Saturday, March 22, 2014

Kokokuji Castle -Launch place of Hojyo clan-

Kokokuji Castle

-Launch place of Hojyo clan-



興国寺城


Overview


Name: Kokokuji castle (Kokokuji-jo)
Alias:
Place: Negoya Numazu city, Shizuoka
Type:  Hill castle
Built: 15th century, expanded in 17th century
Remaining remnants: Stone walls, sand walls and moats
Title: 100 more famous Japanese castles

Brief History

Kokokuji castle (興国寺城) is located on a ridge of Ashitaka mountain toward southward, at a west of central Numazu city. Utilizing the terrain this castle has several terraces along the edge, and had a tall basement of main tower with stone wall and deep moat. 

This castle was built by Imagawa clan, a house of governor of Suruga country (eastern part of Shizuoka prefecture) in 15th century. In 1487, Souun Hojyo (1432-1519), original named as Nagauji Ise but renamed after his death, become a commander of this castle.

Formerly Souun Hojyo is regarded as a person who promoted from masterless wanderer to the warlord only by his talent, along with Dosan Saito (1494-1556), the governor of Mino country (Gifu prefecture). But according to the resent research, this image was wrong.

Promotion of Souun at Imagawa clan


Ise clan, where Souun was born, was a house of administrative noble of Muromachi shogunate located at Bicchu country (Okayama prefecture). Because his sister Kitagawa-dono married with Yoshitada Imagawa (1436-1476), current leader of Imagawa clan, Souun also move to Suruga country and served for Imagawa clan.

In 1476, Yoshitada Imagawa died among his battle against local lords of Totomi country (western part of Shizuoka prefecture) in 40 years old, and Ujichika Imagawa (1471-1526), his son between Yoshitada and Kitagawa-dono, and Norimitsu Ojika (?-1487), a powerful relative fought for the position of leader. Under the arbitration of Dokan Ohta (1432-1486), an excellent chanseller of Ogigayatsu Uesugi clan at Musashi country and known as building Edo castle originally, Norimitsu temporally succeeded leader position and transfer to Ujichika when Ujichika become 15 years old.

But after this condition fulfilled, Norimitsu did not carry out this agreement, thus Souun and his colleagues assaulted Norimitsu and killed him in 1487. Due to this achievement, Souun was appointed as a commander of Kokokuji castle by Ujichika who became the new Souun supported Ujichika and and fought for Imagawa clan in Totomi country or Mikawa country (eastern part of Aichi prefecture).
 

Occupation of Izu and independence


A turning point for Souun came in 1491. In Izu country, there was a Horikoshi Kubo (Horikoshi highness), a branch house of Ashikaga clan. Masatomo Ashikaga (1435-1491), a founder of Horikoshi Kubo and brother of Yoshimasa Ashikaga, 8th shogun of Muromachi shogunate died in 1491. His sons named Chachamaru and Jundoji conflicted for the next leader, and Chachamaru killed Jundoji and suceeded the position forcibly but brought dissatisfaction of retainers. At the same time, in Kyoto, Yoshitame Ashikaga (1466-1523, 10th shogun) and Yoshizumi Ashikaga (1481-1511) also fought for the next shogun, and Yoshizumi Ashikaga was a younger brother of Jundoji.

Masamoto Hosokawa (1466-1507), a powerful lord in Kyoto area and who made Yoshizumi as shogun in 1493, ordered Souun to extinguish Chachamaru together with his action. Based on this order, in the same year, Souun attacked Chachamaru and expelled him, then seized Izu country in several years. This accident was a beginning of Sengoku era in Kanto region, and also was a first step of Hojyo clan as a warlord which expanded to whole Kanto region.

Afterward of the castle


When Souun moved to Nirayama castle at Izu country Kokokuji castle was returned to Imagawa clan, and after the fall of Imagawa clan, along with other castles in Suruga country this castle was governed by Takeda clan or Tokugawa clan. After the battle of Sekigahara in 1600 this castle was held by Yasukage Amano (1537-1613), an old retainer of Tokugawa clan, but he was expelled taking responsibility of dispute between people in his territory and government territory, and Kokokuji castle was abolished at that time. The site of castle well holds former shape, and repairment is proceeding. 

Related Castles



Nirayama Castle -History of Hojyo clan for 100 years of five generations-
Odawara Castle -Castle rejected attack of two famous warlords-

Pictures (click to enlarge)





































































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