Hosokawa Tadaoki (細川忠興)

Tadaoki HOSOKAWA/Tadaoki NAGAOKA was a military leader and Daimyo (feudal lord) from the Sengoku period (Warring States period) through to the Edo period in Japan. He was the first feudal lord to rule over Kokura han (Kokura Domain) in Buzen-no-kuni (Buzen Province) from Miyazaki Castle in Tango-no-kuni (Tango Province). Furthermore, like his father Yusai HOSOKAWA, he was an educated man and famous tea master taught by Rikyu shichitetsu (Rikyu seven sages). He was the founder of the Sansai School of tea ceremony.

Tadaoki's actual father Yusai HOSOKAWA was a vassal, his adoptive father was a relative of Terutsune HOSOKAWA (Hosokawa-Oshu family), and he married Mitsuhide AKECHI's daughter Tamako (also known as "Gracia HOSOKAWA"). His name (nickname) was "Yoichiro." Governor of Echu Province, Chamberlain, Prime Minister of Tango Province. Takes the name "Sansai souryu." Tadaoki's name borrows one kanji character from the name of Nobunaga ODA's eldest son, Nobutada ODA.
After the shogun Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA was sent into exile the Hosokawa clan was renamed the Nagaoka clan and later were given the name Hashiba but reverted to the name of "Hosokawa," following the summer siege of Osaka,

Tadaoki collaborated with Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA, Nobunaga ODA, Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI, and Ieyasu TOKUGAWA, the powerful people of the era, and is built the foundations of the HOSOKAWA clan which still survives today.

Tadaoki was promoted to Shosanmi (Senior Court Rank) on February 11, 1924.


Tadaoki was born in Kyoto on December 8, 1563, as the eldest son of Yusai HOSOKAWA, a vassal in the service of the shogun Yoshiteru ASHIKAGA. On Yoshiteru's orders he was adopted as a son of Terutsune HOSOKAWA, a member of the Oshu family, but as an adopted son he was not part of the family line and later cooperated with Fujitaka, his actual father, and inherited the fiefdom.

After the Eiroku no hen (the Eiroku Incident), Fujitaka and Mitsuhide AKECHI came to rely upon daimyo Nobunaga ODA of Owari Province/Mino Province and backed Yoshiteru's younger brother Yoshiaki as shogun, however, Tadaoki became a vassal of Nobunaga when Nobunaga and Yoshiaki had a confrontation. Tadaoki served Nobutada ODA, the eldest son of Nobunaga.

Era of Nobunaga ODA

In 1577 Tadaoki gained his first battle experience as a 15 year old by taking part in Saika insurrection of Ki Province. Moreover, when Hisahide MATSUNAGA turned against Nobunaga and MATSNUGA's commander Hidemitsu MORI holed himself in Kataoka Castle in Yamato Province, Tadaoki together with his father and his father's ally Mitsuhide AKECHI captured MORI, for which he received a direct letter of commendation from Nobunaga. In 1579, on orders from Nobunaga, Tadaoki, his father and Mitsuhide overthrew Yoshimichi ISSHIKI, the military governor of Tango Province and lord of Takebeyama Castle.

In 1579 he married Mitsuhide's 3rd daughter Tamako (Gracia HOSOKAWA) with Nobunaga as the matchmaker. On his marriage, he was permitted by Nobunaga to use the Kuyo (nine-planet crest) motif for his family crest, and this was then adopted as the family crest of the Hosokawa clan. It is said that Nobunaga did this because he remembered how taken Tadaoki had been by the Kuyo (nine-planet crest) motif etched on the hilt of his (Nobunaga's) short sword.

In 1580 his father Fujitaka was awarded the title of lord of Tango Province with a stipend of 120,000 koku.

The Honnoji Incident

In June 1582, Tadaoki's father-in-law Mitsuhide AKECHI instigated the Honnoji Incident and called upon Tadaoki and his father Fujitaka to provide support however, but they refused and Tamako was imprisoned in Midono in Tango Province (vicinity of present-day Sugawa, Yasaka-cho, Kyotango City). The remains of the mansion where she was confined 'Mejiro-ato' (Goten-yashiki) still stand today. Being abandoned by even Hosokawa father and son is said to have been decisive in the downfall of Mitsuhide. Around the same time, Tadaoki received a fiefdom from his father and became the lord of Tango-Miyazu Castle.

He later served Hideyoshi HASHIBA (Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI) who was making progress towards unifying the country. In 1584, Tadaoki took part in the Battle of Komaki Nagakute, and in the following year (1585) he was promoted to the rank of Jushiinoge (Junior Forth Rank, Lower Grade), appointed to the position of Jiju (chamberlain) and given the family name "Hashiba" by Hideyoshi (this name continued to be used until the end of Osaka Natsu no Jin (Summer Siege of Osaka)). Thereafter, his military exploits included: the Kyushu Campaign of 1587, the Odawara Campaign of 1590, and the the Bunroku-Keicho War (Japanese Invasions of Korea in 1592 and 1597).

When Hideyoshi died in 1598, Tadaoki, now a daimyo (feudal lord) of the military faction in his own right, was in conflict with Mitsunari ISHIDA and his comrades in the administrative faction and on good terms with Ieyasu TOKUGAWA. In 1599, he participated in attacks on Mitsunari together with Kiyomasa KATO, Masanori FUKUSHIMA, Yoshiaki KATO, Yoshinaga ASANO, Terumasa IKEDA, and Nagamasa KURODA. In the same year, he received an additional land in the Bungo-Kitsuki region with a yield of 60,000 koku from Ieyasu.

The Battle of Sekigahara

In 1600 the Eastern Army took part in the Battle of Sekigahara. At that time, Tadaoki was an influential daimyo (feudal lord) of Toyotomi and had his wife and father in Kyoto, and so the other daimyo were paying close attention to his next move, however, the prompt announcement of his intention to join the Eastern army is therefore said to have influenced other daimyos who has been under Toyotomi's patronage. Gracia, his wife, who was confined in Fushimi came under attack by the Western army, and, refusing to be taken hostage, committed suicide. Yusai, Tadaoki's father was defending Tango-Tanabe Castle in Tadaoki's absence and came under siege (the Battle of Tanabe Castle), however, in accordance with an imperial order from the Imperial Court, he gave up the castle prior to the Battle of Sekigahara and was taken to Tanba-Kameyam Castle which was controlled by enemy commander Shigekatsu MAEDA.

Because of Tadaoki's success in the fierce fighting with Mitsunari ISHIDA's troops at the Battle of Sekigahara on September 15, Ieyasu in 1602 gave him additional land in Nakatsu Domain in Buzen Province with a yield of 399,000 koku. He then moved to Kokura in Buzen Province.

Tokugawa Era

He was on the TOKUGAWA side in the Siege of Osaka, which started in 1614. However, he did not in fact fight in the Osaka campaign. In 1620 he transferred control of the family estate to his third son Tadatoshi HOSOKAWA.

In 1632, when Tadatoshi became feudal lord of land in Kumamoto Domain in Higo Province with yield of 540,000 koku and moved to Kumamoto Castle, Tadaoki decided to retire to the Kita-no-maru (the north keep) of Yatsushiro Castle in South Kumamoto. Around this time, under Tadaoki's instructions, Chon-Hae KIM (aka Sonkai KIN) and his eldest son Chube established Koda-yaki (Koda ceramics) at a place called Koda-go (Koda hamlet) in Yatsushiro County.

Tadaoki had his fourth son Tatsutaka HOSOKAWA live in the main keep of Yatsushiro Castle and seemed to desire him to inherit the retirement gratuity of 95,000 koku and establish his own domain, but he died young in May 1645 and Tadaoki followed him in January 18, 1646. He was 83.

Tatsutaka's son Miyamatsu (Yukitaka HOSOKAWA) remained at Yatsushiro Castle, but the head of the clan Mitsunao HOSOKAWA (Tadatoshi's son) gave him land with a yield of 30,000 koku in Uto-gun and Mashiki-gun and made his top retainer Okinaga MATSUI (the governor of Nagaoka-Sado Province) the castellan (formally "the keeper of castle") of Yatsushiro Castle with its income of 30,000 koku. Okinaga's heir was his adopted son Yoriyuki, (Tadaoki's 6th son).

Personal Profile

Tadaoki was skillful in battle and an excellent politician as well. Among the military commanders of Japan's Sengoku period (Warring States period), only Tadaoki matched Nobunaga ODA in level-headedness and intensity. That Tadaoki served many lords including Ashikaga, Oda and Tokugawa while ensuring that the Hosokawa clan continued to prosper is testament to his political skills; however, he was not a man given to forgive, even when it was someone close to him, and this led him to fall out with his father Yusai HOSOKAWA after he (Yusai) surrendered a castle to the enemy during the Battle of Sekigahara (for details refer to the paragraph on the Battle of Tanabe Castle). He did not get on well with his younger brother Okimoto HOSOKAWA either.

Tadaoki also excelled in information warfare, something which may be linked to his being one of the most cultured men of his day and having frequent interaction with a great number of intellectuals and court nobles. Even after retiring, he was able to acquire much information via sources such as Toshikatsu DOI and his distant relative Kasuga no tsubone. Tadaoki wrote an enormous number of letters during his lifetime, including approximately 2,000 after the Battle of Sekigahara.

Intellectual Pursuits
Like his father, Tadaoki was a cultured individual who expressed his refinement through Waka (classical Japanese poetry form), Noh plays and painting. His literacy is 'Hosokawa Sansai Chasho' (Books of Tea by Hosokawa Sansai). He studied under SEN no Rikyu, and as one of Rikyu's favorite pupils, is counted as one of Rikyu's 7 sages. Of the Daimyo with whom Rikyu had a connection, only Tadaoki and Shigenari FURUTA went to visit him after he was ordered to commit ritual suicide.

Tadaoki's name is also linked with the invention of the celebrated Higo-koshirae (Higo style) form of Japanese sword.

Married Life
He deeply loved wife, Tama (baptismal name "Gracia"), and managed to avoid having to cut his connection with her after her father Mitsuhide AKECHI instigated the Honnoji Incident by imprisoning her. In their day they were said to have been the most handsome couple in Japan, but their relations were not always harmonious; it is said that when Gracia became a Christian directly after the release of Hideyoshi's edicts prohibiting Christianity, he flew into a rage, sliced off the nose of her maid-in-waiting and forced Tama into converting back. It is also said he had a gardener who was captivated by Tama's beauty put to death. During the the Bunroku-Keicho War, Tadaoki wrote Tama numerous letters. The point of the letters was to avoid her being seduced by Hideyoshi, or so the story goes.

Tadaoki and Tama had 3 boys and 2 girls but it was his 3rd son, Tadatoshi HOSOKAWA who succeeded him as feudal lord of the Kumamoto Domain.

Note that Narishige HOSOKAWA the 8th generation feudal lord of the Kumamoto Hosokawa clan was adopted from the Uto Domain and thus had a different mother to younger brother Tatsutaka HOSOKAWA
Consequently, Morihiro HOSOKAWA and subsequent lords of the Kumamoto Domain were related to by blood to Narishige HOSOKAWA but not to the Tadatoshi lineage which had blood ties to Gracia.

Tadaoki's 3rd son Tadatoshi succeeded because he disinherited his eldest son Tadataka HOSOKAWA. Tadataka's wife Chiyo, was daughter of Toshiie MAEDA, escaped and survived during the Battle of Sekigahara while Tadaoki's wife committed suicide in the residence at Osaka. Tadaoki blamed Chiyo and ordered Tadataka to divorce her and to sever all connections with Toshiie MAEDA and the Maeda clan. However, Tadataka stood up for Chiyo and would not divorce her, and so Tadaoki exiled and disinherited him. As a result, Tadataka retired from public life and lived quietly in Kyoto with Chiyo and his eldest son.

Tadaoki's second son was Okiaki HOSOKAWA who sided with the Toyotomi in 1615 during the Siege of Osaka and was subsequently and unavoidably ordered by his father to commit ritual suicide.

Major Vassals
Yasuyuki MATSUI
Hidekiyo OGASAWARA (Shosai)