Oishi Yoshikatsu (大石良勝)

Yoshikatsu OISHI (1587 - September 18, 1650) was a samurai who lived from the Azuchi-Momoyama period to the early Edo period. He was the head of chief retainers of the Asano family of Kasama Domain in Hitachi Province. He was the great grandfather of Yoshio OISHI, famous for "Chushingura" (The Treasury of Loyal Retainers). His common names were Kuranosuke, Shinshichiro and Gozaemon.

He was born as the second son of Yoshinobu OISHI, a vassal of Kanpaku (chief advisor to the Emperor) Hidetsugu TOYOTOMI. His mother was Shimo, a daughter of Choji SHINDO, a vassal of the Konoe family. Yoshiteru OISHI was his older brother and Nobukoto OISHI (the grandfather of Nobukiyo OISHI, one of the shijushichishi [47 loyal retainers of Chushingura]) was his younger brother.

As he was born out of wedlock, Yoshikatsu was supposed to become a monk and put in Miyamotobo of Iwashimizu Hachimangu Shrine. He, however, disliked to become a monk, escaped from Kyoto in 1600 and became a ronin (lordless samurai) in Edo. In 1604 when he was 18 years old, he served for Nagashige ASANO's third son Nagamasa ASANO (the lord of Moka Domain of 20,000 koku in Shimotsuke Province at the time, later became the lord of Makabe Domain of 50,000 koku in Hitachi Province followed by the lord of Kasama Domain of 53,000 koku in Hitachi Province). He was initially a kosho (page) of 300 koku, but he rendered distinguished military service in the battle of Tennoji-Okayama of the Osaka Natsu no Jin (Summer Siege of Osaka) in 1615 and became the head of the chief retainers of 1,500 koku. Further, his family became the family of permanent chief retainer and the successive descendants of Yoshikatsu were promised to become the head of the chief retainers. He died in Kyoto on September 18, 1650. His age at death was 64. He was buried in Myoshin-ji Temple in Kyoto. His posthumous Buddhist name was Hotetsuin Setsurokan.

He married the third daughter of his uncle Yoshisada OISHI and had five sons; Yoshitaka OISHI (the head of chief retainers of the Asano family of Ako Domain), Yoshishige OISHI (a chief retainer of the Asano family of Ako Domain), Tomotomo OKUMURA (a vassal of the Matsudaira family of Toyama Domain), Yoshihide OYAMA (a vassal of the Asano family of Ako Domain, adoptive father of Yoshimoro OYAMA) and Yoshitsugu OISHI (a vassal of the Matsudaira family of Takamatsu Domain). He also had two daughters and married them to Nagasada SHINDO (a grandson of Nagaharu), a vassal of the Konoe family, and Toshimoto SHINDO, a feudal retainer of the Ako clan, respectively.

[Original Japanese]