On This Day – Assassination of Ashikaga Yoshiteru










On this day in 1565, Ashikaga Yoshiteru, the 13th Shogun of Japan, was assassinated by Matsunaga Hisahide. Yoshiteru became Shogun at the age of 11 after his father, Yoshiharu, was forced to retire in 1546 due to a political struggle. He was extremely well-respected and considered to be a great, effective Shogun. Many researchers today credit him as being the last effective Shogun to hold the post, and he was also known as the Kengo Shogun, or Great Sword Shogun, for his abilities with the sword.

Due to the young age of Yoshiteru when he found himself as Shogun, he became what is known as a Puppet Shogun, where his rule was exploited by surrounding daimyo warlords all looking to use him for their own desires and ulterior motives. Two of these were the schemers Miyoshi Chokei and Matsunaga Hisahide who had him put to death, and raised his cousin to the post of puppet Shogun, although this didn’t happen until three years after Yoshiteru’s death.

Japan’s Shoguns reigned from 1192 to 1867 and acted as the de facto rulers of Japan, although they were technically appointed by the Emperor. You can read more about ten of Japan’s Shoguns in Issue 5 of History of War!