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|“||Ashikaga Takauji founded the Ashikaga clan, united JAPAN, and even became emperor, but he evidently didn't have much in the way of taste.||”|
—Pluepet, on Ashikaga Takauji.
|Affiliation||Ashikaga House, JAPAN|
|Mentioned in||Sengoku Rance|
Ashikaga Takauji was the second Emperor of the eastern nation of JAPAN and the founder of the Ashikaga Clan. Under his reign, the country was led into an age of relative stability that lasted for nearly 500 years.
Takauji came into prominence during the third Sengoku era, in which he and various other influential figures throughout JAPAN founded their own ruling households and waged war with each other to seize control over the country following the collapse of the Holy Magic Sect in the year GI0452. The Ashikaga family saw numerous conflicts that pushed it toward the brink of destruction throughout this period, but managed to survive each one with the aid of Takauji's leadership.
In the year GI0455, Takauji succeeded in gathering the three sacred treasures needed to be recognized as the emperor of JAPAN, a figure granted absolute dominion over the nation and its people by divine right. As the emperor, Takauji ordered his rivals to stand down and submit to his authority, unifying the country under Ashikaga's banner and bringing an end to the third Sengoku era after a mere three years.
After conquering JAPAN, Takauji focused his attention toward strengthening his power by reforming the country's economic and political structures. The most noteworthy policy he enacted during this time was the implementation of the daimyo system, which bestowed regional authority to the leaders of prominent subordinate clans. The daimyo system allowed several groups the autonomy needed to make great strides in improving the nation, including the foundation of the Miko Institute, which specialized in research into and prevention of earthquakes, and the beginning of a long-term project by the Diviners of the Houjou Family to reduce the risk of Oni attacks by closing Hell Holes. These changes ushered JAPAN into a period of tremendous social upheaval, while the exceptional governing administration Takauji established ensured that Ashikaga would remain the country's ruling power for centuries to come. Following his death, it became customary for the head of the Ashikaga clan to take on Takauji's name as a way of honoring his legacy, symbolically inheriting his will in addition to his obligations as a leader.
In the year GI0910, 455 years after Takauji was appointed emperor, the Ashikaga family lost its position as rulers of JAPAN as a result of the gradual decay of its authority over time. The collapse of the longstanding government body marked the start of the fourth Sengoku era, as the most powerful clans in the nation grappled with each other once more for the chance to claim it for themselves. Though the Ashikaga family remained active during this conflict, its leaders had long since become too consumed by their decadent lifestyles to competently lead their people, causing its reputation to continue to plummet until it was eventually conquered and assimilated into the Oda House in the year LP0005. Despite this, many of the ideas implemented during Takauji's reign remain at the bedrock of contemporary JAPANese society, allowing his influence to continue to be felt in spirit if not in name.
Takauji is briefly mentioned during the events of Sengoku Rance if his descendant Hara Aki is recruited into Oda's forces as a commander. In an effort to make it more difficult for him to sleep with her, Aki orders the Oda family's shadow ruler Rance to find and return a lost folding screen made by Takauji depicting three dancing Squidmen to her. After some investigating, Rance is able to learn that the folding screen had been sold to the merchant Pluepet by Aki's older brother Ashikaga Choushin, the former head of the Ashikaga family. When Rance questions Pluepet about the heirloom, he reveals that he had purchased it under the assumption that it would be valuable but learned soon after that it was nearly worthless due to its ugly design and hands it over free of charge. Acquiring the folding screen earns Rance Aki's love, allowing him to have sex with her.
Personality and Appearance
As he is long dead by the time of the Rance Series, many details relating to Takauji's character, including his physical appearance, are a mystery. Though his personality is similarly difficult to gauge, he is suggested to have been a shrewd and practical man with a keen eye for politics. Compared to Fujiwara Ishimaru, his predecessor as emperor of JAPAN, Takauji chose to utilize his position to strengthen the country internally through widespread societal restructuring rather than attempting to expand his territory by invading the mainland of The Continent. While this comparative conservatism left him largely overshadowed by Fujiwara as a historical figure, his contributions to JAPANese society resulted in the foundation of an administration that thrived for over four centuries, with innovations such as the daimyo system remaining a central facet of the nation's government even after the end of the fourth Sengoku era.
The many accomplishments that Takauji achieved throughout his lifetime stand in direct contrast to those of Ashikaga Choushin, his descendant and successor as head of the Ashikaga family. Selfish, short-sighted, and incompetent, Choushin destroyed what little remained of the Ashikaga family's influence through exceedingly poor leadership until it was conquered by the Oda clan in LP0005. Choushin does not appear to have any respect for his ancestor's legacy despite frequently abusing it for his own personal gain and has done multiple things that directly disgrace it. These misdeeds include breaking the long-standing tradition of the head of Ashikaga house to take on the name Takauji in honor of its founder in favor of rechristening himself with the tastelessly arrogant title of "Super God" and selling an heirloom folding screen that Takauji had painted himself for money. The statement "The ancestor's spirit is sad." has a chance of appearing whenever the Ashikaga family takes action in Sengoku Rance, though whether this is meant to suggest that Takauji remains tethered to the world of the living as a Ghost due to Choushin's shameful conduct is unknown.
In a somewhat startling contrast to the rest of what is known about him, Takauji is implied to have had a lamentable taste in visual aesthetics. He seemed to have had a particular fascination with squidmen, low-level Monsters that are regarded as little more than vermin by the general public, and constructed multiple folding screens depicting them during his time as emperor. While these folding screens are regarded as important heirlooms by the Ashikaga family, their ugly appearances have rendered them nearly worthless to art collectors in spite of their historical significance. Takauji's warped perception of art is reminiscent of Choushin's terrible notions of beauty, implying that it is ironically the one quality that his descendant inherited from him.
As the founder of the Ashikaga clan, Takauji is assumed to have been very gifted as a leader. This skill earned him many great achievements both politically, such as establishing a government that functioned without opposition for hundreds of years, and militarily, such as ending the third Sengoku era in just three years and commanding his army to victory in several losing battles during it.
Takauji is notable for being among the few people in history able to attain the title of Emperor of JAPAN, which bestowed him with the blessing of the Goddess Amaterasu. This blessing gave him absolute authority over all JAPANese citizens, a power that he put to great use by ordering his rivals to submit to his will and unify the country. Becoming the emperor also augmented Takauji's physical abilities, though as neither his Level Cap nor his Skill Levels are known, it is unclear in what capacity this affected him.
- Takauji's character is derived from a combination of the historical Ashikaga Takauji, the founder of the Ashikaga Shogunate, and Minamoto-no-Yoritomo, the founder of the Kamakura Shogunate and creator of the daimyo system.