Yoshitatsu Saito (1/2)Daimyo of 6 shaku 5 sun

Yoshitatsu Saito

Yoshitatsu Saito

Article category
Yoshitatsu Saito (1527-1561)
place of birth
Gifu Prefecture
Related castles
Gifu Castle

Gifu Castle

The era was commonly called the Sengoku period. During this period, there appeared a man whose vassals overthrew their master and usurped the country by force; he was a man who accomplished a subjugation. One representative person was Dosan Saito. Dosan took control of Mino Province after driving out the Toki clan, the shugo daimyo of Mino Province (present-day Gifu Prefecture). Dosan's eldest son was Yoshitatsu Saito. However, Yoshitatsu fought with his father, Dosan. So why did Yoshitatsu kill Dosan? This time we will look at Yoshitatsu Saito.

Yoshitatsu's father, Dosan Saito

The Saito family was originally founded in the middle of the Heian period by Saito Choyo, the son of Fujiwara Toshihito, the military commander. The Saito clan was a family that flourished throughout the Hokuriku region, Chubu region, and Kanto region. The Mino Saito clan separated from the Saito clan in Hokuriku and moved to Mino Province.

The Saito clan of Mino served the Toki clan, the shugo of Mino Province, during the Muromachi period. In the first year of Bun'an (1444), Saito Soen of the Mino Saito clan murdered the Toshima clan in Tokiyagata, Kyoto, and became the shugo of Mino Province. Soen's eldest son, Toshinaga, took over as the shugo of Mino Province, but his second son, Myotsubaki, went to Kyoto to serve the Muromachi shogunate, and during the Onin War, fought throughout the country as the main force of the Western army. The Saito family of Toshinaga, the eldest son who became the governor of Mino Province, and the family of Myotsubaki, the second son who served the Muromachi shogunate, fought, and the power of the Saito family declined, and the Nagai clan, a branch of the Saito family, rose to prominence.

Around 1539, Matsunami Shogoro (Nagai Shinzaemon-jo) served the Nagai clan. Shogoro was a merchant in Yamashiro Province (present-day Kyoto Prefecture), but served the Nagai family using Jozaiji Temple in Mino Province as an intermediary. Shogoro's son, Norihide Nagai, grew stronger and eventually drove out the Toki clan, the guardian of Mino Province, and took control of the country. This Norihide Nagai later became Dosan Saito. The Saito clan, which started with Dosan Saito, is also called the Dosan-ryu Saito clan, and Yoshitatsu Saito was born as the eldest son of Dosan Saito.

Yoshitatsu Saito was said to have been a rare large man at the time, measuring over 6 shaku 5 sun (approximately 197 cm). Yoshitatsu, who was such a big man, had to live a life of hardship because he was born as the son of Dosan Saito.

Birth of Yoshitatsu

Yoshitatsu Saito was born in July 1527 as the eldest son of Dosan Saito (Toshimasa Saito). My mother was a concubine, Fukayoshino.
Fukayoshino was the concubine of Dosan Saito's master, Yorie Toki, the Shugo daimyo of Mino Province, and later became Dosan's concubine. In the ``Mino Province Old Chronicles'' compiled in the Edo period, it is written that when Fukayoshino moved to Dosan's side, there was a child of Toki Yoriyoshi in his stomach, and that child was Yoshitatsu. However, a letter written by Rokkaku Yoshikata (Rokkaku Shotei), the shugo daimyo of Omi Province (currently Shiga Prefecture), to his vassals in 1560 states that Yoshitatsu's father was Saito Dosan. It is said that there is little credibility that Yoshitatsu Saito was the son of Yorie Toki, not Dosan.

Now, when Yoshitatsu Saito was 14 years old, his father Dosan Saito began stealing the country.
In the 10th year of Tenbun (1541), Toki Yoriyoshi and Saito Dosan came into conflict because Saito Dosan poisoned his master Toki Yoriyoshi's younger brother, Toki Yorimitsu. Although Dosan was at a disadvantage, he exiled Yorie Toki to Owari in 1542, becoming the de facto lord of Mino Province. The exiled Yorie Toki plotted his return to Mino Province by relying on Nobuhide Oda of Owari Province (present-day Aichi Prefecture) and the Asakura family of Echizen Province (present-day Reihoku, Fukui Prefecture). In particular, Nobuhide Oda, who was a native of Owari Province, persistently tried to take over Mino Province. The situation in Mino Province remained unstable until 1552.

In order to resolve this unstable situation in Mino Province, Dosan Saito married off his daughter Kicho (Yoshitatsu Saito's half-brother and sister) to Nobuhide's legitimate son, Nobunaga Oda, in 1548, and married the surrounding feudal lords. I took great pains to take conciliatory measures.
Yoshitatsu Saito grows into an adult while watching the story of his father Dosan's theft of Mino Province.

Feud with father Dosan

In 1554, Dosan Saito shaved his head (he started calling himself Dosan from this point), handed over the headship of the family to Yoshitatsu Saito, and retired to Sagiyama Castle.

It is believed that Dosan's retirement was the result of his vassals rebelling against the fact that he overthrew the Toki clan, disrupted Mino Province, and neglected civil administration. However, although Dosan's retirement is recorded in the ``Mino Province Old Chronicles'', it is not mentioned in the ``Nobunaga Koki'' or the ``Eminoki'', so it is thought that he did not retire per se but simply drew a line. Masu.

Thus, Yoshitatsu Saito came to rule Mino Province as the second generation of the Dosan-ryu Saito family. However, Dosan, who had retired, told people around him that Yoshitatsu was a ``horemono'' (meaning a fool), and Yoshitatsu's younger brothers, Magoshiro and Kiheiji (Yoshitatsu's half-brother, the son of his legal wife Omi) On the other hand, Yoshitatsu also grew dissatisfied with his father's behavior. Even though Dosan and Yoshitatsu were father and son, things became hostile.

Dosan then tries to abolish Yoshitatsu and make Magoshiro the head of the family. He gave his third son Kiheiji the name ``Isshiki Uhyei Daisuke,'' a member of the prestigious Isshiki clan. Shigeyori Toki, the 11th head of the Toki clan, the shugo daimyo of Mino Province, was adopted from the prestigious Isshiki clan (there are different theories). Also, unlike the Toki clan, the Isshiki clan was an offshoot of the Ashikaga Shogun family, so the Isshiki family was considered to be a higher-ranking family as a family connected to the Shogun family. Therefore, by giving him the Isshiki surname, he tried to show that he was the legitimate successor of the Mino Toki clan.

In this way, the conflict between parent and child reaches its worst point. Yoshitatsu must have been prepared as well, as he introduced himself as ``Hanka'' before fighting with his father Dosan. ``Fan Ke'' is a story about a man who killed his father due to unavoidable circumstances during the Tang Dynasty in China. Yoshitatsu may have known that if he fought with his father, he would have to defeat him, so he called himself ``Fan Ke.''

Battle of Nagara River

In the first year of Koji (1555), Yoshitatsu Saito goes to Dosan Saito's private residence and targets him when he is away. He told his two younger brothers (Kiheiji and Magoshiro) that he was seriously ill and called them over. His younger brothers came to visit Yoshitatsu Saito, but they were killed on the spot. Furthermore, after killing his younger brothers, he sent a messenger to Dosan to tell him about this. Surprised, Dosan gathers the soldiers he can find, burns down the castle, and flees across the Nagara River to Okuwa Castle.

Both sides refrained from sending troops as winter arrived and the snowy season arrived, but as spring approached, the situation worsened and it became impossible to think of a settlement other than a battle. The samurai of Mino Province were divided into two groups: father and son. However, most of them were disgusted with how Dosan became the ruler of the country and sided with Yoshitatsu. Dosan, who was outnumbered, asked his son-in-law, Oda Nobunaga, for help, and Nobunaga also dispatched troops from Owari Province.

In April of the second year of Koji (1556), before joining up with Oda Nobunaga, Dosan set up camp on Mt. Tsuru and then on the north bank of the Nagara River. Nagaya Jinemon, Yoshitatsu's vassal, offers Dosan's camp to fight in single combat, and Shibata Kakuuchi comes out from Dosan's side. Nagaya was defeated in the single combat, but this triggered a clash between Dosan and Yoshitatsu's soldiers. At the beginning of the battle, Dosan had the upper hand in the battle, but as he was outnumbered, he gradually lost ground and was eventually captured and defeated.

Oda Nobunaga, who had come as reinforcements, could not make it in time for the battle and retreated to Owari Province. (Battle of Nagara River)
Immediately after the battle, Yoshitatsu pursued the Akechi family and others who had sided with Dosan and dealt with the aftermath of the war. One of the Akechi clan members who fled Mino Province during this attack was Mitsuhide Akechi.

Conflict with Oda Nobunaga

Just before the Battle of Nagara River, Saito Dōsan asked Oda Nobunaga for assistance. However, Nobunaga did not arrive in time for the battle and was attacked by Yoshitatsu Saito. It is said that when this attack occurred, Nobunaga himself fired a gun at the rear of the castle in order to force the Oda army to retreat, repelling the Saito army.

Yoshitatsu Saito's article continues

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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