Shimazu Toyohisa

Shimazu Toyohisa

Shimazu Toyohisa (島津 豊久; July 1570 - October 21, 1600), also called Houjumaru (豊寿丸), Tadatoyo (忠豊), Ten'rei Shōun Tadatoyo (天岑昌運) or Matashichirou (又七郎), was a samurai of the Shimazu clan, son of Shimazu Iehisa, grandson of Shimazu Yoshihiro and lord of Sadowara Castle.

Shimazu Toyohisa Childhood

He was born in the first year of the Kame era (1570), and was the son of Shimazu Iehisa. His childhood name was Toyojumaru. Initially called Shimazu Tadatoyo, he was later renamed Toyohisa.

On June 1, 1583, a vassal of the Shimazu clan, Uwai Satokane, came to the Sadowara basket and Toyohisa received him in place of his father Iehisa who was absent.

In April 1584, even before his Genpuku, he fought in the battle of okitanawate, against the vastly superior forces of Ryūzōji Takanobu. Early in the morning, just before this battle, his father, Iehisa, approached the 13-year-old Toyohisa, urging him to retreat.

Toyohisa replied in the negative, arguing that a man who, as a young man, had fled a battle and abandoned his father would have lived out the rest of his days in disgrace.

Kyūshū Campaign

In 1587 Toyotomi Hideyoshi invaded the Kyūshū. Shimazu Iehisa and Shimazu Toyohisa, with an army of more than 10,000 soldiers, attacked the vanguard of the Toyotomi army led by Chōsokabe Motochika, Chōsokabe Nobuchika, Sengoku Hidehisa, Sogō Masayasu, which numbered 20,000 men, while crossing the Toji River, and defeated it badly in the battle of Hetsugigawa.

Iehisa and Toyohisa killed as many as 3 daimyō in battle: Ryūzōji Takanobu at the Battle of Okitanawate and Chōsokabe Nobuchika and Sogō Masayasu at the Battle of Hetsugigawa; There is no other warlord who defeated so many daimyō in the field during the Sengoku period.

On May 24, 1587 he took part with his father in the Battle of Takajō where the Shimazu were defeated and retreated.

That same year the Shimazu clan surrendered to Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and on July 10, 1587 Iehisa died suddenly after returning from Toyotomi's camp, probably from assassination or poisoning. Shimazu Yoshihiro is said to have ordered it.

Also, after his father's death, Toyohisa was raised by his uncle Yoshihiro as if he were his own son, instructing him in the art of warfare.

Whereupon Iehisa praised his son's courage and tied a sash around his waist, saying that if he survived the battle he would untie it and become a man. The Shimazu fought hard at Okitanawate achieving a brilliant victory, and at the end of the battle Iehisa untied the sash to his son.

His Genpuku ceremony took place in Higo on May 23, 1584.

Shimazu Toyohisa Service under Hideyoshi

Toyohisa succeeded his father by becoming lord of Hinata Sadowara Castle (Sadowara City, Miyazaki Prefecture) and 979 villages and towns in Hyuga Province.

Subsequently, he served in the Odawara campaign in May 1590 in the service of the Toyotomi clan. In the first year of the Bunroku era (1592), he took part in the Japanese invasion of Korea with more than 500 soldiers and 30 horsemen. On May 3, he landed in Pusan and participated in the capture of the city.

At the beginning of May, at the siege of the castle of Chuncheon (in the province of Gangwon), he successfully repelled a sortie of about 60,000 besieged with only his 500 men armed with muskets at one of the city gates.

On June 29 of the same year he led 476 soldiers to the siege of Jinju and, with his army, was the first to enter the fortress and raise his banner there.

In 1597, at the command of 800 soldiers, on July 15, he fought in the battle of Chilcheonryang (battle of Urushikawa Ryokai in Japanese), where once again he distinguished himself by being the first to board the enemy ships and capturing countless of them with his men.

On 15 August of the same year Toyohisa participated in the siege of Namwom taking the head of 13 enemies. In December of the same year he left for the battle of Tatsuyama Castle.

In January of the 3rd year of the Keicho era (1598), attacking the castle of Hikoyo, which was protected by Ming soldiers, he took command of a corps of cavalry alone and defeated the superior enemy, but suffered a wound under his left ear.

In August of that year, after the Japanese defeat in the naval battle of Jeolido Island and the abandonment of the Ulsan fortress, Japanese forces began to withdraw from Korea, and on November 21, on 20 ships, Shimazu forces sailed from Pusan, reaching Japan two days later.

Toyohisa had spent a total of 6 years in Korea, fighting countless battles and being noted by the generals for his heroism.

Returning to Sadowara, in June he was called to arms by Shimazu Tadatsune to suppress the rebellion of the vassal Ijūin (Shonai Ran) clan.

The rebellion ended with the surrender of Ijūin Tadamasa on March 15, 1600 in exchange for forgiveness from the Shimazu clan, thanks to the mediation of Tokugawa Ieyasu.

Sekigahara campaign

In the spring of the same year he was called to arms again and left Kyushu again in the retinue of Shimazu Yoshihiro to join the allies of the "western" army of the Toyotomi, who opposed the "eastern" army of Tokugawa Ieyasu.

On 17 August he participated in a meeting between the main leaders of the coalition on Mount Sawayama, the residence of Ishida Mitsunari, then moved to Fushimi.

From August 27 he participated in the siege of Fushimi, which was conquered after more than ten days. On September 28 the castle of Gifu fell, but on October 8, following the battle of Kuisegawa the Tokugawa retreated and camped at Akasaka.

Together with his uncle Yoshihiro a few days before the battle of Sekigahara, Toyohisa went to the camp of Ishida Mitsunari; Yoshihiro proposed a night attack on the Tokugawa forces while they were in Akasaka, but Shima Sakon opposed and a quarrel ensued.

On the morning of the 21st, during the Battle of Sekigahara, probably due to the offense suffered by the daimyo a few days earlier, the Shimazu forces stood firm without taking action.

When the western army in the plain began to collapse and be pushed back, it is said that Morijun Chojuin, one of his vassals, had come to ask Toyohisa if he should attack, and that he had replied: "Today's ally is weak and his soldiers are already fleeing".

When Yasoshima Sukezaemon, a vassal of Mitsunari Ishida, came to ask on behalf of his lord that the Shimazu engage his troops, since he had not dismounted from his horse, Toyohisa was indignant at his rudeness and gave a negative answer.

Eventually, when around noon the Eastern army had defeated and turned almost all enemy forces to flight, the Shimazu corps found itself isolated in the battlefield, surrounded by Tokugawa forces. Yoshihiro, who rejected the idea of surrender, decided to attack on the advice of Toyohisa.

The sudden Shimazu assault fell on the forces of Fukushima Masanori, who had been the first to break through the western front and had been decimated, and was successful in temporarily breaking through the Tokugawa lines.

Toyohisa was convinced that it was absolutely necessary for Yoshihiro to return alive to Satsuma to lead the clan, whose survival, according to Toyohisa, depended on that of his uncle.

Thus, while Yoshihiro retreated to the Ise Kaido with about 100/200 knights, Toyohisa assumed command of the rest of the remaining troops and faced the pursuing forces of Matsudaira Tadayoshi, Ii Naomasa and Honda Tadakatsu.

Executing the technique, typical of the Shimazu, of Sutegamari (捨 て 奸), the Shimazu soldiers waited for the enemy to come to the attack, unloaded on him the muskets aiming to kill the commanders, and then counterloaded with spears.

In the battle the Shimazu were almost annihilated, but managed to seriously wound Tadayoshi and Naomasa, who will die two years later for the wound received during the chase, and to unseat Tadakatsu.

There is no certain information about the death of Toyohisa, but it is said that, although he was seriously wounded in the sutegamari, he followed Yoshihiro for almost 9 km and was treated by the priests and the village chief of the Ruriko-ji Temple, after his death due to loss of blood he was buried in the same temple.

Shimazu Toyohisa After the death

After the war, the fief of Sadowara was not requisitioned by Ieyasu and remained under Shimazu control. Toyohisa had no children, and his granddaughter's son-in-law, Tadaei Kiiri, inherited the fief.

However, the succession was interrupted in the first year of the Kanei era (1624). Subsequently, Hisao, son of Shimazu Iehisa (Tadatsune), became its eighteenth owner, and passed it on to his descendants in the Eiyoshi Shimazu family.

In addition, another grandson, Shimazu Hisatoshi, born in the 7th year of the Keicho era (1602), and Shimazu Hisanobu, his father and Toyohisa's brother-in-law, refused to inherit the Sadowara fief after his death.

His wife was the daughter of Shimazu Tadanaga, cousin and karō of Shimazu Yoshihisa. He is buried in Tenshouji Cemetery.

Shimazu Toyohisa In mass culture

Shimazu Toyohisa is the main character in Kōta Hirano's manga and anime, Drifters, where he fights alongside Oda Nobunaga, Nasu no Yoichi, and other historical figures in a fantasy world.