Atsuji Sadayuki (阿閉貞征)

Sadayuki ATSUJI (1528 - July 7, 1582) was a Japanese military commander and vassal of the Asai and the Oda clans during the Sengoku Period. Sadayuki was the lord of the Yamamotoyama Castle of Omi Province. He was also called Sadahide. Sadayuki claimed to be Awaji no kami (the governor of Awaji Province). Takatora TODO and Satoru WATANABE, both of whom were military commanders, also served as a vassal of the Atsuji clan for a short period of time.

The Atsuji clan, having served as the local lord in Ika County, Kitaomi, for generations, worked for the Asai clan who became more powerful than the Kyogoku clan. As a senior vassal of the Asai clan, Sadayuki was assigned to the fortified Yamamotoyama Castle which overlooked Hokkoku Kaido Road and the Lake Biwa. In the Battle of Anegawa, Sadayuki led a troop of one thousand horsemen. He lined up in the third row after Kazumasa ISONO and Masazumi ASAI. Even after the Battle of Anegawa, Sadayuki continued fighting against the Oda army, beating back the attack against the Yamatoyama Castle by Nobunaga ODA. However, in 1573, Sadayuki betrayed the Asai clan to let the Oda army in the Yamamotoyama Castle, which resulted in the isolation of the Odani-jo Castle leading to the ultimate downfall of the clan.

After the Asai clan fell, Sadayuki joined the Oda clan with his son, Sadahiro ATSUJI, to lead the way to attack the Asakura clan. While Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI took control of Kitaomi, the ATSUJI clan, approved of the proprietary of the Yamamotoyama Castle and the main domain in the Ika County, was appointed as yoriki (mounted warrior belonging to a general in the Sengoku period). However, because Hideyoshi became so powerful as to occupy the stipend gathered in Chikubushima Island, Sadahiro filed a complaint to one of Nobunaga's aids, Nagayori SUGAYA. In 1577, Hideyoshi moved to Harima, but Sadayuki and Sadahiro ATSUJI remained in Omi to work as Nobunaga's hatamoto (bannerman). Later, they joined battles including the one against the Ikko sect in Echizen. One historical record says that the Kinome Castle of Echizen Province protected by Sadayuki and Sadahiro surrendered to the Hongan-ji Temple force. In 1582, they took the side of Mitsuhide AKECHI in the Honnoji Incident and attacked the Nagahama Castle (Omi Province), Hideyoshi's main castle. However, as soon as Mitsuhide died in the Battle of Yamasaki, the entire ATSUJI family was hunted down and killed by Hideyoshi.