Akechi Mitsuhide (明智光秀, Akechi Mitsuhide, March 10, 1528-July 2, 1582), nicknamed Jubei (十兵衛), was a samurai born in Mino province (present-day Gifu Prefecture) during the Sengoku period of Japanese history.
He was a general in the service of the daimyo Oda Nobunaga, although he later betrayed him and led him to commit seppuku, but also a learned man, a great lover of the tea ceremony and a poet in his spare time.
Akechi Mitsuhide Biography
Akechi Mitsuhide was born in 1528, in the province of Mino. He entered the service of Oda Nobunaga in 1566, under the name Koretō, after the latter's conquest of his native province and received Sakamoto (a fiefdom of 100,000 koku in Omi province) in 1571.
Although Nobunaga rarely put much trust in his vassals, he had full confidence in Shibata Katsuie, Hashiba Hideyoshi and Akechi Mitsuhide.
After the latter received Sakamoto, he took charge of pacifying the region of Tamba by defeating several clans including the Tango and the Isshiki.
After serving for a time as governor of Hyūga, he conquered the province of Tamba, now Kyōto, on behalf of Nobunaga, which enabled the latter to become emperor.
In 1579, he took Yakami Castle from Hatano Hideharu, who had been resisting Nobunaga for 3 years, making promises of peace: to allow him to surrender with dignity, Mitsuhide gave him his own mother as a hostage. Mitsuhide's goal was achieved, but Nobunaga had Hideharu executed.
In retaliation, a group of Hideharu's vassals murder Akechi Mitsuhide's mother. Mitsuhide blamed Nobunaga for his mother's death, and took revenge three years later by attacking Honnō-ji temple on June 21, 1582: to avoid being caught in this attack, Nobunaga killed his son Nobutada, then committed suicide.
Akechi Mitsuhide then took the title of general-in-chief of the armies, but Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu rushed to avenge Nobunaga.
Hideyoshi arrived first, and attacked Mitsuhide at the battle of Yamazaki on July 22. He fled and managed to survive for two more days, but was finally killed (rumor has it that he was killed by a peasant armed with a bamboo spear but it is also said that he managed to escape and end his life as a nun under the name of Tenkai).
This very short reign earned him the nickname "Jūsan kūbo," the "thirteen-day shogun. "
His third daughter, Tama, wife of Tadaoki Hosokawa, is famous for having converted to Christianity under the name Gracia Hosokawa.
Akechi Mitsuhide in popular culture
- Armand Cabasson, "Night at Honnô-ji," By the Sword and the Saber, Éditions Thierry Magnier. This long novella is a reenactment of Oda Nobunaga's last night in the Honnō-ji besieged by the army of the rebel general Akechi Mitsuhide.
- Mitsuhide Akechi is featured in the video games Samurai Warriors 2, Samurai Warriors 3, Samurai Warriors 4, Warriors Orochi 2, Warriors Orochi 3, Warriors Orochi 4, Samurai Warriors Chronicles, Pokémon Conquest, Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes under the name Tenkai, Onimusha 3: Demon Siege.
- Mitsuhide Akechi is present in the manga Billy Bat by Naoki and, in a female form, Oda nobuna no yabou by Mikage Kasuga.
- In the series Nobunaga Concerto he is present and he is in fact the real Oda Nobunaga.
- In the manga Nobunaga's Chief, Mitsuhide Akechi is presented as an old man, while Nobunaga is a thirty year old man, although they are only six years apart.