Mizawa Tametora


Mizawa Clan


Izumo Province

Lifespan:  15xx to 8/5 of Keichō 19 (1614)

Rank:  bushō

Title:  Governor of Settsu

Clan:  Mizawa (from the Minamoto family)

Lord:  Mōri Motonari → Mōri Termoto → Mōri Hidemoto

Domain:  Chōfu (chief retainer)

Father:  Mizawa Tamekiyo

Mother:  Daughter of Amago Haruhisa

Wife:  Daughter of Shishido Motohide

Children:  Tamemoto, Tametomo, Tameyuki

Mizawa Tametora served as a bushō from the Sengoku to early Edo periods.

The Mizawa were descendants of the Iijima clan, kokujin, or provincial landowners, in southern Shinano or descendants of Minamoto no Yoshinaka, a bushō from the latter part of the Heian period.  Tametora served as the head of the Mizawa clan, a kokujin based at Mizawa Castle in the Nita District of Izumo Province.  The Mizawa clan was under the command of the Amago, but, as a powerful kokujin with an independent spirit, in the era of his father, Mizawa Tamekiyo, the Mizawa cut ties with the Amago and served the Mōri.

Service to the Mōri and battles against the Amago revival army

Tametora’s date of birth is unknown, but his father, Tamekiyo, is surmised to have been born between 1550 and 1560.  Either prior to his birth or in his youth, Tamekiyo entered into service for the Mōri, the sengoku daimyō of Aki Province, and became a retainer.

In 1569, during the invasion of Kyūshū by the Mōri, Tamekiyo and Tametora deployed under the command of Kikkawa Motoharu, participating in the Battle of Tachibana against the Ōtomo clan in Chikuzen Province.  The Mōri attacked Tachibanayama Castle, but were defeated in the fifth month at the Battle of Tatarahama.  Following the loss, and owing to the Revolt of Ōuchi Teruhiro and the revival of the Amago clan in Izumo, the Mōri forces were compelled to retreat from Kyūshū.

While the main division of the Mōri army was in Kyūshū, Amago Katsuhisa and Yamanaka Yukimori took advantage of their absence to invade Izumo and attacked Gassantoda Castle defended by Amano Takashige.  When Kobayakawa Takakage learned of these developments from Tachibanayama Castle, he ordered Tamekiyo and his son, Tametora, along with Yonebara Tsunahiro, Amano Takehiro (Takashige’s son), and Saka Shōyūrokurō to return as reinforcements for the troops at Gassantoda.  In 1570, Tametora served valorously at the Battle of Fubeyama, defeating the Amago revival army led by Yukimori.  Thereafter, he continued to serve in battles in the Sanin Region under the command of Motoharu.

In 1573, after Ashikaga Yoshiaki (the fifteenth shōgun of the Muromachi bakufu) was ousted by Oda Nobunaga, he kept a residence in Tomo (commonly known as the Tomo bakufu).  At this time, Tametora became a member of his retinue known as the otomoshū.  In 1574, upon the retirement of his father, he inherited the headship of the clan.  In 1578, he participated in the Siege of Kōzuki Castle and, following the surrender of Yamanaka Yukimori, assured himself of the end of the Amago clan.

Tametora participated in battles against Oda Nobunaga, who was on a quest to unify the country, as well as one of Nobunaga’s senior retainers, Hashiba Hideyoshi.  In 1582, he deployed for the Siege of Bitchū-Takamatsu Castle.  In battle against Hideyoshi, there was a rumor that Tametora colluded with Hideyoshi, and to deny the rumor, he submitted a written pledge to Kikkawa Motonaga.

Service as a retainer of the Mōri and as chief retainer of the Chōfu domain after the Battle of Sekigahara

After Toyotomi HIdeyoshi became the most powerful lord in the country, the Mōri set about the reorganize their own territory.  Izumo Province was no exception, in which many of the kokujin were relocated while bands of retainers were reconstituted and effort made to dislocate them from their native lands.  Similar to the Mizawa clan, Mitoya Hisasuke, a powerful kokujin in Izumo, had his landholdings seized and was expelled for having separately met with Tokugawa Ieyasu while accompanying their lord, Mōri Terumoto, on a visit to the capital of Kyōto.  In 1589, Tametora was summoned by Terumoto to Aki Province and detained.  Although the Mizawa were compelled to forfeit their landholdings, owing to Tametora’s capabilities as well as the fact that he was married to the daughter of Shishido Mototsugu, a member of the Mōri family, he was subsequently granted a fief 10,000 koku in the Asa District of Nagato and moved to this location.

Thereafter, as a retainer of the Mōri clan, he continued to serve Terumoto and, in 1590, served in the Conquest of Odawara led by Toyotomi Hideyoshi.  During an assault against Shimoda Castle in Izu Province, Tametora participated along with Yoshimi Hiroyori, Masuda Motonaga, and Yamauchi Hiromichi, capturing Shimoda Castle.  Tametora deployed for the Bunroku-Keichō Campaign on the Korean Peninsula, participating in the Siege of Ulsan Castle in 1597 and 1598.

Tametora became the chief retainer of Mōri Hidemoto as the lord of the new Chōfu domain and received a fief of 2,700 koku.

In 1600, during the Battle of Sekigahara, he did not deploy for the Siege of Anotsu Castle, the Siege of Ōtsu Castle, or the main battle of Sekighara, and, instead, defended Akamagaseki – a strategic location in Nagato Province.  Ultimately, as members of the Western Army, the Mōri were defeated and, after the conflict, the clan incurred a reduction in their fief from 1,200,000 koku across the western provinces to 360,000 koku in Suō and Nagato provinces.

Tametora died on 8/5 of Keichō 19 (1614).  His grave is located at the Kakuten Temple in the city of Onoda in Yamaguchi Prefecture.


Tametora’s son, Mizawa Tamemoto, later absconded from the Chōfu domain and served the Date clan who led the Mutsu-Sendai domain in the Edo period.  His granddaughter, Mizawa Hatsuko, wed Date Tsunamune, and gave birth to Date Tsunemura (who served as the head of the Sendai domain) and Date Muneyoshi (who served as the head of the Iyo-Uwajima domain).

The Mizawa clan later became members of the Maezawa-Mizawa family.  Date Muramochi, who was adopted by the Iwayadō-Date family, was a great-great-grandchild of Tametora.  Meanwhile, Iwaki Takayoshi, who was adopted by the Iwaki clan (the lords of the Dewa-Kameda domain), was the son of Date Muramochi.  Hotta Masayasu, who was the lord of the Ōmi-Miyagawa domain in the latter part of the Edo period and the Minister of Communications in the Meiji period was a lineal descendant.

The Miyazawa clan served as retainer and then as chief retainers of the Chōfu domain, supporting the lord of the domain.  At the end of the Edo period, Miyazawa Tōshinosuke joined Fukubara Kazukatsu to lead the patriotism battalion of the Chōfu domain in the Hokuetsu War in Echigo Province in 1868.  He fought against Kawai Tsuginosuke of the Echigo-Nakaoka domain and contributed to the attack on Wakamatsu Castle, the base of the Mutsu-Aizu domain.