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At the age of 15, Hosokawa Tadaoki engaged in his first battle under the command of Oda Nobunaga. In 1580, he was granted the Tango domain in present-day northern Kyoto Prefecture and entered into an arranged marriage with the daughter of Akechi Mitsuhide, another trusted general of Oda Nobunaga.

This strategic union aimed to fortify the bonds among Oda's vassals. However, when Mitsuhide betrayed and killed Nobunaga in the Honnoji Incident, seeking aid from Tadaoki and his father Fujitaka, both refused to assist. Tadaoki later fought alongside Toyotomi Hideyoshi in the Battle of Komaki Nagakute in 1584 and participated in the Siege of Odawara against the Hojo Clan in 1590.

Renowned for his literary and poetic prowess, Tadaoki, like his father Yusai, was a skilled practitioner of the tea ceremony, having studied under the esteemed tea master Sen no Rikyu. Despite his proficiency in cultured pursuits, Tadaoki was known for his formidable temper.

In 1600, leading up to the Battle of Sekigahara, Tadaoki and his father aligned with the Tokugawa, driven in part by the Western forces' attempt to take Tadaoki's wife, Gracia, hostage, resulting in her tragic death during an attack on their mansion by Ishida Mitsunari's forces. Tadaoki's father defended Tanabe Castle against a substantial Western force, preventing them from joining the main conflict at Sekigahara.

Commanding a force of 5,000 samurai at Sekigahara, Tadaoki engaged in intense hand-to-hand combat, directly clashing with Shima Sakon's troops near the Toyotomi Loyalists' base on Mt Sasao. Post-Sekigahara, Tadaoki received land in Kokura and participated in the Sieges of Osaka in 1614 and 1615 before retiring in 1620. He passed away at the age of 82 and was laid to rest at Kyoto's Daitoku-ji Temple, beside his wife, Gracia. Following her death, he remained single for 46 years.

 


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