Saitō Hikoshirō

斎藤彦四郎

Saitō Clan

Bushō

Mino Province

Lifespan:  14xx to 15xx

Rank:  bushō

Clan:  Saitō-Jizein

Bakufu:  Muromachi – Deputy Military Governor of Mino

Father:  Saitō Myōjun

Siblings:  Toshichika, Matashirō, Hikoshirō, sister (wife of Asakura Sadakage), sister (wife of Kyōgoku Takakiyo)

Saitō Hikoshirō served as a bushō during the Sengoku period.  Hikoshirō was a deputy military governor of Mino Province.

Hikoshirō was born as the third son of Saitō Myōjun, the second head of the Saitō-Jizein family.

After the death of his second oldest brother, Saitō Matashirō, in 1499, Hikoshirō became the fifth head of the Saitō-Jizein family.  In 1506, a letter from Ashikaga Yoshizumi (the eleventh shōgun of the Muromachi bakufu) was addressed to Saitō Hikoshirō, indicating that he was the deputy military governor of Mino.

In 1512, after coming into conflict with Toki Masafusa, Hikoshirō temporarily fled to Owari Province.  Supported by the Oda clan, he returned to Mino and holed-up in Sunomata Castle, but was defeated by forces led by Masafusa and his nephew, Ōguromaru (Matashirō’s orphan).  Around 8/23 and 8/24, he went into exile again in Owari.

In 1517, a dispute occurred in Mino over the selection of Masafusa’s successor which, on 12/27, this escalated into armed conflict.  Hikoshirō’s nephew, Saitō Toshinaga (the orphan of Hikoshirō’s oldest brother, Saitō Toshichika) recommended Masafusa’s eldest son and designated heir, Toki Yoritake, while Masafusa and Nagai Nagahiro (the vice-deputy military governor), recommended Masafusa’s second son, Toki Yoriaki.  In this clash, the faction supporting Yoritake prevailed.  After the battle, Hikoshirō secretly communicated with the faction backing Yoriaki and, on 8/10 of Eishō 15 (1518), another clash occurred and Yoriaki’s side won.  As a result, Hikoshirō re-entered Mino while Yoritake, along with Saitō Toshinaga, went into exile with the Asakura family of Echizen Province.

On 6/16 of Eishō 16 (1519), Masafusa died and, with a vacancy in the role of military governor of Mino, Asakura Takakage ordered his younger brother, Asakura Kagetaka, to deploy to Mino and Kagetaka, together with Yoritake and Toshinaga, invaded Mino with 3,000 soldiers.  After several victories, the invaders succeeded in having Yoritake installed as the military governor.  Around this time, Hikoshirō is surmised to have been removed from his position or killed in action.