoshi Miyoshi. The year before Hisamichi was born, his father, Hisahide Matsunaga, was conquesting Yamato Province (present-day Nara Prefecture) as a military commander under Nagayoshi Miyoshi, and in later years the Matsunaga family became the shugo daimyo of Yamato Province.

Michi Matsunaga followed his father from an early age and worked tirelessly. According to documents, the first mention of the ban was in 1560 at Kanshinji Temple in Kawachi Province (present-day eastern Osaka Prefecture).

In December 1563, when Hisamichi worked under his father and turned 20 years old, he was promoted to Jugoinoge (Junior Fifth Rank, Gemonza), transferred the headship of the family, and became the lord of Tamonyama Castle in Yamato Province. While ruling Yamato Province, Hisamichi came to support the Miyoshi family.

Death of Nagayoshi Miyoshi and succession by Yoshitsugu

Miyoshi Nagayoshi, whom the Matsunaga family served, became a ruler of Japan, mainly in the Kinai region. However, in 1563, Nagayoshi's only biological son, Yoshioki Miyoshi, passed away. It is said that at this time, Nagayoshi became ill due to the shock of losing his child. The successor of the Miyoshi family was Nagayoshi's nephew, Yoshitsugu Miyoshi.

It was immediately after the decision to succeed Yoshitsugu Miyoshi that Hisahide Matsunaga handed over the headship of the family to Hisamichi. There will be a generational change within the Miyoshi family. Or, since Hisashi Matsunaga supported the deceased Yoshioki Miyoshi, he may have handed over the headship of the family to get rid of Yoshioki's displeasure.

Then, in 1564, Miyoshi Nagayoshi, who had been in poor health, passed away.
May 1st, 1565.
Yoshitsugu Miyoshi, who succeeded the Miyoshi family, moved to Kyoto with Michi Matsunaga, who also inherited the Matsunaga family. They had an audience with the shogun, Yoshiteru Ashikaga, and each received a letter from his name from Yoshiteru. Hisamichi changed his name to Yoshihisa Matsunaga due to Yoshiteru Ashikaga's bias for the character ``Yoshi'' (he continued to use the same name as Michi Matsunaga).

Eiroku Incident

However, on May 18th, only half a month after I had an audience with Shogun Yoshiteru Ashikaga.
Yoshitsugu Miyoshi visits Yoshiteru's mansion again with his army. At this time, the people who accompanied him were the Miyoshi Sannin, represented by Nagaitsu Miyoshi, who was an elder, and Michi Matsunaga. When the Miyoshi family surrounded the Shogun's residence, they began to mount a strong suit. The content was the punishment of the shogun's close retainers who were trying to eliminate the Miyoshi family. However, in the middle of the lawsuit, the Miyoshi family invaded the mansion and killed Yoshiteru Ashikaga. (Eiroku Incident)
At this time, Michi Matsunaga is said to have changed the name of Yoshinaga, which he had received from the shogun, back to Hisamichi.

Internal conflict in the Miyoshi family

The 13th Shogun Yoshiteru Ashikaga died in the Eiroku Incident. After defeating Yoshiteru, the Miyoshi family decided to appoint Yoshiteru's cousin, Yoshihide Ashikaga (son of Yoshitsune Ashikaga, later the 14th shogun), as the next shogun.

By the way, Yoshiteru Ashikaga had only one surviving brother, Yoshiaki Ashikaga, who later became the 15th Shogun. Yoshiaki was a monk at Kofukuji Temple in Yamato Province. Yes, it is the home of Yamato Province, ruled by the Matsunaga family. After his older brother Yoshiteru was killed by the Miyoshi family, his younger brother Yoshiaki also felt that his life was in danger. Yoshiaki Ashikaga asked Hisahide Matsunaga for protection, and Hisahide also left a letter of his approval. However, Yoshiaki Ashikaga received a guarantee from Hisahide. Yoshiaki escaped from Yamato Province with the guidance of the vassals of the late Yoshiteru Ashikaga.

This enraged Nagaitsu Miyoshi, the elder of the Miyoshi family. The Miyoshi family believed that Yoshihide Ashikaga was the next shogun, so the escape of Yoshiaki, who was qualified to be the next shogun, was a huge blunder. Nagaitsu Miyoshi approaches Yoshitsugu Miyoshi, the head of the Miyoshi family, to hold Hide Matsunaga responsible. However, Yoshitsugu Miyoshi could not make up his mind. So Nagaitsu Miyoshi went to Iimoriyama Castle where Yoshitsugu was staying, and kidnapped Yoshitsugu Miyoshi and imprisoned him. He then ordered the subjugation of Hisashi Matsunaga.
From here, a civil war broke out between the Miyoshi family, centered on Miyoshi Nagaitsu, and the Matsunaga family, centered on Hisashi Matsunaga.

The Matsunaga family was at a disadvantage when it came to fighting the Miyoshi family. Although he was the shugo daimyo of Yamato Province, local small lords (kokujinshu) such as Junkei Tsutsui belonged to the Miyoshi family. Hisashi Matsunaga called on the feudal lords of the Kinki region to oppose Miyoshi. As a result, he disappeared from June of the following year, Eiroku 9 (1566). From now on, Hisashi Matsunaga's footprints will disappear for one year. One theory is that during this time he had negotiations with Nobunaga Oda, who became the feudal lord of Mino and Owari (present-day Gifu Prefecture and western Aichi Prefecture). This is because Oda Nobunaga sent a letter to the Kokujinshu and temples in Yamato Province in this year asking them to join the Matsunaga family in resisting the Miyoshi family.

Although he had handed over the headship of the family, Hisashi Matsunaga, the central figure of the Matsunaga family, suddenly disappeared. The remaining current head of the family, Dori Matsunaga, holed up in Tamonyama Castle and continued to fight with the Miyoshi family.

Under the control of the Oda family

Three years have passed since the Miyoshi family and the Matsunaga family entered into a civil war. Even in 1568, the Miyoshi family was stationed in Yamato Province to monitor the Matsunaga family.

Dori Matsunaga's article continues

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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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