Lifespan: Tenbun 3 (1534) to 4/17 of Tenshō 12 (1584)
Title: Master of the Outer Palace Guards of the Left Division
Lord: Rokkaku Yoshiharu → Oda Nobunaga
Father: Gamō Sadahide
Mother: Daughter of the Mabuchi clan
Siblings: Aochi Shigetsuna, Ogura Sanetaka, sister (wife of Seki Morinobu), sister (wife of Kane Tomomori)
Wife: [Formal] Daughter of Gotō Katatoyo
Children: Ujinobu, Ujiharu, Ujisato, Shigesato, Sadahide, daughter (wife of Fuse Chūbe-e, and, later, formal wife of Seki Kazumasa), daughter (formal wife of Tamaru Naomasa), daughter (formal wife of Ogura Yukiharu), Tora (Sanjō-dono, consort of Toyotomi Hideyoshi)
Gamō Katahide served as a bushō during the Sengoku and Azuchi-Momoyama periods. Katahide was a retainer of the Rokkaku and Oda clans, and served as the lord of Hino Castle in the Gamō District of Ōmi Province.
In 1534, Katahide was born as the eldest son of Gamō Sadahide, a senior retainer of the Rokkaku clan (a sengoku daimyō family based in southern Ōmi). His mother was the daughter of the Mabuchi family – also senior retainers of the Rokkaku. Katahide received one of the characters in his name from his lord, Rokkaku Yoshikata.
Along with Sadahide, Katahide served the Rokkaku. In the tenth month of 1563, a conflict arose within the Rokkaku clan known as the Kannonji Disturbance (Kannonji sōdō). Katahide and his father endeavored to settle the dispute, and, in 1567, Katahide and Sadahide jointly signed a set of provincial laws enacted by the Rokkaku known as the Code of the Rokkaku Clan.
In 1568, at the Battle of Kannonji Castle between Rokkaku Yoshikata and Oda Nobunaga, Katahide made a strong defense against attacks by Oda forces including Shibata Katsuie and Hachiya Yoritaka. Nevertheless, Yoshikata lost to Nobunaga and the Rokkaku clan was vanquished. After learning of the defeat, Katahide displayed an intent to continue the resistance by hunkering down along with 1,000 soldiers in Hino Castle whereupon Kanbe Tomomori, a commanding officer in the Oda family who was married to Katahide’s younger sister, paid a visit by himself to Hino Castle. As a result of these discussions, Katahide surrendered, tendered his eldest son, Tsuruchiyo (later known as Gamō Ujisato), as a hostage, and became a retainer of the Oda, serving as a yoriki, or security staff, for Shibata Katsuie. Nobunaga took favor with Katahide and Tsuruchiyo, having Tsuruchiyo marry his daughter, Sō-ō-in, so that Tsuruchiyo became Nobunaga’s son-in-law. Later, after formation of the Encirclement Campaign against Nobunaga, Katahide was solicited by the Rokkaku to oppose Nobunaga, but he firmly rejected the offer, electing to fight as a commanding officer for the Oda. In the fourth month of 1573, he attacked his former master, Rokkaku Yoshiharu, at Namazue Castle in the Aichi District of Ōmi.
Katahide’s sisters became wives of Kanbe Tomomori and Seki Morinobu. After Nobunaga became upset with discord caused by Tomomori and Morinobu, in the spring of 1573, he turned them over to Katahide who was responsible for incarcerating them in Hino Castle in Ōmi.
In the seventh month of 1579, Katahide held a memorial service for 38 members of the family from the time of his great-grandfather, Gamō Sadahide, at the Shingyō monastery in Hino.
Following the transfer of Shibata Katsuie to the Hokuriku Region, Katahide remained in Ōmi and formed an independent military unit. At the time of the Honnō Temple Incident on 6/2 of 1582 that resulted in the unexpected death of Oda Nobunaga at the hands of Akechi Mitsuhide, Katahide was protecting the outer citadel at Azuchi Castle. After hearing the news, he called upon his eldest son, Ujisato, to come from Hino Castle, and from early morning on 6/3, he arranged for the wives of Nobunaga to shelter at Hino Castle and holed up. Tokugawa Ieyasu expressed appreciation for these efforts while hearing the news while traveling through the Iga Pass en route from the Kinai Region to the eastern provinces. During the escape, Nobunaga’s wives told Katahide to remove the valuables and burn down the castle, but he refused on grounds that he would be forsaken by the gods and that he would be criticized for giving in to greed by taking the valuables, so he left the castle. Mitsuhide dispatched Haga Bungo-no-kami and Fuse Chūbe-e to make an exceptional offer to Katahide that, if he allied with them, he could control one-half of Ōmi Province. Katahide, however, could not forget his debt of gratitude toward Nobunaga, so he steadfastly rejected the offer. Later that year, Katahide transferred the role as head of the clan to his son, Ujisato. Katahide died on 4/17 of 1584 at the age of fifty-one.
Character and anecdotes
Around the time that Nobunaga was based in Gifu, he had Katahide and Ujisato accompany him at various battles, whereas, after moving to Azuchi Castle, Nobunaga always had Katahide remain behind to protect the castle.
On account of his conscientious handling of the offer from Akechi Mitsuhide, Katahide received the moniker of stubborn fool of Hino. However, he did not set fire to Azuchi Castle and left without taking the valuables. The reasons are surmised to be either because he feared an attack by the Akechi against Hino Castle, he was a coward, or timid. In certain accounts, he is portrayed as being afraid when he heard of a battle or even to join a formation. Others note that he was not likely a coward as shown when he holed up with a small number of soldiers at Hino Castle in an act of loyalty toward the Rokkaku clan.