Lifespan: Tenbun 2 (1533) to 7/19 of Tenshō 18 (1590)
Other Names: Magokurō (childhood)
Title: Governor of Suruga
Clan: Daidōji (descended from the Taira clan)
Lord: Hōjō Ujimasa → Hōjō Ujiyasu → Hōjō Ujinao
Father: Daidōji Kanekatsu (Shigeoki)
Wife: Daughter of Tōyama Tsunakage
Children: Naoshige, Naoshige (written with a different character), 弁誉, Naotsugu
Adopted Children: Naohide
Daidōji Masashige served as a bushō during the Sengoku and Azuchi-Momoyama periods. He was a retainer of the Gohōjō clan.
Masashige was born as the son of Daidōji Kanekatsu (Shigeoki), a retainer of the Gohōjō.
The Daidōji are deemed to have descended from either the Taira or Fujiwara clans. For generations, descendants of the clan used the surname of Taira-Asomi, with Asomi a title signifying their elevated status as a noble family based on a system established by Emperor Tenmu during the Asuka period of the late seventh century. The Daidōji clan originated from the location of the Daidō Temple in Kyōto, and, several generations prior to Masashige, Daidōji Shigetoki moved to Izu Province to serve as a retainer of Ise Moritoki (later known as Hōjō Sōun), beginning the service of the clan under the Gohōjō. Within the Gohōjō clan, the Daidōji were one of six families of elevated status called the goyuisho-rokke. Based at Kawagoe Castle, members of the Daidōji served as veterans of the Gohōjō for generations.
Masashige served three generations of the Hōjō – Hōjō Ujiyasu, Hōjō Ujimasa, and Hōjō Ujinao. He is surmised to have received the character of “masa” in his name from Ujimasa. Masashige excelled in political affairs. Around the time that he served as the chamberlain of Kawagoe Castle, he fostered the development of the town below the castle, beginning with flood control, and by actively enlisting the support of money brokers to establish services for sanitation and fire management. He exercised his skills for civilian affairs without reservation. In 1584, he opened the Sakado lodge, serving as the inception for development of the city of Sakado. Masashige inherited the role of his father, serving as the representative of the bakufu for Kamakura to govern the shrines and temples. In the military arena, he led a battalion called the Kawagoeshū, or Kawagoe forces, and made contributions in many of the primary battles waged by the Hōjō clan including the Battle of Mimasetōge and the Battle of Kannagawa.
Following the decimation of the Kai-Takeda clan in the third month of 1582, Oda Nobunaga rode the momentum of this victory to seize control of Kōzuke Province which had been governed by the Hōjō clan. On 6/2 of Tenshō 10 (1582), Nobunaga died in a coup d’état known as the Honnō Temple Incident, triggering a crisis in the Oda family. The Hōjō took advantage of the situation by retaking Kōzuke and then invading Kai and Shinano provinces in a series of events known as the Tenshō Jingo Conflict. Masashige became the lord of Komoro Castle in Shinano, responsible for protecting the front lines in opposition to Tokugawa Ieyasu, but, after the Hōjō reached a settlement with Ieyasu, Masashige departed.
Masashige served as the chamberlain of Matsuida Castle in Kōzuke. In 1590, after the launch of the Conquest of Odawara by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Matsuida was situated at the entrance to the Nakayama Road, so Masashige attempted to intercept a large army led by Maeda Toshiie, Uesugi Kagekatsu, and Sanada Masayuki at the Usui Pass between Kōzuke and Shinano provinces, but his forces were outnumbered and he lost the battle. He then holed-up in his castle to continue the fight, but, in the face of overwhelming pressure, portions of the castle fell one after another. Having resigned himself to die fighting, Masashige enabled his grandchild to flee to safety and Masayuki reportedly saw but pretended not to see the escape. After their water sources were cut-off and provisions burned, with enemy soldiers encroaching on the main citadel, Masashige finally surrendered and vacated the castle.
Thereafter, Masashige joined the Toyotomi and served as a guide during the assault on Oshi Castle in Musashi Province in an event known as the Siege of Oshi Castle. He participated in assaults against strategic bases of the Hōjō including Musashi-Matsuyama Castle on 5/22, Hachigata Castle on 6/14, and Hachiōji Castle on 6/23. In particular, during the assault on Hachiōji Castle, he informed the troops of the location of the rear gate and joined in an all-out assault on the front entrance, making significant contributions during these operations.
Odawara Castle fell on 7/5. On 7/19, Masashige (similar to Hōjō Ujimasa, Hōjō Ujiteru, and Matsuda Norihide) was reproached by Hideyoshi for initiating the war. There are various theories concerning the details leading to the controversy, including that he was slandered after a clash of opinions with Hideyoshi’s commanders, that he was despised for switching allegiance to Hideyoshi, or that he did not completely remove the nucleus of the Hōjō forces. Masashige was ordered to commit seppuku at the Jōraku Temple below his base at Kawagoe Castle. Masashige was fifty-eight years old and his demise extinguished the Daidōji clan. (According to an alternate theory, he was executed in Sakurada in Edo.)
A memorial tower stands at the Jōraku Temple in the city of Kawagoe in Saitama Prefecture. His grave is at the Hoda Temple in the city of Annaka in Gunma Prefecture. At the Teishō Temple in the city of Hirosaki in Aomori Prefecture, there is a memorial tower built by Masashige’s adopted son, Hayato (Naohide), as well as Hayato’s grave.
There is a story that, in 1546, during the Siege of Kawagoe Castle (when Masashige was still named Magokurō), he defeated Honma Ōmi-no-kami, a retainer of Uesugi Norimasa, in a duel. Ōmi-no-kami was known for his strength, but lost to Magokurō and, after entrusting his umajirushi, or battle standard raised next to the horse of a commander, to Magokurō, was killed. The battle standard displayed nine lanterns. Later, bushō in the Gohōjō family mimicked Ōmi-no-kami by displaying lanterns on their own flags attached to the end of long spears.
In one historical account, this anecdote is portrayed as an episode for the origins of the umajirushi.
Masashige’s wife was the daughter of Tōyama Tsunakage (Tōkurō-Hayato). Initially, she wed Toneri Tsunetada and bore a son, but, in 1563, Tsunetada was killed in action at the Second Battle of Kōnodai. In that same battle, Tsunakage and his eldest son, Hayato-no-suke, were also killed. Tsunakage was the chamberlain of Edo and Kasai castles and, similar to Masashige, was also a senior retainer of the Gohōjō clan.
Tsunakage’s daughter relied upon the Tōyama clan of her original home and remarried with Masashige. She had two children with her first husband (Toneri clan) and her eldest son was adopted by Masashige, becoming Daidōji Naohide (Hayato). Her second son was adopted by the Matsuno family, becoming Matsuno Daigaku. Later, Daigaku became a retainer of the Hirosaki domain along with Naohide who served as a retainer of the Tsugaru family of the same domain.
Naohide was an expert at castle construction and, together with Masashige, renovated Kawagoe and Matsuida castles.
After the defeat of the Hōjō at the Conquest of Odawara, owing to a confrontation with Kuroda Yoshitaka, Masashige committed seppuku upon orders from Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Upon the ardent wishes of Ieyasu, Hōjō Ujinao and Tokuhime (Ujinao’s formal wife), along with Masashige’s children were taken into custody by Ieyasu. Naoshige temporarily followed Ujinao after Ujinao was exiled to Mount Kōya, but, after the death of Ujinao, returned to serve Ieyasu. His children and descendants preserved the Daidōji surname until the end of the Edo period.
Masashige’s eldest son, Daidōji Naoshige, served Tokugawa Hidetada. Naoshige’s son served Matsudaira Tadateru of the Takada domain, but, after Tadateru was removed from his position, became a rōnin, or wandering samurai. Naoshige’s grandchild was Daidōji Yūzan, a military scholar of the Kōshū (Kai-Takeda) strategies. After serving as a guest of the Hiroshima and Aizu domains, Yūzan was confined to his home, but he later served the Echizen-Fukui domain. Yūzan’s descendants continued in service of the Fukui domain, serving as chief retainers and responsible for the home base while the lord was away on assignment in Edo. This lineage inherited the common name of Magokurō used for generations by the eldest son of the Daidōji family including Masashige.
Masashige’s second son, Daidōji Naoshige (written with a different character than his first son; also known as Naomasa), was sent as a hostage to Tokugawa Ieyasu in connection with the Tenshō Jingo Conflict, but was soon returned. During fighting between the Toyotomi and Hōjō clans, Naoshige and his father holed-up in Matsuida Castle and clashed against the Hōjō army including the Maeda and the Uesugi (who were aligned with the Toyotomi). At the Usui Pass between Kōzuke and Shinano, he clashed with Sanada Masayuki and Yoda Yasukuni, but later vacated his castle and, together with his family, surrendered. Afterwards, he served Maeda Toshimasa. After the Battle of Sekigahara, Toshimasa was removed from his position whereupon Naoshige was invited to serve Matsudaira Tadayoshi of the Owari domain for a stipend of 2,000 koku. After the death of Tadayoshi, Tokugawa Yoshinao was assigned to Owari and Naoshige served him for a stipend of 2,500 koku. Increases in later generations yielded an income of 4,000 to 5,000 koku and family members serving as chief retainers and chamberlains.
Masashige’s third son entered the priesthood and adopted the monk’s name of 弁誉. He restored the Fukugawa-Honsei Temple located alongside the Kiyosumi Garden Park in Fukugawa in Edo.
Masashige’s fourth son, Daidōji Naotsugu, initially adopted the names of Tōyama Chōzaemon and Tōyama Naotsugu (using the surname of his mother). He served, in order, Kuroda Yoshitaka, Toyotomi Hidetsugu, Fukushima Masanori, Kuroda Nagamasa, and Kyōgoku Tadataka. He then became a hatamoto, or direct retainer, of the Edo bakufu, serving Tokugawa Hidetada for a stipend of 1,000 koku. He adopted Toneri Tsunetada, a retainer of the Owari domain, and his descendants reverted to the Daidōji surname and continued into the Edo period.
Masashige’s adopted son, Daidōji Naohide (Hayato), through Naoshige’s connections, served the Owari domain and engaged in the construction of Nagoya Castle. After the Siege of Ōsaka (1614 to 1615), he served the Hirosaki domain and supported the construction of Hirosaki Castle. His descendants went through various transformations including by adopting children from the family of their lord, serving as chief retainers of the Tsugaru domain, and as castle chamberlains for a stipend of over 1,000 koku, using the name Daidōji Hayato for generations.
In connection with a purge of retainers in the Owari domain at the end of the Edo period known as the Aomatsuba Incident, Daidōji Naoyoshi was subject to permanent confinement.
After the Meiji Restoration, a descendant named Daidōji Shigeyoshi served as a prefectural council chair and founded the Gojūku Bank which was the predecessor of the Aomori Bank.