Kakuta Haruo's Workshop ---Decoding Japan---

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Location: Sakai, Osaka, Japan

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Toyotomi Hideyoshi—The Third Pirate King of Japan (0-7)

     As their name “Kawanouchi” (literally Among-Rivers) suggests, the sea guards were composed of local powerful families living in the Ota River Delta, and of Butsugo-ji Temple, which was located in the delta.  The temple had been founded in 1459 by the former lord of Kusatsu Castle as a Tendai-Buddhism temple, and had turned to Jodo Shinshu Buddhism in 1496.  Such as they were, the sea guards were much less efficient in naval strength and mobility than the Murakami Clan, who were pirates born and living in the sea.  That was why the Mori Clan had to struggle to win the support of the Murakami Clan when they sought the naval supremacy in the Seto Inland Sea.  Nevertheless, the sea guards were very loyal to the Mori Clan, and were the most reliable sea forces for the clan.

     Now let’s move on to the second type of the Mori Sea Forces: the Kobayakawa Sea Forces, whose main unit was the Tada-no-umi Sea Guards.

     The Dohi Family was living in Dohi County, Sagami Province.  Dohi Sanehira (?-?1191) was the second son and started living in Kobayakawa Village in Dohi County.  His son, Tohira (?-1237), started calling his family Kobayakawa.  When Minamoto Yoritomo (1147-1199) took up arms against the Taira Clan in 1180, the father and son followed him and fought against the Taira Clan.  Tohira was later appointed as a manorial steward samurai of Nuta and Takehara Manors in Aki Province.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Toyotomi Hideyoshi—The Third Pirate King of Japan (0-6)

     The Kodama Family had been one of the Kamakura Shogunate’s vassals who had been transferred to western provinces to bring the whole nation under the shogunate’s control.  The family was from the northern corner of Musashi Province, which adjoined Sagami Province, where Kamakura was located.  Their ancestors were members of one of the Musashi Seven Corps.

     The most part of Musashi Province was plateaus deeply covered with volcanic-ash soil, which was suitable for stock farming, not for rice growing.  In ancient times, many of the naturalized Silla people then were sent to Musashi Province, and engaged in the farming.  On that base, many stock farms were set up there, including 6 imperial stock farms.  The custodians of those farms later formed small-scale samurai families.  By marriage, those samurai families composed 7 corps on the plateaus in the province.

     Some members of the KodamaCorp were transferred to Takehito Village, Toyota County, Aki Province to prepare for so called the Mongol invasion of Japan, or for the invasion by the allied forces of China and Korea.  The village was located in the mountains between Yoshida Manor and the Seto Inland Sea.

     Therefore, the Mori Clan and and the Kodama Family were land samurais in their origins.  In 1554, however, the Mori Clan occupied Kusatsu Castle and Kusatsu Port, and got the gateway to the sea for the first time.  The port had been called Ikusa-tsu (literally Battle Port) in ancient times, and had been used as an important naval port in sending troops for the Battle of Baekgang in 663.  After the occupation, Kodama Naritaka was appointed to be the lord of the castle, and to lead the Kawanouchi Sea Guards there.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Toyotomi Hideyoshi—The Third Pirate King of Japan (0-5)

     Tokichika first governed Yoshida Manor in Aki Province remotely and indirectly as an absentee land lord.  He was such an able man as to make a member of the council of the Rokuhara Agency of the Kamakura Shogunate, which ruled Western Japan as well as Kyoto, where the agency was located, and its surrounding areas on behalf of the shogunate.  However, he was living in the last days of the shogunate, hated the chaos, and retreated to Yoshida Manor in 1336 after the collapse of the shogunate in 1333 with his great grandson, Motoharu (1323-?), but couldn’t enjoy a peaceful retired life.  It was a time of upheavals, the period of the Northern and Southern Courts.  His son, Sadachika (?-1351), and grandson, Chikahira (?-1375), were fighting for the Southern Court, which was losing.  Tokichika had Motoharu fight for the Northern Court, or for Ashikaga Takauji (1305-1358), calmed Takauji down, and invited his son and grandson to Yoshida Manor.  He built Koriyama Castle there, and ruled the manor.  At long last, Motoharu was guaranteed the proprietary of the manor in 1376 by Ashikaga Yoshimitsu (1358-1408), the third shogun of the Ashikaga Shogunate.

     From Tokichika’s time, the family generated branch families.  Through the competition and coordination among themselves, the families formed the base for the Mori Clan.  In addition, the fame as a nationally distinguished family enabled the Mori Family to lead other local families in Aki Province to form a union against warlords around them and against the central government as well.  It might have been during this process that the Kodama Family became dependent on and even subordinate to the Mori Clan.

     Kawanouchi Sea Guards were led and commanded by Kodama Narikata (1513-1586) and his son, Narihide (1544-1596).

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Toyotomi Hideyoshi—The Third Pirate King of Japan (0-4)

     Before we talk about Kawanouchi Sea Guards, we should understand, first of all, who the Mori Clan, their lord, were, and where they were from.

      Oe Hiromoto (1148-1225) was a competent bureaucrat.  In the early days of the Kamakura Shogunate, he was invited from Kyoto to Kamakura by Minamoto Yoritomo (1147-1199), the founder of the shogunate. Hiromoto played a critical role in establishing the shogunate system.  His fourth son, Suemitsu (1202-1247), inherited Mori Manor, Aiko County, Sagami Province, and started calling his family Mori.  During the Kamakura period Mori was one of prominent family who were direct vassals of the shogunate due to the fame of their ancestor Hiromoto.

     Suemitsu and most of his family members were killed in Hoji Battle, or Miura Rebellion, in 1247, but his fourth son, Tsunemitsu (?-?), narrowly escaped the death and barely secured their estates in Echigo and Aki Provinces.  He allocated Yoshida Manor in Aki Province to his fourth son, Tokichika (?-1341).

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Toyotomi Hideyoshi—The Third Pirate King of Japan (0-3)

The first type was Kawanouchi Sea Guards, who were based around the mouth of Ota River, which flowed into Hiroshima Bay, Aki Province. They were under the direct supervision of the head family of the Mori Clan. They were a kind of major-command sea forces. The second was the sea guards who were based in Mihara, at the mouth of Nuta River, which ran along the border between Aki and Bingo Provinces. They were supervised by Kobayakawa Takakage (1533-1597), the third son of Mori Motonari. They might be named branch-family sea forces. The third was genuine pirates based in the Geiyo Archipelago, including the Murakami Clan(s), the most notorious pirates in medieval times. They were maneuvering between the Mori, Ouchi, and Kono Clans, who were based in Aki, Nagato, and Iyo Provinces respectively around the archipelago along the Western Seto Inland Sea. The gangs of pirates were, to make matters more complicated, independent from one another, and were each bargaining with the clans for better rewards.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Toyotomi Hideyoshi—The Third Pirate King of Japan (0-2)

     When Hideyoshi unified the Japanese Archipelago, he unified not only land of the islands but also waters around the islands.  Before his unification, there were various types of sea forces on the waters.  One extreme type of those sea forces was Kuki Yoshitaka (1542-1600).  He called himself a pirate warlord.  Another extreme examples of those sea forces were sea guards.  Most of those who were called sea guards were direct vassals of land warlords.  Other neutral sea forces concluded various relations with geopolitically corresponding land warlords.  Some were almost independent, and played power games with and against surrounding land warlords.  That kind of independency was less likely to be seen in Eastern Provinces.  In other words, the sea forces in the west were more like pirates, while those in the east were more like sea guards.  In the west, the Seto Inland Sea was the main artery, and most of the sea was controlled by the Mori Clan at the end of the Warring States Period.  In the east, the Hojo Clan became the champion in the Kanto Plain, with their sea forces clashing against the other sea forces of the Imagawa, Takeda, Miura, and Satomi Clans.

     Ikko-ikki Uprisings and Oda Nobunaga (1534-1582) made their biggest clash against each other around Ishiyama Hongan-ji Temple in Settsu Province from 1570 to 1580.  Mori Terumoto (1553-1625) sent his sea forces there to break Oda’s blockade and supply the temple.  The sea forces were commanding the Seto Inland Sea at that time.  Although they were lumped together as Mori Sea Forces, a range of sea forces were involved in fact.  They were each based in different sea areas, and had different origins and histories.  Some were organized by, or comprised with, land samurais to guard their ports.  Others had been pirates for generations even from ancient times.  Let me describe 3 typical cases now as it is difficult to depict all their histories readily.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Toyotomi Hideyoshi—The Third Pirate King of Japan (0-1)

     Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536-1598) was the third pirate king of Japan after the first, Fujiwara Sumitomo (?-941), and the second, Taira Kiyomori (1118-1181).  Hideyoshi succeeded Oda Nobunaga (1534-1582), who had forced Ashikaga Yoshiaki (1537-1597), the 15th and last shogun of the Muromachi Shogunate, to leave Kyoto.  Hideyoshi’s son, Hideyori (1593-1615), was killed by Tokugawa Ieyasu (1542-1616), who started the Edo Shogunate.  Nobunaga, Hideyoshi, and Ieyasu, half working together and half conflicting one another, brought the end to the Warring States Period, which had started in the middle of the 15th century.  In the process of the national unification, Hideyoshi also unified pirates and sea forces, and even sent them to Korea.  That is to say, he became the biggest Wokou.  However, Ieyasu’s grandson, Iemitsu (1604-1651), drastically changed the national foreign policy, and adopted national isolation.  We are going to see how Hideyoshi’s unified sea forces were organized, and how they were dissolved.