Ono Harunaga (大野治長)

Harunaga ONO was a vassal of the Toyotomi clan from the Azuchi-Momoyama period through to the early part of the Edo period. His father was Ono Sado no kami (the governor of Sado Province). His siblings were Harufusa ONO and Harutane ONO, and his children included Harunori ONO. He held the rank at court of Jugoi (Junior Fifth Rank) Shuri no suke (assistant officer of the Office of Palace Repairs). He had a fiefdom of 15,000 koku.


He was born in Kyoto, in 1569. As a child of Okurakyo-no-tsubone, who had served as wet-nurse to Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI's concubine Yodo-dono (Lady Yodo), he served as Umamawarishu (bodyguard) with a stipend of 3,000 koku given from Hideyoshi. Following Hideyoshi's death, he served as an advisor close to Hideyori TOYOTOMI. However, in 1599 following questioning by Ieyasu, he was banished to Shimotsuke Province (Tochigi Prefecture), under suspicion of being a ringleader of a failed plot to assassinate Ieyasu that had been hatched by servants of Tokugawa Ieyasu and Masanobu HONDA. However, in the following year, 1600, he joined forces with the Eastern army at the Battle of Sekigahara and distinguished himself in battle, thereby earning a pardon for his crime from Ieyasu. Following the battle, under orders from Ieyasu he bore a note from Ieyasu to the Toyotomi clan, in which Ieyasu declared, 'I bear no animosity towards the Toyotomi clan' after which he remained in Osaka and did not return to Edo.

In 1614, upon the banishment of Toyotomi's chief elder retainer Katsumoto KATAGIRI, ONO came to be in a position to lead the Toyotomi family. Afterwards, the pro-war faction within the Toyotomi family gained ascendancy and enlisted the services of ronin (samurai who were not in the service of a daimyo, etc.) from various parts of the country to take part in the Siege of Osaka winter campaign however; Harunaga passively sued for peace, earning him the animosity of Nobushige SANADA's pro-war faction. In 1615 during the summer campaign of the Siege of Osaka, Harunaga sent Princess Sen (who was a daughter of Hidetada TOKUGAWA, the Seii taishogun (literally, "great general who subdues the barbarians") as well as the legal wife of Hideyori) as a messenger for ONO, to plead for clemency for Hideyori and his mother, on the condition that he commit ritual suicide ('seppuku', suicide by disembowelment), but subsequently he and Hideyori committed suicide in a mountain hamlet in the vicinity of Osaka-jo Castle. He died at the age of 47.

He had studied the tea ceremony with Shigenari FURUTA.

Records show that rumors abounded throughout the Edo period regarding Harunaga having an adulterous affair with Yodo-dono, and some accounts maintain that Hideyori was not a biological child of Hideyoshi, but of Harunaga and Yodo-dono. As described above, because he was a foster brother to Yodo-dono, it is likely that their relationship was extremely close; however, with the decline of the fortune of the Toyotomi family and the accompanying 'futility of ruin,' it can also be thought that the rumors of the sin of adultery were created with a view to casting him as an evil person (from a Confucian sense of resignation).