Hojo Ujinori (北条氏規)

Ujinori HOJO was a busho (Japanese military commander) in the Sengoku period (period of warring states) and the Azuchi-Momoyama period. He was the fifth son of Ujiyasu HOJO and a younger brother-uterine of Ujimasa HOJO, Ujiteru HOJO and Ujikuni HOJO. He was the lord of Misaki-jo Castle in Sagami Province and the keeper of Nirayama-jo Castle in Izu Province. His wife was Kogenin, a daughter of Tsunashige HOJO. He referred to himself as Mino no kami (Governor of Mino Province).

Biography

Ujinori was born as the fifth son of Ujiyasu HOJO who was the third family head in 1545. His childhood name was Sukegoro. He spent his childhood at Sunpu in Suruga Province as a hostage of Yoshimoto IMAGAWA. It is considered he returned to Odawara in the Eiroku era, but no detailed historical materials concerning this era are available. In the Koso Alliance (an alliance between the Takeda clan in Kai Province and the Hojo clan in Sagami Province) in 1571, he was taken by the Takeda clan as a hostage together with Ujitada HOJO. In the period as a hostage in Sunpu, Ieyasu TOKUGAWA was also taken as a hostage in Sunpu. This fact is a basis of an explanation that the two had a close relationship from this period, and the "Dai Nihon Shiryo" (the Historical Materials of Japan) adopted this explanation. Also the "Sunkoku Zatsushi" (Topography of Suruga Province of the early 19th century authored by Masanobu ABE) describes that Ujinori and Ieyasu were next-door neighbors each other.

Ujinori had a reputation for preeminent ability of diplomacy, whereas his older brother Ujiteru HOJO and Ujikuni HOJO were known for their ability of governance and military prowess. His negotiation with Kenshin UESUGI and Katsuyori TAKEDA in addition to the enactment of alliance with Ieyasu TOKUGAWA, the Date clan from Oshu (Mutsu Province) and the Ashina clan after the death of Nobunaga ODA implies an exertion of his ability of diplomacy. Many letters and the like from Ieyasu TOKUGAWA to Ujinori HOJO are existing. When Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI asked the Gohojo clan to go to the capital (Kyoto) as described later, Ieyasu acted on Ujinori in many cases. This implies that Ieyasu regarded Ujinori as a contact person of the Hojo clan.

On the contrary, when Shingen TAKEDA invaded to Izu Province in 1569, Ujinori beat back the Takeda army defending Nirayama-jo Castle. From that time, he had shown his activity as a busho. It is clear that he had a territory around Misaki Hozosan, Miura County, Sagami Province; it is considered that he was responsible for defense against the Miura navy due to a geographical factor.

After the completion of the Kyushu Conquest by Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI, Ujinori insisted to become a vassal of Hideyoshi seeing a situation from a broader point of view. He went to the capital (Kyoto) and negotiated with Hideyoshi several times, representing the head of the Hojo family. However, Ujinori's effort was not rewarded in the end. In 1590, he kept to Nirayama-jo Castle after the outbreak of the Siege of Odawara, and resisted for nearly three months with the military power of about 3600 soldiers. He finally surrendered the castle to the enemy, persuaded by Ieyasu. After that, he played a part to recommend Ujimasa HOJO and Ujinao HOJO, the father and the son, to surrender.

After the war, he accompanied Ujinao HOJO to visit Mt. Koya. Subsequently Ujinao was forgiven by Hideyoshi, and approved 2000 koku of Tannan County in Kawachi Province in 1591, and 6980 koku of Kawachi County in Kawachi Province in 1594. As a head of Sayama jinya (regional government office) he was rewarded by a sort of propriety with territories less than 10 thousand koku.

He died of illness on March 22, 1600. His age at death was 56. His graveyard is in Sennen-ji Temple in Osaka, and his homyo (a posthumous Buddhist name) was 一睡院殿勝譽宗円大居士. Succession of Ujimori HOJO was admitted, and his descendant had continued as the lord of the Sayama Domain up to the Meiji restoration.

Other Children

Ujinao appointed his vassal Yasuyori ASAHINA as a jindai of Ujinori's son Kanjuro on April 28, 1587.

In February 1590, a hikan (low-level bureaucrat) of Tatsuchiyo kept to the headquarters Misaki-jo Castle or Odawara-jo Castle. Tatsuchiyo served to Hidetsugu TOYOTOMI, then Ieyasu TOKUGAWA after kaieki (the punishment by removal of samurai status and expropriation of territories) of Hidetsugu. On March 6, 1600, Tatsuchiyo died one month before his father's death. He was 21 years old. His homyo (a posthumous Buddhist name) was 松竜院殿月照梅翁大禅定門. At least until February 1590, there was a group of vassals called as Tatsuchiyo-shu.

A wife of Naosada HOJO died on July 20, 1617. Her homyo (a posthumous Buddhist name) was 智清禅定尼. Her ihai (Buddhist mortuary tablet) was erected by her son Ujitoki HOJO in 1623 after he entered to Kii Province.

A wife of Saburobe SHIRAKASHI died on October 27, 1615. Her homyo (a posthumous Buddhist name) was 安養院殿光誉松顔大禅定尼. It is considered that the Shirakashi clan was from Kii Province and the vassal of the Asano clan.

Ujinori's adopted son-in-law, Nagayori TOJO, announced himself as Kii no kami (Governor of Kii Province) which was his accepted name. It is considered that he served Ieyasu from the beginning and became hatamoto (direct retainer of the shogun) of Ieyasu, in accordance with his father Yukinaga TOJO's conversion from the Toyotomi family to the Tokugawa family.