Suwa Yorimitsu


Suwa Clan


Shinano Province

Lifespan:  Bunmei 5 (1473) to Tenbun 8 (1540)

Rank:  bushō

Title:  Governor of Aki

Clan:  Suwa

Father:  Suwa Masamitsu

Siblings:  Miyawakamaru, Yorimitsu, Kotarō 

Children:  Yoritaka, Mitsuchika, Mitsutaka

Suwa Yorimitsu served as a bushō during the Sengoku period.  Yorimitsu was the head of the Suwa family, a sengoku daimyō of Shinano Province.

Yorimitsu was the son of Suwa Masamitsu and the grandfather of Suwa Yorishige.

On 1/8 of 1483, Masamitsu and and his older brother, Miyawakamaru, were killed in a rebellion by members of the Suwa family including Suwa Tsugumitsu (from the family of the Suwa Grand Shrine),  Kanasashi Okiharu (from the Kanasashi clan of the Shimosha site of the Suwa Grand Shrine), and Takatō Tsugumune (from the Takatō clan).  This is known as the Bunmei Discord.  As a result, Yorimitsu succeeded his father as head of the clan at the age of ten.

After maturing, in 1518, Yorimitsu attacked Kanasashi Masaharu (the son of Kanasashi Okiharu) at the stronghold of Hagikura and expelled him to Kai Province.  He then forced the surrender of Takatō Yoritsugu (the son of Takatō Tsugumune) and thereby unified the Suwa Region.  Next, he fought against Takeda Nobutora of Kai who supported Masaharu.  In 1528, at the Gōdo-Sakai River on the provincial border, Yoritsugu defeated Nobutora’s forces and proactively expanded his territory in Shinano.  In this manner, Yorimitsu generated the peak years of prosperity for the Suwa and is known as the ancestor who rejuvenated the clan.

On 4/18 of 1530, Yorimitsu’s eldest son, Suwa Yoritaka suddenly died at the age of thirty-one, so, in 1534, transferred headship of the clan to his lineal grandson, Suwa Yorishige.  He then entered the priesthood and adopted the name of Hekiunsai.  In 1531, Yorimitsu backed kokujin landowners in Kai at the Battle of Karabe but retreated in defeat.  In 1535, he reconciled with Takeda Nobutora, sealed by the marriage of Nobutora’s daughter to Yorishige.  He then joined in the Takeda in an attack on Ogasawara Nagamune.

Yorimitsu died of illness in the eleventh month of 1539 at the age of sixty-seven.