Morikawa Shigetoshi


Morikawa Clan


Shimōsa Province

Lifespan:  Tenshō 12 (1584) to 1/25 of Kanei 9 (1632)

Rank:  rōjū (council of elders)

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

Clan:  Morikawa

Bakufu:  Edo

Domain:  Shimōsa-Oyumi

Lord:  Tokugawa Hidetada

Father:  Morikawa Ujitoshi

Mother:  Daughter of the Ōmura clan

Siblings:  Ujinobu, Masatsugu, Shigetoshi, sister (wife of Naruse Masanari), sister (wife of Hasegawa Masayoshi), sister (wife of Tsuchiya Tadanao), sister (wife of Inagaki Shigetsuna)

Wife: [Formal] Adopted daughter of Ōkubo Tadachika (natural daughter of Shitara Sadakiyo)

Children:  Shigemasa, 重名, Shigeyori, daughter (second wife of Mizoguchi Nobunao), daughter (wife of Sakabe Hirotoshi), daughter (wife of Hattori Masakatsu)

Morikawa Shigetoshi served as the first lord of the Shimōsa-Oyumi domain.  He was a rōjū, or member of the shōgun’s council of elders, the highest organ in the Edo bakufu.

In 1584, Shigetoshi was born as the third son of Morikawa Ujitoshi, a retainer of Tokugawa Ieyasu who served in numerous key battles for the Tokugawa clan.

In 1597, he became an attendant of Tokugawa Hidetada.  In 1600, during the Battle of Sekigahara, Shigetoshi affiliated with Hidetada’s army and engaged in battle against Sanada Masayuki in the Second Battle of Ueda in Shinano Province.  In 1609, he was granted a fief of 3,000 koku in Shimotsuke Province.  In 1614, Ōkubo Tadachika, a daimyō and the first lord of the Sagami-Odawara domain, was removed from his position after Tadachika arranged for his adopted daughter to wed Yamaguchi Shigenobu.  Shigetoshi and Kusakabe Masafuyu were placed under house arrest for making condolence calls to Tadachika without permission of the bakufu.  He was then turned over to the custody of Sakai Ietsugu.

In 1615, during the Summer Campaign of the Siege of Ōsaka, Shigetoshi deployed with Ietsugu and served valorously so he was pardoned and assigned to serve again, returning as an attendant to Hidetada.  In 1627, he was granted 10,000 koku in Sagami, Kazusa, and his base in the Shimōsa-Oyumi domain, becoming its first lord.  In 1631, Shigetoshi was appointed as a member of the shōgun’s council of elders.

Hidetada died on 1/24 of Kanei 9 (1632).  The next day, Shigetoshi martyred himself.  He was forty-nine years old.  This is surmised to owe to a love interest that he shared with Hidetada in addition to the fact that he was in the faction supporting Tokugawa Tadanaga, so he feared removal from his position by Hidetada’s successor, Tokugawa Iemitsu (Tadanaga’s older brother). 

Together with his formal wife, Shigetoshi had three sons and three daughters.  He was succeeded by his eldest son, Morikawa Shigemasa.

His grave is at the Shigetoshi Temple in the city of Chiba.  The historical gravesite of the Morikawa family is designated a cultural asset of the city.