Sakakibara Yasumasa

Sakakibara Yasumasa

Sakakibara Yasumasa (榊原康政, born 1548, died June 19, 1606) was a Japanese general and daimyo of the Tokugawa shogun Ieyasu during the Sengoku era of Japanese history.

He is considered as one of the four guardians of the Tokugawa with Ii Naomasa, Honda Tadakatsu and Sakai Tadatsugu. He had the title of shikibu-dayu (minister of civil services).

Sakakibara Yasumasa Biography

Childhood

Sakakibara Yasumasa was born in 1548 in Ueno, Mikawa province. He was the second son of Sakakibara Nagasama. The Sakakibara were the servants (vassals) of the Matsudaira clan which later became the Tokugawa clan, indeed, they were classified as fudai daimyo.

However, they do not serve directly this powerful family, they serve a vassal of the Tokugawa: the Sakai clan led by Sakai Tadanao. The Sakakibara are therefore baishin (back vassals). From an early age, Yasumasa interacted with Matsudaira Motoyasu (later Tokugawa Ieyasu) and later became his page.

During the Ikkō-ikki uprising in Mikawa, Yasumasa proved his worth in battle and was given the right to use "yasu", the second part of Ieyasu's name.

It is during this period that he dethroned his brother and became daimyo of the Sakakibara clan. There are two explanations for this takeover: the first is that his brother supported the revolt of the Ikkō-ikki by allying himself with the rebels and the second is that this same brother was involved in a fraudulent plot against Nobunaga Oda.

General Sakakibara Yasumasa

In 1566, at the age of 19, Yasumasa passed his rite of passage to adulthood, and soon after, he and Honda Tadakatsu were made hatamoto by Ieyasu, and 50 horsemen were granted to each. From then on, they would function as commanders of Tokugawa Ieyasu's hatamoto unit.

Yasumasa fought at Anegawa in 1570, at the battle of Mikata-Ga-Hara in 1573 and at the battle of Nagashino in 1575. When Ieyasu defies Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Yasumasa who always served Ieyasu advises the region of Komaki to settle.

Indeed, Sakakibara thinks this region adapted to the campaign which was going to begin. After having accompanied Tokugawa Ieyasu to Osaka for the meeting with Hideyoshi, Yasumasa received the title of shikibu-dayu. The Tokugawas then moved to the Kanto region, where Yasumasa was in charge of a team responsible for the distribution of fiefs among the various lords and generals.

While Ieyasu was serving Hideyoshi in Kyushu area, Yasumasa was one of the main administrators of Kanto.

Sakakibara Yasumasa End of life

After Tokugawa's victory at the battle of Sekigahara, Yasumasa received 100,000 koku and the estate of Tatebayashi, which remained in the Sakakibara family for a few generations. Yasumasa died in 1606, at the age of 58. He is buried in the Zendō-ji of Tatebayashi, where his tomb is still erected.