Chikatake was a son of Chosokabe Kuniyasu and a cousin and retainer of Chosokabe Motochika. He was active in Motochika's wars to conquer Shikoku and in 1570 was given Tonami Castle (taken from the Ichijô), the name of which he assumed. In 1584 he was given Sogo Castle in Sanuki and the following year, at Ueda Castle, attempted resist Hideyoshi's invasion of Shikoku. His eventual fate is unclear, but he may have died around 1589.
Tadayoshi served Matsudaira Hirotada and then Tokugawa Ieyasu as a councilor and an administrator of finances at Okazaki Castle. He is best remembered for hoarding supplies secretly in Okazaki in the expectation of Ieyasu's return from Sumpu and was described as the model of the Mikawa samurai.
Mototada was a son of Torii Tadayoshi and served Ieyasu from childhood, attending to the young Ieyasu while both were hostages of the Imagawa at Sumpu. He served in many of Ieyasu's campaigns, including the Battle of Nagashino, where he helped erect that battle's well-known palisades. He rendered service in the 1584 Komaki Campaign and the following year was party to the unsuccessful attempt to bring Sanada Masayuki of Shinano Province into line. Following the 1590 Odawara Campaign Mototada was given a fief in Shimôsa Province (Yahagi, 40,000 koku) and at the opening of the Sekigahara Campaign (1600) was entrusted with Fushimi Castle in Yamashiro Province. Once hostilities commenced, Fushimi was besieged on 27 August and fierce fighting continued until 8 September, at which point, with his garrison all but eliminated and undone by treachery, Mototada committed suicide. His final parting with Ieyasu just prior to the start of the campaign (made in the knowledge of the inevitability of Mototada's death) was said to have been quite moving. Mototada was perhaps one of Ieyasu’s few true friends and the news of his death reportedly saddened Ieyasu greatly. Stains of Mototada's blood can be seen to this day at the Yôgen-in in Kyoto.
Iwami no kami
Iwami no kami (his given name is unclear) was a senior retainer of Kitabatake Tomonori of Ise Province. Known for his intelligence, he had made sure to stock enough rice prior to Oda Nobunaga's invasion in 1569 to give the Kitabatake a fighting chance. After the Kitabatake surrendered, Iwami no kami is said to have remained close to Tomonori, who became a monk, and acted as an envoy for him and between the Oda and Takeda.
(Kinoshita Tokichiro, Kinoshita Hideyoshi, Hashiba Hideyoshi)
2nd of the Three Unifiers
Chikuzen no kami (1573), Naidaijin (1585), Kampaku (1585), Taikô (1592)
Hideyoshi's specific background is obscure, but he was evidently born in Nakamura village in Owari Province, the son of a simple a footsoldier/farmer. Although one version of his past names his father as a certain Chikuami, a more commonly accepted telling identifies his father as Yaemon. His mother, Naka, better known by her later title of Ô-man Dokoro, lived until 1592 and enjoyed her son's great affection. He was known in his earlier days as Tokichiro. Legend has it that he first sought service with an Imagawa retainer named Matsushita Yukitsuna but returned to Owari to serve the Oda. He is famed as having been a simple sandal-bearer to Oda Nobunaga who managed to work his way up the ranks to the extent that he was an important figure in the Oda's war with the Saitô of Mino Province. Popular legend also has him building a castle overnight (the Sunomata 'one-night castle') and helping to bring down Inabayama (Inokuchi) in 1567, though he is not mentioned in surviving records until a few years after that event. He first appears as Kinoshita Tokichiro and was apparently involved in the war with the Asai of northern Ômi Province. After the fall of the Asai in 1573, he was given Ôdani Castle and three districts in Ômi. Around this time he changed his name to Hashiba Hideyoshi and received the title Chikuzen no kami. He reportedly derived ‘Hashiba’ by borrowing characters from the names Niwa and Shibata, two of his colleagues. He began work on Imahama (Nagahama) Castle and tended to various domestic matters, which included increasing the output at the local Kunimoto firearms factory (established some years previously by the Asai and Asakura). He served in numerous military campaigns for Nobunaga in the next few years, commanding troops in the battles for Nagashima and the Oda victory over the Takeda at Nagashino (he appears on the famous Nagashino screen). He was chosen to lead a campaign against the Môri in 1576, and he was occupied with this mission for the next six years. He was delayed by the stubborn resistance of the Bessho clan of Harima Province, but following the fall of Miki Castle in 1580 was able to press deep into the Môri's outer territory, thanks in part to an alliance with the Ukita of Bizen. Of interest is the fact that Hideyoshi's 'official' biography, composed in his later life, opens with the fall of Miki.
He was in the process of taking Takamatsu (to which end he had diverted a nearby river to flood the castle compound) in Bitchû Province when Oda Nobunaga was killed in Kyoto by Akechi Mitsuhide. Hideyoshi is said to have intercepted a message from Akechi to the Môri informing them of the rebellion. He quickly forged a peace treaty with the Môri and force-marched westward. After taking on reinforcements near Osaka, he met and defeated the forces of Akechi Mitsuhide at the Battle of Yamazaki and afterwards took a prominent part in the 'Kiyosu Conference' to nominate Nobunaga's successor. Hideyoshi backed Oda Nobutada’s infant son Samboshi and so feuded with Shibata Katsuie, who championed Oda Nobutaka.
War broke out in 1583 and Hideyoshi emerged the victor in a campaign that culminated in the Battle of Shizugatake and the suicides of both Katsuie and Nobutaka. That same year he ordered the construction of Osaka Castle and made a great effort to expand on the town there, employing tens of thousands of laborers in the process. In 1584 he clashed with Tokugawa Ieyasu and Oda Nobuo in the Komaki Campaign, although him himself was content to remain at his Komaki headquarters in Owari Province for the duration of the contest. Nobuo made a separate peace with him and so Ieyasu followed suit. Hideyoshi married his half-sister Ashahi-hime to Ieyasu and in the end both Hideyoshi and Ieyasu benefited from their war: Hideyoshi was perennially conscious of his humble roots (and probably his eclipse of the house of his former lord as well)and so was eager to have his prestige enhanced by Ieyasu, well-respected and a loyal ally of the Oda, coming to pay him homage.
In 1585 he reduced the Negoroji in Kii Province and ordered the invasion of Shikoku, which resulted in Chosokabe Motochika's submission and reduction to the province of Tosa. He made the critical step of ordering the 'Great Sword Hunt' and authorizing sweeping land surveys within his domain (which would continue even after his death in 1598). He was awarded the titles Naidaijin and Kampaku, almost certainly becoming the first former peasant to receive those marks, though as a nod to tradition he had himself adopted by Konoe Sakihisa, a noble of Fujiwara blood. At the end of the same year he held the Grand Kitano Tea Ceremony, which he canceled after one day but was nonetheless very extravagant. In late 1586 he responded to requests for help from Ôtomo Sôrin (whose family was being hard-pressed by the Shimazu) and committed an advance force to Bungo Province. Despite a reverse suffered by his advance force in January of 1587, he led an immense army into Kyushu and by June had forced the submission of the Shimazu family. In this campaign, as in the Shikoku Campaign, Hideyoshi made extensive of the great western houses who had accepted his authority. These clans, who were also destined to bear the brunt of Hideyoshi's later wars in Korea, formed what was to become the Toyotomi's power base. Almost immediately following the conquest of Kyushu, he issued the first Christian Expulsion Edict, though he made little effort to see that it was followed. Ever concerned with his legitimacy, in 1588 he hosted the Emperor Go-Yozei at the Juraku Palace and made considerable contributions to the Imperial lifestyle. He ordered the suppression of piracy (largely completed within three years) as part of his general encouragement of foreign trade, which he distinguished from the infiltration of foreign religion (in fact, the anti-piracy edict may have been also intended to clamp down on private trade).
In 1589 he ordered Hôjô Ujimasa and Ujinao to come to Kyoto and when this was ignored prepared an invasion of the Hôjô domain, issuing the so-called sôbuji (Universal Peace) edict, which ordered the remaining untamed warlords of the realm to lay aside their arms in the interest of peace. Hideyoshi’s massive armies descended on the Hôjô domain in the spring of 1590 and after 100 days Ujimasa and Ujinao were compelled to surrender. Ujimasa and a number of his relatives and retainers were ordered to commit suicide and the Hôjô were the only great house that Hideyoshi defeated who lost their domain in totality. However, Hideyoshi's harshness in this instance was not committed out of spite: he had plans for the vast tracts of land thus made available. He compelled Ieyasu to relocated to the Kanto, perhaps hoping that this enormous transfer would keep his formidable erstwhile enemy occupied for years while in the meantime the Toyotomi dynasty was consolidated. At the same time, Hideyoshi established loyal Toyotomi retainers in the former Tokugawa domain and so placed a buffer between his own power base in the Kyoto-Osaka area and Ieyasu. On the other hand, Hideyoshi's handling of the Tokugawa must have made one fact obvious to concerned observers: however mighty Hideyoshi had become, the number two man in the realm was obviously Ieyasu. In any event, by January 1591 Hideyoshi was he master of all Japan and that year he issued his Edict on Changing Status, which was a move designed to freeze social mobility.
Some years prior to his death, Nobunaga had reputedly commented to Hideyoshi that he planned to conquer China once Japan was unified. Now, with Japan under his control, Hideyoshi moved to realize Nobunaga's daydreams. In 1592, after fruitless negotiations with the Koreans over transit through their country to China, Hideyoshi ordered the 1st Korean Invasion to begin. He himself never went to Korea, rather conducting operations at Nagoya in Kyushu. The bulk of the forces destined to be committed to Korea were drawn from the western provinces and were led by such commanders as Konishi Yukinaga, Kato Kiyomasa, and Môri Terumoto. That same year he retired as Kampaku in favor of his adopted son Hidetsugu and assumed the title of Taiko (retired regent). In 1593 Hideyoshi's second natural son (the first, Tsurumatsu, or Sute, had died at the age of 3 in 1591) Hideyori was born and this was a key factor in the fall of Toyotomi Hidetsugu in 1595, which Hideyoshi ordered with uncustomary brutality. The first Korean invasion having been suspended in 1593 owing to the intervention of China and, even more importantly, Korea's naval superiority, he ordered a resumption of the war in Korea on the basis of what he took to be an insult from the Chinese Emperor. The affront was in the form of the Emperor of the Ming investing Hideyoshi as the King of Japan, obviously a redundant act and, to Hideyoshi, enormously (and embarrassingly) condescending. In this round of fighting, he gave commands to those younger men he was grooming for future service to the Toyotomi house, notably Ukita Hideie and Kobayakawa Hideaki. The second invasion also faltered and in the end Hideyoshi’s destructive and ultimately pointless dream of conquering China was called off after his death. In August 1598 Hideyoshi fell ill and before dying established a council of regents to protect Hideyori until he came of age. Hideyoshi then died on 18 September 1598. The nature of his final illness remains a mystery although his health had never been robust.
Hideyoshi was a remarkable figure in Japanese history, reknowned for his strategic sense and ability to understand the motivations of others. He was also an eager student of the tea ceremony and even tried his hands at Nô theater in his later years. A number of actions he took in later life, including the executions of Hidetsugu and Sen no Rikyu, have caused some to question his mental stability after 1590, while others assert that his behavior was born of concern for the future (though this hints of scholarly revisionism at times). His early life remains for the most part a mystery, and even the biography that he commissioned of himself begins only with the Siege of Miki Castle in 1578. The span of his hegemony over Japan is known as the Momoyama Period and was typified by his building projects (which included Osaka Castle and Jurakutei) and his great efforts at cultural enrichment. A number of his significant political policies, including his prohibitions against changing social class and Christianity were largely continued by the Tokugawa family (who destroyed Hideyori in 1515) and so his impact on Japanese history was very great indeed. At the same time, his failed invasion of Korea must be counted as a great blot on his legacy, given the immense suffering it caused the Korean people: in Korea today, there are almost no structures that predate 1592.
Mino no Kami, Dainogon
Hidenaga, Hashiba (Toyotomi) Hideyoshi's half-brother through their mother, joined Hideyoshi's staff when the latter took up in Ômi province in 1573 and followed him on campaign against the western provinces of Honshu (1577-82). In the aftermath of Nobunaga's death in June 1582, Hidenaga served at the Battle of Yamazaki and was given the fief of Koriyama in Yamato. He led key elements in the invasions of Shikoku and Kyushu and may have received an income as high as 1,000,000 koku. He was appointed guardian of Hideyoshi's first son Tsurumatsu (who was born in 1589) and had by now become one of Hideyoshi's most trusted companions. His death from illness in 1591 was a source of much grief for Hideyoshi and others. Hidenaga was well-regarded by his contemporaries for having a warm personality and great tact. He was succeeded in his Koriyama fief by an adopted son, Hideyasu. For a brief period, Hidenaga appears to have been Hideyoshi’s heir-apparent.
Hidetsugu was the son of Miyoshi Yorifusa, who was married to Toyotomi Hideyoshi's sister. He first saw service on campaign at Nagakute (1584) against Tokugawa Ieyasu, where his leadership skills were found lacking. He nonetheless went on to serve in the Shikoku and Odawara Campaigns and was first given a fief in Ômi and later much of Owari (1590). He was named Hideyoshi's heir and kanpaku in January 1592 following the deaths of Hashiba Hidenaga and Hideyoshi's infant son Tsurumatsu. He moved his residence to Jurakutei and carried out his duties as Imperial Regent, entertaining the emperor in early 1592 and gaining a reputation for trivial dalliances. In August 1595 he was suddenly ordered into exile at Mt. Kôya and was soon afterwards ordered to commit suicide along with his chief vassals, followed by a number of his favorites (including Maeno Nagayasu and Watarase Shigeaki). His immediate family, including his young children (a daughter and two sons) and a few dozen others, were executed before the public and buried in a mass grave. Even daimyô considered to be on friendly terms with Hidetsugu were made uncomfortable for their association. Hideyoshi's motivations for his harsh measures are unclear but may well have been driven by the birth of Toyotomi Hideyori two years previously. Some have suggested that Hidetsugu refused to take a part in the Korean Campaigns, and that this served as a pretext for his sudden fall. Regardless, Hidetsugu does appear to have become concerned about his own fate after the birth of Hideyori and took certain protective steps that Hideyoshi elected to see as signs of treason. That Hidetsugu had enemies within the Toyotomi's inner circle - including Ishida Mitsunari and very possibly Yodo-gimi - is clear and no doubt contributed to his fate. A man of some learning, Hidetsugu nonetheless had a reputation for cruelty that, according to Luis Frois and such sources as the Taikô-ki, was centered on his delight for killing. His behavior may in fact have played a part in Hideyoshi's decision to eliminate Hidetsugu - the same man Hideyoshi had promised to make the kanpaku of China (in a document dated 6/92). In any event, there is very little documentation from which one can draw a sketch of the personal relationship between Hideyoshi and Hidetsugu. That Hideyoshi elevated Hidetsugu only after the deaths of Tsurumatsu and Hidenaga is at any rate telling.
In his time, Hidetsugu was actually known as 'Hidetsugi'.
Heir to Toyotomi Hideyoshi
Sakon'e gon-shôshô (1597), Gon-chûnagon (1598), Naidaijin (1603)
Hideyori was the second natural son of Toyotomi Hideyoshi (his elder brother Tsurumatsu had died a young child) and was named the eventual heir to the Toyotomi house. He was the maternal grandson of Asai Nagamasa and great-nephew of Oda Nobunaga and was first known as Hiroi. Hideyoshi lavished affection on him and named him as his heir after the fall of Toyotomi Hidetsugu in 1595. Hideyoshi fell ill shortly after Hidetsugu's destruction and various lords signed a document pledging their loyalty to Hiroi. Hiroi was given the name Hideyori in 1597 at an early coming of age ceremony that also saw him awarded with the rank of Sakon'e gon-shôshô. The folling spring he was given the title Gon-chûnagon. When Hideyoshi suffered his final illness in 1598 he continually urged his great vassals to protect and loyally serve Hideyori. Attended by his mother (the so-called Yodo-dono or Yodo-gimi) and a ward of Maeda Toshiie (who passed away in 1599), Hideyori resided in Osaka Castle while the Regents Hideyoshi had named to rule until the boy reached manhood splintered and came to blows. In 1600, factions under Tokugawa Ieyasu and Ishida Mitsunari (a former member of the go-bugyô) clashed at Sekigahara while Hideyori and Osaka were guarded by Môri Terumoto. Following the Tokugawa victory, Hideyoshi was formally given Osaka Castle and a fief worth 650,000 koku. He met with Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1611 at Nijô in Kyoto and revealed himself to be intelligent and of good bearing. Ieyasu had come to distrust Hideyori, or at least those around him, whom he viewed as a threat to the fledgling Tokugawa bakufu. Tensions between the Toyotomi and Tokugawa reached their peak in 1614, when Ieyasu chose to take offense at the inscription on a bell cast for the Great Buddha in Kyoto Hideyori had rebuilt in honor of his father. Hideyori's own views - and motivations - during this period are rather unclear, but soon Osaka Castle was filled with displaced daimyô and ronin - providing Ieyasu with all the more reason to declare war. Later in that same year of 1614, the Osaka Winter Campaign began and while the Tokugawa were initially repulsed with considerable loss, Ieyasu compelled Hideyori and his mother to come to the tables after a concentrated bombardment was directed at the castle keep. Hideyori agreed to a peace treaty, but this proved only an opportunity for the Tokugawa to weaken Osaka's defenses. In the summer of 1615 the fighting at Osaka resumed and culminated in the Battle of Tennôji. when Hideyori heard that his supporters had been defeated on the field of battle, he committed suicide along with his mother. He had never actually made an appearance on the field of battle and in fact only infrequently met with the commanders who were fighting in his name. His infant son was later seized by the Tokugawa and executed. There is an enduring legend that Hideyori in fact escaped death at Osaka, being allowed to take up on Kyushu under an assumed name. Regardless, Hideyori cuts a reluctant and tragic figure in Japanese history.
Hyûga warlord, Itô retainer
Chikanari was a daimyô of Hyûga and held Matsuo Castle. He came to accept the authority of Itô Yoshisuke. In 1578 he sided with the invading Shimazu and was afterwards besieged by the Ôtomo in their campaign to subdue Hyûga that same year. When the Shimazu were unable to arrive in time, Chikanari was forced to commit suicide and his lands were given to Ôtomo retainers.
Sons: Hisatsuna, Chikanobu
Uemon no jô
Masatsugu was the second son of Kanamaru Chikuzen no kami Torayoshi (d.1572). He fought in many of Takeda Shingen's battles, notably the 4th Battle of Kawanakajima. He contemplated killing himself when Shingen died in 1573 but Kosaka Masanobu managed to convince him to carry on in the service of the Takeda. Just two years later he was killed by gunfire at the Battle of Nagashino. His three sons were among the final supporters of Takeda Katsuyori and died fending off Oda troops while their lord committed suicide at Temmokuzan.
Imagawa, Takeda retainer
Buzen no kami
Sadatsuna originally served the Imagawa and was known as Okabe Chûbei. He joined Takeda Shingen and adopted the name by which he is better known. He was something of a naval commander and had 12 vessels under his control, though he would be killed fighting on the ground at Nagashino in 1575.
Sôgyu was the son of Tsuda Sôtatsu and from a wealthy Sakai merchant family. He enjoyed the favor of Oda Nobunaga and later Toyotomi Hideyoshi for his skill at the tea ceremony. His familiarity with Akechi Mitsuhide seems to have damaged his reputation after Mitsuhide killed Oda Nobunaga in 1582 though he continued to attend notable tea ceremonies, including Hideyoshi's brief Grand Kitano tea Ceremony in 1587
The Tsugaru of Mutsu Province were at first known as the Ôura and their origins are unclear but they may have been a branch of the Nanbu. They held Ôura Castle and were vassals of the Nanbu until they rebelled in the Sengoku Period after a period of worsening relations. Tsugaru (Ôura) Tamenobu defended his lands against the Nanbu and others and was confirmed in his domains after supporting Tokugawa Ieyasu in the Sekigahara Campaign (1600). The Tsugaru resided at Hirosaki Castle until the end of the Edo Period.
Tamenobu, who resided at Ôura Castle, was the son of Ôura Morinobu and was adopted by his uncle, Tameaki. He became the lord of the Ôura in 1567 and was at that time a vassal of the Nanbu family. He defeated Kitabatake Akimura in 1578 and in the summer of 1581 he rebelled against the Nanbu and established himself as an independent power. By 1588 he had extended his power over all of the Tsugaru region. He supported Toyotomi Hideyoshi during the Odawara Campaign (1590), the same year he adopted the name Tsugaru, and lent his forces to the reduction of Kunohe Castle in 1591. He went to Kyushu during the Korean Campaigns to join Hideyoshi’s headquarters. Following Hideyoshi’s death he initiated friendly relations with Tokugawa Ieyasu and He sided with him during the Sekigahara Campaign. He distinguished himself in the taking of Ôgaki Castle in Mino Province. Tamenobu ended his career at Hirosaki Castle with an income of 47,000 koku. He died on 29 March 1607.
Sons: Nobutaka, Nobuhira (1586-1631)
Korekado was at first a retainer of the Shôni and held land in Chikuzen Province. After the Shôni lost their own domain at the hands of the Ryûjôji, Korekado drifted into alliances with the Akizuki and Ôuchi. He lost his domain to the expanding Ôtomo.
Hirokado was the son of Tsukushi Korekado. He was first defeated by Ôtomo general Takahashi Jôn in 1567 and was later compelled to surrender to Ryûzôji Takanobu in May 1572. He joined Toyotomi Hideyoshi when the latter invaded Kyushu in 1587 and was as a result has the Tsukushi’s Chikuzen domain restored to him. He served in the Korean Campaigns under Kobayakawa Takakage. He sided with the Western forces during the Sekigahara Campaign and fought at Ôtsu Castle. Although he was deprived of his domain afterwards, he was allowed to become a retainer of Kato Kiyomasa.
See Chosokabe Chikatada
Junshô was the son of Tsutsui Junkô and became a minor daimyô in Yamato Province.
Yamato warlord, Oda, Toyotomi retainer
Etchû no kami
Junkei was the son of Tsutsui Junsho and began his career as a daimyô in Yamato Province. He fought with Matsunaga Hisahide before coming to be allied to Oda Nobunaga after the latter entered the Kinai region in 1568. He assisted in the Siege of the Honganji and in 1577 helped Oda Nobutada bring down Matsunaga Hisahide's Shigi Castle. He was afterwards made the lord of Yamato Province and was ordered in 1580 to supervise the destruction of castles in Yamato and Kwatchi. He participated in the 2nd Invasion of Iga Province in 1581, where he joined Gamô Ujisato in laying siege to Hijiyama. When Akechi Mitsuhide killed Oda Nobunaga in June 1582, Junkei seemed willing to assist him. At the Battle of Yamazaki, however, Junkei waited to see who would win and once Toyotomi Hideyoshi had the upper hand, the Tsutsui attacked the Akechi. Hideyoshi deprived Junkei of a portion of his domain for hedging his bets at the battle. Nonetheless, he supported Hideyoshi in the 1584 campaign against Tokugawa Ieyasu and took one of Oda Nobuo's castles in Ise, Matsugashima, in a bloody fight. He died that same year. Junkei was perhaps best suited for aesthetic pursuits, as he was known for his skill at the Tea Ceremony and is known to have composed nô.
Son: Sadatsugu (adopted)
Iga no kami
Sadatsugu was adopted by his uncle Junkei around 1571 and in 1578 married one of Oda Nobunaga's daughters, Hideko (d.1632). In 1584 he inherited Ueno Castle in Iga Province and a 120,000 koku domain in Iga, Ise, and Yamashiro Provinces and assisted in Hideyoshi's Kii Campaign against the Negoro-ji. He supported the Tokugawa during the Sekigahara Campaign and led some 2,800 men at the forefront of the Battle of Sekigahara. He was deprived of his lands for poor administration in 1608 and exiled to Iyo Province. He was later made to commit suicide after being accused of colluding with the defenders of Osaka Castle.
The Udono of Tôtômi claimed descent from Fujiwara Sanekata, a man of letters during the Heian Period. They were a noted retainer family of the Imagawa during the Sengoku Period, but declined in power following the Imagawa's defeat at Okehazama in 1560.
Nagateru was a son of Udono Nagamochi (d.1562?), who had held Odaka Castle (scene of Tokugawa Ieyasu's famous 'Provisioning'). Nagateru's mother was a younger sister of Imagawa Yoshimoto and he enjoyed the favor of Yoshimoto's successor, Ujizane. In 1562 Nagateru was attacked at Kaminojô and killed by the Tokugawa. His two sons were taken hostage by Tokugawa Ieyasu and traded to Ujizane for Ieyasu's own family, held hostage at the Imagawa capital. Another version of this event has Nagamochi being killed at Kaminjô and Nagateru and a younger brother (Nagatada) being taken captive.
Uesugi, Hôjô retainer
Tomonao originally held Matsuyama Castle in Musashi Province for the Ogigayatsu-Uesugi, then went over to the Hôjô when the fortunes of the Uesugi declined. Despite his advanced age, Tomonao, an able warrior, was active in the 1569 fighting with the Takeda. He was succeeded by a son of Uesugi Ujinori.
Nagato no kami
Naochika was a retainer of Shimazu Yoshihisa, whose service he entered around 1573. He built a long record of service, serving on campaigns against the Itô, Ôtomo, and Ryûzôji clans. For his many efforts, he was given a domain in southern Hyûga.
Dewa no kami
Iemasa was a retainer of Tokugawa Ieyasu. he was considered a man of ability and assisted his lord in various military and domestic matters. Notably, he was important in the creation of a Tokugawa-Uesugi alliance in the early 1570's.
Masakatsu served Tokugawa Ieyasu in his infancy and onward. Although he briefly sided with the rioting Mikawa monto in 1565, he went on to serve at Nagashino and the Komaki Campaign. He openly disliked Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a fact that reached Hideyoshi’s ears and so, when Ieyasu was transferred to the Kanto, he insisted that Masakatsu be deprived of his domain. Masakatsu’s devotion to Tokugawa Ieyasu was such that it caught the attention of even Oda Nobunaga. When Ieyasu went to Owari to meet with his new ally Nobunaga, Masakatsu accompanied him and insisted on following his master with sword at the ready at all times. In respect, Nobunaga awarded him with a sword by the smith Yukimitsu.
Iemasa became a page to Tokugawa Hidetada in 1599 and in 1608 was made a commander of ashigaru. He served notably at the Sieges of Osaka Castle and in 1640 was made a daimyô at Takatori with an income of 25,000 koku.
The Uesugi of eastern Japan (their domain at one point encompassed much of the Kanto region and Echigo Province) were descended from Fujiwara Yoshikado, a daijô-daijin in the 9th Century, whose descendant Shigefusa adopted the name Uesugi in the 13th Century. The Uesugi were related to the Ashikaga and became very powerful in the Muromachi Period and for many years provided deputy governors of the Kanto Ashikaga. By the opening of the Sengoku Period the Uesugi were represented by two main branches (a third, the Inukake, having died out in the 15th Century), the Ogigayatsu-Uesugi and Yamanouchi-Uesugi. These had become open rivals in the mid-15th Century and so vied for power in the Kanto. By the start of the 16th Century the Ogigayatsu were based at Kawagoe Castle in Musashi Province while the seat of Yamanouchi power was at Hirai in Kôzuke. The Ogigayatsu had traditionally relied on the Otô family while the Yamanouchi counted the Nagao of Echigo Province as a pillar of their strength. The surging expansion of the Hôô into the lower Kanto after 1593 ultimately forced the two branches of the Uesugi to join forces. Kawagoe fell to Hôô Ujitsuna in 1537 and in 1545 both the Ogigayatsu and the Yamanouchi shared defeat in attempting to regain it. Although this effectively marked the end of the Ogigayatsu as a viable independent power, Yamanouchi-Uesugi Norimasa, whose Hirai Castle fell to the Hôjô in 1551, took up with his retainer Nagao Kagetora in Echigo. In 1561, while campaigning against the Hôjô in Sagami Province, Kagetora adopted the name Uesugi and the title of Kanto-kanrei. By dint of this the Uesugi survived the sengoku period and became a notable Edo daimyô house, although owing to Uesugi Kagekatsu’s support of Ishida Mitsunari in the Sekigahara Campaign (1600), they were much reduced in power.
Lord of Kôzuke
Akisada was a son of Uesugi Fusasada. He fought the Ogigayatsu-Uesugi off and on for decades, allying with Ashikaga Shigeuji and conducting battles at Sanemakihara, Nanasawa, Sugaya, and elsewhere. He then became distracted by the independent aspirations of Nagao Tamekage of Echigo Province and was killed in an attempt to bring him in line.
Son: Norifusa (adopted; 1466-1524)
Lord of Kôzuke
Norimasa was the son of Uesugi Norifusa and the head of the Yamaouchi branch of the Uesugi and struggled to contain the expansion of the Hôjô. He joined Uesugi Tomosada of the Ogigayatsu Uesugi in defeat at Kawagoe (1545) and in 1551 lost Hirai Castle in Kôzuke Province. He fled to Echigo and sought the protection of his vassal Nagao Kagetora. Kagetora readily took Norimasa into his care and was later officially adopted by him. Norimasa was later given land in Kôzuke but after Kenshin's death Norimasa supported Uesugi Kagetora in the latter's civil war with Uesugi Kagekatsu. Norimasa was killed following Kagetora's defeat.
(Nagao Kagetora, Nagao Masatora, Uesugi Masatora, Uesugi Terutora)
Lord of Echigo
Echigo no kami, Danjô no Shôhitsu, Kanto-Kanrei
Kenshin was a younger son of Nagao Tamekage and was called Torachiyo as a child. He was born in Kasugayama Castle on 18 February 1530 and entered the Rinsenji at the age of six. He was later moved to Tochio, this occuring around 1543. After the death of his father and a time spent wandering, Kagetora, as he was then known, wrested control of Echigo from his elder brother Harukage in 1548 and in the 12th month of that year assumed leadership of the Nagao house. With the assistance of Usami Sadayuki, Kakizaki Kagaie, and other noted Echigo warriors, he had extended his authority over most of the province by 1551 (see Nagao Harukage). He may have adopted the name 'Kenshin' at this time, although historians disagree when he began using the name by which he is best known (for the sake of clarity, he will be referred now to as Kenshin, although some modern scholars suggest that he didn’t take it on until as late as 1571). In 1551 he took in his nominal lord, Uesugi Norimasa, recently driven from Kôzuke Province by the Hôjô and was eventually to be adopted by him. In 1552 he was awarded the title Danjô no Shôhitsu. Responding in the summer of 1553 to requests for assistance from the Murakami, Ogasawara, Takanashi, and Suda, Shinano warlords pressed by the Takeda of Kai, he began a series of battles with Takeda Shingen at Kawanakajima, most famous being the conflict in 1561. Although the five engagements termed the ‘Battles of Kawanakajima’ were, excepting the 4th, more in the realm of large-scale skirmishes, and described as draws, Kenshin thwarted any aspirations Shingen may have had for the conquest of Echigo (and access to the sea). Kenshin and Shingen faced each other in different locations on a number of occasions, including Uenohara in 1557 (just 4 months after the 3rd Battle of Kawanakajima) and Tonegawa in 1571-72. In the middle of this long feud, Kenshin suddenly announced that he was giving up his position and departed in the summer of 1556 for Mt. Koya. He was convinced to return but as a result of his departure Okuma Tomohide rebelled and took up with Takeda Shingen. In fact, Shingen's covert activities at the expense of Kenshin produced a number of rebellions, including two by Kitajô Takahiro (1554, 1557) and one by Honjô Shigenaga (1568). Kenshin's chief interest, however, was the Kanto region, the traditional domain of the Uesugi.
In 1559 Kenshin visited Kyoto, having already done so once before (1553) and was granted an audience with the Emperor. When he returned to Echigo he was urged by Uesugi Norimasa and Satomi Yoshitaka to take action against the Hôjô and he responded by taking Numata Castle in Kôzuke. From Numata Castle he would stage at least 12 major raids into the Hôjô domain over the next 23 years, usually in response to calls for help from his allies. In 1561 he led an army down into Sagami Province and besieged Odawara Castle. In the course of the siege he visited the famous Tsurugaoka Hachiman Shrine and used the occasion to announce both his adoption of the Uesugi name (he was at that time called Nagao Masatora and so became Uesugi Masatora, which he changed to Uesugi Terutora around 1563) and his assumption of the title Kanto-kanrei (Deputy Governor of the Kanto), conferred upon him by shôgun Ashikaga Yoshiteru. He also appointed Ashikaga Fujiuji as the so-called Koga-kubo (the Ashikaga’s governor of the Kanto). Want of supplies forced Kenshin to give up his efforts to bring down Odawara and so he withdrew after a number of weeks. Later that year he brought his army into Shinano and threatened Kaizu Castle, obviously to goad Takeda Shingen into a major battle. Although the actual specifics of this 4th Battle of Kawanakajima are hazy at best (the famous version presented in the Koyo Gunkan notwithstanding), and despite Shingen’s claim of victory, the Takeda as a whole appear to have gotten the worst of it. Certainly, the battle was not so debilitating to Kenshin as to prevent him from going back on campaign in the Kanto barely a month later. Shingen and Kenshin faced one another on a few more occasions but appear to have avoided any further major clashes.
Despite his many forays into the Kanto, Kenshin does not appear to have had much inclination towards the expansion of his domain. However, repeated troubles with the ikko of Etchû and the Shiina and Jinbo clans forced him to impose his authority over that province. In 1560 Kenshin responded to a call for help from the Shiina and attacked and took Toyama Castle from Jinbo Nagamoto. However, Shiina Yasutane defied Kenshin's authority in 1568, compelling Kenshin to attack Kanayama Castle. Yasutane's recalcitrant behavior would call Kenshin back to Etchû in 1569 and 1571. In 1572, the Etchû ikko, goaded on by Takeda Shingen and aided by the Jinbo, rose up and took Toyama Castle. Kenshin thus returned to the province and retook Toyama. In 1576 Kenshin took Masuyama and Tsugao Castles and thus secured his authority over Etchû. At the same time he built Sekidôsan Castle in Noto Province. In 1577 Kenshin responded to the chaotic situation within Noto by taking Nanao Castle. By this point both Kenshin and Oda Nobunaga considered Kaga and Noto Provinces to be within their sphere of influence, and accordingly Nobunaga dispatched an army to Nanao's relief. This did not arrive in time to save Nanao, and in fact met Kenshin's army in Kaga in October (1577). Though outnumbered, Kenshin defeated the Oda army at the Tedori River and then retreated with the coming of the winter. Ironically, in 1575, Honganji Kosa, head of the Honganji ikko had written to Kenshin requesting aid against Nobunaga. Thus Kenshin and the ikko joined forces in Kaga. Kenshin was preparing another expedition (either against Hôjô or Oda) when he fell mortally ill and died on 19 April 1578. Fanciful tales of assassination aside, Kenshin appears to have died of stomach cancer, either caused by or exacerbated by a penchant for heavy drinking. He was posthumously named Sôshin.
Kenshin had lived his life by the principles of a Buddhist monk (his war-fighting not withstanding) and so never married nor produced children of his own. In 1570, when relations between himself and the Hôjô were in a state of improvement, he adopted the 7th son of Hôjô Ujiyasu, Ujihide. Ujihide was renamed Uesugi Kagetora and married a daughter of Nagao Masakage. This ironic twist was complicated however by his also adopting Nagao Masakage’s son, the future Uesugi Kagekatsu. He hoped that the two would jointly rule the Uesugi domain but after his death their relations degenerated into a civil war (the Otate no ran) from which Kagekatsu emerged the victor.
A sprinted campaigner whose tactical skills that quite possibly outstripped most of his contemporaries, including his great rival, Takeda Shingen, a military assessment of Kenshin is difficult as he in fact fought few large scale battles (Tedorigawa in 1577 being the greatest of his battles) and most of his campaigns do not seem to have been conducted with territorial gain in mind. Kenshin also invested much effort into the improvement of Echigo's economic base and by 1573 had made Kasugayama into one of the most formidable castles in northern Japan. One of his last administrative projects was the compilation of a registry of his retainers and their holdings (1577). In 1575 he had drawn up a registry of military service. He was known as an honorable and chivalrous figure who was quite trustworthy by the standards of the times. His religious nature manifested itself in his prayers for victory in battle or the destruction of rivals, which he staged with some pomp. He prayed for the destruction of Takeda Shingen, for example, at Yahikoji in Echigo in 1564. He reinforced his request in 1566 and added a prayer for the destruction of Hôjô Ujiyasu as well.
Sons: Kagekatsu (Adopted), Kagetora (Adopted)
Lord of Echigo, Lord of Aizu
Kagekatsu was the second son of Nagao Masakage (who was married to Uesugi Kenshin's elder sister Ayahime) and as a child was called Kiheiji. Kenshin adopted him and named him part heir alongside Uesugi Kagetora (adopted from the Hôjô family). Following Kenshin's death Kagekatsu fought with Kagetora (their feud being known as the Otate no ran) and in 1579 forced him to commit suicide. This division, which saw the deaths of such longtime Uesugi retainers as Uesugi Norimasa and Uesugi Kagenobu, allowed Oda Nobunaga's generals (headed by Shibata Katsuie) to conquer the Uesugi's lands in Kaga, Noto, and Etchû. At this time Kagekatsu’s general Shibata Shigeie, angered by what he took to be a poor reward for his support of Kagekatsu during the civil war, rebelled. Due to the threat represented by the Oda troops moving into Etchû, Kagekatsu could not immediately respond and so Shigeie’s continued defiance became a major embarrassment for the Uesugi house. In 1582 Kagekatsu led an army into Etchû and was defeated by Oda forces at the Battle of Tenjinyama. He hastily returned to Echigo when he learned that Oda general Mori Nagayoshi had raided Echigo in his absence. Kagekatsu made friendly overtures to Hashiba (Toyotomi) Hideyoshi following Nobunaga's death in June 1582, and attacked Shibata Kasuie's northern outposts during the Shizugatake Campaign (1583). He was therefore confirmed in his Echigo fief (worth 550,000 koku) and went on to support Hideyoshi during the Komaki Campaign (1584), in which he played a limited role by launching a foray into Shinano. After a number of failed attempts to punish the rebellious Shibata Shigie, Kagekatsu finally appealed to Hideyoshi for assistance and was given a contingent of troops to assist in Shigeie’s destruction, which was effected in 1586. He attacked Hôjô forts in Kôzuke Province during the 1590 Odawara Campaign and in 1598 was transferred to Aizu (worth almost 1,000,000 koku). That same year he was named one of five Regents (Go-tairo) and following Hideyoshi's death grew hostile to Tokugawa Ieyasu. In 1600 Kagekatsu began preparations for war, and in effect opened the Sekigahara Campaign. Led at the front by Naoe Kanetsugu, the Uesugi army, which Ishida Mitsunari had hoped would tie down Tokugawa Ieyasu himself, clashed with the forces of Date Masamune and Mogami Yoshiakira and gained little in the battles in and around Aizu. After the Tokugawa victory at the Battle of Sekigahara, Ieyasu transferred the Uesugi fief to Yonezawa and reduced their income to around 300,000 koku. Kagekatsu was able to redeem himself somewhat by taking part in the Osaka Castle campaigns. At the Battle of Shigeno (1614) Kagekatsu led 5,000 men into action against the Osaka defenders and distinguished himself by refusing an offer by Ieyasu to retire for rest. Kagekatsu, who died at Yonezawa in 1623, was remembered as a dour, humorless man. He is usually described as a competent commander, although, from a strategic point of view, one is hard pressed to appreciate this.
Son: Sadakatsu (1603-1645)
Adopted son of Uesugi Kenshin
Kagetora was born the 7th son of Hôjô Ujiyasu and was sent as a hostage to the Takeda house in 1562. He was later returned to the Hôjô (1567) and was adopted by Hôjô Genan in 1569, since Genan had that year lost both of his sons in battle with the Takeda.. In 1570, relations between the Hôjô and Uesugi improved to the point that it was arranged for Kenshin to adopt Ujihide, this occuring in the 3rd month of that year. Kenshin met Ujihide at Numata Castle the following month and was immediately impressed, as were many of the Uesugi retainers. On this occasion, Ujihide was renamed Uesugi Kagetora. That winter he was married to a daughter of Nagao Masakage, making him a brother-in-law to Kenshin’s other heir, Kagekatsu. Kenshin planned to name him part heir with Kagekatsu and gave him responsibility for lands west of Echigo. After Kenshin’s death in the spring of 1578, however, Kagekatsu began working to undermine Kagetora and their relations deteriorated into civil war (the Otate no ran). At first Kagetora enjoyed some successes but Kagekatsu mustered a preponderance of forces and defeated an attempt by the Hôjô to intervene. Otate Castle, Kagetora’s headquarters, fell to Kagekatsu’s troops in 1579 and Kagetora was forced to commit suicide on 19 April.
There is a theory, yet unconfirmed, that Kagetora was in fact the 2nd son of Hôjô Tsunashige.
Kagenobu was a relative of Uesugi Kenshin and served him throughout his life, seeing service in campaigns in Shinano and the Kanto. He supported Uesugi Kagetora in the Ôtate no ran and was killed by Uesugi Kagekatsu as a result.
See JOJO MASASHIGE
daimyô of Musashi
Notes: This branch of the Uesugi controlled the heart of the Kanto plain and fought against the encroaching Hôjô until their defeat at Kawagoe in 1545 broke their strength and eventually led to their elimination.
Lord of Musashi
Tomooki was the son of Uesugi Tomoyoshi. He made several attempts to resist the movement of the Hôjô into Musashi, starting with a failed attempt to relieve the Muira at Arai in 1517. He lost Edo Castle in 1524 and spent the remainder of his life fighting with the Hôjô. He married a daughter to Takeda Harunobu, the eldest son of Takeda Nobutora, but she died soon after the marriage.
Lord of Musashi
Tomosada was the son of Uesugi Tomooki. He lost Kawagoe Castle to Hôjô Ujitsuna in 1537 and was forced to retreat to Matsuyama Castle. He allied with Uesugi Norimasa (of the Yamaouchi Uesugi) and together they made a series of bids to retake Kawagoe. Their greatest effort occured in 1544, when they had the support of Ashikaga Haruuji and the Hôjô were distracted by the Imagawa family. The allies surrounded Kawagoe, and when Ujiyasu suggested a truce, Tomosada flatly refused (some say with a laugh). Tomosada and his allies grew ever more overconfident, assuming Ujiyasu's request was one of desperation (which it may have been at the time), and let their guard begin to slip. Tomosada was killed the following year in a surprise Hôjô night attack that saved the castle. With his death, the Ogigayatsu-Uesugi declined rapidly.
Uesugi, Hôjô retainer
Norikatsu was a son of Uesugi Noriyoshi. He held Matsuyama Castle in Musashi, which was attacked by the joint forces of Takeda and Hôjô in 1563. He is thought to have gone on to serve the Hôjô.
Uesugi, Hôjô retainer
Norimori was a son of Uesugi Noriyoshi and held Fukuya Castle in Musashi Province. He was at first an ally of Uesugi Kenshin, but in 1565 gave his loyalty to the Hôjô, only to return to Kenshin's camp when Norimori's relations soured with the Hôjô. He was attacked repeatedly by Hôjô Ujimasa and at length surrendered. He returned to the Uesugi and following Kenshin's death supported Uesugi Kagetora in his struggle for power with Uesugi Kagekatsu. Norimori was killed in the wake of Kagetora's defeat.
copyright 2005 F. W. Seal