大館晴光書状 (Ōdachi Harumitsu shojō)

This letter from Ōdachi Harumitsu explains the contents of the shogun’s letter. First Harumitsu too inquires about Kenshin’s illness. Next, he explains that Ōdachi Teruuji would be the messenger, who would bring the shogun’s letter and a gunpowder recipe, which the Ashikaga shogun had received from Ōtomo Sōrin, an important lord from Kyushu, who had considerable contact with the Portuguese. This document too shows sign of a kirifu, and so could only have been seen by Kenshin. It is of a form called a kirigami, where the original page of a document was cut in half, and in this case reflects Harumitsu’s lower status than the shogun, who dispatched a full sized document. Kenshin’s name appears higher on the page than the shogun’s letter which constitutes a sign of greater respect. Taken together, both of these documents functioned as a certificate that verified that the gunpowder recipe had actually been dispatched by the shogun.

Concerning the state of your esteemed swelling, has been dispatched.

Recently Ōtomo Shintarō [Sōrin] has presented [our lord] with a scroll on gunpowder.

Please deign to have a look at it; this is a great honor.

As for further thoughts from the shogun, Teruuji shall speak to you in detail.

Respectfully yours,

 

[ ] Sixth month, twenty-ninth day [Ōdachi] Harumitsu
[To] ,

 

[note]大館晴光書状

[note](封紙ウワ書)

[note]「大館上総介

長尾弾正少弼殿       晴光」[/note]

 

端裏

「(墨引)」

 

就御腫物之儀被差下

左衛門佐候次今度大友

新太郎進上銕放殊

薬之方一巻御拝領之候

御面目候上意之趣委

曲輝氏可申候

恐々謹言

 

六月廿九日  晴光    (花押)

 

長尾弾正少弼殿

This literally translates to “deputy of the Left gate guard”and was a government post appropriate for people of lower rank originated in the ritsuryō system; those with this office were primarily tasked as guards for the castle gates, watchmen for the palace grounds, and outriders for imperial visits
c.1559
Literally, ‘the Nagao lord,’ likely referring to Uesugi Kenshin’s birth name of Nagao Kagetora
While this title originated in the ritsuryō system as a government post meant to oversee law and order in the capital (a duty later handed to the imperial police force or kebiishi), by the sixteenth century this office was one devoid of actual power but still resonant in symbolic authority