Matsudaira Ietada (松平家忠)

Ietada MATSUDAIRA (1555 - September 8, 1600) was a retainer of the Tokugawa clan who served as a busho (Japanese military commander) from the Sengoku Period (Period of Warring States) through Azuchi-Momoyama period. He was the fourth head of the Fukozu Matsudaira family, who went by the name Matahachi (also known as Matahachiro), but became known as Tonomonsuke from approximately 1592. His personal diary (the "Ietada Diary"), has become an important and valuable historical source material to know about the life during the Sengoku Period, as well as the lives of many powerful feudal lords.


Ietada was born as the first son of Koretada MATSUDAIRA, the third head of the Fukozu Matsudaira family, and the daughter of Nagamochi UDONO at Fukozu-jo Castle, the castle of the Fukozu Matsudaira family, in Nukata district, Mikawa Province (present day Fukozu, Koda-cho, Aichi Prefecture). The Fukozu Matsudaira family around the time that Ietada celebrated his coming of age had yielded allegiance to the main house, that of Ieyasu TOKUGAWA, and were under the direction of Tadatsugu SAKAI, who had been charged with governing Higashimikawa (Yoshida-jo Castle, Mikawa Province) by Ieyasu. He went to the front with his father to fight in the Battle of Nagashino in May of 1575, and augmented the force under command of Tadatsugu SAKAI that was attacking Mt. Tobinosu; however, as Ietada's father died on the battlefield, he had to succeed to the leadership of the family in his 21st year. While the date is not known around 1573, Ietada took a daughter of Tadawake MIZUNO, who was the younger brother the lord of Kariya-jo Castle, Nobumoto MIZUNO, as wife.

Although Ietada subsequently took part in many battles, his main occupation was with the construction and maintenance of castles, such as Hamamatsu-jo Castle, Makino-jo Castle (Suwahara-jo Castle, the Province of Totomi), Shinjo-jo Castle, Yokosuka-jo Castle, the tsukejiro (outposts) of Takatenjin-jo Castle, and the like; therefore, it is assumed that he was skilled in civil engineering.

When Ieyasu moved his domain to the Kanto region in 1590, Ietada was given a fief amounting to 10,000 koku in Saitama County, Musashi Province, and established his base at Oshi-jo Castle (present day Gyoda City, Saitama Prefecture). Oshi was originally established as a fief of 100,000 koku given to Ieyasu's fourth son, Tadayoshi MATSUDAIRA; however, as Tadayoshi was still a child, the fief was entrusted to Ietada until Tadayoshi came of age. After Tadayoshi came of age and became the lord of the castle, Ietada was again moved to a new fief, this time to Omigawa, Shimousa Province (present day Katori City, Chiba Prefecture), where he established a base at Kamidai-jo Castle (present day Sakurai, Katori City).

With the order of Ieyasu in 1600, Ietada remained garrisoned at Fushimi-jo Castle, together with Mototada TORII, Ienaga NAITO and others, and they lured Mitsunari ISHIDA and the like to raise an army composed of forces from the western part of the country. Then, although Mitsunari raised an army, as had been expected, Ietada and others garrisoned at Fushimi-jo Castle, which had been the site of preliminary skirmishes at the Battle of Sekigahara, were killed in the Battle of Fushimi-jo Castle. He died at the age of 46.

Ietada Diary

Ietada is better known as the author of the diary he penned, which is known as the "Ietada Diary," than as a military commander in the Sengoku Period from the Fukozu Matsudaira family. This is because he entered a concise description of the events that occurred each day during the seventeen year period from 1575 to November 1594 in his diary. The original, which was repaired by Ietada's heir, Tadafusa MATSUDAIRA (the lord of the domain of Shimazu), who was the head of the Fukozu Matsudaira family during the early Edo period, was stored and is extant.

The diary is basically an unembellished record of daily weather and seasonal conditions and the like, but contains many descriptions of battles as well. Although there are almost no entries written in a subjective tone describing his personal impressions of events, the weather and the like, there are entries in which he records having attended the Noh, or participated in a tea ceremony or renga (linked verse) poetry composing gathering, which would seem to indicate that he was a man who enjoyed cultural pursuits. Furthermore, it is a valuable historical source material because of the informative description it records in relation to the state of the government of those times, of the lifestyle of Ieyasu, and the daily activities and customs of the feudal lords.

In addition, the oldest surviving illustration of shogi (a Japanese board game resembling chess) appears in the Ietada Diary. However, the illustration is a mere depiction of the game, and it is not certain as to whether or not Ietada actually played shogi; according to Koichi MASUKAWA, the shogi skill of the opposing sides would be considered fairly low, that of a novice.