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Ashikaga Yoshiaki (5 December 1537 – 19 October 1597) was the fifteenth and final shogun of the Ashikaga shogunate in Japan, reigning from 1568 to 1573. His father, Ashikaga Yoshiharu, held the position of the twelfth shogun, and his brother, Ashikaga Yoshiteru, followed as the thirteenth shogun.

Born to Ashikaga Yoshiharu on 5 December 1537, Yoshiaki initially entered Kofuku-ji temple as a monk. However, when his elder brother Yoshiteru fell victim to the Miyoshi clan, Yoshiaki returned to secular life, assuming the name "Yoshiaki". During this time, the Ashikaga shogunate faced significant decline, with its authority largely disregarded throughout Japan. Nevertheless, various factions still vied for control of the central government, as it retained some prestige despite its weakened state. Ashikaga Yoshiteru made attempts to overthrow the Miyoshi, who effectively controlled him. Yet, his conspiracies led to a coup orchestrated by the Miyoshi and Matsunaga Hisahide, ultimately compelling Yoshiteru to take his own life. Subsequently, they attempted to install Ashikaga Yoshihide as the fourteenth shogun in Kyoto, but they struggled to maintain control over the capital.

Not until Ashikaga Yoshiaki secured the support of warlord Oda Nobunaga did an effective central authority return to Kyoto. In 1568, Oda's armies entered Kyoto, reinstating the Muromachi shogunate with Ashikaga Yoshiaki as a nominal shogun. This marked the onset of the Azuchi–Momoyama period. The fourteenth shogun, Yoshihide, was deposed without ever setting foot in the capital. In due course, Yoshiharu grew discontented with Oda Nobunaga's dominance and sought to reclaim state power.

In 1573, Ashikaga Yoshiharu sought the assistance of another warlord, Takeda Shingen, in overthrowing the Oda clan. In response, Oda Nobunaga deposed the shogun, compelling him to flee the capital. Most historians consider this the definitive conclusion of the Ashikaga shogunate. Yoshiaki embraced the life of a Buddhist monk, shaving his head and adopting the name Sho-san, later changed to Rei-o In. Nevertheless, Yoshiaki did not formally relinquish his shogunal title. Consequently, the Ashikaga shogunate's symbolic existence could be said to have persisted for several more years. Despite a restored central authority in Kyoto and Oda Nobunaga's efforts to unify the country, the power struggle among warring states persisted. Yoshiaki served as a focal point for anti-Oda forces. He even raised troops and dispatched them to engage Oda Nobunaga's army during the Ishiyama Hongan-ji War. Even after Oda Nobunaga's passing in 1582, the former shogun continued his endeavors to regain power. 


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