Ashikaga Yoshiaki

Ashikaga Yoshiaki (足利 義昭, December 5, 1537 – October 19, 1597)[1] was the 15th and final shōgun of the Ashikaga shogunate in Japan who reigned from 1568 to 1573.[2] His father, Ashikaga Yoshiharu, was the twelfth shōgun, and his brother, Ashikaga Yoshiteru, was the thirteenth shōgun.[3]

Ashikaga Yoshiaki
足利 義昭
Ashikaga Yoshiaki2.jpg
In office
Preceded byAshikaga Yoshihide
Succeeded byTokugawa Ieyasu
Personal details
BornDecember 5, 1537
Ashikaga shogunate
DiedOctober 19, 1597(1597-10-19) (aged 59)
Azuchi–Momoyama period
ChildrenAshikaga Gijin


Yoshiaki was a monk of Kokoku-ji temple but after his older brother Yoshiteru was killed by the Miyoshi clan, he returned to secular life and named Yoshiaki.[4] The absence of an effective central authority in the capital of Japan had lasted until the warlord Oda Nobunaga's armies entered Kyoto in 1568,[5] re-establishing the Muromachi shogunate under the puppet shōgun Ashikaga Yoshiaki to begin the Azuchi–Momoyama period. Ashikaga Yoshihide, the fourteenth shōgun, was deposed without ever entering the capital. His childhood name was Chitosemaru (千歳丸).

Most historians consider 1573 to have been the year in which the Ashikaga shogunate ended. The power of the Ashikaga was effectively destroyed on August 27, 1573, when Nobunaga drove Yoshiaki out of Kyoto. Yoshiaki became a Buddhist monk, shaving his head and taking the name Sho-san, which he later changed to Rei-o In.[6]

Some note that Yoshiaki did not formally relinquish his empty title; and for this reason, the empty shell of the shogunate could be said to have continued for several more years. Despite a renewed central authority in Kyoto and Nobunaga's attempt to unify the country, the struggle for power among warring states continued. Yoshiaki acted as rallying point for anti-Oda forces. He even raised troops himself, and sent them to fight against Oda Nobunaga's army during the Ishiyama Hongan-ji War.[7] Even after Oda Nobunaga had died in 1582, the former shogun continued his efforts to regain power. According to historian Mary Elizabeth Berry, Yoshiaki still resisted Nobunaga's de facto successor Toyotomi Hideyoshi by 1590.[8]


  • Father: Ashikaga Yoshiharu
  • Mother: Keijuin (1514–1565)
  • Concubines:
    • Osako no Kata
    • Kosaki no Tsubone
  • Children:
    • Ashikaga Yoshihiro (1572–1605)
    • Isshi Yoshitaka
    • Nagayama Yoshiari (1575–1635)
    • Yajima Hideyuki

Events of Yoshiaki's bakufuEdit

Eras of Yoshiaki's bakufuEdit

The span of years in which Yoshiaki was shōgun are more specifically identified by more than one era name or nengō.[13]


  1. ^ "Ashikaga Yoshiaki" in The New Encyclopædia Britannica. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 15th edn., 1992, Vol. 1, p. 625.
  2. ^ a b c d e Ackroyd, Joyce. (1982) Lessons from History: The Tokushi Yoron, p. 332.
  3. ^ Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du japon, pp. 385–389., p. 385, at Google Books
  4. ^ "日本大百科全書(ニッポニカ)「足利義昭」の解説". Kotobank. Retrieved December 15, 2021.
  5. ^ Sansom, George (1961). A History of Japan, 1334–1615. Stanford University Press. pp. 278–279. ISBN 0804705259.
  6. ^ Titsingh, p. 389., p. 389, at Google Books
  7. ^ Berry 1982, p. 63.
  8. ^ Berry 1982, p. 99.
  9. ^ Lee Butler, "Castles in Medieval Japan: Before Azuchi", presentation at Association for Asian Studies annual conference, San Diego, March 23, 2013.
  10. ^ a b c Turnbull, Stephen (2000). The Samurai Sourcebook. London: Cassell & C0. p. 231. ISBN 1854095234.
  11. ^ Sansom, George (1961). A History of Japan, 1334–1615. Stanford University Press. p. 290. ISBN 0804705259.
  12. ^ National Diet Library: 国史大系
  13. ^ Titsingh, pp. 382–405., p. 382, at Google Books


Preceded by Shōgun:
Ashikaga Yoshiaki

Azuchi–Momoyama period