Suwa Mitsuchika


Suwa Clan


Shinano Province

Lifespan:  Genki 1 (1501) to 10/1 of Tenshō 10 (1582)

Rank:  bushō

Clan:  Suwa

Lord:  Suwa Yorimitsu → Suwa Yoritaka → Suwa Yorishige → Takeda Shingen → Takeda Katsuyori

Father:  Suwa Yorimitsu (or Masamitsu)

Siblings Yoritaka, Yorioki (Yorihiro?), Mitsuchika, Mitsutaka, sister (wife of Takatō Yoritsugu), sister (wife of Hemi Nobuchika), sister (wife of Ichida clan), Yōka, Yorihiro, Gonshichi, Eiju

Children:  Yoritoyo, Yoritoki, Yoritada, Yorikiyo, 善虎, 宗養

Suwa Mitsuchika served as a bushō during the Sengoku period.  Mitsuchika was a member of the Suwa clan of Shinano Province.  His common name was Shintarō.  He had the official title of Izu-no-kami.

In the sixth month of 1541, Nobutora was exiled to Suruga while his eldest son, Takeda Harunobu (Shingen), became the lord of Kai Province.  Harunobu committed to the invasion of Shinano by attacking the Suwa District.  In the sixth month of 1542, Harunobu joined with others opposed to the Suwa, including Takatō Yoritsugu of the Ina District who had designs on the Suwa territory, and Yajima Mitsukiyo (an official from the upper site of the Suwa Grand Shrine with the title of Neigi-dayū) to invade the Suwa District.  On 7/2 of Tenbun 11 (1542),  the invading forces attacked Suwa Yorishige at his main base at Uehara Castle.  With the assistance of Mitsuchika (Yorishige’s uncle), Yorishige fled to Kuwabara Castle, but surrendered on 7/4 in an event known as the Battle of Kuwabara Castle.  Yorishige and his younger brother, Yoritaka were taken to the main base of the Takeda in Kōfu, and, after being incarcerated at the Tōkō Temple, on 7/21, killed themselves.  This marked the end of the main branch of the Suwa family.

Following the death of Yorishige,  and rebelled against the Takeda.  Meanwhile, Mitsuchika backed the orphan of Yorishige having the childhood name of Toraō (later Chiyomiyamaru then Chōkyū).

The former landholdings of the Suwa were divided so that Yoritsugu controlled the territory to the west of the Miya River while the Takeda controlled the territory to the east.  However, Yoritsugu desired to govern all of the former Suwa territory, so, in the ninth month of 1542, together with Fujisawa Yorichika (the lord of Fukuyo Castle in the Ina District), he invaded the territory controlled by the Takeda.  Harunobu presided over the orphan of Suwa Yorishige, Toraō, in a bid to unify the Suwa family.  On 9/25, at the Battle of Miyagawa, Mitsuchika joined the Takeda in an overwhelming defeat of Yoritsugu, causing him to retreat from the Suwa District.  Yoritsugu’s younger brother, Takatō Yorimune, died in this conflict while Yoritsugu entered the priesthood.  On 9/26, Mitsuchika, along with Moriya Yorizane (the head of the Suwa Grand Shrine) and his younger brother, Suwa Mitsutaka, served as guides for the Takeda, enabling an attack on Fujisawa Yorichika, the lord of Fukuyo Castle in the Ina District, which resulted in his surrender.

Mitsuchika’s whereabouts after this time are uncertain although he entered the priesthood.  Takatō Yoritsugu and Yajima Mitsukiyo may have desired the role of the Ōhōri at the upper site of the Suwa Grand Shrine but it was carried on by Mitsuchika and his descendants revived the clan to become daimyō in later periods.  According to the genealogy of the Suwa clan, Mitsuchika died in the tenth month of 1582 following the demise of the Takeda clan earlier that year.

The Takeda proceeded to attack Fujisawa Yorichika of Ina and Ōi Sadataka of Nagakubo Castle in the Chiisagata District, while, on 4/17 of Tenbun 14 (1545), Takatō Castle was toppled at the Battle of Takatō.  Yoritsugu surrendered to the Takeda and went to Kōfu.  Thereafter, the Takeda renovated Takatō Castle and made it a base for governing Shinano.  On 2/14 of Tenbun 17 (1548), the Takeda lost a conflict against Murakami Yoshikiyo of the Chiisagata District at the Battle of Uedahara.  In the seventh month of 1548, the group from western Suwa rebelled, further shaking the Takeda’s grip on its territory in Suwa.  Meanwhile, on 4/3, Yoritsugu returned from Kōfu to his base at Takatō Castle.

To govern Shinano, the Takeda clan had assorted families in Shinano inherit the Takeda surname as a component of their pacification policy.  The Takeda clan further adopted a policy to placate the conquered families in Shinano by adopting a child from one family; however, within the Suwa clan, in 1546, Suwa Goryōnin (Toraō’s older sister) and Harunobu had a son, Shirō (later Suwa Katsuyori, then Takeda Katsuyori) who inherited the Suwa family.  He retained the Suwa surname and inherited the clan, which is regarded as being for nominal reasons and not counted for purposes of generational lineage.  According to a post-period genealogy of the Suwa, in 1546, Chōkyū’s great-uncle, Suwa Mitsutaka, launched a rebellion in protest against the decision for Shirō to become the successor to the family.  Around that time, Chōkyū attempted to go into exile with the assistance of Imagawa Yoshimoto, the sengoku daimyō of Suruga Province, but upon discovery of this plan, he was apprehended and killed.

Among Mitsuchika’s children, Suwa Yoritoyo served as leader of the Suwa group comprised of influential families overseeing the shrines, while Suwa Yoritoki served the Takeda family.  Yoritoyo, Yoritoki and Yorikiyo were killed in action in the third month of 1582 in the Battle of Tenmokuzan against Oda Nobunaga marking the end of the Takeda.

In the Tenshō-Jingo Conflict, Suwa Yoritada revived the Suwa clan which later became the Suwa-Takashima domain in the Edo period.