Suzuki Shigetomo


Saikatō-Suzuki Clan


Kii Province

Lifespan:  Eiroku 4 (1561) to Genna 9 (1623)

Rank:  bushō

Title:  Chief of the Palace Table

Clan:  Saikatō-Suzuki

Lord:  Toyotomi Hideyoshi → Toyotomi Hideyori → Date Masamune → Tokugawa Ieyasu → Tokugawa Yorifusa

Domain:  Mito 

Children:  Shigetsugu

Suzuki Shigetomo served as a bushō from the Sengoku to early Edo periods.  He was the head of the Saikatō-Suzuki clan based in Kii Province.

In 1561, Shigetomo is regarded to have been born as the eldest son of Suzuki Shigehide, but there is another theory that he was the son of Suzuki Sadayū.  The details are uncertain.  There is another theory that he originated from the Mikawa-Suzuki clan and was adopted by Suzuki Magoichi.

During the Ishiyama War that lasted from 1570 to 1580, the Suzuki clan cooperated with Kennyo, the high priest of the Ishiyama-Hongan Temple and fought against Oda Nobunaga.  After the Conquest of Kishū led by Hashiba Hideyoshi in 1585 that ended in the elimination of the Saika Group of Kii Province, Shigetomo served Toyotomi Hidenaga.  Later, he became a direct retainer of Hideyoshi and was chosen to serve as a commander of the infantry forces and awarded a fief of 10,000 koku.  Thereafter, at the Conquest of Odawara in 1590, Shigetomo participated in the Siege of Oshi Castle, and during the deployment to the Korean Peninsula for the Bunroku Campaign, served as the chamberlain of Nagoya Castle in Hizen Province in Kyūshū.

In 1600, at the Battle of Sekigahara, Shigetomo joined the Western Army.  He served in the vanguard in the Siege of Fushimi Castle as a member of the first group to engage enemy forces of the Eastern Army.  Shigetomo killed Torii Mototada.  After the war, he became a rōnin, or wandering samurai, then served Date Masamune.  Later, through the mediation of Masamune, in 1606, he became a direct retainer of Tokugawa Ieyasu and received a fief of 3,000 koku.  A while later, Shigetomo became a hatamoto of Tokugawa Yorifusa of the Mito-Tokugawa family.

At the Siege of Fushimi Castle, Mototada’s armor was transferred to Shigetomo but Shigetomo proposed returning it to Mototada’s son, Torii Tadamasa.  While deeply grateful, Tadamasa transferred these items to Shigetomo.  In 2004, these were presented by the Suzuki family to a museum in the main citadel of Ōsaka Castle.

Shigetomo died in 1623 at the age of sixty-three and was succeeded by his son, Suzuki Shigetsugu.  Absent a natural son of his own, Shigetsugu adopted the eleventh son of Tokugawa Yorifusa (the head of the Mito domain), named Suzuki Shigeyoshi.  Consequently, the Suzuki clan continued as senior retainers of the Mito domain, while their descendants adopted the surname of Saika.  For generations, the head of the family was given the first name of Magoichi and it was customary for the leader of the Saika Group to have this same name.