... is the 11th and last lord of Asakura clan. He was born in 1533, and became the lord in 1548. Because he was still young, Asakura Soteki, the general of Asakura army, supported him for both military and government. Soteki was the son of Takakage, the 7th lord of Asakura, and he served for 3 generation of the lord of Asakura. He was a great general. Legend said, he defeated the 300,000 soldiers of the riot of Ikko Buddhism with only 11,000 of soldiers.
In 1552, the 13th Muromachi Shogun, Ashikaga Yoshiteru gave his name "Yoshi" to him and he changed his name from Norikage, the former name, to Yoshikage.
However, Soteki died in 1555, and after his death, Yoshikage worked for both military and government.
In 1565, Ashikaga Yoshiteru was killed by Matsunaga Hisahide. Yoshiteru's brother Yoshiaki, he became the last Muromachi Shogun later, escaped to Ichijodani. Yoshikage supported Yoshiaki's life, but never support him to became Shogun. Soon, Yoshiake moved to Gifu to get support of Oda Nobunaga.
In 1567, one of his servants, Horie Kagetada betrayed him and brought the riot army of Ikko Buddhism of Kaga land. However, Yoshikage defeated them and conquered Kaga Land.
In 1568, Yoshikage also captured the lord of Wakasa Takeda clan at ichijodani to put Wakasa under his control. He conquered most of Hokuriku region by this time.
However, after he extended his land greatly, he committed his cousins, Kageakira and Kagetake, to take care of the government. Yoshikage started spending most of his time playing with his wife.
In 1568, Ashikaga Yoshiaki became the 15th Shogun by the power of Oda Nobunaga. However, Yoshiaki couldn't get together with Nobunaga long. He asked Yoshikage to rise his army and defeat Nobunaga. Nobunaga also asked Yoshikage to visit Kyoto and show the acknowledge fealty to Nobunaga. However, Yoshikage never answered both offers.
In 1570, Nobunaga and Tokugawa Ieyasu raised their armies and invaded the land of Echizen. Asakura's brunch castles were fallen, and Ichijodani was in danger, but suddenly Azai Nagamasa, Nobunaga's brother in law, betrayed Nobunaga, and attacked the line of supplies. Nobunaga and Ieyasu was in danger at the moment, but they survived. As soon as they got back to their city, Nobunaga and Ieyasu raised again to attack Azai.
In june, the Union of Asakura and Azai fought the Union of Oda and Tokugawa at Anegawa River. Asakura and Azai was taking advantage in early period of the battle, but Tokugawa Ieyasu defeated the general of Asakura, Takekage, and lead the Union of Oda and Tokugawa victory.
In September, when Nobunaga moved his army to Settsu and emptied Omi area, Yoshikage attacked Omi-Sakamoto. He killed several Samurai of Nobunaga, and settled his headquarter at Enryakuji Temple. Nobunaga forced the imperial court to bring about peace between Nobunaga and Asakura. In 1571, Yoshikage accepted his offer and let his daughter married the son of Honganji priest, Kennyo.
In July 1572, Nobunaga surrounded Odani Castle, the castle of Azai. Yoshikage send his rescue force to help Azai. They helped Azai, but also missed preventing Nobunaga to built fortresses between the land of Asakura and Azai. Because of those fortresses, the resistance of Asakra's army were seriously limited.
Nobunaga also send many spies to let Yoshikage's samurai betray him. Many of his Samurai gave up the future of Asakura clan and betray to Nobunaga.
In October, Takeda Shingen raised his army to Kyoto and attacked the land of Ieyasu and Nobunaga. The Shingen's plan was attacking Nobunaga from both east and west, because if Azai and Asakura raised their army to Nobunaga, Nobunaga was completely surrounded, and could had been defeated. However, because those fortresses of Nobunaga blocked the march of Asakura's army, and also they were blocked by heavy snow, Asakura had to pull back their army. The plan of Shingen was failed, and sent Yoshikage the letter of his anger.
In 1573, Shingen died and the army of Takeda pulled back to Kai. Because the half of enemy was left, Nobunaga moved his army to Omi to attack Azai.
In August, Nobunaga raised 30,000 of his army to attack Azai. Yoshikage ordered his samurai to help Azai. However, Asakura Kageakira, and Uozumi Kagekata denied Yoshikage because their army were not ready.
Yoshikage brought 20,000 of his army and attack Nobunaga, but because Nobunaga broke the connection between Azai and Asakura, he lost the battle, and surrounded by Nobunaga. He lost many of his great samurai, including Saito Tatsuoki, the son of Dozan, and most of his soldiers. When he arrived at Ichijodani, he had only 10 samura around.
When people and soldiers heard that ruinous lost of Asakura, they escaped from the city. Yoshikage abandoned Ichijodani and moved to Ono for the help of Kageakira. Ichijodani was burn by Shibata Katsuie. Kageakira offered Yoshikage to fight against Nobunaga with his army, but he already betrayed to Nobunaga and it was trick to move Yoshikage out from Ichijodani.
Yoshikage was surrounded at Kenshoji Temple and committed Seppuku.
He was 41 years old.
His last poem:
"七転八倒 四十年中 無他無自 四大本空"
"My 40 years of life was very stormy. It was not for others, but not for myself either. No matter what, everything goes back to the universe."