Okubo Tadachika (大久保忠隣)

Tadachika OKUBO was a busho (Japanese military commander) and fudai daimyo (a daimyo in hereditary vassal to the Tokugawa family) in the Sengoku period (period of warring states) to the early Edo period. He was the first lord of the Odawara Domain, Sagami Province. He was a nephew of Tadataka OKUBO, a bakufu hatamoto (direct retainers of the bakufu, which is a form of Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun), who was famous for kodan storytelling. He was the first head of the Okubo family of the Odawara Domain.


He was born as the first boy of Tadayo OKUBO, a senior vassal of the Matsudaira clan (Tokugawa clan), in Kamiwada, Nukata County, Mikawa Province (present-day Okazaki City, Aichi Prefecture) in 1553.

He started to serve Ieyasu TOKUGAWA when he was eleven years old in 1563 and fought in the Mikawa Ikko Ikki (an uprising of Ikkoshu sect followers in Mikawa Province). He joined the battle as a vassal of Ieyasu in the Battle of Anegawa (1570), the Battle of Mikatagahara (1572), the Battle of Komaki-Nagakute (1584), or the Odawara Campaign (1590) and showed distinguished military exploits.

In 1593, he became Karo (chief retainer) of Hidetada TOKUGAWA, the third son of Ieyasu. In 1594, he took over as head of the family and became the first feudal lord of the Odawara Domain, Sagami Province with 65,000 koku (a unit of volume: rice 1-koku is 180.39 liter) when his father, Tadayo, died. In the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600, he followed Hidetada who led the main Eastern army and took Nakasen-do Road, but on the way, he argued that they should attack Masayuki SANADA who belonged to the Western army and was holding Ueda-jo Castle in Shinshu and came into conflict with Masanobu HONDA and others.

In 1601, he got a proposal to change his territory to the Takasaki Domain and an increase of his yield to 130,000 koku but he tuned down this offer. He assumed a post of roju (member of shogun's council of elders) in 1610 and became an influential political person under the second shogun, Hidetada TOKUGAWA, and conflicted with a father and son of Masanobu HONDA and Masazumi HONDA who were senior vassals of Ieyasu in the dual political system where Ieyasu, Ogosho (retired shogun), still had an influential power in Sunpu. He was punished by being deprived of his fief due to the false charge by Hachizaemon BABA who became a ronin (masterless samurai) in the Incident of Daihachi OKAMOTO (1612) and the Incident of Nagayasu OKUBO (1614) (there are various theories on this and described later) and he was exiled to the Omi Province and put under the control of Naotaka II. At that time, he was given chigyo-chi (territory) of 5,000-koku in Nakamura-go, Kurita County, Omi Province.

After that he entered into priesthood and called himself Keian Dohaku and died on July 28, 1628. He died at the age of 75.

As his successive generations demonstrated great military exploits, Tadamoto OKUBO, his legitimate grandchild, was permitted to take over as head of the Okubo family and he made a comeback as the lord of the Odawara Domain later.

Personal Profile and Anecdotes

He belonged to a military exploit group and compared favorably with Tokugawa-shitenno (four generals serving Ieyasu TOKUGAWA) and was recorded as "showed outstanding loyalty for long years" in the Taitokuin-dono Gojikki, a record book of Hidetada TOKUGAWA.

It is said that, when Naotaka II attempted to appeal to Shogun Hidetada regarding the false charge against Tadachika OKUBO after Ieyasu had died, Tadachika rejected the appeal because it would be disloyal to Ieyasu.

There is an episode known that when Ieyasu gathered his vassales and consulted on his successor after the Battle of Sekigahara, Tadachika recommended Hidetada while other candidate names such as Hideyasu YUKI, Hidetada's older brother, or Tadayoshi MATSUDAIRA were mentioned ("Taitokuin-dono Gojikki").

The reason for his Kaieki, punishment, was technically said as the unauthorized marriage of the adopted daughter of Tadachika and Shigenobu YAMAGUCHI, however, there are many theories on the real reasons such as the one by the Incident of Nagayasu OKUBO, or by the conspiracy of Masanobu HONDA and Masazumi HONDA, or by Ieyasu who had the intention to get rid of the Toyotomi government alienated Tadachika who had a close relationship with Saigoku Daimyo (Japanese territorial lord in western Japan) and might present a peace plan (according to the "Tadayo and Tadachika OKUBO, the Lord of the Odawara Domain" written by Kuniteru MITSUGI) but the clear reason has not been known.