Alternate History

Ashikagan Wars (No America)

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Just a year after the first Spanish delegations reached the court of the shogun Ashikaga Yoshitane, he was deposed by Hosokawa Masamoto in favour of his cousin Ashikaga Yoshizumi.

The european explorers and trade delegations were not seriously effected by this change of ruler, but when the opportunity to support the deposed Yoshitane arose under the command of the influential Ouchi clan, Spanish groups based in Yamaguchi decided to aid the cause. Hernan Cortes was elected to lead the men, and with the samurai of the Ouchi, they took part in the decisive attack on Kyoto.

Rewarded, and given a minor advisory role in court, Cortes remained in Kyoto throughout the 1510s. However distrust of the western foreigners and the bad conduct of the Spanish in Kyoto, some men supposedly raiding the home of a rival daimyo, meant that they were progressively sidelined at court.

Although the Portuguese attempted to broker an alliance with Hosokawa Takakuni, another major daimyo, who rose to power as the head of his clan in the 1510s, the Europeans ultimately decided to oppose his influence. When he supported the removal of Yoshitane in favour of the more easily controlled Ashika Yoshiharu, both Spanish and Portuguese soldiers took part in defence of the reigning shogun, expelling the raiders from the city.

European influence in Yoshitane's court

With bolstered position, all through the 1520s, European diplomats saw their status greatly elevated in court. This was due to both the success of trade, introducing the matchlock firearms to Japan, where the technology was eagerly received and allowing the Japanese to bypass the Wokou bans in Chinese ports. Their partnership with the Ouchi clan, also brought benefits, with Christian missionaries establishing the first church in Yamaguchi in 1524.

In 1529 Hosokawa Takakuni and his foster son Hosokawa Harumoto raised armies in the region and lead them against the capital, the Ouchi loyalists and the Europeans. As the Hosokawa forces were establishing a siege, an excursion by Spanish and Ouchi cavalry routed much of their right flank and killed Takakuni and Harumoto in the process. The Spanish were rewarded generously, with the newly promoted Diego De Almagro, Cortes having died in the fighting, was made a minor daimyo of his own in Awaji province.

Fall of European presence in court

In 1533 there was another large scale Ikko uprising, this time mainly located in the Kansai and Chugoku regions, where European settlement and influence was most pronounced. This proved fatal for the Europeans, hundreds of which were killed by the zealous Buddhist peasantry. Amongst those killed were Diego De Almagro and Diogo De Sousa, the head of the Portuguese trade interests in Yamaguchi.

The shogun Ashikaga Yoshitane was also forced form Kyoto, and was captured and imprisoned by Hosokawa forces. The new shogun Ashikaga Yoshiharu, was far less sympathetic to European delegations, and Spanish and Portuguese traders found themselves now limited in trade privileges, and many traders faced discrimination and prejudice in the cities in which they settled, such as Nagasaki and Yamaguchi.

The next Europeans to wield any form of power in Japan, were the French, who approached the new shogun Ashikaga Yoshiteru in 1550, distancing themselves from the actions of the Iberians and attempting to promote their own interests.

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