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Motochika Chosokabe

Motochika Chosokabe

Article category
Chosokabe Motochika (1539-1599)
place of birth
Kochi Prefecture
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Oka Toyoshiro

Oka Toyoshiro

Kochi Castle

Kochi Castle

Existing castle tower
Fuyang City

Fuyang City

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In 1582, Nobunaga formed a subjugation force to Chosokabe, with his son Nobutaka Kobe as its commander-in-chief. Motochika expressed his intention to submit to Toshizo Saito, but Nobunaga did not accept and began preparing an expeditionary force.
The person who stood between the Chosokabe family and the Oda family was Mitsuhide Akechi, the master of Yoritatsu Ishitani and Toshizo Saito. Mitsuhide, who had been negotiating with the Chosokabe family until then, became suspicious of Nobunaga Oda. This suspicion is considered to be one of the causes of the Honnoji Incident.

On June 2nd, Akechi Mitsuhide raised an army to subjugate Nobunaga, and Oda Nobunaga died at Honnoji Temple. Motochika Chosokabe was lucky to survive the situation of Oda Nobunaga's intervention.

Unification of Shikoku

The Honnoji Incident occurred and Oda Nobunaga committed suicide. Conflicts within the Oda family then arose in the Kinai region, centered on Kyoto, and a period of political vacuum was created.
Chosokabe Motochika took advantage of this gap to strive for the unification of Shikoku. He defeated Sanuki Province and Awa Province, which the Miyoshi family including Yasunaga Miyoshi had resisted, and by 1585 had almost taken control of Iyo Province and unified Shikoku.
While Motochika unified Shikoku. Hideyoshi Hashiba, a vassal of Oda Nobunaga, rose to power after defeating Mitsuhide Akechi, who had caused the Honnoji Incident. Hideyoshi came into conflict with Katsuie Shibata, a powerful vassal of the Oda family.

Motochika Chosokabe is invited by Katsuie Shibata and joins hands. As a result, Hideyoshi Hashiba won the power struggle and Katsuie Shibata committed suicide. Hideyoshi Hashiba then came into conflict with Tokugawa Ieyasu, an ally of the Oda family.
Chosokabe Motochika was again invited by Tokugawa Ieyasu and decided to join hands with him. Although Hashiba Hideyoshi lost to Tokugawa Ieyasu in battle, he was able to outperform Ieyasu with his diplomatic skills and was able to force Ieyasu to submit to him.
In this way, Motochika Chosokabe came into conflict with Hideyoshi Hashiba.

Toyotomi (Hashiba) served as a vassal to Hideyoshi

Hideyoshi Hashiba felt threatened by Motochika Chosokabe, with whom he had often been an enemy, and sought to invade Shikoku. So Motochika tried to make peace on the condition that he ceded his territory, but things ended.
Hideyoshi assembled a large army of over 100,000 people with his younger brother Hidenaga Hashiba as the commander-in-chief. In response, Motochika strengthened the defenses of the coastline of Shikoku.

In May 1585, Kuroda Yoshitaka and others from Harima Province (present-day Hyogo Prefecture) went to Sanuki, the Mori family from the Chugoku region went to Iyo Province, and Hashiba Hidenaga from Kii Province (present-day Wakayama Prefecture) went to Awa Province. I will cross the sea. Motochika accepted the advice of his vassals and surrendered, leaving Tosa Province alone and ceding his territory. In this way, Motochika Chosokabe, the ruler of Shikoku, came under Hideyoshi Hashiba.

In 1586, the year after Motochika surrendered, Hideyoshi launched an expedition to defeat the Shimazu clan in Kyushu. Motochika Chosokabe took his eldest son Nobuchika with him to join the army and headed to Kyushu. However, under the instructions of Hidehisa Sengoku, a military inspector sent by Hideyoshi, he started a war without permission and fell into the trap of the Shimazu family. His eldest son Nobuchika was killed in the Battle of Tojigawa, and Motochika fled to Shikoku.

Motochika's last moments

In 1588, the headquarters was moved from Okatoyo Castle to Otakasaka Castle (the current location of Kochi Castle). Furthermore, regarding the succession of the family headship, due to the death of their eldest son Nobuchika, they decided to pass it on to their fourth son Morichika rather than their second son Chikazu Kagawa or third son Chikatada Tsuno. Motochika's vassals opposed this decision, and Motochika had those who opposed him, including Chikaoki Hieyama and Chikazane Kira, commit seppuku one after another. After the death of his eldest son Nobuchika, Motochika loses his heroic spirit and becomes stubborn.

After that, he also participated in Toyotomi Hideyoshi's Kanto expedition and the Korean War. Toyotomi Hideyoshi died in August 1598. After Hideyoshi's death, the political situation became unstable within the central government. Motochika stayed at the Fushimi residence until the end of the year, and returned to Tosa Province at the end of the year.
The following year, in March 1599, Motochika imprisoned his third son Chikatada Tsuno, and in April he went to Kyoto to recuperate from his illness. However, Motochika's condition did not look good and he realized that he was dying, so in May he left a will to his fourth son, Morichika, and passed away on May 19th at the age of 61.
He was buried at Tenpoji (an abandoned temple) on Mt. Nagahama Tenpo, Kochi Prefecture, and his current graveyard is on the south slope of Mt. Tenpoji.
It is located in

Afterwards, the Nagasogabe family

After the death of Motochika Chosokabe, the Chosokabe family went astray. Motochika's eldest son, Nobuchika, had died in the Battle of Tojigawa, and his second son, Chikazu Kagawa, had also died of illness.

The third son, Chikatada Tsuno, was involved in a feud with Motochika's fourth son, Morichika Chosokabe, whom Motochika adored, and was killed by Morichika after the Battle of Sekigahara.

The fourth son, Morichika Chosokabe, took over the Chosokabe family after Motochika's death, but he ended up taking part in the Battle of Sekigahara, which occurred immediately after he inherited the headship of the family. Without knowing the circumstances, he joined the Western Army led by Mitsunari Ishida and participated in the main battle.

As a result, Tokugawa Ieyasu's Eastern Army won, and the Chosokabe family, who had sided with the defeated, took over Tosa Province and Morichika retired to Kyoto. He later participated in the Battle of Osaka, but the Toyotomi family was defeated. After the war, Morichika was captured and executed. At this point, the direct line of Motochika Chosokabe came to an end.

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Tomoyo Hazuki
Writer(Writer)I have loved history and geography since my student days, and have enjoyed visiting historical sites, temples and shrines, and researching ancient documents. He is especially strong in medieval Japanese history and European history in world history, and has read a wide range of things, including primary sources and historical entertainment novels. There are so many favorite military commanders and castles that I can't name them, but I especially like Hisashi Matsunaga and Mitsuhide Akechi, and when it comes to castles, I like Hikone Castle and Fushimi Castle. Once you start talking about the lives of warlords and the history of castles, there's a side of you that can't stop talking about them.
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