Akechi Hidemitsu

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Portrait of Akechi Hidemitsu from Utagawa Yoshiiku's Heroes of the Taiheiki

Akechi Hidemitsu (明智 秀満, 1536? - July 4, 1582) was a Japanese samurai of the Sengoku period. A senior retainer of Oda Nobunaga's vassal Akechi Mitsuhide, he served Mitsuhide until the latter's death in 1582 at the hands of Toyotomi Hideyoshi.

Early life and family[edit]

While Hidemitsu's date of birth is not known for certain, some say[who?] he was born either sometime between 1535 and 1537, or as late as 1557. Hidemitsu was the son of Tōyama Kageyuki (lord of Myōchi Castle) and Miyake Takasada (lord of Hirose Castle in Mikawa Province). He first succeeded to his father, taking the name Tōyama Kageharu (common name Rokurōzaemon); then he succeeded to his mother's birth family under the name Miyake Yaheiji, and then, marrying one of Akechi Mitsuhide's daughters, took the name Akechi Hidemitsu.

Service to Mitsuhide and death[edit]

Following his marriage to Akechi Mitsuhide's daughter (who had been formerly married to Araki Murashige), Hidemitsu was deeply trusted by his master, and served in the vanguard of the Akechi armies frequently. He led the attack on Battle of Honnō-ji which killed Oda Nobunaga, and became a legend for his rapid crossing of Lake Biwa to get from Otsu to Sakamoto on horseback after the loss of Battle of Yamazaki and the death of Mitsuhide. His men set fire to Sakamoto Castle and killed their families and themselves to follow their master to the grave.

While much of the Akechi clan was destroyed at Sakamoto Castle, Hidemitsu's sons Miyake Shigetoshi and Tōyama Tarōgorō survived. Shigetoshi served Terasawa Katataka at the Shimabara Uprising and was killed by the rebel forces under Amakusa Shirō, while Tarōgorō is remembered as the ancestor of the famous nineteenth-century political activist Sakamoto Ryōma.

Modern References[edit]

Hidemitsu appears in Onimusha series with the name Samanosuke and changed his name to Tenkai Nankobo in Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams. "Sama-no-suke" (左馬之介) was Hidemitsu's courtesy title at the Imperial Court.