Ota Kazuyoshi (太田一吉)

Kazuyoshi OTA (? - 1617) was an Azuchi-Momoyama era military commander (and daimyo). He was a vassal of the Toyotomi clan. He went by several other names, including Masanobu, Munetaka, Masayuki, Shigeyuki, and Shigemasa. His father was Munekiyo OTA. Kazunari OTA was his son. He was the provincial governor of Hida province. He was also Kogengo.

Kazuyoshi's original surname was not OTA but SUGAWARA; he was born in Otamura village in Mino province. His family had initially been retainers of the Shiba clan, but his father Munekiyo then began to serve the Oda clan.

Kazuyoshi himself started out as a retainer of Nagahide NIWA, but after Nagahide's death, he began serving Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI, and was granted jurisdiction over a territory worth 65,000 koku in Usuki in Bungo province. It is said that his promotion (among the various daimyo in Bungo province, 65,000 koku was quite a large income) while working for Hideyoshi came as a result of Kazuyoshi being close with Mitsunari ISHIDA, who remained his lifelong patron. During Hideyoshi's invasion of Korea he served as an overseer. Thereafter, Kazuyoshi became a member of the Riryo (government official) faction, along with Nagataka FUKUHARA, Naomori KUMAGAI and others, and as such fell into conflict with Kiyomasa KATO, Masanori FUKUSHIMA and the others of the Budan (militarist) faction.

During the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600, he had his nephew Masanari OTA join the Eastern (Tokugawa) army and his son Kazunari join the Western (Ishida) army, while he himself remained holed up in Uzuki-jo Castle, claiming illness. But his behavior was deemed a tacit endorsement of the Western army, so he was attacked by Yoshitaka KURODA and Hidenari NAKAGAWA, both Eastern army supporters. At this point Kazuyoshi showed some backbone, considering it too great a humiliation to surrender to someone of such low status as Hidenari and therefore thoroughly committing himself to armed resistance; only after bloodying the enemy (in the Battle of Sagaseki) did he agree to surrender his castle to Josui (another name for Yoshitaka), with whom he had long been close.

Following this he lived a secluded life in Kyoto.