Okudaira Nobumasa (奥平信昌)

Nobumasa OKUDAIRA was a busho (Japanese military commander) over the Sengoku period and the Edo period. He was first named Sadamasa. He took Kame-hime (Seitokuin), the first daughter of Ieyasu TOKUGAWA, for his lawful wife and he was given an important position as Ieyasu's son-in-law. He had four sons including Iemasa OKUDAIRA and one daughter with Kame-hime.

He was born as the first son of Sadayoshi OKUDAIRA, a powerful local lord (kokujin) in Tsukude, Mikawa Province. His mother was a daughter of Naritame MAKINO.

The Okudaira clan belonged to the Imagawa clan until the generation of Nobumasa's grandfather Sadakatsu OKUDAIRA. The influence of the Imagawa clan over Mikawa Province decreased after the Battle of Okehazama, then he became affiliated with Ieyasu TOKUGAWA and participated in Totomi no kuni Kakegawa-jo zeme (assault on Kakegawa-jo Castle at the Totomi Province).

During Genki period (1570 - 1573) the incursion by the Takeda clan into Mikawa Province led him to switch sides to the Takeda clan. However, in September 1573, following a decision by his father Sadayoshi who believed the death of Shingen TAKEDA having been kept secret, he defected from the Takeda clan. He caught the Takeda clan off guard and swore allegiance to Ieyasu TOKUGAWA who had succeeded in recapturing Nagashino-jo Castle. It was said that at that time his fiancee and others taken hostage by the Takeda clan were put to death.

After his submission to Ieyasu, he was ordered by Ieyasu to defend Nagashino-jo Castle. At that time, he was offered a contract by Ieyasu that he would be a husband of Kame-hime, the first daughter of Ieyasu, if he managed to fight off the Takeda army.

The Battle of Nagashino and his name change
In June 1575, Katsuyori TAKEDA who was furious at the breakaway of the Okudaira clan marched towards Nagashino-jo Castle with his massive army of 15,000 men. Sadamasa holed up in Nagashino-jo Castle and withstood the offensive by the Takeda army. As a result, the Oda and Tokugawa allied army defeated the Takeda army in the Battle of Nagashino on the 21st of the same month.

He was praised by Nobunaga ODA for his fight in this battle and he was given Nobunaga's Henki (a portion of the name of a person in high rank, which is given to a retainer to show the subordination) '信' (pronounced nobu) and changed his name to 信昌 (Nobumasa). In addition to Nobumasa, Nobuchika CHOSOKABE and Nobuyasu MATSUDAIRA were those who were not direct retainers of Nobunaga but were given Nobunaga's Henki. However, it is thought that a character used in Nobunaga's name was given in the meaning of diplomatic courtesy in these cases.

Ieyasu also praised Nobumasa by giving him the famous sword Daihanya Nagamitsu. Not only that, but Ieyasu spoke words of appreciation to each of twelve senior vassals of the Okudaira clan who supported Nobumasa to hold the castle. Moreover, Ieyasu even gave them his special approval that he would guarantee the treatment to their remotest descendants including the rules about their chigyo-chi (territory).

After this battle, Nobumasa was officially transferred the position as the head of the family from his father Sadayoshi.

His subsequent achievements
In 1585, Kazumasa ISHIKAWA who was a chief vassal of the Tokugawa clan ran away to Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI. To prevent his clan's military secrets being leaked by Kazumasa to Hideyoshi, Ieyasu hurried to change his military system adopted since the time of Mikawa to the military system of Shingen TAKEDA. It is said that Nobumasa who had once served the Takeda family contributed to this reform of the military system.

In July 1590, he moved to Kanto region with Ieyasu who was forced to transfer to Kanto region. On August 23 of the same year, he entered into Miyazaki, Kanra District, Kozuke Province with 30,000 koku (approximately 5.4 million liters of crop yield).

In 1600, at the Battle of Sekigahara, he participated in the main battle (meanwhile, the family history and Nakatsu-han shi (history record of Nakatsu Domain) described that he belonged to the Hidetada's army.)
After the battle, he served as Kyoto shoshidai (the Kyoto deputy) until the following year to keep the peace in Kyoto. At that time, he captured Ekei ANKOKUJI who had been hiding in Kyoto. The short sword of Hocho Masamune (Kitchen-Knife Masamune), which was said to be possessed by Ekei, had originally been presented by Nobumasa to Ieyasu and was given to Nobumasa anew. Meanwhile, he failed to capture Hideie UKITA who had been hiding in Uzumasa.

In April 1601, for a series of his exploits after the Battle of Sekigahara, he was ordered to change the territory with additional properties, from Obata Domain of Kozuke Province with 30,000 koku to Kano Domain of Mino Province with 100,000 koku. In 1602, he retired in Kano and handed over the position of the lord of the Domain to the third son Tadamasa OKUDAIRA.

In 1614, he outlived Tadamasa and even the first son Iemasa in Utsunomiya Domain of 100,000 koku in Shimotsuke Province, therefore he could not afford to participate in the Siege of Osaka. In March of the following year he died.