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
15th Ashikaga shōgun
In office
Preceded byAshikaga Yoshihide
Personal details
BornDecember 5, 1537
DiedOctober 19, 1597(1597-10-19) (aged 59)


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,[4] 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.[5]

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 until unification and final peace was achieved long after Nobunaga's assassination in 1582.


  • 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 bakufu

Significant events shape the period during which Yoshiaki was shōgun:

Eras of Yoshiaki's bakufu

The span of years in which Yoshiaki was shōgun are more specifically identified by more than one era name or nengō.[8]


  1. "Ashikaga Yoshiaki" in The New Encyclopædia Britannica. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 15th edn., 1992, Vol. 1, p. 625.
  2. 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. Sansom, George (1961). A History of Japan, 1334–1615. Stanford University Press. pp. 278–279. ISBN 0804705259.
  5. Titsingh, p. 389., p. 389, at Google Books
  6. Lee Butler, "Castles in Medieval Japan: Before Azuchi", presentation at Association for Asian Studies annual conference, San Diego, March 23, 2013.
  7. National Diet Library: 国史大系
  8. Titsingh, pp. 382–405., p. 382, at Google Books


Preceded by
Ashikaga Yoshihide
Ashikaga Yoshiaki

Azuchi–Momoyama period
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