Lifespan: 15xx to Tenshō 13 (1585)
Title: Governor of Bungo, Governor of Yamato
Father: Anekōji Yoritsuna
Mother: Daughter of Saitō Dōsan (?)
Siblings: Nobutsuna, Hidetsuna, Nabeyama Mototsuna, Ichinomiya Tsunahiro, Kojima Motoyori, Mitsuki Suetsuna, Mori Naotsuna, Mitsuki Chikatsuna
Wife: Daughter of Kasuga Awaji-no-kami Michitsugu
Anekōji Hidetsuna served as a bushō during the Sengoku and Azuchi-Momoyama periods. Hidetsuna was the lord of Matsukura Castle in Hida Province and a successor to the Anekōji family (Mitsuki clan).
Hidetsuna was born as the second son of Anekōji Yoritsuna (earlier known as Mitsuki Yoritsuna). According to genealogical records, an individual with the same name was the eldest son and designated heir of Anekōji Narutoshi within the Anekōji family serving as the kokushi, or provincial governors, of Hida. Although the details are uncertain, there is a high likelihood that this was a different person than the subject of this profile.
Hidetsuna’s older brother, Anekōji Nobutsuna, was murdered owing to alleged complicity in a plot to rebel by his uncle, Mitsuki Akitsuna (known as Nabeyama Akitsuna after adoption by the Nabeyama clan) accused of colluding with Hashiba Hideyoshi. Consequently, Hidetsuna was treated as the designated heir and, after the killing of Akitsuna, was temporarily assigned to Nabeyama Castle.
After unifying Hida Province, Yoritsuna transferred headship of the clan to Hidetsuna and retired at Takadō Castle. Hidetsuna became the lord of the Mitsuki-Anekōji clan based at Hida-Matsukura Castle.
During a period of major disruption including the Battle of Shizugatake in the fourth month of 1583, Yoritsuna colluded with Shibata Katsuie and Sassa Narimasa in opposition to Hashiba Hideyoshi. As a result, the Shibata clan was decimated and events turned in favor of Hideyoshi whereupon the Sassa surrendered to him.
In the eighth month of 1585, acting upon orders from Hideyoshi, Kanamori Nagachika invaded Hida and attacked the Mitsuki-Anekōji. Although Hidetsuna’s father, Yoritsuna, surrendered to the Kanamori army, Hidetsuna continued to resist the invasion. He gathered all of the members of the Anekōji army at Hida-Matsukura Castle and, together with his younger brother, Nabeyama Suetsuna, defended against a siege of the castle.
From the north and the south, army divisions led by Kanamori Nagachika and Kanamori Yoshishige invaded Hida. Each division proceeded to sweep-up the resistance on their respective marches toward the center of the province. After converging, these forces laid siege to Hida-Matsukura Castle.
Nagachika issued a warning to surrender, but Hidetsuna showed his will to continue to resist. As a stronghold, Matsukura Castle was not an easy target. During the assault, the opposing sides held a one-on-one duel between one of the commanders of the Anekōji forces known as Hatake Yasutaka and a retainer of Arishige named Sanzō Munetsugu in which Munetsugu prevailed.
Although the castle was well-reinforced, the besieging forces outnumbered the defenders. This led to the occupation of the outer citadel by members of the division in the Kanamori army led by Ushimaru Chikatsuna along with kunishū, or provincial landowners, previously driven-out of Hida. Meanwhile, among the castle garrison, retainers of Fujise Shinzō betrayed Hidetsuna in favor of the Kanamori army and, under cover of darkness, set fire to the castle. In the midst of the ensuing chaos, the Kanamori army launched an all-out assault and toppled the castle.
It is noted that Hidetsuna mounted his cherished horse and fled the castle at once, but his wife fled the castle with him so it is surmised that they in fact departed in a more ordinary manner. Hidetsuna and his group converged with his younger brother, Suetsuna, and together they headed toward Awaji Castle in Shinano Province which was the original home of Hidetsuna’s wife, the Kasuga clan. En route, he separated from his wife but either aimed for a familiar temple in Kiso or to obtain protection from Tokugawa Ieyasu. Downstream the Daikon River, Hidetsuna and others in his company encountered locals and was killed, a practice known as ochimushagari, or the hunting by locals of fleeing samurai.
On 9/2, Hashiba Hideyoshi notified Uesugi Kenshin that he eradicated and sent to the prison gates as sinful persons Mitsuki Yoritsuna and Hidetsuna (father and son). At this time, Yoritsuna was still alive so it is surmised that only Hidetsuna’s remains were left exposed to the elements on the prison gates.
Character and anecdotes
The Hidetsuna Shrine has its origins in connection with Anekōji Hidetsuna and his formal wife.
At the time of the fall of Matsukura Castle, there is a legend regarding horse footprints in stone, and the large boulder bearing the marks remains to this day.
There are relics from Mitsuki Hidetsuna at the Shimashima Shrine. There is also a visitor guide to stories regarding Hidetsuna and his wife.
Other historical items from Hidetsuna and his wife are on display at the Azumi Museum in the City of Matsumoto.
Among his relics include long swords from Miike Tenta, a swordsmith from Fukuoka in the late twelfth century and Shodai Nobukuni, a swordsmith from the late thirteenth century.
There is a legend regarding the last moments of Hidetsuna and his wife and a memorial to his wife on the Tokumoto Ridge in Hida.
Hidetsuna’s siblings included Mori Naotsuna who served the Owari domain and Mitsuki Chikatsuna, the youngest child of Anekōji Yoritsuna, who became a hatamoto, or direct retainer of the shōgun family.