Asakura Yoshikage (朝倉 義景 October 12, 1533 - September 16, 1573) was a daimyo of the Sengoku period he ruled the province of Echizen ( In present day Fukui prefecture ) . He is known for his fights against Oda Nobunaga, and for being the last leader of the Asakura clan, as his fights against Nobunaga led to the clan's destruction.
Asakura Yoshikage was born in Ichijodani Castle, in the Kidanouchi district of Fukui Prefecture. Son of Asakura Takakage, he succeeded the clan after the death of his father in 1548.
Yoshikage was known as a leader with a good political and diplomatic management, and made good negotiations with the Ikkõ-Ikki of Echizen, which turned the province into a place for refugees from the Kansai region.
His castle Ichijodani eventually became a center of culture modeled on the capital Kyoto.
In 1570 Ashikaga Yoshiaki, appointed Yoshikage as regent and asked to expel Nobunaga from the capital. As a result, Oda Nobunaga launched an attack on Echizen, but Yoshikage did not have much experience in military leadership, which caused Oda Nobunaga to invade Echizen province without any problems.
However, Yoshikage had asked the Azai clan, a long-time ally of his clan, to help him capture Nobunaga, but both failed and Nobunaga was able to escape.
This battle would become known as the Siege of Kanegasaki (1570). That same year an Ant-Oda alliance was created.
After the failure to capture Nobunaga, the Azai clan, which at the time was led by Azai Nagamasa, who was Nobunaga's brother-in-law, had their land invaded by the Oda-Tokugawa alliance.
Nagamasa broke his alliance with Nobunaga to try to help the Asakura capture his brother-in-law. Nobunaga and his army walked to Yokoyama Castle to launch an attack.
When Nagamasa learned of this he asked Yoshikage to help him and he sent an army to support Nagamasa, and the Azai-Asakura alliance was formed to confront Oda Nobunaga. After the defeat at Anegawa, Azai and Asakura achieved a victory over Nobunaga in the Siege of Mont Usa, which would lead to the death of Mori Yoshinari and his younger brother Oda Shinji.
Asakura Yoshikage fled to his homeland, reconciled with Nobunaga and made an agreement for 3 years. After this time Nobunaga launched an attack against the clan and destroyed the Ichijodani castle.
Yoshikage managed to escape, but because he was a weak leader, he was captured by soldiers of his cousin Asakura Kageaki and was forced to commit seppuku, thus leading to the destruction of the Asakura clan.