The ŌNIN WAR (応仁の乱, ŌNIN NO RAN) was a civil war that
lasted from 1467 to 1477, during the
Muromachi period in
The war initiated the Sengoku period , "the Warring States period". This period was a long, drawn-out struggle for domination by individual daimyo, resulting in a mass power-struggle between the various houses to dominate the whole of Japan.
* 1 Origin * 2 Battles
* 3 Aftermath
* 4 Ōnin Ki * 5 Chronology * 6 See also * 7 Notes * 8 References
Ōnin conflict began as a controversy over who would succeed
Hosokawa had always worked closely with the Shogun's brother Ashikaga
Yoshimi, and supported his claim to the shogunate. Yamana took this as
an opportunity to oppose Hosokawa further, supporting the child as
heir to the Shogunate. War broke out in the city of Kyoto. This was
regarded by the Ashikaga
Hosokawa's Eastern Army of about 85,000 and Yamana's Western Army of
about 80,000 were almost evenly matched when mobilized near Kyoto. The
fighting started in March when a Hosokawa mansion was burned. Then in
May 1467, a Yamana mansion was attacked. In July, according to Sansom,
Yoshimasa appointed Hosokawa commanding general in an attempt to
"chastise the rebel" Yamana. Sansom states "heavy fighting continued
throughout July" and "several hundred large buildings were destroyed,
and destruction continued day after day." Hosokawa was soon cornered
in the northeast portion of
Hosokawa attempted an attack on New Years Day, and then again in
April, but for the most part "the two armies now remained glaring at
one another month after month." A central trench ten feet deep and
twenty feet wide separated the two armies. Several monasteries were
burned, including the
Tenryū-ji . Finally, Yoshimi went to the side
of Yamana, forcing the
Yamana Sōzen and
Hosokawa Katsumoto died in 1473, and even
then, the war continued on, neither side figuring out how to end the
war. However, eventually the
By 1477, ten years after the fighting had begun,
During this whole ordeal, the shogun was not instrumental in
alleviating the situation. While
Ōnin War, and the shogun's complacent attitude towards it,
"sanctioned" private wars and skirmishes between the other daimyōs.
No part of
The Ikki would form and appear throughout other parts of Japan, such as Kaga Province , where a sect of the Jōdo Shinshū Buddhists, the Ikkō , started their own revolt during the Ōnin War after being enlisted by one of Kaga's most prominent warlords, Togashi Masachika . The Ikkō, who had a complex relationship with the Jodo Shinshu leader Rennyo , appealed to the common peasants in their region, and inevitably formed the Ikkō-ikki . By 1488 the Ikkō-ikki of Kaga Province overthrew Masachika and took control of the province . After this they began building a fortified castle-cathedral along the Yodo River and used it as their headquarters.
The Ikkō-ikki and the Yamashiro-ikki part of the general outbreak of civil war. Sansom states some refer to this as gekokujō (roughly "the low oppress the high"), or a "disturbed social order". Sansom further states, "The frequent risings of the fifteenth century were expressions of popular discontent in which peasants took part". :235
Ōnin War, the Ashikaga bakufu completely fell apart; for
all practical purposes, the Hosokawa family was in charge and the
Ashikaga shoguns became their puppets. When Yoshimi's son Yoshitane
was made shogun in 1490, the Hosokawa
Kanrei (deputy) soon put him to
flight in 1493 and declared another Ashikaga, Yoshizumi, to be shogun
. In 1499, Yoshitane arrived at Yamaguchi, the capital of the Ōuchi,
and this powerful family threw its military support behind Yoshitane.
In 1507, the
Hosokawa Masamoto was assassinated and in 1508,
The Hosokawa family would control the shogunate until 1558 when they were betrayed by a vassal family, the Miyoshi . The powerful Ōuchi were also destroyed by a vassal, Mōri Motonari , in 1551. :234
By the end of the Warring States Period only a dozen or so warlord families still remained standing. But the most important development to come out of the Ōnin War was the ceaseless civil war that ignited outside the capital city. :235 Hosokawa tried to foment civil strife in the Ōuchi domains, for instance, and this civil strife would eventually force Ōuchi to submit and leave. From the close of the Ōnin War, this type of civil strife, either vassals striving to conquer their daimyo or succession disputes drawing in outside daimyo, was endemic all throughout Japan.
Scholars disagree on the appropriateness of the term "Warring States
period " (which is the Chinese term borrowed by the Japanese in
calling this period "sengoku jidai "). Many argue that since
The cost for the individual daimyo was tremendous, and a century of
conflict would so weaken the bulk of Japanese warlords, that the three
great figures of Japanese unification, beginning with
The Ōnin Ki :220 (応仁記) is a document written sometime from the end of the 15th century to the middle of the 16th century (i.e. some 20 to 80 years after the conflict), which describes the causes and effects of the Ōnin War. It illustrates in detail the strategies involved in the fighting, and its chief instigators, Yamana Sōzen and Hosokawa Katsumoto .
Though it is classified as a work of historical military fiction (軍記物語), because of the time in which it was written, it is entirely possible that the author is relating a first person account of the conflagration. Though its author is unknown, his beliefs and philosophies are apparent throughout the text, as he relates the apparent futility of the war and the destruction it wrought on the capital. It remains an important work in part due to its departure from somewhat cut-and-dried depictions of the numerous battles, instead adding accounts of how the Onin War affected the city and its citizens:
"The flowery capital which we thought would last forever to our surprise is to become a lair of wolves and foxes. :225–226 Even the North Field of Toji has fallen to ash ... Lamenting the plight of the many fallen acolytes, Ii-o Hikorokusaemon-No-Jou read a passage:
Nare ya shiru Miyako wa nobe no Yu-hibari Agaru wo mite mo Ochiru na-mida wa
Now the city that you knew Has become an empty moor, From which the evening skylark rises While your tears fall. :226"
The origins of the Ōnin conflict are manifold. To say that the war began with a quarrel between angry warlords is too simplistic. The initial phase of this decade-long struggle "was only a spark which set fire to a broader conflagration." Without fully anticipating the consequences, the Kamakura government had loosened the restraints of tradition in Japanese society, which meant that "new energies were released, new classes were formed, and new wealth was created." As the shogunate's powerful figures competed for influence in Kyoto, the leading families in the provinces were amassing resources and growing more independent of centralized controls.
Ashikaga Yoshimasa becomes Shogun.
Hosokawa Katsumoto becomes
WARFARE BEGINS :218
* 1467 Outbreak of the Ōnin War. Yamana is declared a rebel. In November, the Shōkoku-ji (相国寺 (ja)) is destroyed. * 1468 Yoshimi goes over to Yamana 's side. * 1469 Yoshimasa names Yoshihisa his heir. * 1471 Ikkō-ikki Buddhist sect gains strength in the North. Asakura Toshikage becomes Constable (shugo ) of Echizen . :247–250 * 1473 Yamana and Hosokawa die. Yoshimasa retires. * 1477 Ōuchi clan leaves Kyoto. End of the Ōnin War.
* 1485 Agrarian uprisings in Yamashiro.
* 1489 Yoshihisa dies.
* 1490 Yoshimasa dies.
Ashikaga Yoshitane becomes shogun.
Hōjō Sōun becomes master of Izu.
* 1493 Yoshitane abdicates.
Hosokawa Masamoto becomes