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Hosokawa Fujitaka


Hosokawa Fujitaka (細川 藤孝, June 3, 1534-October 6, 1610) was a Sengoku period daimyo, also known as Hosokawa Yūsai (細川 幽斎). Fujitaka is an important obligatory at the court of the last Ashikaga shoguns.

He appears there as a poet, in cooperation with the renga master Satomura Joha. After Yoshiteru's death in 1565, he joined Ashikaga Yoshiakiau, the latter's younger brother.

Hosokawa Fujitaka Biography

As Ashikaga was appointed shōgun by Oda Nobunaga, he followed him to Kyōto. He married Numata Jakō around 1562. They have a son, Hosokawa Tadaoki in 1563.

After Oda Nobunaga chased Yoshiaki away in 1573, he joined the Oda family in 1580 and Oda Nobunaga rewarded him by granting him the fiefdom of Tango. His son, Hosokawa Tadaoki, became one of the main generals of the Oda clan.

After the incident at Honnō-ji in 1582, Fujitaka refused to join Akechi Mitsuhide at the battle of Yamazaki, despite the fact that his son, Hosokawa Tadaoki, was married to Hosokawa Gracia, Akechi's daughter.

Fujitaka takes the tonsure and becomes a Buddhist monk under the religious name of "Yūsai" and delegates his status of daimyo to Tadaoki. However, he remained active in political life as a cultural advisor, under Toyotomi Hideyoshi, whom he accompanied to several battles, and Ieyasu Tokugawa.

Hideyoshi granted Fujitaka a property to retire to worth 3,000 koku in the province of Yamashiro in 1586, then added another 3,000 koku in 1595.

Ishida Mitsunari asked Fujitaka to join the army of the west but Fujitaka refused because of a maneuver of Ishida which had resulted in the death of Hosokawa Gracia and his granddaughter.

As general of the eastern army, he settled in garrison at Tanabe castle with about 500 soldiers. When the castle was besieged by the 15,000 strong Western army, General Ishida Mitsunari who was commanding the siege showed great respect for Fujitaka.

For this reason, the attack lacked the spirit that usually animates a samurai siege: the attackers simply shot at the walls with cannons loaded only with gunpowder.

Fujitaka did not lay down his arms until after an imperial decree from the emperor Go-Yōzei. In any case, this was nineteen days before the battle of Sekigahara, in which he (and the attackers) did not participate.

Besides waka poems, Hosokawa wrote literary criticism and historical accounts. He is considered an eminent scholar of the history of the city of Kyoto.

Fujitaka is buried in Kyoto, but he has a second grave in Kumamoto, then under the control of his grandson Tadatoshi.