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Ashikaga Yoshiteru / The 13th Ashikaga Shogun
Ashikaga Yoshiteru reigned as the 13th Ashikaga Shogun
from 1546 to 1565. Born March 31, 1536, he was the first
son of the 12th shogun, Ashikaga Yoshiharu.
Yoshiteru was just 11 when his father was forced to retire
due to political struggles, and like his father, he became a
puppet shogun, surrounded by sycophants and daimyo
warlords looking to use the young shogun for their own
In 1546, Yoshiteru’s father faced problems with the daimyo Hosokawa Harumoto, who was also Deputy Shogun.
Harumoto had Yoshiharu and his son expelled from Kyoto.
After Yoshiteru was invested as shogun, his father made
peace with Harumoto, allowing the Ashikaga back into the
capital, but further infighting within the Hosokawa clan led
to their ousting from the city once again six year later.
The Hosokawa clan problems seem to have been
manipulated by a senior retainer, Miyoshi Nagayoshi, who eventually controlled political power through Yoshiteru.
In 1564, Nagayoshi died of illness, and Yoshiteru took the opportunity to regain control, however Yoshiteru was killed
by one of his councilors, Matsunaga Hisahide, who attacked
and overran the shogun in his living quarters (where the Nijo Castle now stands) in an attempt to assume control as
Nagayoshi had done. Yoshiteru died on July 17, 1565. His
death poem reads:The May rain falls. Is it my tears or the
mist that surrounds me? Nightingale, carry my name up above the clouds!
Yoshiteru had attempted to negotiate peace between a
number of warring daimyo and re-establish the respect and
authority of the shogun. He became known as the Kengo
Shogun (Great Sword Shogun) for his abilities with the
sword, which he practiced diligently. Yoshiteru was said to have been closer to the ideal shogun since
the first and founding Ashikaga shogun, Ashikaga Takauji. Yoshiteru was an able administrator
with great aspirations.
Following Yoshiteru’s death, the land would be without a shogun for three years until his cousin,
Ashikaga Yoshihide, was chosen as shogun, however Yoshihide would die October 28, 1568, of a
contagious disease months after assuming the role. That same month, Oda Nobunaga would march
on Kyoto and install Ashikaga Yoshiaki, Yoshiteru’s younger brother, as the 15th and final Ashikaga Shogun.
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