An Overview of Satomi Yoshitaka’s Life and Experiences

Families and clans are a huge deal in Japan. Being family-oriented, this culture dates back to centuries ago where clans ruled over certain areas or lands in Japan. There were feuds and battles amongst various clans that caused bloodshed as well as victories. These clans also produced some of the most well-known Japanese figures that are still looked up to by the younger generation today. One of these people is known as Satomi Yoshitaka.

The Awa Satomi Clan: Where Yoshitaka Belongs

[Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

First off, Satomi Yoshitaka belongs to the Awa Satomi Clan. More commonly known as Satomi-shi in Japanese, the Satomi clan hails back to the Sengoku period, which began in the year 1467 and ended in the year 1573. The said clan also reached the early parts of the Edo period, which began in the year 1603 and ended in the year 1868.

The roots of the Satomi family can be traced back to the Seiwa Genji clan. Nitta Yoshishige, who passed away in the year 1202, had a son known as Yoshitoshi. Instead of continuing the lineage of his father, Yoshitoshi decided to take on another surname, which turned out to be Satomi.

Initially, the Satomi clan resided in the province of Kozuke. The Kozuke Province is located in what is now known as Gunma Prefecture. However, the family moved to the province of Awa during the 15th century. The Awa Province is located in the southern portion of what is now known as Chiba Prefecture. After this move, the family began to be known as the Awa Satomi clan.

The Satomi clan was doing quite well during the Sengoku period. However, in the year 1539, the great clan was forced to submit to and obey the overlordship of Hojo Ujitsuna. After some time, still during the Sengoku period, the Satomi clan went into battles against not just the late Hojo clan but also the Takeda clan and the Imagawa clan.

The Satomi clan was also known to have participated in the First Battle of Konodai, which occurred in the year 1538. Twenty-four years later, the Satomi clan again participated in the Second Battle of Konodai. The Second Battle of Konodai occurred in the year 1564.

Aside from enemies, the Satomi clan also fought for other clans. For one, the family fought under the direction of Oda Nobunaga and also prospered under his governance. The clan also fought under Tokugawa Ieyasu and benefitted from this alliance greatly.

At the early stages of the Edo period, the Satomi clan was designated as the daimyo of the province of Awa. The family had a holding of around 120,000 koku. However, the Satomi clan fell into suffering under the Tokugawa shogunate also during the early stages of the Edo period.

The clan befell due to the Okubo Nagayasu Incident that occurred in the year 1614. The daimyo at the time, Satomi Tadayoshi, was implicated during this event. Because of this, Tadayoshi was exiled to the province of Hoki, which is located in what is now known as the province of Tottori. His holdings were also cut to only 30,000 koku.

Satomi Tadayoshi did not have an heir. Hence, the great Satomi clan eventually ceased upon his death. Nonetheless, there were many members of the Satomi clan that became well-known for a lot of reasons while the clan still existed.

To this day, these members are still being studied and regarded by the Japanese youth. Some of them include Satomi Sanetaka, Satomi Yoshitoyo, Satomi Yoshitaka, Satomi Yoshihiro, Satomi Yoshiyori, Satomi Yoshiyasu, and, of course, Satomi Tadayoshi.

Satomi Sanetaka and Yoshitoyo: The Root of Yoshitaka’s Revenge

[Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Satomi Yoshitaka is probably most well-known for how he planned to avenge his father, Satomi Sanetaka. Born in the year 1483, Satomi Sanetaka was known as the Lord of Awa. He was the second son of Satomi Shigeyoshi.

After his older brother Yoshimichis governance, Sanetaka eventually succeeded him. Sanetaka exerted efforts in order to expand the influence of the Satomi clan. However, alongside these efforts, Sanetaka also had struggles in trying to get a hold over his clan.

In the year 1524, Sanetaka clashed with the forces of the Hojo clan in Kamakura. Due to this conflict, a feud was born between the two clans. This feud lasted a long time and caused anguish amongst some of the retainers of Sanetaka. Eventually, these retainers stopped supporting Sanetaka.

What further worsened his situation was the betrayal of his nephew Satomi Yoshitoyo. Yoshitoyo attacked Sanetaka, which led the latter to commit suicide in September of the year 1533. This event is what angered Satomi Yoshitaka and planned to avenge his father.

On the other hand, Satomi Yoshitoyo was the first son of Satomi Yoshimochi, the older brother of Sanetaka.  Yoshitoyo was a Satomi retainer. Born in the year 1513, Yoshitoyo had high hopes of becoming the new lord of their clan upon his coming of age.

Because of this aspiration, he became rebellious and betrayed his uncle. He attacked Sanetaka and forced the latter to commit suicide. Yoshitoyo had high hopes of finally attaining his uncle’s position after the latter’s demise.

Just a year after, Sanetaka’s son Yoshitaka accumulated an army in his plans to avenge his father. Yoshitaka attacked his cousin Yoshitoyo at Inamura Castle. Due to the high possibility of losing to Yoshitaka and having to suffer in his cousin’s hands, Yoshitoyo decided to also commit suicide, just like what his uncle did during his attack, in May of the year 1534. 

How Satomi Yoshitaka Lived His Life

[Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Born in the year 1512, Satomi Yoshitaka also became the Lord of Awa Province. The son of Satomi Sanetaka, the lord who went against the Hojo clan, Satomi Yoshitaka is well-known for his many conquests aside from his exacted revenge on his cousin. His title was Gyobu daisuke. One of his several famous conquests was that of the Takeda clan fortress of Kururi.

As the eldest son of Sanetaka, Yoshitaka felt anguish upon hearing of his father’s demise while he was away. What made it worse was that his father was attacked by his own cousin Yoshitoyo, who aspired to take Sanetaka’s place. Yoshitoyo forced Sanetaka to commit suicide, which further angered Yoshitaka. This led to Yoshitaka planning his revenge against Yoshitoyo.

Loyal retainers from his father’s days were gathered in order to attack Yoshitoyo. A message was also sent to the Hojo clan from the province of Sagami to forge an alliance. Through their help and assistance, Yoshitaka’s forces attacked Yoshitoyo at Inamura Castle. Yoshitaka successfully avenged his father’s death by compelling Yoshitoyo to commit suicide just like what happened to his father.

While an alliance was established between Yoshitaka and the Hojo clan due to this event, this relationship soured after some time. As the alliance between these two clans started to dwindle, Yoshitaka established a new one with Ashikaga Yoshiaki of the koga-kubo Ashikaga clan. However, the two clans still lost against the great forces of the Hojo clan at Konodai Castle in the year 1538. The Hojo clan during this time was led by Hojo Ujitsana.

Because of this loss at Konodai, Yoshitaka and his clan suffered a great deal. Remaining relentless, Yoshitaka was able to recover from this defeat of his. Moreover, he was also able to defend his clan and their land from the forces of Hojo Ujitsana when the latter tried to invade the province of Awa in the year 1540.

Yoshitaka also saw an opportunity to solidify his place on the Boso Peninsula. This opportunity arose after seeing the civil war that was happening within his neighboring clan, the Takeda clan. As a civil war meant that there were power struggles within the clan itself, Yoshitaka saw how their chaos could benefit him and his clan. He used this opportunity well and seized Shiizu Castle in January of the year 1553. During this siege, Yoshitaka forced Takeda Nobumasa to commit suicide.

Although Yoshitaka was successful in a number of his conquests, his clan and lands were also subject to other people’s conquests. The Hojo clan again attacked the domain of Yoshitaka in the year 1560 to seize his lands and properties. Undeterred, Yoshitaka asked for the support of Uesugi Kenshin.

As a result, Kenshin led an attack into the Kanto to draw attention and forces away from the domain of Yoshitaka. This proved to be successful. Unlike some of the lords who had to commit suicide and passed with a heavy heart, Yoshitaka was able to pass away peacefully. He passed on the 6th of January in the year 1574 due to old age.

Yoshitaka’s Blood in His Sons

[Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Despite his many conquests, Yoshitaka was able to sire several sons. These sons continued his legacy even after he had passed. His sons are Satomi Yoshihiro, Satomi Yoshiyori, Satomi Takamoto, Satomi Takamasa, and Satomi Tadahiro. Out of all of his sons, the two most well-known are Satomi Yoshihiro and Satomi Yoshiyori.

Born in the year 1529, Satomi Yoshihiro became the next Lord of Awa after his father Satomi Yoshitaka passed away in the year 1574. A samurai of the Satomi clan, Yoshihiro continued his father’s battles against the Hojo clan during the Sengoku period. His fate proved to be similar to that of his father’s when it came to their battles against the Hojo clan.

Yoshihiro lost against Hojo Ujiyasu during the Second Battle of Konodai in the year 1564. This was similar to when Yoshitaka, Yoshihiro’s father, lost to Hojo Ujitsuna, who was Ujiyasu’s father, during the First Battle of Konodai in the year 1538. Nonetheless, Satomi Yoshitaka was still a great samurai despite his defeats. Prior to this, Yoshihiro was also involved in the Uesugi encirclement of Odawara in the year 1561.

Yoshihiro also led forces in the Battle of Mifunedai or Mifuneyama, which occurred in the year 1567. This was because of his alliance with Takeda Shingen. They were in battle against the Hojo clan and the Ota clan. The enemy commander during this battle was Ota Ujisuke. Satomi Yoshihiro emerged victorious in the battle, as Ujisuke was defeated and ultimately killed in battle.

Staying loyal to the alliance with the Takeda clan, Yoshihiro eventually also sent troops to the province of Izu. The troops traveled by sea. This was to support the operations of the Takeda clan in their battle against the Hojo clan in the year 1570. With his many conquests and activities, Yoshihiro was not able to sire a son.

He developed a stomach ulcer that led to his demise. Yoshihiro passed away on the 5th of July in the year 1578. Because he had no successor, his place was taken by his younger brother Satomi Yoshiyori.

The third son of Satomi Yoshitaka, Satomi Yoshiyori took on his older brother Yoshihiro’s place upon the latter’s passing in the year 1578. Although his succession as the new Lord of Awa was accepted by most members of the clan, Masaki Noritoki was against it. Just two years later, the two men had a conflict between them in the year 1580.

The dispute of Masaki Noritoki regarding the succession of Yoshiyori proved to be for naught as the former was assassinated just after a single year. Yoshiyori continued to rule their land and properties from Tateyama Castle. Many say that his rule was ultimately uneventful.

Satomi Yoshiyori eventually passed away in the year 1587. He had a son by the name of Satomi Yoshiyasu, who took on Yoshiyori’s position after his passing. During his rule, Yoshiyasu submitted to Toyotomi Hideyoshi and his clan. This turned out to be a good move as Yoshiyasu also supported Hideyoshi in the latter’s conquest.

Yoshiyasu provided assistance to Toyotomi Hideyoshi in the Odawara Campaign. Because of this conquest, the Hojo clan eventually lost in the battle. This proved to be momentous for the Satomi clan, which had been in a long-time feud against the Hojo clan. Thus, Satomi Yoshiyasu became a witness to the downfall of their long-time enemy the Hojo clan. This was definitely a great feat for the Satomi clan.