Wakisaka Yasuharu (脇坂安治)

Yasuharu WAKISAKA was a busho (Military Commander) and daimyo (Feudal Lord) who lived during the Azuchi-Momoyama and Edo periods. He was the head of Sumoto Domain (or fief) in Awaji no Kuni (Awaji Province). He later became the head of Ozu Domain in Iyo no Kuni (Iyo Province). He was the first generation of Wakisaka Clan of Tatsuno Domain.

Biography

The Wakisaka Clan took their name from their place of residence in Wakisakano, Higashiazai-gun, Omi no Kuni.

He was born in Wakisakasho, Azai-gun, Omi no Kuni, the eldest son of Yasuaki WAKISAKA, though according to some theories, he was the son of Magozaemon TATSUKI.

He originally served Nagamasa AZAI but after AZAI's downfall in 1573, he attended the Oda Family. As a yoriki, or assistant, of Mitsuhide AKECHI, he distinguished himself during the assault on Kuroi Castle in Tamba no Kuni. He was awarded for his bravery with a marten fur from the enemy general Naomasa AKAI, who was known as the Red Ogre (Aka Oni) of Tamba. Later, he applied directly to Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI to become his vassal.

He later gained more success during Hideyoshi's campaigns with assaults on Kanki and Miki Castles in Harima no kuni.

In 1583, he fought alongside Masanori FUKUSHIMA and Kiyomasa KATO at the Battle of Shizugatake in Omi no Kuni, becoming known as one of the Shichihonyari (Seven Spears) of Shizugatake and receiving 3,000 koku for his achievements. There's a story that he killed Katsumasa SHIBATA.

During the Battle of Komaki and Nagakute, he performed great feats including capture of Katsutoshi TAKIGAWA's Iga Ueno Castle in the Ise and Iga areas and, in May 1585, Hideyoshi granted him the district of Nose-gun in Settsu no Kuni, worth 10,000 koku
He was granted Takatori in Yamato no Kuni, worth 20,000 koku, in August and Awaji Sumoto, worth 30,000 koku, in October.

He also served as a naval commander along with Yoshiaki KATO and Yoshitaka KUKI, taking part in the Kyushu and Odawara Campaigns, as well as the invasion of Korea.

He was thoroughly defeated by the Shimazu army at the Battle of Hetsugi-gawa River but successfully assaulted Izu Shimoda Castle from the sea during the Odwara Campaign. He was ordered to dispatch 1,500 people during the invasion of Korea and, as a member of the navy, was responsible for transportation between Kyushu and Busan, though he was later transferred to the land forces. In June 1592, while defending the city of Yongin near Hanseong, he was attacked by a huge force of 50,000 Korean soldiers led by the governor of Jeolla Province, Yi Gwang but, using an opportunity to attack at night, forced the Korean army to retreat. In the July after the Yongin Battle, he hastily joined forces with Yoshiaki KATO and Yoshitaka KUKI to take on the naval forces of Yi Sun-sin but Yasuharu WAKISAKA, eager for glory, went out alone and, at the Battle of Hansan Island, was thoroughly defeated by Yi Sun-sin. He was ordered by Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI to switch his tactics to land and sea defence and thwarted several of Yi Sun-si attempted invasions. He was a member of the 900 strong land forces that took part in the Second Siege of Jinju in May 1593. He was ordered to dispatch a 1,200 man navy during the Keicho Invasion and annihilated the invading Korean navy led by Won Gyun during a counterattack in July 1597. He was also praised for his actions during the rescue of Kiyomasa KATO, served with the naval forces when the Japanese invasion began, and fought with the land forces in the battle to take Namwon Castle in August. After attending the Jeonju Meeting, he again saw action with the navy along the Korean coast. He was given an additional 3,000 koku for his achievements in Korea, bringing his income to 33,000 koku.

After the death of Hideyoshi, conflict arose between Ieyasu TOKUGAWA and Toshiie MAEDA. Yasuharu sided with TOKUGAWA. He planned to serve Ieyasu at the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600 but since Mitsunari ISHIDA had raised an army during Yasuharu's stay at Osaka, he felt obliged to join the Western Army with around 1,000 men. During the main battle on September 15, he took advantage of the betrayal by Hideaki KOBAYAKAWA by wipe out Yoshitsugu OTANI's forces and, after the battle, participated in the attack on Mitsunari ISHIDA's residence, Sawayama Castle. Since he had secretly informed TOKUGAWA of his plans before the battle, he was considered an ally rather than an enemy and, after the battle, Ieyasu TOKUGAWA allowed him to keep his properties.

In September 1609, he was granted Ozu Domain in Iyo no Kuni, bringing his worth to 53,500 koku. During the Siege of Osaka in 1614, he remained neutral, joining neither TOKUGAWA's nor TOYOTOMI's side. He passed the family estate to his second son, Yasumoto, in 1615 and retired.

He later left Ozu and lived in Kyoto, becoming a monk and taking the name Rinshoin. He died on August 6, 1626 in Kyoto. He died at the age of 73.

Personal Profile and anecdotes

He took part in the Battle of Shizugatake and was the oldest of the Shichihonyari.

His neutrality during the Siege of Osaka might have been due to his feeling of indebtedness toward the TOYOTOMI Clan. Due to this, the Edo government treated him cautiously and he retired the following year, leaving Ozu.

In his Nakatsukasa Shoyu days, he had a second villa in Fushimi, on something similar to an island in a tributary of Kyoto's Yodo-gawa River.
Since people called Nakatsukasa Shou by its Chinese-style name 'Chujo', WAKISAKA received the nickname 'Chujo sama (Lord Chujo)' and the area where his villa had been located came to be called 'Chushojima Station.'