Monday, January 11, 2010

Yoshimoto's Objective

What was Imagawa Yoshimoto's true objective? Here are are four that Owada Tetsuo stated in his book Imagawa Yoshimoto no Subete, pp. 30-31.

  • Kyoto
  • Secure Mikawa
  • Secure Narumi/Odaka line
  • Capture Owari
All four theories are legitimate and should be taken in consideration, but in my opinion Kyoto was Yoshimoto's mission. However, historians think Yoshimoto's goal was Owari. I disagree. It was his destiny to claim Kyoto.

To be fair here are some information to back the answer.

Hashiba Akira's Shinsetsu Okehazama Kassen lists three conflicts with Nobunaga during the 1550s, pp. 75-89.

  • Battle of Muraki 1554
  • The siege of Kanie Castle
  • Assault of Ise
You can include the battles with Oda Nobuhide during the 1540s (Anjo Castle and Azukisaka) and what you have is a border war between the Imagawa and the Oda. If Yoshimoto did occupy Owari, the ports of Atsuta and Tsushima would have added huge surplus if revenue for the Imagawa house.

A survey done in 1598 showed Owari was a productive province. (Koku)

  • Suruga 150,00
  • Totomi 255, 160
  • Mikawa 290,715
  • Owari 571, 737
The data was almost forty years after Okehazama and it might have given what the situation was like during the Nobunaga/Yoshimoto Era. Owari might have been a gold mine for the Imagawa house.

With new evidence pointing towards Owari, I still think Kyoto was the target. I think Yoshimoto was alarmed that Uesugi Kenshin went to the capital twice. In 1553, he met with Emperor Go-Nara and in 1559 met with shogun Ashikaga Yoshiteru. Nobunaga also met the shogun in 1559 as well.

Hamada Akio's Okehazama no Tatakai: Kagetora no Kakuryaku to Nobunaga no Sakuryaku is a who pulled the trigger book and I think there is some truth to this. The book also goes in depth of Yoshimoto's alliance with the Takeda and the Hojo. Kenshin and Nobunaga's trips to Kyoto and the three way alliance between the Imagawa, Takeda, and the Hojo might have pulled the trigger for Yoshimoto to march to Kyoto for once and for all.


Yoshimoto also spent time in Kyoto when he was training becoming a Zen priest with his partner, Sessai. Yoshimoto's mother, Jukeini, was a daughter of a court noble. Yoshimoto's aristocratic blood and lifestyle made Kyoto the perfect match. Yoshimoto had the chance of a lifetime and I think he trying to take full advantage of it. If any other Sengoku warlord had the same opportunity as Yoshimoto did, I bet they would taken the chance as well.

The downside of the Kyoto campaign would be the several families that Yoshimoto would have to deal with. Families such as the Azai, Asakura, Miyoshi, Rokkaku, and the Saito. Still, I think Kyoto was Yoshimoto's destiny. I may be wrong, but that is my opinion and sticking with it. Sure movies, novels, and the like portray the objective was Kyoto.

I based my opinion on what I know and feel. Again, I may be wrong, but I also respect the opinions of others who disagree with me. Kyoto was Yoshimoto's destiny, but his dream was evaporated at Okehazama.

Nobunaga no tame!

7 comments:

Tornadoes28 said...

This just my opinion but I think it was the goal or at least hope of all the powerful daimyo in the central region (Oda, Uesugi, Takeda, etc.) to eventually control Kyoto. I think Yoshimoto like others could see other daimyo such as the Oda becoming more powerful and a larger threat if they controlled Kyoto. I still do not fully understand why Takeda Shingen did not make a bigger push towards Kyoto. I assume he felt he would when the time was right for him but of course he died before that could happen.

otsuke said...

Shingen's goal might not have been Kyoto. His objective might haveen to weaken Ieyasu for local advantage.

http://wiki.samurai-archives.com/index.php?title=Battle_of_Mikatagahara

You have to remember that Nobunaga had enemies on both sides. The Imagawa and the Saito. Once Yoshimoto was killed at Okehazama, Nobunaga concentrated on the Saito.

A ggod book on Kyoto during the Sengoku Era is The Culture of Civil War in Kyoto by Mary Elizabeth Berry.

Tornadoes28 said...

Thank you. I have added that book to my reading list.

otsuke said...

My favorite line from the book from page 88.

"In short, in one of the great ironies of wartime history, Kyoto was occupied by military rulers unable to provide military protection for the city."

Tornadoes28 said...

That is a great line. I have lucked out again. My local Los Angeles library has this book so I have put it next on my list. I am actually currently reading Tokugawa Ieyasu: Shogun by Conrad Totman and my next book I will read is Confucianism and Tokugawa Culture by Peter Nosco.

otsuke said...

The book by Totman is decent. The only problem I have with it that the book is somewhat disorganised.

His other book, Early Modern Japan is a lot better.

Tornadoes28 said...

Yes, Totman's book does jump around a lot and it is a relatively short book as well.