Honda Clan

Honda Clan

The Honda clan (酒本多氏 Honda-shi) was a clan of feudal Japan that ruled in Mikawa province.

Honda Clan History

The Honda family claimed descent from Fujiwara no Kanemichi (925-977) and settled in Mikawa province where they served the Matsudaira clan.

Later, when the Matsudaira family became the Tokugawa clan, the Hondas increased greatly in prestige because of their support for Tokugawa Ieyasu and the subsequent establishment of the Tokugawa shogunate.

In fact, it was one of the leading families of Fudai daimyō. During the Edo period the various branches of this clan included thirteen daimyō families and forty-five with hatamoto status.

Probably the most famous member of the clan was the sixteenth-century samurai general Honda Tadakatsu. Two of the main branches of the clan claim descent from Tadakatsu, or his close relative Honda Masanobu.

Prominent members of the Honda clan

  • Honda Hirotaka (本多 広孝; 1527 - 1596) Hirotaka was a son of Honda Nobushige. He served in the Battle of Nagashino in 1575 and the following year participated in the capture of Inui Castle in Tōtōmi Province. He commanded the defenses at Kobata during the Komaki Campaign (1584) and in 1587 was sent to join Toyotomi's army in its invasion of Kyūshū. There he distinguished himself in the brief battle for Ganjaku Castle.
  • Honda Yasushige (本多 康重; 1554 - 1611) Yasushige was Hirotaka's eldest son and when he came of age he received the use of the kanji "Yasu" in his name from Tokugawa Ieyasu. Together with his father he was present at the siege of Kakegawa Castle (in Tōtōmi Province) in 1569 and also fought in the Battle of Mikatagahara in 1572 and the Komaki campaign (1584). In 1590, following the Odawara campaign he was moved to Shirai in Kōzuke province. He was appointed as one of Tokugawa Hidetada's advisors while Ieyasu went to Kyūshū during the first Korean campaign (1593-94) . In 1601 he moved to Okazaki in Mikawa Province and was given a fief worth 50,000 koku. Son: Honda Yasunori.
  • Honda Yasunori (本多 康紀; 1579 - 1623) Heir of Yasushige. When his father died he inherited the fief of Okazaki in Mikawa. He participated in the siege of Osaka.
  • Honda Masanobu (本多 正信; 1538 - 1617) Tokugawa servant. He helped the Tokugawa quell the many revolts in Mikawa province. Iayasu considered him a "good friend."
  • Honda Masazumi (本多 正純; 1566 - 1637) Heir of Masanobu. He was a prominent minister in the service of Tokugawa Ieyasu and Tokugawa Hidetada.
  • Honda Masashige (本多 政重; 1545 - 1617) Masashige was the fourth son of Honda Toshimasa and a younger brother of Masanobu. He initially served Tokugawa Ieyasu and became known for his bravery in combat, to the point that Oda Nobunaga himself mentioned Masashige's prowess. However, not long after fighting the Battle of Nagashino and helping to recapture Futamata Castle in 1575, Masashige left the Tokugawa and took up service with the Oda's servant Takigawa Kazumasu. In 1583 Masashige left Takigawa to serve Maeda Toshiie and led troops for the latter against Sassa Narimasa. He later became a servant of Gamō Ujisato and fought with distinction in the Kyūshū campaign (1587). Later Masashige got into some sort of dispute with the Gamō clan and left their service. Eventually, in 1596, Masashige returned as a servant of the Tokugawa and fought under their banner in the Battle of Sekigahara (1600). He was later given a fief in Shimōsa province, but retired in 1616 and went to Kyoto, where he died the following year.
  • Honda Tadakatsu (本多 忠勝; 1548 - 1610) Son of Honda Tadataka (本多忠高?? 1526 - 1549) was a servant of the Tokugawa and one of the four guardians of the Tokugawa clan. He was a fierce samurai and fought in over 50 battles during which he was never injured.
  • Honda Tadamasa (本多 忠政; 1575 - 1631) Heir of Tadakatsu. He participated in the Odawara campaign, the Battle of Sekigahara, and the siege of Osaka. His heir married the widow of Toyotomi Hideyori. In 1617 he was transferred to Himeji (Harima, 250,000 koku).
  • Honda Tadamoto (本多 忠朝; 1582 - 1615) Second son of Tadakatsu. He participated in the Battle of Sekigahara and became daimyō of Ōtaki (Kazusa, 50,000 koku). During the summer campaign of Osaka he died fighting against Mōri Katsunaga.
  • Honda Tadatoki (本多 忠刻; 1596 - 1626) Heir of Tadamasa. His mother Kumahime was a granddaughter of Tokugawa Ieyasu and Oda Nobunaga. In 1616 Tadatoki married Senhime, another niece of Ieyasu, who had been married to Toyotomi Hideyori before the latter's death in the siege of Osaka. As a gift for his new bride Tadatoki received 100,000 koku. Tadatoki had under his service for some time the famous swordsman Miyamoto Musashi. Musashi taught the art of the sword to Tadatoki's servants; Musashi's adopted son Mikinosuke served Tadatoki. Tadatoki died of tuberculosis in 1626. Miyamoto Mikinosuke committed seppuku shortly thereafter, choosing to follow his lord in death.
  • Honda Masamoto (本多 政朝; 1597 - 1638) Second son of Tadamasa. He became head of the clan when his brother Tadatoki died and inherited the fief of Himeji. Since he also died without an heir, his cousin Masakatsu was chosen to continue this branch of the clan.
  • Honda Tadayoshi (本多 忠義; 1602 - 1676) Third son of Tadamasa.
  • Honda Masakatsu (本多 政勝; 1614 - 1671) Son of Honda Tadatomo, he was chosen in 1639 to continue the main branch of the clan and became daimyō of Koritjama (Yamato, 90,000 koku)