Ishida Mitsunari

From Academic Kids

Ishida Mitsunari (石田 三成 Ishida Mitsunari 1560 - November 6, 1600) was a samurai who led the West side in the Battle of Sekigahara. His childhood name was Sakichi (佐吉).

He was born in the south of Omi province (which is now Shiga prefecture). His father Ishida Masatsugu had been also in Nagahama, Omi province. According to legend, before he served Toyotomi Hideyoshi, he was a younger monk in a Buddhist temple, but the accuracy of this legend is today doubted, since it appeared first in the Edo period.

Since he was very young, he served Toyotomi Hideyoshi. When they first met, Hideyoshi was the daimyo of Nagahama. When Hideyoshi engaged in a campaign in the Chugoku region, Mitsunari assisted his lord in attacks against some castles like the Tottori castle and Takamatsu castle (in present-day Okayama).

After Hideyoshi seized power, Mitsunari was known as a talented financial manager. He was known for his knowledge and skill at calculation. He was appointed one of the five bugyo, top administrators of Hideyoshi's government. Hideyoshi made him a daimyo of Sawayama (now a part of Hikone), Omi province with fifth million koku fief (now a part of Hikone). Sawayama Castle was known as one of the best-fortified castles in those days.

Mitsunari was known with his rigid characters. He was a leader of bureaucrats in Hideyoshi's government and had many friends but he was on bad terms with some daimyo known as good warriors including Hideyoshi's relative Fukushima Masanori. After Hideyoshi died, their conflict became bigger. The central point of their conflict was the question whether Tokugawa Ieyasu could be relied on as a supporter of the Toyotomi government whose nominal lord was the child Toyotomi Hideyori.

In 1600 the battle of Sekigahara occurred as a result of this political conflict. Mitsunari succeeded in organizing the army led by Mori Terumoto. But many daimyo who were opponents of Mitsunari supported Ieyasu. The battle resulted in the defeat of Mitsunari.

After his defeat, he sought to escape but was caught by villagers as he passed their town. He was executed by decapitation with a blunt wooden saw in Kyoto along with other daimyos of the West army.

The story of James Clavell's novel Shogun is based on the strife between Ishida (Ishido, in the novel) and Tokugawa (Toranaga) (although in the end the wooden saw is not as effective) over the Taiko's son.ja:石田三成 zh:石田三成


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