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Fukushima Ichimatsu was born in 1561, in Futatsudera, Kaitō, Owari Province (present-day Ama, Aichi Prefecture), as the eldest son of barrel merchant Fukushima Masanobu.  His mother was the younger sister of Toyotomi Hideyoshi's mother, making Hideyoshi his first cousin.

His first foray into battle took place during the assault on Miki Castle in 1578-1580 in Harima Province. Following the Battle of Yamazaki in 1582, he was rewarded with a 500 koku stipend. In 1583, at the Battle of Shizugatake, he achieved a notable victory over the prominent samurai Haigo Gozaemon. During this battle, Masanori earned the distinction of taking the first head, that of the enemy general Ogasato Ieyoshi. This accomplishment led to a significant increase in his stipend by 5000 koku (while the other each received 3000 Koku). Subsequently, he entered into marriage with Omasa.

Masanori actively participated in many of Hideyoshi's campaigns. It wasn't until after the Kyūshū Expedition in 1587 that he was granted the title of daimyō. He was granted the fief of Imabari in Iyo Province, with an income assessed at 110,000 koku. Shortly thereafter, he played a key role in the Korean Campaign, particularly distinguishing himself by capturing Ch'ongju in 1592.

Following his involvement in the Korean campaign, Masanori took part in the pursuit of Toyotomi Hidetsugu. In 1595, he led a force of 10,000 men, surrounding Seiganji temple on Mount Kōya, and maintained his position until Hidetsugu's eventual suicide. With Hidetsugu's demise, Masanori's stipend saw a substantial increase of 90,000 koku. He also acquired Hidetsugu's former fief of Kiyosu in Owari Province.

In the pivotal year of 1600, Masanori aligned himself with Tokugawa Ieyasu's 'Eastern army' during the Battle of Sekigahara. Later in September, he played a significant role in the Battle of Gifu Castle against Oda Hidenobu of the Ishida Mitsunari western forces, which served as a prelude to the Battle of Sekigahara the following month.

During the main Battle of Sekigahara, Masanori led the Tokugawa advance guard. He initiated the battle, charging north from the Eastern Army's left flank along the Fuji River, directly attacking the Western Army's right center. Masanori's forces engaged in a fierce and bloody confrontation with Ukita Hideie's army, which initially gained the upper hand, pushing back Masanori's troops. However, the pivotal defection of Kobayakawa Hideaki to support the Eastern army forced other units into betrayal. Subsequently, Masanori's forces turned the tide and secured victory for the Eastern Army.

Post-Sekigahara, Masanori took measures to safeguard his domain. Although he later experienced the loss of his holdings, his descendants went on to become hatamoto in the service of the Tokugawa shōgun.

Shortly after the passing of Ieyasu in 1619, Masanori faced accusations of violating the Buke Shohatto by undertaking repairs on a small section of Hiroshima Castle, which had been damaged in a typhoon-induced flood, without official authorization. Despite having submitted a request for permission two months prior, he had not received formal approval from the bakufu. It is believed that he only repaired the leaky section out of necessity. While the matter was initially resolved with the condition that Masanori, who was fulfilling his duty in Edo, would apologize and remove the repaired parts of the castle, the bakufu later accused him of inadequate removal of those parts. Consequently, his territories in Aki and Bingo Provinces, valued at 500,000 koku, were confiscated. In lieu of this, he was granted Takaino Domain, one of four counties in Kawanakajima, Shinano Province, and Uonuma County, Echigo Province, with an assessed value of 45,000 koku. He passed away at the age of 63 in 1624. His descendants continued to serve as Hatamoto in the employ of the Tokugawa Shogunate.


See also

  • Yasuke

    Yasuke.jpg

    Yasuke, an African page, arrived in Japan in 1579 as the attendant of the Italian Jesuit missionary Alessandro Valignano. Before the arrival of the Englishman William Adams, it is thought that Yasuke was possibly the inaugural non-Japanese samurai, arriving about twenty years earlier.

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  • Yamanami Keisuke

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    Yamanami Keisuke, the second in command of the Shinsengumi, a special police force during the late Edo period, shocked many when he performed seppuku on March 20, 1865, at the age of 32.

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  • Yamamoto Kansuke

     Yamamoto-Kansuke.jpg

    Yamamoto Kansuke, renowned as a samurai strategist and one of Takeda Shingen's esteemed 24 Generals, hailed from the Mikawa region, known for breeding formidable warriors. Despite physical challenges—blindness in one eye, lameness in one leg, and a malformed hand—Kansuke embarked on a warrior's pilgrimage in his twenties. Traveling across the land, he honed his skills in strategy, tactics, castle construction, and warfare, engaging in various swordsmanship schools and forms.

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  • Yamaga Soko

    Yamaga-Soko.jpg

    Yamaga Soko was a multifaceted figure in Japanese history, renowned as a strategist, philosopher, and scholar. Later in life, he became a ronin, leaving a significant mark on the understanding of the Tokugawa period samurai.

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  • William Adams - Miura Anjin

    William-Adams---Miura-Anjin.jpg

    William Adams, also known as Miura Anjin, holds the distinction of being one of the few non-Japanese individuals granted samurai status. Born in Gillingham, Kent, England in 1564, Adams embarked on a remarkable journey that led him to become an influential figure in Japanese history.

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  • Wakisaka Yasuharu

    Wakisaka-Yasuharu.jpg

    Wakisaka Yasuharu held the position of daimyo over Awaji Island before ruling over Ozu in Iyo Province. His significance in the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600 cannot be overstated.

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  • Ukita Hideie

    Ukita-Hideie.jpg

    Ukita Hideie was born as the second son of Ukita Naoie, the ruler of Okayama Castle. Tragically, Hideie's father passed away when he was just nine years old, thrusting him into the responsibilities of leading the castle, clan, and domain. Prior to his father's demise, the Ukita clan had aligned with Oda Nobunaga. After Nobunaga's assassination during the Honno-ji Incident, Hideie remained loyal to Toyotomi Hideyoshi, whose ties were further solidified through marriage.

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  • Uesugi Kenshin

    Uesugi-Kenshin.jpg

    Uesugi Kenshin stands out as one of the most formidable daimyo of the Sengoku period, presenting the sole substantial challenge to Oda Nobunaga's quest for dominance.

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