Imagawa Yoshimoto, a formidable daimyo of Suruga (modern-day Shizuoka Prefecture), held a prominent position among the three influential warlords in the central Japan region, known as Tokai. His lineage was believed to trace back to a branch of the noble Minamoto clan, and Yoshimoto, displaying a nobler image than a typical warrior, blackened his teeth, shaved his eyebrows, and was carried in an ornate palanquin.

Born as the third son of Imagawa Ujichika, the 10th head of the Imagawa clan, Yoshimoto was initially sent to a temple to become a monk. Following his father's demise in 1526 and the sudden death of his elder brother Ujiteru a decade later, the Imagawa clan faced internal divisions. Factions supporting Yoshimoto engaged in war against those backing an elder half-brother, resulting in Yoshimoto's triumph in June 1536.

Upon assuming leadership of the Imagawa clan, Yoshimoto strategically married the sister of rival warlord Takeda Shingen, solidifying an alliance that kept Shingen from encroaching on Imagawa territories. In 1552, the alliance was further strengthened when Shingen's son Yoshinobu married Yoshimoto's daughter. Additionally, a political marriage was arranged between Yoshimoto's son and heir, Ujizane, and the daughter of rival warlord Hojo Ujitsuna in 1554.

In 1542, Yoshimoto set his sights on the prosperous Mikawa region controlled by the Matsudaira, later to become the Tokugawa clan. The Imagawa territories expanded over the years to include Suruga, Totomi (now Shizuoka Prefecture), and Mikawa (eastern Aichi Prefecture). Thereafter, Yoshimoto aimed for Kyoto, necessitating the conquest of Owari Province (western Aichi Prefecture), held by Oda Nobunaga.

In 1560, Yoshimoto, with a claimed force of 40,000 (an exaggeration), led 25,000 troops into Owari. The vanguard included a 19-year-old samurai named Matsudaira Motoyasu, who later became Tokugawa Ieyasu. The young Ieyasu, a political hostage of the Imagawa since age nine, had been sent ahead to deliver supplies to Odaka Castle.

The unexpected assault by Oda during the battle of Okehazama troops caught Imagawa and his men off guard. Initially thinking it was a drunken brawl, Yoshimoto investigated and was stunned to find Oda forces approaching. Despite resisting an attack by Mori Shinsuke, Yoshimoto was eventually tackled by Hattori Koheita, an Oda samurai, who took the daimyo's head. Yoshimoto Yoshimoto succumbed to the attack at the age of 41.

While there are several gravesites associated with Imagawa Yoshimoto, his remains are said to be interred at Daisei-ji Temple in Toyokawa, Aichi Prefecture.


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