Mizuno Katsunari (水野勝成)

Katsunari MIZUNO (September 30, 1564 - May 4, 1651) was a military commander in the Period of Warring States and a territorial lord during the early Edo period. He was the first lord of the Bingofukuyama Domain (present-day Fukuyama City, Hiroshima Prefecture). He was the first family head of the head family of the Mizuno family.

He was born in the Province of Mikawa, and the first son of Tadashige MIZUNO, the lord of the Kariya Domain, Mikawa Province. His mother was a daughter of Yoshitoyo TSUZUKI. His childhood name was Kunimatsu. His popular name was Tojuro and Rokuzaemon. His pen name was Sokyu. His official court rank was Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade and he was the provincial governor of Hyuga Province. He was a cousin of Ieyasu TOKUGAWA, as Odai no kata, the real mother of Ieyasu TOKUGAWA, was an elder sister of Tadashige. His lawful wife was Osaku, a daughter of Iechika MIMURA and an adopted daughter of Chikanari MIMURA. He had the first son Katsutoshi MIZUNO, the second son Narikoto MIZUNO, the third son Narisada MIZUNO, the fourth son Katsunori MIZUNO, and the fifth son Katsutada MIZUNO.


Wandering and Numerous Battles
He was a feudal lord with a very fiery temperament. His first battle was the attack on the Takatenjin-jo Castle in the Totomi Province, and after that, he followed Ieyasu and fought many battles such as those with the Takeda clan and the Tenshojingo no ran (Tenshojingo Rebellion). Although his fiery temperament allowed him to achieve remarkable feats on the battlefield, he ran away because he was criticized for his violation of military command such as his carrying out Ichiban-yari (a person who instigates the war) in the battle of Komaki-Nagakute even if he was a general of an army as well as the murder of his vessel who reported his misconducts to Tadashige, and he received a hokokamae (virtual prohibition of working for other families, as a punishment) by his father.

Therefore, he wandered about the Chugoku region and the Kyushu region serving and being entrusted with important job by Yukinaga KONISHI, Kiyomasa KATO, Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI, Narimasa SASSA, and Chikanari MIMURA; however, he did not last long in any of his positions due to his fiery temperament in addition to an interruption from the Mizuno family by the above hokokamae. But given the fact that his activities were very unnatural as a legitimate child of the dominant feudal lord on the Tokugawa side even though he was disowned by his father and he entered into Fukuyama later, there is speculation that he played a role in spying on daimyos on theToyotomi side in Western Japan.

He made peace with his father Tadashige, which was brokered by Ieyasu and others in 1598. He abruptly took over as the head of the family because his father Tadashige was killed by Shigemochi KAGANOI in 1600. At the Battle of Sekigahara, he joined the Battle of Gifu-jo Castle, the Sone defensive war, and the Battle of Ogaki-jo Castle, and was given Kariya City that was worth 30,000 koku (approximately 1.8 million liters of crop yield) in addition to his territory.

He was appointed to Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade in 1610 and used the name Hyuga no kami. As Hyuga no kami was the title used by Mitsuhide AKECHI, everybody avoided it's use, but Katsunari simply laughed such concerns off, and in fact, wanted to have the name Hyuga no kami.
After that, he was sometimes called by the nickname 'Devil Hyuga.'

He also joined the Siege of Osaka, and especially in the Summer Siege of Osaka, he was appointed as leader of the spearhead army in the Yamato Province area, and fought actively in the battle of the Domyo-ji Temple and shared the honor of being first to charge the Osaka-jo Castle with the Echizen army. Though he received credit for his meritorious services in this battle, he was treated coldly by Ieyasu because he himself, the commander, again achieved Ichiban-yari, and was transferred with additional properties to Yamatokoriyama City (the Koriyama Domain of 60,000 koku) where the Koriyama-jo Castle (Yamato Province) was burned down during the battle.

The first lord of the Fukuyama Domain
In 1619, he was given the Bingofukuyama Domain which was worth 100,000 koku in the southwest area of Bicchu Province and the south of Bingo Province, but instead of the Kannabe-jo Castle where he first entered, he built a new castle (Fukuyama-jo Castle (Bingo Province)) and a castle town (Fukuyama (castle town)) in present-day Fukuyama City near the Seto Inland Sea as a foothold for the bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) in western Japan by order of the bakufu.

After entering the Fukuyama Domain, Katsunari hired the highly-respected and resourceful Chikanari MIMURA who was his benefactor during his wandering years as a position of chief retainers by giving him a high salary to carry out domain duties, and he engaged actively in castle town construction, promotion of industrial development, embankment works, and development of new rice fields, and laid the foundation for the present-day Fukuyama City area which was mostly a wetland before. The new rice field development showed an additional Kokudaka of about 50,000 koku in the land survey after the domain was confiscated following the death of Katsumine MIZUNO, the fifth lord of the domain.

He followed the procession to the capital of the third Tokugawa Shogun Iemitsu, and was promoted to Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade in 1626 and was given an additional 1,000 koku of Atsugi-mura Village, Aiko-gun, Sagami Province (present-day Atsugi City, Kanagawa Prefecture).

When he was requested to suppress the Shimabara War from the Tokugawa shogunate in 1638, Katsunari joined the shogunate army with Katsutoshi (his first legitimate son) and Katsusada (his grandchild) leading about 6,000 warriors from his clan. He was the only feudal lord who joined the war other than the feudal lords from Kyushu except for envoys from the shogunate government, and this was due to his wartime career which was well received despite his age (seventy-five years old at that time). During the all-out assault, samurais of the Fukuyama clan achieved many distinguished feats, meeting the shogunate government's expectations, which still costed more than 100 samurai lives in the battle. This was the worst casualties in Katsunari's war record.

He yielded the family estate to his heir and son Katsutoshi MIZUNO and retired in 1639, but continued to invest his retirement stipend of 10,000 koku in Fukuyama-jo castle town. He died in Fukuyama-jo Castle in 1651, and was buried in his family temple Kenchu-ji Temple, Soto Zen sect, near the Fukuyama-jo Castle. His posthumous Buddhist name was 徳勝院殿参康宗休大居士. (posthumous Buddist name in the Soto Zen sect) or 大機院前下大夫日州太守一分斎宗休大居士 (posthumous Buddist name in the Rinzai sect).

He was also worshipped as Sobin myojin (a gracious deity of perspicacity) according to Shinto religious honors; there are the Sobin-jinja Shrine in the precincts of the Fukuyama Hachiman-gu Shrine to the north of the Fukuyama-jo Castle and Sobin-sha Shrine at the side of the site of Yuki-jo Castle in Ibaraki Prefecture. Today, his bronze statue stands at the outer citadel on the east side of the Fukuyama-jo Castle and he is still revered by citizens of Fukuyama as the founder of Fukuyama town.


Tadakiyo MIZUNO, the first lord of the Matsumoto Domain, Shinano Province (present-day Matsumoto City, Nagano Prefecture) was real younger brother of Katsunari. Jurozaemon MIZUNO who was a direct vassal of the shogun and known for his eccentric behaviors and outlandish style was Katsunari's grandson.

Seijo-in, an adopted daughter of Ieyasu TOKUGAWA and the lawful wife of Kiyomasa KATO, was Katsunari's father Tadashige's daughter, that is, a younger sister of Katsunari. When Kato clan was forfeited, Katsunari and Katsutoshi acted as a shogunate government witness of forfeit of the Kumamoto-jo Castle, and at that time they took Seijo-in to Fukuyama.

He also maintained a deep friendship with Musashi MIYAMOTO, who guarded Katsunari's legitimate son Katsushige (also known as Katsutoshi) as a guest military commander of Katsunari's army in the Osaka Natsu no Jin. Musashi's first adopted son Mikinosuke MIYAMOTO was the third son of Shimanosuke NAKAGAWA, a warrior magistrate of the Mizuno army, adopted by Musashi with his younger brother Kurotaro after the Summer Siege of Osaka Castle. A garden stone, on which Musashi sat during his visit to the residence of the chief retainer Shogen NAKAYAMA when he visited Fukuyama, was preserved even after the owner of the residence changed to the chief retainer of the Abe family, and later transferred to the precincts of Bingogokoku-jinja Shrine where it remains today.