Lifespan: Chōkyō 1 (1487) to 10/1 of Tenbun 19 (1550)
Title: Governor of Bitchū
Lord: Rokkaku clan → Takeda Nobutora → Takeda Harunobu (Shingen)
Children: Daughter (formal wife of Yokota Yasukage), Yasukage (adopted son-in-law)
Yokota Takatoshi served as a bushō during the Sengoku period. He was a retainer of the Takeda clan of Kai Province and named as one of the Five Famed Retainers of the Takeda – meritorious retainers from other provinces who served under Takeda Nobutora and his son, Takeda Harunobu, the sengoku daimyō of Kai. He was also referred to as Yokota Bitchū-no-kami having received the title of Governor of Bitchū. The other members of the Five Famed Retainers of the Takeda included Hara Toratane, Obata Toramori, Tada Sanpachirō, and Yamamoto Kansuke.
Takatoshi originated from the Kōka District in Ōmi Province. He was a member of the Sasaki clan and retainer of the Rokkaku. Although the timing and circumstances are uncertain, in the era of Takeda Nobutora, he entered Kai Province and served the Takeda clan. A skilled archer, as the commander-in-chief of the ashigaru, or foot soldiers, he served valorously in the same corps as Amari Torayasu in numerous battles.
Based on authenticated sources, Takatoshi participated in the Invasion of Shinano in the era of Harunobu (Shingen). In the eighth month of 1546, in an attack on Shiga Castle in the Saku District of Shinano, he repelled forces dispatched by Uesugi Norimasa (the deputy shōgun) to serve as a rear guard.
On 2/14 of Tenbun 17 (1548), at the Battle of Uedahara, two veteran commanders, Itagaki Nobukata and Amari Torayasu, were killed in action. In an effort to recover from his unfavorable position, on 9/9 of Tenbun 19 (1550), Shingen laid siege to the base of the Murakami clan at Toishi Castle in Shinano. Takatoshi commenced attacks, but incurred setbacks owing to challenges posed by the impregnable fortress protected by natural features. When the Takeda army was compelled to begin a retreat, the Murakami army charged, leading to a chaotic battle. Known as the Collapse of Toishi, in the midst of the attacks, Takatoshi fought single-handedly in the rear guard of his division, but was killed in action. He was sixty-four years old.
The loss of Takatoshi brought sorrow to Shingen. Later, he told the soldiers who served under him that if they sought to become warriors, then they should aim to be like Hara Mino-no-kami (Toratane) and Yokota Bitchū-no-kami (Takatoshi).
The eldest son of Hara Toratane, Hara Yasukage (Tsunatoshi), became the son-in-law of Takatoshi and succeeded him, but was later killed in at the Battle of Nagashino in 1575.
In the era of Yasukage’s son, Yokota Tadatoshi, the Yokota clan became hatamoto, or direct retainers of the Edo bakufu with a fief of 5,000 koku. In later generations this increased to 9,500 koku – the highest level for hatamoto.