Ishikawa Yoriaki

石川頼明

Ishikawa Clan

Daimyō

Mino Province

Lifespan:  15xx to 10/7 of Keichō 5 (1600)

Other Names:  Nagamatsu (childhood), Kazumune, Kamon-no-suke

Rank:  bushō, daimyō

Clan:  Ishikawa

Lord:  Toyotomi Hideyoshi → Toyotomi Hideyori

Father:  Ishikawa Iemitsu (or Ishikawa Mitsushige)

Siblings:  Mitsumasa, Mitsushige, Kazumitsu, Yoriaki (or, Mitsumoto, Sadakiyo, Kazumitsu, Kazumune)

Wife:  [Formal]  Hōenin (daughter of Uda Yoritada)

Children:  Kazuma

Ishikawa Yoriaki served as a bushō and daimyō during the Azuchi-Momoyama period.  He was a retainer of the Toyotomi clan.

Yoriaki was born as the fourth son of Ishikawa Iemitsu.  Yoriaki’s formal wife was Hōenin, the daughter of Uda Yoritada, a daimyō.

In the fourth month of 1583, his older brother, Kazumitsu, served in the Battle of Shizugatake.  Kazumitsu contributed on a par with other well-known retainers known as the Seven Spears of Shizugatake.  Kazumitsu, however, died in the battle, so, in the sixth month, Yoriaki received (on behalf of Kazumitsu) a letter of commendation and a grant of 1,000 koku from Hashiba Hideyoshi.  Thereafter, Yoriaki was engaged as a servant of Hideyoshi.

In 1591, accompanied Hideyoshi as a scout on a falconry expedition in Kira in Mikawa Province.

On 3/15 of Keichō 3 (1598), Toyotomi Hideyoshi hosted a banquet and flower-viewing event behind the Sanbō sub-temple at the Daigo Temple in Kyōto.  Yoriaki joined as an attendant to Yodo-dono (a consort of Hideyoshi) during the gathering of over 1,300 attendees.  On 6/22, Yoriaki’s fief was increased by 6,450 koku in the Katō, Innami, Kasai and Issai districts of Harima Province, the Funai and Hikami districts of Tanba Province, and the Tagi District of Mino Province.

In the first month of 1599, Yoriaki ranked among the close associates of Toyotomi Hideyori.  In the Council of Five Elders (a group of five powerful retainers formed in 1598 by Hideyoshi) Yoriaki (Head of Facilities), Ishida Masazumi (Head of Construction), Ishikawa Sadakiyo (Governor of Bizen), and Katagiri Katsumoto (Head of the Eastern District of Kyōtō) were identified as shōsaban or master of ceremonies, in jointly signed records.

In 1600, Yoriaki received further increases to his landholdings in Harima and Tanba with a total fief of 12,000 koku.

During the Battle of Sekighara, Yoriaki served in the Western Army.  In the seventh month of 1600, he participated in the Siege of Fushimi Castle and, in the ninth month, the Siege of Ōtsu Castle.  After the departure of its lord, Kōgoku Takatsugu, Yoriaki was stationed at Ōtsu Castle.  Upon learning of the defeat of the Western Army in the main Battle of Sekigahara on 9/15, Yoriaki fled and, through the offices of Wakizaka Yasuharu, surrendered to Ii Naomasa.  Yoriaki, however, did not receive a pardon and, on 10/7,  committed seppuku.  His head was exposed to the elements at Sanjōgawara in Kyōtō.  According to one account, several years earlier, an incident occurred by which Yoriaki, acting upon orders of Ishida Mitsunari, attempted to assassinate Tokugawa Ieyasu by setting fire to the residence where Ieyasu was staying in Fushimi but was instead captured by Ieyasu’s retainers and, upon questioning, confessed and was incarcerated in Ōsaka Castle.

Further, after joining the Western Army, Ikoma Shuri-no-suke stood guard at Ōsaka Castle during the Battle of Sekigahara but was later ordered to commit seppuku for the crime of harboring Yoriaki.

After the death of Yoriaki, his formal wife from the Uda clan continued to live for thirty-two years, dying on 8/4 of Kanei 9 (1632).  His heir, Hanbei-Kazuma, later served as a retainer of the Ikeda family in the Tottori domain and formed a branch of the Ishiko clan.  Matabei-Munenao, who was either Kazuma’s son or younger brother, became a retainer of the Matsudaira family of the Iyo-Matsuyama domain in Shikoku.

Ninja arts

One modern author asserted that, based on an Edo-period account, Ishikawa Yoriaki was the founder of the Ishikawa-style of ninja arts, serving as a model for Ishikawa Goemon, the notorious leader of a group of bandits, and Yoriaki is referred to as a master of the ninja arts in the dictionary of Sengoku figures.  This is not, however, authenticated.