Okubo Tadataka (大久保忠教)

Tadataka OKUBO (1560 - April 2, 1639) was a busho (Japanese military commander) in the Sengoku period (period of warring states) and the early Edo period. He was a hatamoto (direct retainers of the bakufu) of the Edo bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun). He was the eighth son of Tadakazu OKUBO who was the Tokugawa's retainer. He had older brothers; Tadayo OKUBO, Tadasuke OKUBO, Tadatame OKUBO and the like. His childhood name was Heisuke. He also announced his name as Tadao at one time. He was famous as his common name, Hikozaemon. His sons were Tadana OKUBO, Kanenori OKUBO, 大久保政雄 (hatamoto) and the like. His wife was a daughter of Nobunari BABA (馬場信成). He is also known as the author of "Mikawa Monogatari" (Tales from Mikawa).

Brief Personal History

Okubo was born in Kamiwada, Mikawa Province (current Okazaki City, Aichi Prefecture). At the age of 17, he participated in the battle for the suppression of Totomi Province together with his older brother, Tadayo. It is said that the kassen (battle) at Inui-jo Castle was his uijin (first battle). Okubo moved from place to place to fight under the direction of Tadayo, Tadasuke and the like; in the siege of Takatenjin-jo Castle, he defeated Motonobu OKABE.

In an offensive and defensive battle of Ueda-jo Castle in Shinano Province in 1585, he bravely fought together with his brothers under the condition that the entire army was at the mercy of Masayuki SANADA's command.

In 1590, his lord Ieyasu TOKUGAWA was transferred to Edo after the conquest and siege of Odawara. As his older brother Tadayo and his son, i.e. Tadataka's nephew Tadachika OKUBO was appointed to the lord of Odawara-jo Castle in Sagami Province, Tadataka was provided with the enfeoffment of 3000 koku. In 1600, he played an active role in headquarters of Ieyasu army as a yari bugyo (spear magistrate) in the Battle of Sekigahara.

In that period, the second older brother Tadasuke was the lord of Numazu-jo Castle in Suruga Province and had the territory of 20000 koku. However, as Tadasuke's legitimate child Tadakane OKUBO prematurely died, Tadasuke tried to adopt his younger brother Tadataka to let him inherit the family headship. Nevertheless, Tadataka firmly refused this offer, saying 'this is not a merit of me'; at the end, the family of Tadasuke was slapped with kaieki sanction (sudden dismissal and deprivation of position, privileges and properties) after his death.

Subsequently, Tadachika was brought down and also slapped with kaieki sanction, being implicated with the Incident of Nagayasu OKUBO (there are various theories). In accordance with that, Tadataka implicatedly slapped with kaieki sanction, too. However, he was called to Sunpu and received the territory of 1000 koku in Nukata, Mikawa Province, to return as a hatamoto, a direct retainer to Ieyasu. In 1614, he took part in the Siege of Osaka as yari bugyo. Even after Ieyasu died, he accompanied the going up to Kyoto of the second shogun, Hidetada TOKUGAWA. In the era of the third shogun Iemitsu TOKUGAWA, he became a hata bugyo (flag magistrate) to adhere to a life as a samurai up to his later years. In that time, he was additionally provided with 1000 koku.

Around 1635, he transferred his territory of about 300 koku to Kashima, Hitachi Province and concentrated on writing "Mikawa Monogatari'," spending the rest of his life there. He died at the age of 80 in 1639. On the eve of his death he was further provided with additional 5000 koku by Iemitsu.
However, it is said that he firmly refused saying 'thank you, but I don't have much time to live, so I don't need it.'

His homyo (a posthumous Buddhist name) was 了真院殿日清. His graveyard is Kaiunsan Guseiin Chofuku-ji Temple in Ryusenji-cho, Okazaki City, Aichi Prefecture. And Koryosan Honzen-ji Temple in Kaminobe-cho, Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto City, and Chikozan Ryugyo-ji Temple (erected by Tadataka; the common name is 'Okubo Temple') in Shirokane, Minato Ward, Tokyo.

Tadataka in Kodan storytelling or Koshaku narration

Though Tadataka was commonly famous as 'consultant of tenka (the world),' the anecdotes that he came to castle riding on 'o-darai' (large basin) under the prohibition from using koshi (litter) by hatamoto rank or below, or that he remonstrated with shogun Iemitsu whenever something happened, were the fiction in kodan storytelling or koshaku narration in the later period. His book, "Mikawa Monogatari" (Tales of Mikawa), was published in the peaceful time and it was supported by samurai who belong to Buko faction (samurai who are devoted militants) who had dissatisfaction with the regime during the era. Because of the success of his book, he was considered to be a hero of the time and this might have resulted in creating the existing fiction.

It is said that he himself always fostered many ronins (masterless samurai) and made great effort for their job hunting regardless of his own success. It seems to be actual that he was respected by various people as a man of chivalry.

Story of Hikozaemon OKUBO and Isshin-Tasuke' came to be known in kodan storytelling or koshaku narration after the dramatization for Kabuki (traditional performing art) play written by Mokuami KAWATAKE, a pupil of Nanboku TSURUYA.

It is possibly the dramatization in kodan storytelling that Hikozaemon's uijin (first battle) was the attack on Tsuta no Su fortress in the Battle of Nagashino.