Asano Yoshinaga (浅野幸長)

Yoshinaga ASANO was a busho (Japanese military commander) in the Sengoku period and a daimyo (Japanese feudal lord) in the Azuchi-Momoyama period and the Edo period. The first lord of the Kishu Domain, Kii Province. The first head of the Asano family. His lawful wife was a daughter of Tsuneoki IKEDA. His children were Haruhime (Princess Haru) (wife of Yoshinao TOKUGAWA) and Hanahime (Princess Hana) (wife of Tadamasa MATSUDAIRA).

Biography

Yoshinaga ASANO was born as the eldest son of Nagamasa ASANO in 1576, in Kodani, Asai-gun, Omi Province (Kohoku-cho, Shiga Prefecture). His father was the brother-in-law of One (Kodai-in), the lawful wife of Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI. Yoshinaga became one of the Gobugyo (five major magistrates) in the Toyotomi government.

He joined the conquest of Gohojo clan (Odawara Campaign) in 1590. He led a force in the Bunroku-Keicho War along with his father, and fought hard by holding the Ulsan Waeseong (Ulsan Japanese Castle) (current Ulsan Metropolitan City) in 1597.

In 1593, he and his father were granted Fuchu, Kai Province (Kofu City, Yamanashi Prefecture). He was exiled to Noto Province (the eastern part of Ishikawa Prefecture) in 1595 by being implicated in the downfall of Hidetsugu TOYOTOMI, the chief adviser to the Emperor, but soon returned thanks to the arrangement made by Toshiie MAEDA and Ieyasu TOKUGAWA.

After the death of Hideyoshi in August 1598, he sided with Budan-ha (a political faction that is willing to resort to military means to achieve its aims) along with Kiyomasa KATO and Masanori FUKUSHIMA with whom he fought in Korea, and was against Bunchi faction (a political faction that is against Budan-ha) such as Mitsunari ISHIDA of the Gobugyo. When Toshiie MAEDA died in 1599, he attacked Mitsunari ISHIDA with Fukushima and Kato. At the the Battle of Sekigahara which occurred in September 1600, he sided with the East squad led by Ieyasu TOKUGAWA, lined up around Mt. Nangu and diverted the West squad such as Hidemoto MORI and Masaie NAGATSUKA.

After the battle, he was granted 376,000 koku crop yields in the Wakayama-jo Castle, Kii Province. He also served as a guard along with Kiyomasa KATO at the meeting between Ieyasu and Hideyori TOYOTOMI held at the NIjo-jo Castle in 1611. He died in Wakayama on August 25, 1613. Died at the age of 38. Since he did not have a son, his brother Nagaakira ASANO succeeded him.

Tomb: Koyasan-Shicchi-in Temple in Koya-cho Itogun Wakayama Prefecture. Sogenzan, Daisen-ji Temple in Fukiage, Wakayama City.

After the death of Yoshinaga, his brothers Nagaakira and Nagashige fought against each other over the reign of the family, and consequently, Nagaakira succeeded the family. Osaka Fuyu no Jin (Winter Siege of Osaka) occurred from the next year of Yoshinaga's death, and the Toyotomi clan was defeated by Ieyasu in 1615.

In 1619 during the period of Nagaakira, the Asano clan gained more territories due to the Fukushima clan being punished by being deprived of one's fief.

Personal Profile

Yoshinaga was a brave general with a history of military prowess, and it is said that territorial lords acknowledged his prowess. Although Yoshinaga admitted the realm of Ieyasu TOKUNAGA like Kiyomasa KATO did, he was loyal to the Toyotomi clan all his life. Therefore, a theory says that he was assassinated by the Ieyasu group like Kiyomasa. He disliked Mitsunari ISHIDA, so did Kiyomasa and Masanori FUKUSHIMA; he was a grand person in the Budan-ha. He was also dedicated to learning, and studied under Seika FUJIWARA and Seii HORI.

Yoshinaga's cause of death was renal ischemia (social diseases), which was the same as the cause of death of Kiyomasa. Considering the fact that Ieyasu raised Osaka Fuyu no Jin in the next year of Yoshinaga's death, more and more people began to think that the assassination theory is quite credible. However, if in the case of syphilis, it would take more than 10 years from being infected with the disease to die. When calculating this fact, it is possible that he got infected with the disease from a prostitute when he was at the War in Korea.