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Asakura Yoshikage

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  • Birth: 1533
  • Death: 1573
  • Distinction: Lord of Echizen
  • Title: Saemon no kami
  • Japanese: 朝倉義景 (Asakura Yoshikage)

Yoshikage was the eldest son of Asakura Takakage. He succeeded his father in 1546 and defeated the ikko-ikki of Kaga on two occasions (9/1555, 1564) and lent nominal support to the Saitô during their war with Oda Nobunaga (1561-67). He sheltered Ashikaga Yoshiaki after the latter had fled the Kyoto area in 1565. Yoshikage was unable to give Yoshiaki the assistance he needed to claim the title of shôgun and Yoshiaki at length departed. Yoshikage moved into neighboring Wakasa and absorbed that province during the later 1560's at the expense of the Wakasa - Takeda. The fortunes of his house began to change when he refused a 'request' by Nobunaga to come to Kyoto in 1570, and as a result found himself at war with the Oda. Yoshikage is said to have resented Nobunaga's presumption, as both of their families had once served the Shiba family. The Asakura domain was quickly invaded but Nobunaga was forced to retreat when Yoshikage was joined by his ally Asai Nagamasa. Yoshikage sent his army to assist the Asai on a number of occasions, including the Battle of Anegawa (which he was not present at) and the stand-off at Mt. Hiei in 1570. He was content to let his relatives Asakura Kageakira and Kagetaka command his army after the death of Asakura Norikage in 1555, as he had a weak constitution and was not well-suited for campaigning. In 1573 Nobunaga again threatened the Asai's Odani castle. Yoshikage duly dispatched his army but before even reaching Odani it lost heart and broke. Nobunaga chased it into Echizen and Yoshikage fled from Ichijo no dani. His whereabouts were betrayed by Asakura Kageakira and he took his life on 8/20/1573 at the Rokubô Kenshôji. His weak character had by then disenchanted a number of his senior men and this greatly contributed to his downfall.

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