Murakoshi Naoyoshi


Murakoshi Clan


Suruga Province

Lifespan:  Eiroku 5 (1562) to 1/14 of Keichō 19 (1614)

Other Names:  Shigesuke (common)

Rank:  bushi

Clan:  Murakoshi

Bakufu:  Edo – rōjū in Sunpu

Lord:  Tokugawa Ieyasu

Father:  Murakoshi Toshiyoshi

Siblings:  Sister (wife of Takagi Hiromasa)

Wife: [Formal] Daughter of 筧 Shigenari), [Second] Daughter of Ikoma Chikamasa

Children:  Kuranosuke, Yoshikatsu, daughter (formal wife of Kusakabe Masafuyu)

Murakoshi Naoyoshi served as a bushi and hatamoto during the Azuchi-Momoyama and early Edo periods.  He was a retainer of the Tokugawa clan.

In 1562, Naoyoshi was born as the son of Murakoshi Toshiyoshi.  In 1564, after his father died, Naoyoshi was raised by his uncle, Murakoshi Toshinobu.  Naoyoshi served Tokugawa Ieyasu for a stipend of 300 koku in Kuzugadani in Suruga Province.  After Ieyasu’s transfer to the Kantō, he was further granted a total of 1,000 koku in Sakata in Ōmi Province in addition to Iruma and Tama in Musashi Province.

Under the Toyotomi administration, Naoyoshi served as a toritsugi, or intermediator, for Ieyasu, to engage in negotiations with numerous damiyō.  In particular, in 1600, at the Battle of Sekigahara, Naoyoshi contributed as a messenger.

After the beginning of the Edo bakufu, Naoyoshi, along with Honda Masazumi, served as rōjū, or members of the shōgun‘s council of elders, in Sunpu.  In the second month of 1613, Naoyoshi and Andō Shigenobu (a rōjū in Edo) transferred to Himeji as deputy delegates to supervise the conduct of political affairs by Ikeda Toshitaka who had inherited the headship of his clan.

In the first month of 1614, Naoyoshi joined in support of a falconry expedition by Ieyasu.  In Nakahara, he fell ill and, despite returning to Edo, died on 1/14 of Keichō 19 (1614).  He was fifty-three years old.  On the road back from Tōgane, on 1/16, while in Chiba, Ieyasu received news of his demise and expressed his sorrow.


Favored daimyō of the Toyotomi such as Fukushima Masanori and Kuroda Nagamasa assembled at Kiyosu Castle to wait for the arrival of Ieyasu, but, instead of Ieyasu, Naoyoshi came as his messenger.  The daimyō then pressed Naoyoshi as to why Ieyasu (the naifu, or Minister of the Interior) had not deployed.  Naoyoshi explained the concern of Ieyasu, replying that not everyone had deployed yet, and once the status of everyone’s battle with the enemy becomes clear, then Ieyasu will deploy.  If this was in fact the case, an angry response from the daimyō would not be unexpected, but Masanori and the others acknowledged the intent and commenced an offensive in the direction of Gifu Castle in Mino Province.

After betraying the Western Army at the Battle of Sekigahara, Kobayakawa Hideaki, perhaps out of embarrassment of his actions, did not attempt to leave the main base on Mount Matsuo.  Ieyasu, however, recognized that without Hideaki’s actions, the Eastern Army may not have had an opportunity to prevail so he sent the upright Naoyoshi as a messenger to the Kobayakawa camp to call Hideaki to his base to reward him.  Hideaki then came to Ieyasu’s main base and was recognized for his contributions.

After Ishida Mitsunari, Konishi Yukinaga, and Ankokuji Ekei were apprehended and brought before Ieyasu, Naoyoshi offered them kosode, or short-sleeved kimono, stating that these were a gift from his lord (Ieyasu).  Yukinaga and Ekei thanked him, but Mitsunari questioned “Who is your lord?”  After Naoyoshi replied that his lord was Ieyasu, Mitsunari then angrily yelled “The lord is Toyotomi Hideyori.  Ieyasu is only your master and a retainer of a retainer of Hideyori.  I don’t need a kosode so take it away.”  Naoyoshi did not return the kosode and then left without saying a word.