Endō Yoshitaka


Endō Clan


Mino Province

Lifespan:  Tenbun 19 (1550) to 3/21 of Kanei 9 (1632)

Other Names:  Saburō-shirō (childhood), Morie, Shintarō, Rokurō-zaemon, Sama-no-suke (nformal title), Tansai (monk’s name)

Rank:  bushō, daimyō

Title:  Junior Fifth Rank (Lower), Governor of Tajima

Clan:  Endō

Bakufu:  Muromachi → Edo

Domain:  lord of Mino-Hachiman Castle

Lord:  Saitō Tatsuoki → Oda Nobunaga → Takeda Shingen → Oda Nobunaga → Oda Nobutada → Oda Nobutaka → Toyotomi Hideyoshi → Toyotomi Hideyori → Tokugawa Ieyasu → Tokugawa Hidetada → Tokugawa Iemitsu

Father:  Endō Morikazu

Second Father:  Nagai Michitoshi

Mother:  Daughter of Tō Tsuneyoshi

Siblings:  Yoshitaka, Yoshitane, Yoshinao, sister (Kenshōin) (?)

Wife:  [Formal] Daughter of Andō Morinari, [Second] Daughter of Anekōji Yoshiyori, [Next Second] Daughter of Anekōji Yoritsuna

Children:  Yoshikatsu, daughter (formal wife of Kanamori Arishige), daughter (wife of Endō Tanenao, later wife of a member of the Kayukawa family), daughter (wife of Mitsuki Naotsuna)

Adopted Children:  Yoshitoshi

Endō Yoshitaka served as a bushō and daimyō from the Sengoku to early Edo periods.  Yoshitaka was a kokujin, or provincial landowner, and lord of Hachiman Castle in the Gujō District of Mino Province, known as Gujō-Hachiman Castle.  He was the first lord of the Mikami domain for the Endō family.  Over the course of his life, Yoshitaka served a long series of lords, including, among others, the most powerful of his era – Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu.

Service as a retainer of the Mino-Saitō clan

Yoshitaka was born as the eldest son of Endō Morikazu at Kigoshi Castle in Mino Province.  The Mino-Endō were an illegitimate branch of the Tō who, in turn, were members of the Chiba clan.  Yoshitaka’s father, Morikazu, ousted his father-in-law, Tō Tsuneyoshi, the head of the main branch of the family, and eviscerated the Tō clan, becoming the lord of Gujō-Hachiman Castle in Mino.  Thereafter, Morikazu pledged fealty to the Saitō – a sengoku daimyō family based in Mino.  Serving under Saitō Yoshitatsu and Saitō Tatsuoki, Morikazu fought against invasions by Oda Nobunaga of neighboring Owari Province.  In 1562, Morikazu died whereupon Yoshitaka, at the age of thirteen, inherited the headship of the clan.  Owing to Yoshitaka’s young age, elders in the clan arranged for Morikazu’s widow (Yoshitaka’s natural mother) to re-marry Nagai Michitoshi, a senior retainer of the Saitō and lord of Seki Castle, and to have Michitoshi serve as a guardian for Yoshitaka.  Later, Yoshitaka wed the daughter of Andō Morinari, a senior retainer of the Saitō and the lord of Kitagata Castle.

In 1564, Yoshitaka and his younger brother, Endō Yoshitane, resided in the Nagai residence in Inokuchi.  After Takenaka Shigeharu (Hanbei) captured Inabayama Castle, Yoshitaka took refuge in the township of Fukase in the Yamagata District.  Endō Tanetoshi (Yoshitaka’s cousin and lord of Kigoshi Castle) took advantage of this opportunity to seize Hachiman Castle and plotted to assassinate Yoshitaka and his brother.  Yoshitaka, however, was rescued by Kayukawa Jinemon and Etori Rokuemon and entered Tsuruoyama Castle in Kariyasu.  In 1565, after Yoshitaka gained the support of troops from Michitoshi, Tanetoshi offered to settle whereupon he vacated Hachiman Castle and Yoshitaka returned as its lord.

In the ninth month of 1567, after Inabayama Castle fell and the Saitō were eliminated, Sumi Yaheiji and Beppu Shirō rebelled in the Gujō District, gathering soldiers at the Saishō Temple in Ichijima for the purpose of toppling Hachiman Castle.  Having learned in advance of these plans, Yoshitaka attacked, causing the ringleaders to flee in defeat to Hida Province.  Around this time, Yoshitaka affiliated with Nobunaga and obtained recognition of his rights to his territory in Gujō.  Nagai Michitoshi died in battle during the fall of Inabayama Castle, after which his widow (Yoshitaka’s mother) became a convert to the Jōdo sect of Shin Buddhism affiliated with the Higashi-Hongan Temple led by Kyōnyo as the twelfth-generation high priest.  She adopted a Buddhist name and lived in a thatched hut in Totani in Gujō to pray for the soul of her former husband, Morikazu.

Service as a retainer of the Oda clan

In 1571, a retainer of Morikazu named Hatasa Rokuemon joined forces with Mitsuki Yoritsuna along with the Satō clan to plot the overthrow of Yoshitaka, but Yoshitaka requested support from the Anyō Temple in the Gujō District of Mino and, with followers of the temple serving as a vanguard force, defeated Rokuemon and the others.

On 5/25 of Genki 1 (1570), Yoshitaka was ordered by Oda Nobunaga to deploy to Gifu and, together with his younger brother, Yoshitane, and his cousin, Tanetoshi, under the command of the Oda army, served in battle against the allied forces of the Azai and the Asakura to the south of Yokoyama Castle.  On 6/28, he fought valorously at the Battle of Anegawa and received a commendation from Nobunaga.  Around this time, it is surmised that Yoshitaka affiliated with Mori Yoshinari who was granted authority to lead forces in eastern Mino.  On 8/12, he received recognition from Yoshinari to his rights to his landholdings.  Nevertheless, in the ninth month, after Yoshinari was killed in action at Sakamoto, Yoshitaka then came under the command of Sakai Masahisa and, together with Tanetoshi, defended Katata.  On 11/26, Masahisa was attacked by the Azai and Asakura forces and killed at the Siege of Shiga.  Tanetoshi also fell in battle while Yoshitaka lost over 100 troops (according to another theory, over 500 troops).  Together with only one other soldier, Yoshitaka fled at once to the Daitoku Temple in Kyōto.  Before long, approximately 50 soldiers came from Hachiman Castle to protect him and he went to Shiga.  After meeting with Nobunaga, a settlement was reached with the Azai and Asakura and he returned to Hachiman Castle.  The following year, Nobunaga decided to attack the base of the Ishiyama-Hongan Temple on Mount Hiei in an event known as the Burning of Mount Hiei.  The army in which Yoshitaka and Endō Tanemoto (Tanetoshi’s younger brother) served also joined in this attack.

While serving Nobunaga, the Endō clan also kept channels open with the Ishiyama-Hongan Temple and Takeda Shingen, the sengoku daimyō of Kai Province.  The Gujō District was the home of the Anyō Temple and followers, and the Endō clan needed their help to govern the district.  To prosecute the Ishiyama War, the Hongan Temple organized the Ikkō-ikki and, to thwart the Oda army in Mino, desired the Endō clan, as provincial landowners, to abandon them.  Meanwhile, to foster his alliance with Asakura Yoshikage of Echizen, Takeda Shingen sought to secure a route from Shinano through the Gujō District of Mino to Echizen.  Owing to these circumstances, in the autumn of 1572, Yoshitaka dispatched his chief retainer, Endō Shinzaemon to Kai to notify Shingen of his desire to have him mount a western campaign.  Shingen, via Endō Kaga-no-kami, the chief retainer of the Tō who were members of the Endō, pressed the Endō families led by Yoshitaka and Tanemoto to make clear their opposition to Nobunaga.  Kaga-no-kami also had goodwill from the Azai and Asakura.  In the eleventh month, after Shingen commenced his Western Campaign, a detached division entered eastern Mino while the main division overran Futamata Castle and marched toward the location of Tokugawa Ieyasu at Hamamatsu Castle.

While the Endō families contended with a difficult decision whether to side with the Takeda or the Oda, on 12/22 of Genki 3 (1573), Ieyasu suffered a major defeat against the Takeda army at the Battle of Mikatagahara despite having acquired reinforcements from Nobunaga.  Around this time, the Hongan Temple, with the support of the Asakura clan and adherents located in Gujō, Ōno, and Nagashima, advanced plans to have Saitō Tatsuoki (under the name of Isshiki Yoshinori) return to Mino.  In furtherance of this plan, the Hongan Temple solicited support from Yoshitaka and Tanemoto.  In the winter of 1572, operations were conducted but support from the Asakura was inadequate and, after Tatsuoki advanced to northern Mino, he soon had to retreat.  It is not known whether the Endō participated in the initiative.

After the death of Shingen during the Western Campaign in the fourth month of 1573, Tatsuoki was attacked by Nobunaga so Yoshitaka took Kayukawa Jinemon and Etori Rokuemon to head toward Tachibanayama to surrender.  Given that neither of the Endō families (led by Yoshitaka and Tanemoto) were punished, there is a theory that, through miraculously good fortune, Nobunaga did not sense any disloyalty on the part of the Endō.  (Although there is an account that, in the fifth month of 1573, a hostage tendered by the Endō was executed.)  In 1574, Saitō Toshiharu, the lord of Kajita Castle, entered the Gujō District led by members of the Taguchi clan from the Mashita District, but was repelled by an army led by Yoshida Sakyō-no-jō, a retainer of Endō Tanemoto.  In the seventh month, the Taguchi clan, together with the Kanisawa clan, attempted to hole-up on Mount Funano in the village of Kutsube, but, on 7/14, were decimated by an army dispatched by Yoshitaka.  For contributions in battle, Yoshitaka granted Kutsube to Kayukawa Jinemon.

In the fifth month of 1575, after Takeda Katsuyori laid siege to Nagashino Castle, Yoshitaka dispatched troops with his younger brother, Yoshitane, to serve under the command of Sakuma Nobumori.  In the ensuing Battle of Nagashino, he made contributions at Tobigasu.  In the eighth month, after Nobunaga went to Tsuruga to eliminate the Echizen Ikkō-ikki, Yoshitaka and Yoshitane joined Hineno Hironari to march from Gujō to Echizen, converged with Kanamori Nagachika, and toppled Anauma and Ōno castles.  According to the authenticated biography of Nobunaga known as the Shinchō-kōki, prior to entering Echizen, the Kanamori army fought in Gujō.  These forces initially attacked adherents in Gujō allied with the Hongan Temple and the Echizen Ikkō-ikki and appeared to nearly part ways with the Endō clan who came to protect the Anyō Temple.  In 1576, after Oda Nobutada became the lord of Mino Province, Yoshitaka affiliated with Nobutada.  During the Mise Incident, in which the Kitabatake clan of Ise Province was eviscerated by retainers of the Oda led by Nagano Tomofuji, Yoshitane served as a proxy for Yoshitaka.  The following year, after Beppu Danjō rebelled in the township of Kurusu, he was expelled to the northern provinces by forces led by Yoshitane while Yoshitaka had the Beppu clan in Gujō destroyed.  In the second month of 1582, Nobunaga attacked Takeda Katsuyori in an event known as the Conquest of Kōshū.  At this time, Yoshitaka and Tanemoto joined Kanamori Nagachika to invade Kai from Hida, decimating Katsuyori at Mount Tenmoku.

On 6/2 of Tenshō 10 (1582), Nobunaga died in a coup d’état orchestrated by a senior retainer, Akechi Mitsuhide, in an event known as the Honnō Temple Incident.  After Mitsuhide was defeated by Hashiba Hideyoshi at the Battle of Yamazaki, assorted bushō in Mino leaned toward Hideyoshi, but the Endō clan continued to follow Nobutaka.  Yoshitaka was ordered by Nobutaka to eliminate Nagaya Kageshige, the lord of Itadori Castle in the Mugi District, for refusing to obey Nobutaka.  In the eleventh month, Yoshitaka compelled him to surrender.  Yoshitaka’s younger brother, Yoshitane, incurred injuries during an attack ordered by Nobutaka against Fukao Izumi-no-kami at Tarōmaru Castle in the Yamagata District.  According to a record dated 11/11, Nobutaka expressed appreciation for his service.

In the first month of 1583, assorted bushō in the Mugi District aligned with Hideyoshi and took-up positions in Suhara and Horado, cutting-off the route between Gujō and Gifu.  The Endō army comprised of over 300 troops (according to another account, 2,000 troops) overran the positions and advanced to Mount Tachibana to establish robust defenses.  In an event known as the Siege of Tachibanayama, this army was in turn attacked by allied forces of Mori Nagayoshi and Satō Hidekata, placing them in a precarious situation.  After severing of the supply lines, those at Tachibanayama resorted to acts such as roasting bear skin for food.  For a while, some considered charging out of the castle, seeking an honorable death in battle rather than starve.  A messenger sent by Satō Hidekata then informed them that Shibata Katsuie had died at the Battle of Shizugatake in the fourth month of 1583 and Oda Nobutaka had surrendered after a siege of Gifu Castle.  The men subsequently decided to surrender upon which they tendered hostages to Hideyoshi and submitted to his army.

Service as a retainer of the Toyotomi

In 1584, at the Battle of Komaki-Nagakute, Yoshitaka complied with demands from Mori Nagayoshi to fight for Hideyoshi, converging with 600 soldiers led by Nagayoshi to enter Mikawa Province and join the Second Division.  A battalion of this division was crushed in battle against Tokugawa Ieyasu and after Yoshitaka heard that Nagayoshi, as commander-in-chief of the Second Division, had been killed in action, he decided to withdraw and barely escaped with his life.  Many retainers who served the Endō family including Endō Yakurō, Etori Denjirō, Hioki Shukei, Inomata Goheiji, and Wada Jinbei lost their lives in the retreat.

In 1585, Yoshitaka served along with Endō Tanemoto (Yoshitaka’s cousin and the younger brother of Tanetoshi) in the Conquest of Kishū led by Hideyoshi.  In the eighth month, Yoshitaka joined his younger brother, Yoshinao, to serve in an army led by Kanamori Nagachika and Kanamori Arishige (Nagachika’s adopted son and Yoshitaka’s son-in-law) ordered to conquer Mitsuki Yoritsuna in Hida Province.  The Kanamori army forced Yoritsuna to surrender and decimated the Mitsuki clan.  In 1587, Yoshitaka and Tanemoto served in the Conquest of Kyūshū by Hideyoshi.  In 1588, after Hideyoshi built a palace in Kyōto known as the jurakutei, Yoshitaka and Tanemoto were given residences near the western gateway to Kyōto so Yoshitaka brought his family to the capital.

In 1588, owing to resistance toward Hideyoshi at the Battle of Tachibanayama and elsewhere, the landholdings of the families led by Yoshitaka and Tanemoto totaling over 20,000 koku were seized while the fiefs held by Yoshitaka and Tanemoto were reduced to 7,500 koku in Obara and 5,500 koku in Inuji respectively.  As a result, the Endō struggled to support their retainers, one-third of whom went to serve other families, returned to farming, or became rōnin, or wandering samurai.  After Yoshitaka’s transfer, Inaba Sadamichi entered Hachiman Castle with a fief of 40,000 koku in in the Gujō District and in Tsubodani in the Mugi District.  After Gujō was granted to Sadamichi, Yoshitaka and Tanemoto went to Seki without receiving their reduced landholdings and borrowed a house from a local named Katori Zenzaemon to reside.  They then encountered Onogi Shigekatsu and Teranishi Masakatsu who had come for the conduct of a nationwide land survey ordered by the Toyotomi administration and requested the substitute landholdings.  After these two returned to the capital and informed Hideyoshi, Yoshitaka and Tanemoto finally obtained Obara and Inuji and, in 1590, moved.

In 1590, during the Conquest of Odawara, Yoshitaka and Tanemoto led over 900 soldiers, followed by service in an expedition to Aizu launched by Hideyoshi.  In 1592, during the Bunroku Campaign on the Korean Peninsula, Yoshitaka and Tanemoto served under the command of Oda Hidenobu, leading over 100 troops into battle in Pusan, Yangsan, Ulsan, and Chinju and returning to Japan after a two-year deployment.  Thereafter, Tanemoto died of illness at the Kokubun Temple in Nagato Province.  He was succeeded by Endō Tanenao, the son of Endō Taneshige (Tanemoto’s younger brother).

In 1598, Yoshitaka and Tanenao cut-down and transported lumber from eastern Mino for the construction of Fushimi Castle in the outskirts of the capital.  Following its construction, the two Endō families were given residences near the gateway to Kametani.  After the death of Hideyoshi in the eighth month of 1598, Yoshitaka received a Mihara short sword as a keepsake.

In 1600, after Ishida Mitsunari raised arms against Tokugawa Ieyasu, Oda Hidenobu, the lord of Gifu Castle in Mino, sided with the Western Army under Mitsunari.  In an effort to block a westward advance by the Tokugawa army, Inaba Sadamichi, the lord of Hachiman Castle, entered Inuyama Castle.  Yoshitaka and Tanenao were invited to Gifu Castle and encouraged by Hidenobu to join the Western Army, but, after returning to Obara and consulting with his younger brother, Endō Yoshitane, Yoshitaka decided instead to join the Eastern Army led by Tokugawa Ieyasu.  Nevertheless, Tanenao joined the Western Army so Yoshitaka had his son, Endō Yoshikatsu, prepare for action by Tanenao.  Yoshitaka requested and obtained permission from Ieyasu to recapture Hachiman Castle.  Together with Kanamori Arishige who returned to Hida from Edo, Yoshitaka besieged the castle while Sadamichi was absent.  This is known as the Siege of Hachiman Castle.  After a day of violent clashes, the defenders surrendered and settled, whereupon a notice from Ieyasu arrived to officially recognize Yoshitaka’s rights to the entire Gujō District in Mino.  Next, after having received urgent news of the assault, Sadamichi returned and launched a surprise attack against the besieging forces, routing Yoshitaka but then the two sides settled again.  Yoshitaka compelled Tanenao to surrender and dispatched a messenger to provide an update to Tokugawa Hidetada who was on deployment in Shinano.  After receiving a commendation, Yoshitaka headed toward Akasaka to meet Ieyasu at his main base at Okayama.  In the wake of the victory by the Eastern Army at the Battle of Sekigahara in the ninth month of 1600, Inaba Sadamichi was transferred to Usuki in Bungo Province in northern Kyūshū with a fief of 50,000 koku.  In the eleventh month, Yoshitaka was able to resume his position as the lord of Hachiman Castle in Mino.  On 11/15 of Keichō 5 (1600), Yoshitane died so Yoshitaka took over all of the Gujō District totaling 27,000 koku.

Service as the first lord of the Gujō domain

After Tokugawa Ieyasu founded the Edo bakufu, the Gujō domain was established and Yoshitaka became its first lord.  Yoshitaka was treated as a castle lord until the era of his successor, Yoshitoshi (his adopted son).

In 1601, beginning with Zeze Castle, Yoshitaka joined those who were mobilized for construction activities on behalf of the Edo bakufu.  In 1602, he was assigned to a silver mine in the village of Nagao.  From the spring of 1601 to the fall of 1603, he renovated Gujō Castle.  In 1604, Yoshitaka was invested with the titles of Junior Fifth Rank (Lower) and Governor of Tajima.

In the eleventh month of 1609, Nakamura Kazutada, the lord of Yonago Castle in Hōki Province, died without an heir, whereupon Yoshitaka was ordered to manage the domain and remained for sixty days before returning to his home province of Mino.  In 1613, upon orders of the bakufu, Yoshitaka sent his wife and children from Gujō to reside in Edo.  This policy of having the wives and children of daimyō reside in Edo gave the bakufu leverage to control the activities of daimyō in the regions.

In 1614, at the Winter Campaign of the Siege of Ōsaka, Yoshitaka and his eldest son, Yoshikatsu, set-up a position in Hirakata to defend the Kuragari Ridge.  On 2/12 of Keichō 20 (1615), Yoshikatsu died of illness at the Yanagi Horse Stables in Kyōto.  Later in 1615, during the Summer Campaign of the Siege of Ōsaka, while based in Yawata in Yamashiro Province, Yoshitaka joined Honda Yasunori and Honda Yasutoshi to defend the Kuragari Ridge again before going to Matsubara.  On 5/6, they advanced to the Yamato River and, on 5/7, attacked from the gateway to Okayama to the gateway to Tamatsukuri.  After setting fire to the castle, they withdrew.  This is known as the Battle of Tennōji-Okayama.  Owing to these contributions, on 5/8, Yoshitaka received twenty gold pieces from Ieyasu at the Nijō Castle.

In 1632, following the death of Tokugawa Hidetada, the second shōgun of the Edo bakufu, Yoshitaka entered the priesthood and adopted the monk’s name of Tansai.  Two months later, however, he died in Edo at the age of eighty-three.  After the death from illness of his natural son, Yoshikatsu, he was succeeded by his adopted son, Yoshitoshi.

In Gujō-Hachiman, the well-known “Gujō dance” was promoted by Yoshitaka in the evening of the Obon festival as a means to foster relations between members of society divided into four traditional classes comprised of the military retainers of daimyō, farmers, craftsmen, and merchants.  The Gujō dance is designated an important intangible folk culture asset of Japa