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Amako Haruhisa

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Haruhisa was known first as Akihisa, changing his name to Haruhisa with the blessing of shôgun Ashikaga Yoshiharu in 1541.

Haruhisa was the eldest son of Amako Masahisa and the grandson of Amako Tsunehisa. In 1518 Masahisa was slain attacking the castle of the rebellious Amako retainer Sakurai Soteki [桜井宗的]. He was then placed in the care of his uncle, Amako Kunihisa, who acted as his guardian until he came of age.

He assumed control of the Amako in 1537 when his grandfather Tsunehisa retired in the wake of the revolt and death of Amako Okihisa. Haruhisa took the silver mines of Iwami province from the Ôuchi in 1537, lost them in 1539, and would again take them in 1541. He expanded Amako influence eastward and marched as far as Harima province in 1538 and fought the Akamatsu at Ojio and Akashi castles.

Determined to finally eliminate the Môri of Aki province, he gathered an army of some 30,000 men and attacked Koriyama Castle in 1540. Despite outnumbering the Môri heavily, he failed to bring the castle down and retreated when attacked by both Môri Motonari and an Ôuchi relief force. [see: Siege of Koriyama

Nonetheless, Haruhisa was able to resist the Ôuchi's efforts to bring down Gassan-Toda in 1542-43. In the aftermath of that Ôuchi defeat, Haruhisa was free to consolidate his possessions to the east of Izumo. He was further granted latitude of activity by the overthrown of Ôuchi Yoshitaka by Sue Harukata in 1551. In 1552 the shôgun Ashikaga Yoshiteru acknowledged Haruhisa's power over Izumo, Bingo, Bizen, Bittchu, Hoki, Inaba, Mimasaka, and Oki Island and this in fact was the period at which the Amako enjoyed their widest influence. Yet, in 1553, the Amako's influence in Bingo was diminished by the surrender of the Eda Clan to Môri Motonari. Haruhisa had led a force down to assist them but arrived too late.

At Gassan-Toda, two factions had come into being, one of them including Haruhisa and his immediate supporters and the other, nicknamed the 'Shingu faction' [新宮党] that surrounded Amako Kunihisa. The Shingu faction had long been the core of the Amako army and was centered at Kunihisa's mansion, located on the north base of Gassan-Toda in the Shingu valley. In the 11th month of 1554 Haruhisa suddenly ordered the murder of Kunihisa, his son Sanehisa, and various other Shingu members and a general purge of the Shingu faction. Despite the long-standing belief that Môri Motonari somehow had a hand in the purge, it now seems more likely that Haruhisa took this step to consolidate his authority over the Amako. Sanehisa's son survived, however, and would eventually emerge as Amako Katsuhisa. Edo period works often took the view that the Shingu purge was the cause of the Amako's decline in years to come but this theory carries a strongly Confucian tone.

After 1556 the Amako and Mori fought for control of Iwami Province and although Haruhisa was able to maintain control of the silver mines there Motonari siezed the eastern part of the province. The Mori were again threatening the silver mines (and would take them) when Haruhisa suddenly died at Gassan-Toda on 9 January 1561 (Eiroku 3/12/24.) He was succeeded by his son Yoshihisa.

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