Totoki Tsuresada


Totoki Clan


Chikuzen Province

Lifespan:  Kōji 3 (1556) to 9/14 of Kanei 21 (1644)

Other Names:  Magoemon, Sessai (monk’s name)

Rank:  bushō

Title:  Governor of Settsu

Clan:  Totoki (descended from the Bungo-Ōgashi clan)

Domain:  Mutsu-Tanakura, chief retainer of Chikugo-Yanagawa domain

Lord:  Tachibana Dōsetsu → Tachibana Muneshige

Father:  Totoki Koretsugu

Siblings:  Korenori, Tsuresada

Wife:  Daughter of Kido Tomomasa

Children:  Tachibana 惟与, Narishige, Koremasa, Inaba Masayoshi

Totoki Tsuresada served as a bushō from the Sengoku to early Edo periods.  He was a retainer of the Tachibana clan and, in the Edo period, a chief retainer of the Yanagawa domain.  Tsuresada is counted among the Four Guardian Kings of the Tachibana, the others being Yufu Korenobu, Andō Ietada, and Takano Taizen.

In 1556, Tsuresada was born as the second son of Totoki Koretsugu, a retainer of Bekki Akitsura (Tachibana Dōsetsu) who, in turn, was a senior retainer of the Ōtomo, a sengoku daimyō family in Bungo Province.  He is described as being of composed courage and integrity.

Tsuresada originated from a branch of the Totoki clan who were senior retainers of the Bekki clan.  The family descended from Totoki Magoemon, the fourth son of Totoki Korenobu (Nagato-no-kami – the first head of the Totoki clan).  Totoki Koretada, who died at the Battle of Yasumimatsu, was from the main branch of the clan, making him a second cousin of Tsuresada.

Similar to his father, Tsuresada served Akitsura (Dōsetsu) receiving one of the characters from his name and adopting the name of Tsuresada.  In 1569, after his father (Koretsugu) and older brother (Korenori) were killed in action at the Battle of Tatarahama, Tsuresada inherited the headship of the clan, succeeding to landholdings of approximately 74 hectares in the village of Itazuke in the Naka District of Chikuzen Province.

In 1581, after numerous demands from Dōsetsu (who did not have a son), Takahashi Jōun permitted his lineal heir, Munetora, to wed Dōsetsu’s daughter, Ginchiyo, and become Dōsetsu’s adopted son-in-law and designated heir.  As a result, his second son, Takahashi Munemasu (later Tachibana Naotsugu), inherited the Takahashi family.

In 1587, after Toyotyomi Hideyoshi launched a campaign known as the Subjugation of Kyūshū, Tsuresada was able to rescue Eiunin (the mother of Muneshige) and Tachibana Munemasu (his younger brother) who had been taken captive during the invasion of Chikuzen the previous year by the Shimazu clan.  After the campaign, Hideyoshi awarded Muneshige a fief of 130,000 koku in Yanagawa in Chikugo Province whereupon Muneshige then granted approximately 82 hectares of land to Tsuresada in the Yamato District of Chikugo.  In the fifth month of 1591, he was appointed as a chief retainer.  For the Bunroku Campaign which began in 1592, Tsuresada sailed with Muneshige to the Korean Peninsula and served meritoriously.  In the fourth month of 1596, his fief was increased by 1,300 koku and, in 1598, further increased by 200 koku.

In 1600, at the Battle of Sekigahara, Muneshige joined the Western Army and attacked the Eastern Army at Ōtsu Castle in the Shiga District of Ōmi Province.  This is known as the Siege of Ōtsu Castle.  After the battle, he was removed from his position and became a rōnin, or wandering samurai.  Tsuresada, however, resolutely backed his lord, Muneshige, and, together with Muneshige, served as guest commanders of Katō Kiyomasa in Kumamoto in Higo Province.

In the winter of 1603, after leaving the Katō family, Tsuresada and Muneshige went to Edo but they struggled with living expenses.  To earn money to cover the living expenses of their lord, Tsuresada, together with other retainers including Yufu Korenobu, became begging Zen monks of the Fuke sect (wearing a sedge hood and playing a shakuhachi, or bamboo flute) to earn money to purchase rice.  Later, Muneshige was invited by Tokugawa Ieyasu to serve as a retainer and, after Muneshige became a retainer with a fief of 10,000 koku in the Mutsu-Tanakura domain, Tsuresada received 200 koku from Muneshige for recognition for his long years of loyalty.

Later, after Muneshige was permitted to return to Yanagawa, Tsuresada proposed retiring on the basis of age and his third son, Totoki Koremasa, inherited the headship of the clan.  At this time, Tsuresada received a retirement stipend of 1,000 koku.  In 1637, for the Shimabara Rebellion, Tsuresada deployed with Muneshige who was advanced in age.

On 9/14 of Kanei 21 (1644), Tsuresada died.  Many descendants of Totoki served as retainers of the Yanagawa domain including as chief retainers and unit leaders until the end of the Edo period.


Notwithstanding his status as a retainer of a retainer of his lord, Tsuresada was known by many daimyō as a loyal and brave bushō.  In 1614, during the Winter Campaign of the Siege of Ōsaka, he was solicited by the Toyotomi clan for a high stipend but refused on grounds of loyalty to Muneshige.

In Edo, when Tsuresada became a begging Zen monk of the Fuke sect playing a shakuhachi to earn money to purchase rice, he was accosted outside of town by three robbers.  Tsuresada thought that if he fought them, he would cause trouble for Muneshige so he fled, but the robbers stubbornly pursued him.  He was then forced to fight back and defend himself with his bamboo flute against their swords.  After taking their swords he cut them down.  He was then apprehended by an official and explained what happened.  Although, at this time, Tsuresada was a rōnin dressed-up as a begging monk, he was formerly a senior retainer of Tachibana Muneshige, so the official who heard the story was uncertain how to deal with him.  The story made its way up to higher level officials, eventually reaching Doi Toshikatsu, a rōjū, or member of the council of elders of the Edo bakufu.  Toshikatsu acquitted Tsuresada of charges and he was released.  Soon thereafter, Muneshige was appointed as the lord of the Tanakura domain and shoinbantō, a high-ranking position in charge of the shōgun‘s cavalry, so it is surmised that the wishes of Ieyasu with respect to Muneshige influenced the decision.