Lifespan: Daiei 6 (1521) to 5/22 of Tenshō 14 (1586)
Other Names: Tsurumatsu/Tsurumaru (childhood), Toshimasa, Koroku, Korokurō, Hikoemon
Rank: bushō, daimyō
Title: Junior Third Rank (honorary), Junior Fourth Rank (Lower), Master of the Office of Palace Repairs
Lord: Saitō Dōsan → Oda Nobukata → Oda Nobukiyo → Oda Nonbunaga → Toyotomi Hideyoshi
Father: Hachisuka Masatoshi
Siblings: Masakatsu, Matajūrō, Masanobu, Sumi (wife of Oda Kishichirō), Masamoto, sister (wife of Kajiura Masanori)
Wife: [Formal] Daishōin (Matsu; daughter of Masuda Mochimasa or Miwa Yoshitaka), [Consort] Hakuunin (daughter of Torii Etchū-no-kami)
Adopted Children: Tōgaku (monk)
Hachisuka Masakatsu served as a bushō and daimyō during the Sengoku and Azuchi-Momoyama periods. Masakatsu was a retainer of Toyotomi Hideyoshi (Hashiba Hideyoshi), serving as his righthand man. He also served as the lord of Tatsuno Castle in Harima Province and was the founder of the Hachisuka family of the Awa-Tokushima domain.
His initial name was Toshimasa. His common names were Koroku and Korokurō. He was widely known under the name of Koroku but later changed his name to Hikoemon. He held the titles of Junior Fourth Rank (Lower) and Master of the Office of Palace Repairs.
The Hachisuka clan were kunishū, or indigenous landowners, based in the Hachisuka township of the Kaitō District of Owari Province. In 1526, Masakatsu was born as the eldest son of Hachisuka Masatoshi at Hachisuka Castle. The identity of his natural mother is unknown, but she died on 11/7 of Kyōroku 4 (1531).
According to one account, the clan was one of the groups earning profits from the conduct of shipping operations on the Kiso River, but the authenticity of this source is in question. Together with Inada Ōinosuke (Sadasuke) and Aoyama Shinshichi, Masakatsu was one of the influential dogō, or small-scale landowners, but the details are unknown. Nevertheless, at the least, from the era of his father, Masatoshi, it appears that he served the Saitō clan of Mino Province. This led to divisions in the family with other members supporting Oda Nobuhide.
After the death of his father on 2/25 of Tenbun 22 (1553), Masakatsu left his hometown to serve as an attendant to Saitō Dōsan. Dōsan frequently relied upon Masakatsu for conflicts between those in Mino and Owari provinces. Masakatsu’s earlier name of Toshimasa matches an earlier name of Dōsan and is surmised to have been received from Dōsan. In 1556, at the Battle of Nagaragawa between Dōsan and Saitō Yoshitatsu, Masakatsu joined Dōsan’s forces and took enemy heads.
Following the demise of Dōsan in the spring of 1556, Masakatsu entered into service for Oda Nobukata, the lord of Iwakura Castle in Owari. In 1557, Masakatsu helped to quell a rebellion at Iwakura Castle and received clothing as a reward for his efforts. Nobukata, however, was attacked by the allied forces of Oda Nobunaga and Oda Nobukiyo of Inuyama Castle, whereupon he surrendered in defeat. As a result, Masakatsu temporarily served Nobukiyo but Nobukiyo subsequently had a falling out with Nobunaga and, in 1564, went into exile in Kai Province so Masakatsu then served Nobunaga. Around this time, he returned to the Hachisuka township.
According to one theory, before Hideyoshi served the Oda clan, he served Masakatsu or, upon the recommendation of Hideyoshi, Masakatsu became a retainer of Nobunaga. Meanwhile, Hideyoshi’s father, Kinoshita Yaemon, was under the command of Hachisuka Masatoshi and, through that connection, Hideyoshi may have served as a bridge between Masakatsu and Nobunaga.
Masakatsu came from the same township as Ikoma Iemune, the father of Nobunaga’s consort named Ikoma Kitsuno. According to one source, Hideyoshi served the Oda clan through the recommendation of Kitsuno who had a connection to Masakatsu. Based on other sources, Masatoshi’s wife, Yasui Gozen, was a cousin on the mother’s side of Asano Nagamasa who was the younger brother-in-law of Hideyoshi so, through this connection, Masakatsu may have become a yoriki, or security officer, of Hideyoshi.
Bandits on the Yahagi River
According to some accounts, Hachisuka Koroku was a leader of bandits, but the story of him as one of the heads of a band of bushi assembled to rob and kill at night in connection with an operation of Hideyoshi known as the One Night Castle at Sunomata was based on a source published after 1626. This is deemed a fictionalized story to embellish the rise of Hideyoshi but the descendants of the Hachisuka family bore the consequences of this negative image of their ancestor for a long time.
There is also a well-known story of Masakatsu encountering Hashiba Hideyoshi on a bridge over the Yahagi River at a time when Hideyoshi was a rōnin, or wandering samurai. This is widely believed including in depictions on ukiyoe, a genre of pictures from the early Edo period. It is noted, however, that when an account of Masakatsu was authored upon request of the Hachisuka family, there were no references to a bridge over the Yahagi River in travel pieces from the Muromachi period. Boats were used to make river crossings so it is deemed a fictional account. A bridge over the Yahagi River was built in the mid-Edo period (1688 to 1704). During the Tenshō era (1573 to 1593), it has been established that the river was crossed by boat.
From security officer to direct retainer of Hideyoshi
In 1566, Masakatsu, together with his younger brother, Hachisuka Matajūrō, served as one of the dogō (along with Inada Ōinosuke, Aoyama Hidemasa, Nagae Kagechika, and Kajita Kageyoshi) to assist Maeno Nagayasu to build Sunomata Castle under the direction of Hideyoshi in Mino Province. After Hideyoshi was assigned to defend the castle, Masakatsu joined as a security officer and served as a guide for purposes of luring members of the Saitō clan to their side. In recognition of his contributions, Nobunaga granted Masakatsu 500 kan and over 50 villages.
In 1568, during a campaign against the Rokkaku clan of Ōmi Province, Masakatsu served as a security officer in an attack on Mitsukuri Castle. Later that year, he followed Nobunaga during a march upon Kyōto to install Ashikaga Yoshiaki as the fifteenth shōgun of the Muromachi bakufu.
In 1581, Masakatsu served in an assault on Tottori Castle in Inaba Province, joining the forces besieging the castle. Beginning with Kikkawa Tsuneie, the defenders repeatedly sent forces to agitate the attackers, so, upon orders of Hideyoshi, Masakatsu and Katō Kiyomasa led an assault against the rear gate, but the forces were repelled in an ambush. After a siege lasting for five months, Masakatsu recommended soliciting those at Yoshioka, Ōsaki and Shikano castles to surrender, to which these defenders complied. Kikkawa Motoharu invaded Hōki Province, attacking Nanjō Mototsugu at Ueshi Castle and Ogamo Motokiyo at Iwakura Castle. When, in an effort to vindicate the honor of Tsuneie, he set-up an encampment for a last stand on Mount Umano, Hideyoshi dispatched Masakatsu and Araki Shigekata to Ueshi Castle to secure the supply of provisions. Masakatsu, however, persuaded him of the disadvantage of a fight to the death, and, in the end, Hideyoshi withdrew his forces and avoided a final showdown, directing his forces to establish strong defenses at both castles without responding to an attack.
In the eleventh month, Hideyoshi obtained permission from Nobunaga for an expedition to Awaji. Ikeda Motosuke of Amagasaki in Settsu Province surrounded Iwaya Castle so Atagi Kiyoyasu of Yura Castle offered to surrender to Masakatsu and Igi Tadatsugu (a retainer of Ikeda Tsuneoki) in the Hideyoshi camp. Through their mediation, Hideyoshi and Nobunaga permitted Kiyoyasu to surrender so the Awaji forces vacated their castles. Masakatsu, serving as a representative of Hideyoshi, took over Iwaya Castle but this castle became the territory of the Ikeda while Sumoto Castle in the territory of the Hashiba clan was granted to Sengoku Hidehisa.
In the third month of 1582, Masakatsu and Kuroda Yoshitaka engaged in a failed attempt to lure away Nomi Munekatsu and his younger brother, Nomi Motonobu, who served as commanders of the navy of Kobayakawa Takakage. The Siege of Bitchū-Takamatsu Castle commenced in the fourth month, during which time Masakatsu and Yoshitaka visited the encampment of Shimizu Muneharu as messengers to encourage surrender but were refused.
After enduring a long siege and attack by flooding, the Mōri forces finally sought a settlement by which Shimizu Muneharu, Shimizu Munetomo, Nanba Munetada, and Sechika Nobuyoshi would commit seppuku and the others would vacate the castle. On 6/3, a letter was given to Masakatsu and Sugihara Ietsugu requesting mediation with Hideyoshi to spare the lives of the remainder of the garrison in the castle. Hideyoshi consented and, the next day, the four named individuals committed seppuku. Two days prior, however, Nobunaga unexpectedly died in coup d’état known as the Honnō Temple Incident. The prevailing view is that Hideyoshi learned of these developments on the evening of 6/3, and then, to prevent the news from leaking, prohibited messengers from being sent to Masakatsu. Meanwhile, he turned away messengers en route from multiple directions coming to his base, strictly ordering the news be kept secret. Hideyoshi had Masakatsu and Yoshitaka cooperate with Ankokuji Ekei, and after exchanging written pledges and settling with the Mōri, on 6/5, departed his base and began a swift march from the Chūgoku region toward Kyōto. This event is known as the Great March from Chūgoku.
After returning to Himeji Castle, Hideyoshi ordered Masakatsu to distribute pieces of gold, silver, and rice to retainers for carrying out their respective duties and he then participated in the Battle of Yamazaki. In this battle, Masakatsu fought as a member of Hideyoshi’s main division and, along with Inada Tanemoto, made contributions on the battlefield.
After the battle, Masakatsu and Kuroda Yoshitaka served as intermediaries with the Mōri clan. The settlement reached between the Mōri and the Oda soon after the coup d’état against Nobunaga included a condition for the cession of five provinces. This caused an impediment to efforts to rebuild the relationship between Hideyoshi and the Mōri. As representatives of Hideyoshi, Masakatsu and Yoshitaka negotiated with Ankokuji Ekei and Hayashi Narinaga (representing the Mōri) for approximately three years until the borders were finally agreed. This included a delay caused by internal conflicts in the Oda family. During this period, Masakatsu made three trips from the capital to the Chūgoku region to fulfill his responsibilities.
Service as an elder of Hideyoshi
After an event known as the Kiyosu Conference to determine the successor to Oda Nobunaga, a dispute arose between Hideyoshi and Shibata Katsuie – a veteran of the Oda family. In the third month of 1583, upon learning of Katsuie’s deployment, Hideyoshi’s army returned to Nagahama Castle following attacks on Takigawa Kazumasu in Ise Province. Out of thirteen battalions, the HIachisuka battalion was the ninth, but, owing to his negotiations with the Mōri clan, Masakatsu was frequently absent. As a result, the battalion was led by a yoriki, or security officer, named Akamatsu Hirohide. In the fourth month, on the day of the Battle of Shizugatake, Masakatsu refrained from joining Hideyoshi’s main base and did not directly participate in the battle. During the ensuing pursuit of forces fleeing toward the northern provinces, he persuaded soldiers from the garrison of Oyama Castle (Kanazawa Castle) to surrender. Thereafter, Masakatsu was sent to visit Kazumasu who was holed-up in Nagashima Castle and, as a representative of Hideyoshi, accepted his surrender. He then oversaw the hand-over of the Takigawa territory to Oda Nobukatsu.
Hideyoshi designated Ōsaka as the location of his main base and, after the commencement of construction in the ninth month, Masakatsu participated in managing the work.
Sugihara Ietsugu, who had been ill from the prior year, died in the autumn of 1584. As a result, Masakatsu became the head of the veteran retainers in the family. Masakatsu was granted a new residence in Rōnokishi alongside Ōsaka Castle. As a close associate of Hideyoshi, he made daily visits to the castle and, for his service, was allocated 5,000 koku in Tanba and Kawachi provinces. From the time before his assignment in Ōsaka, Iemasa was in charge of managing his landholdings in Tatsuno. Prior to the summer of the preceding year, Masakatsu transferred headship of the clan to Iemasa and retired from his position as the head of the Hachisuka family.
That same year, during the Battle of Komaki-Nagakute against Tokugawa Ieyasu and Oda Nobukatsu, Masakatsu and Iemasa stayed behind to guard Ōsaka Castle. After the battle, Hideyoshi assigned Masakatsu to the renovated Kuwabe Castle and Gamō Ujisato to Nao Castle to guard these locations. Following a move by Nobukatsu from Nagashima Castle to Kuwana Castle, Hideyoshi further directed Masakatsu to apply pressure to Nobukatsu to accept a settlement.
In the third month of 1585, after Hideyoshi was appointed Minister of the Interior via imperial proclamation, Masakatsu was invested by the Court with the titles of Junior Fourth Rank (Lower) and Master of the Office of Palace Repairs.
Around this time, Iemasa made significant contributions during the Kishū Expedition. While holed-up in Ōta Castle, Ōta Sakon (Munemasa) was subject to attack by flooding and, with his provisions depleted, he sent Shimada Shinsaburō (Naomasa) to visit Masakatsu and Maeno Nagayasu and plead for the lives of the women and children and ikki forces in exchange for the lives of thirty-six ringleaders. Hideyoshi accepted the offer whereupon Masakatsu was assigned to bury those sacrificed and console their spirits at the burial mounds for severed heads.
Prior to the Invasion of Shikoku, Hideyoshi dispatched Maeda Gen’i and, on the eve of victory in the war, expressed an intention to grant Awa Province to Masakatsu but, by this time, Masakatsu was sixty years old and situated to retire. Seeking to serve as a close associate of Hideyoshi in Ōsaka, he refused the offer and instead expressed a desire that the territory be awarded to his son, Iemasa.
In the fifth month, during the Invasion of Shikoku, Masakatsu deployed as an inspector. Forces from Harima including Iemasa and Kuroda Yoshitaka converged with forces from Bizen led by Ukita Hideie and crossed to Yashima in Sanuki, garnering control of the province. Next, these forces advanced to Awa Province and besieged Kizu Castle whereupon Masakatsu persuaded Tōjō Kii-no-kami to make Tōjō Seki-no-hyōe, the lord of Kizu Castle, to surrender. Further, Masakatsu joined Hashiba Hidenaga (the commanding general) to surround Ichinomiya Castle. In the seventh month, when Masakatsu traveled to Iyo Province to meet with Kobayakawa Takakage and Kikkawa Motonaga, Hidenaga advised Tani Tadazumi, the commander in charge of defending the castle, to head toward Hakuchi Castle in Awaji Province to persuade Chōsokabe Motochika to submit to the Hashiba and, by this means, a surrender (in the form of a settlement) was reached.
As a conferral of honors, Iemasa was awarded Awa Province in Shikoku comprising 173,000 koku while Akamatsu Norifusa received 10,000 koku within Awa. Tatsuno Castle was assigned to Fukushima Masanori. Around the eleventh month, Iemasa led the retainers and followers of the Hachisuka clan to Awa and, upon the direction of HIdeyoshi, destroyed Inoyama Castle and built Tokushima Castle.
In 1586, Masakatsu fell ill and recuperated in Kyōto. For a while, he recovered and returned to Ōsaka, but, soon thereafter, on 5/22, he died at his residence in Rōnokishi. He was sixty-one years old.
According to his last will, he returned to the Toyotomi family landholdings of 5,000 koku that had been granted to him in retirement. Hideyoshi then gave to Masakatsu’s formal wife, Daishōin, land worth 1,000 koku in Hioki in Kawachi Province. His remains were interred by Iemasa at the Anjū Temple on Mount Ryūun in Rōnokishi. The Anjū Temple was originally an ancient temple in Kagashima in the Atsumi District of Mino Province, and, owing to war, had been turned to ruins so Masakatsu moved it to this location in Ōsaka and restored it while having Ishikawa Ise-no-kami as the founder. In 1614, the temple burned down during the Winter Campaign of the Siege of Ōsaka. After the conflict, construction to expand Ōsaka Castle prevented the temple from being rebuilt in the same location so it was relocated along with Masakatsu’s gravesite to be alongside the Shitennō Temple by Iemasa and became the Kokuon Temple. In the Meiji period, the temple was abandoned and the graveyard managed by the Tenzui Temple. The Hachisuka family also had deep ties to this temple and is the site for the mortuary tablet of Tenzuiin, a consort of Hachisuka Tadateru, the second lord of the Tokushima domain in the early Edo period.
In 1925, the tomb of Masakatsu was rebuilt by volunteers in Tokushima Prefecture. In 1971, he was reburied on Mount Mannen in the town of Hizan in the city of Tokushima in Tokushima Prefecture.
Iemasa had the Fukujū Temple built on Mount Kōgan in Tokushima in Awa Province, but the name was later changed to the Daiyūzan-Kōgen Temple. As a result, Masakatsu’s grave is located on Mount Mannen in the city of Tokushima in Tokushima Province while a Buddhist mortuary tablet is at the Kōgen Temple in the town of Shimozuketō. Iemasa built the Kitsuyōzan-Keikoku Temple in the village of Ōhara in the Naka District of Awa. He designated landholdings of 20 koku as temple lands to pray for the soul of Masakatsu. At a temple on Mount Kōya, there is a gravesite for the Hachisuka family of Tokushima in Awa and grave for generations of lords of the Tokushima domain. In later years, a joint memorial for Masakatsu and Iemasa was constructed in the hometown of the family at the Ikesuzan-Renge Temple in Hachisuka in the city of Ama in Aichi Prefecture.