Sugihara Ietsugu


Sugihara Clan


Tanba Province

Ōmi Province

Lifespan:  Kyōroku 3 (1530) (?) to 9/9 of Tenshō 12 (1584)

Other Names:  Shichirōzaemon, Yashichirō (common names)

Rank:  bushō, daimyō

Title:  Governor of Hōki

Clan:  Sugihara

Lord:  Hashiba Hideyoshi

Father:  Sugihara Ietoshi

Mother:  Seishitsuin

Siblings:  Ietsugu, Genshichirō, Nanamagari-dono (wife of Asano Nagakatsu), Asahi-dono (wife of Sugihara Sadatoshi)

Children:  Unshōin (wife of Kinoshita Iesada), Nagafusa

Sugihara Ietsugu served as a bushō and daimyō during the Sengoku and Azuchi-Momoyama periods.  He was a retainer of Hashiba Hideyoshi and served as the lord of Fukuchiyama Castle in Tanba Province and Sakamoto Castle in Ōmi Province.

In 1530, Ietsugu was born as the eldest son of Sugihara Ietoshi in Owari Province.  He was the older brother of Asahi-dono, the mother of Nene (later known as Kōdai-in) who became the formal wife of Toyotomi Hideyoshi.  He was therefore an uncle of Nene.  According to one account, he previously worked as a peddler, but, owing to the connection with Hideyoshi, served the Hashiba family and, after Hideyoshi was promoted to become the lord of Nagahama Castle, Ietsugu became a chief retainer.  Around this time, made a donation of 10 koku to the Hōgon Temple on sacred Chikubu Island, the largest among retainers, and is surmised to have risen to become the head of the chief retainers by this time.

From 1577, Ietsugu served in the Invasion of Chūgoku and, after capturing Miki Castle in Harima Province and Takamatsu Castle in Bitchū Province, he served in the role to take possession of each of the castles and was appointed as the chamberlain.  In 1582, in the wake of the death of Oda Nobunaga in a coup d’état launched by a senior retainer, Akechi Mitsuhide, in an event known as the Honnō Temple Incident, Hideyoshi hurriedly led his forces back from the Chūgoku Region to the capital to confront Mitsuhide.  This is known as the Great March from Chūgoku.  On this occasion, Ietsugu served as a rear guard by defending Bitchū-Takamatsu Castle.

After the Battle of Yamazaki on 6/13 of Tenshō 10 (1582), Hideyoshi granted Tanba-Fukuchiyama Castle (formerly held by Mitsuhide) to Ietsugu.  That same year, Ietsugu and his nephew, Asano Nagamasa (the adopted son of Nanamagari-dono, Ietsugu’s younger sister). were appointed as magistrates of Kyōto.  After the Battle of Shizugatake in the fourth month of 1583, on 8/20 of Tenshō 11 (1583), Ietsugu was awarded a fief of 32,000 koku in the Shiga and Takashima districts of Ōmi Province.  While maintaining his position as the lord of Sakamoto Castle, Ietsugu was also re-appointed as one of the Kyōto shoshidai, or deputy of the head of the mandokoro, the organ of the bakufu primarily responsible for military and security affairs in the capital.

One account dated 11/20 of Tenshō 11 (1583) notes that Sugihara in Sakamoto Castle had recently gone mad and a rumor spread that Ietsugu, an elder among retainers of Hideyoshi, had gone mad.  Approximately one year later, in the ninth month of 1584, he died of illness.

His age at death is uncertain, and, based on the genealogy, he may have been 54, 55, 57, or 67.  His year of birth is not firmly established either.  Ietsugu was succeeded by his son, Sugihara Nagafusa.