Ishikawa Akimitsu

石川昭光

Mutsu-Ishikawa

Mutsu Province

Ishikawa Akimitsu

Lifespan:  3/5 of Tenbun 19 (1550) to 7/10 of Genna 8 (1622)

Other Names:  Date Kojirō, Ishikawa Chikamune

Rank:  bushō

Title:  Junior Fifth Rank (Lower), Steward of the Outer Palacer Guards of the Left Division, Govenor of Yamato

Clan:  Date → Mutsu-Ishikawa (Kakuda-Ishikawa)

Lord:  Date Masamune

Father:  Date Harumune

Mother:  Kubohime (daughter of Iwaki Shigetaka)

Siblings:  Iwaki Chikataka, Date Terumune, Rusu Masakage, Akimitsu, Kokubun Morishige, Sugime Naomune

Wife:  Teruko (eldest daughter of Ishikawa Harumitsu)

Children:  Yoshimune, Hisagorō, Ogawa Takahisa (adopted son of Ogawa Takanao), daughter (wife of Ōtsuka Takashige), daughter (wife of Yomogita Masatsugu) 

Ishikawa Akimitsu served as a bushō from the Sengoku to early Edo periods.  In the Edo period, he was a retainer of the Mutsu-Sendai domain.  He was the first head of the Kakuda-Ishikawa family.

In 1550, Akimitsu was born as the fourth son of Date Harumune in the Oushū-Nagai manor.

In the tenth month of 1563, he was adopted as the designated heir of Ishikawa Harumitsu, the lord of Miyoshi Castle in the Ishikawa District of Mutsu Province.  He wed Harumitsu’s daughter, Teruko, and changed his name to Kojirō Chikamune (with the character “mune” originating from the Date clan).  At this time, six individuals under the command of Satō Nobukage of the Date clan followed Akimitsu and became retainers of the Ishikawa clan.

In the third month of 1568, his adoptive father, Harumitsu, retired and Akimitsu inherited his position, becoming the twenty-fifth head of the Ishikawa family.

In the second month of 1570, Akimitsu traveled to Kyōto and met with Ashikaga Yoshiaki, the fifteenth shōgun of the Muromachi bakufu.  At this time, he was invested with the title of Junior Fifth Rank (Lower) and Steward of the Outer Palace Guards of the Left Division.  He also received a character from the name of Yoshiaki and adopted the name of Akimitsu.

In 1570, Akimitsu was appointed as the Governor of Yamato.

In 1574, Ashina Moriuji battled against Satake Yoshishige for control of the Shirakawa and Ishikawa districts.  Despite support from the Ashina, the Shirakawa clan incurred a major defeat to the Satake and lost these districts.  In the sixth month of the same year, Harumitsu and Akimitsu, after submitting to Yoshishige, a decision was made allowing them to return to Miyoshi Castle.  In the tenth month, to celebrate Akimitsu’s return to the castle, his older brother, Date Terumune, presented Akimitsu with a horse and dyed goods to his wife.  In the eleventh month, Terumune worked fervently to mediate between related families (including the Ishikawa) to achieve a peace between the Ashina and Shirakawa on one side and the Satake on the other side.

Prior to these events, from the first month of Tenshō 2 (1573), Tamura Kiyoaki acted upon a severing of relations with the Sukagawa forces by invading the territory of the Nikaidō clan and, riding the momentum from this operation, proceeded on to the territory of the Ashina and Shirakawa clans.  Kiyoaki’s formal wife was the younger sister of Sōma Moritane who was quarrelling with Terumune so he was not responsive to efforts by Terumune to mediate.

In the ninth month of 1575, the Ashina clan was attacked by Tamura forces in Ōtsuki in the western portion of the Asaka District.  In the tenth month, the Ashina forces launched their own attack in Kubota in the northern portion.  Aiming to contain the Tamura and Sōma clans, Terumune joined with the Ishikawa clan but the Ishikawa followed the Satake clan based on the view that the Ashina posed the greatest threat to them.  In the background, it is surmised that reasons for the Ishikawa to adopt this posture owed to the fact that Akimitsu’s adoptive father, Harumitsu, was alive and well at the time and his mother had originated from the Tamura clan.

In 1576, Tamura Kiyoaki joined the Satake clan to assault Naganuma Castle (aligned with the Ashina).  In the ninth month of the same year, Kiyoaki suddenly forsake his alliance with the Satake and allied with the Ashina.  In 1577, after the allied forces of the Ashina and Tamura gained control of the Ishikawa territory, Harumitsu was temporarily taken to Kurokawa Castle.

In 1584, after his nephew, Date Masamune, took over the Date clan and intensified hostilities toward the Ashina and Satake clans, Akimitsu came into conflict with the Date.

In 1585, at the Battle of Hitotoribashi, Akimitsu, along with other daimyō from southern Mutsu, joined his brother-in-law and Satake Yoshishige.  In 1589, at the Battle of Suriagehara, after the Date conquered the Ashina, and then the Nikaidō of Sukagawa, Akimitsu and Shirakawa Yoshichika finally surrendered and joined the Date military.  In 1590, Akimitsu was granted Sukagawa Castle to conduct operations in the direction of the Kantō.

In 1590, during the Conquest of Odawara led by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Akimitsu and Shirakawa Yoshichika, out of concern of Date Masamune, shelved an order to dispatch forces to serve as reinforcements.  Later, Akimitsu entrusted Masamune with swords and swift horses to be presented to the Taiko (Hideyoshi) and earnestly requested that he apologize on their behalf.  Nevertheless, they were criticized by Hideyoshi for not serving in the campaign, and during the reallocation of territory in the northern provinces known as the Oushū Retribution, Akimitsu, together with his third eldest brother, Rusu Masakage, and Yoshichika, were removed from their positions and their territories seized.  In the eighth month, Akimitsu, his lineal heir, Ishikawa Yoshimune, and their retainers lost their will for battle and departed from the castle.  A clan elder named Mizoi Rokurō (Yoshinobu) argued for a final showdown against the Toyotomi army, and then set fire inside Miyoshi Castle and took his own life.

In 1591, after Masamune was transferred to Iwadeyama in the Tamatsukuri District of Mutsu, Akimitsu met with him and received Matsuyama Castle in the Shida District with a fief of 6,000 koku and then moved to Matsuyama Castle.  Thereafter, he affiliated with the Date clan and was granted the status of the chief of cadet family members.

In the first month of 1592, the Date clan received orders from Hideyoshi to deploy to the Korean Peninsula whereupon Akimitsu obeyed Masamune.

In 1593, he deployed for the Bunroku Campaign on the Korean Peninsula and, in 1595, returned to Japan.

In the seventh month of 1595, in connection with a revolt by Toyotomi Hidetsugu, the kanpaku, or Chief Advisor to the Emperor, Masamune was suspected of complicity in the incident.  As a result, Masamune, accompanied by the wives and children of retainers and Akimitsu’s lineal heir, Yoshimune, went to Fushimi in the environs of Kyōto.  In the eighth month, he submitted a written pledge signed by nineteen senior retainers of the Date clan.  At this time, Yoshimune’s name appeared first as the chief of cadet family members.

In the tenth month of 1598, his fief was increased by 2,000 koku and he was awarded Kakuda Castle in the Igu District.  Based on the contributions of Yoshimune during a visit to Kyōto in 1595, he received 2,000 koku yielding a fief of 10,000 koku in total.  He then moved to Kakuda Castle.  This was the residence of Date Shigezane but, after going to the capital, he fled and the castle was appropriated in a fief with no lord.

In the seventh month of 1600, during the Siege of Shiroishi Castle in the Katta District, Akimitsu and Yoshimune led forces in battle.  In the tenth month, he served in the Siege of Fukushima Castle.

In 1603, he retired and transferred the headship of the clan to Yoshimune.  He received landholdings of 3,000 koku in Murata for his retirement.

In the eleventh month of 1610, Yoshimune died of illness at the age of thirty-four.  His lineal grandson, Ishikawa Munetaka, was only four years old so, upon orders of Masamune, Akimitsu returned to Kakuda Castle as his guardian and to conduct the political affairs of the clan.

In 1614, at the Winter Campaign of the Siege of Ōsaka, Akimitsu served as a commander of forces.

In 1615, at the Summer Campaign of the Siege of Ōsaka, Akimitsu was ill so he had his retainer, Izumi 光理, serve as his proxy to lead forces in battle under the Date army.

In 1621, the fief in Murata was increased by 2,000 koku so, in total, he had landholdings of 12,000 koku which he turned over his lineal grandson, Ishikawa Muneyoshi.

On 7/10 of Genna 8 (1622), Akimitsu died at Kakuda Castle.  He was seventy-three years old.  Seven martyrs followed him.