Shibata Katsuie

Shibata Katsuie

Shibata Katsuie (柴田勝家 1522 - June 14, 1583) or Gonroku (権六?) was a military commander during the Sengoku period of Japanese history under Oda Nobunaga.

Shibata Katsuie Biography

Katsuie was born into the Shibata clan, a military branch of the Shiba clan (descendants of the Ashikaga clan).

Originally, he served Oda Nobuyuki, younger brother of Nobunaga and in 1556 launched a coup against Nobunaga but after the defeat at the Battle of Ino, he withdrew his support and switched to Nobunaga's side, whereupon Nobunaga promised him that he would marry his younger sister, Oichi.

However, in 1564 Oichi married Azai Nagamasa, who would end up facing the Oda/Tokugawa coalition during the Battle of Anegawa in 1570 (which the Azai would lose along with the Asakura).

During a second battle, that of Odani in 1573, Nagamasa knew he had no chance against Oda's army so he sent back his wife along with his three daughters and committed seppuku along with his son.

Katsuie was not present at Anegawa as his castle, the Chokoji was besieged by 4000 Rokkakku soldiers. He was finally able to win in this battle due to an "all out" attack that caused the Rokkakku to retreat. This, along with other brilliant victories, won him popular recognition and he was known as "Oni Shibata".

In 1575, after taking control of Echizen Province, he won Kitanosho Castle and was ordered to conquer the Hokuriku Region. After controlling the provinces of Kaga and Noto, he began his campaign against Etchu Province in 1581.

In 1582, Nobunaga committed seppuku during the "Incident at Honnō-ji" but Katsuie was at the siege of Matsukura facing the navy of the Uesugi clan, so he could not return.

At a meeting in Kiyosu to determine who should be Nobunaga's successor, he supported Oda Nobutaka, Nobunaga's third son. Katsuie joined with Takigawa Kazumasa to face Toyotomi Hideyoshi in battle.

The heavy snowfall, in addition to the attack of Uesugi's troops prevented him from assisting his allies who were defeated. His troops, under the command of Sakuma Morimasa, besieged Nakagawa Kiyohide at Shizugatake to try to even the fighting in the battle.

Sakuma ignored Katsuie's orders to only test the enemy's defenses and was destroyed by Hideyoshi's army. Katsuie retreated to Kitanosho Castle but with the army destroyed, he had no choice but to surrender.

Katsuie asked Oichi to leave with his daughters and flee, but she decided to stay with him and they committed seppuku after setting fire to the castle.

Shibata Katsuie Marriage

Nobutaka arranged the marriage between his aunt Oichi and Katsuie to ensure his loyalty to the Oda clan.

Three of Oichi's daughters were able to escape and are famous for marrying influential men of the time. These were:

  • Chacha or Yodogimi, second wife of Toyotomi Hideyoshi and mother of Hideyoshi's heir Hideyori.
  • Ohatsu, wife of the daimyō Kyogoku Takatsugu.
  • Oeyo, or Sūgen'in, wife of the second Tokugawa Shogun, Hidetada and mother of his successor Iemitsu.