Utsunomiya Retribution


Toyotomi Hideyoshi

Shimotsuke Province

The Utsunomiya Retribution, which occurred in the seventh month of 1590, was a set of post-war measures taken by Toyotomi Hideyoshi with respect to landowners from the Kantō and Tōhoku regions (known as the Oushū region) as a component of the broader Oushū Retribution.  This event followed his suppression of opponents in eastern provinces during the Conquest of Odawara and subsequent unification of the country.   When Minamoto no Yoritomo, the founder of the Kamakura bakufu, engaged in the Battle of Oushū, he departed from Kamakura on 7/19 of Bunji 5 (1189) and visited the Futarayama Shrine in Utsunomiya to make an offering to the Shintō gods before pacifying Oushū.  In a similar manner, on 7/19 of Tenshō 18 (1590), Hideyoshi departed from Kamakura and took these measures at Utsunomiya Castle, giving rise to the name of this event.

On 7/13 of 1590, Hideyoshi forced the surrender at Odawara Castle of the Gohōjō clan of Sagami Province who had risen to prominence in the Kantō.  On 7/17, he entered Kamakura and paid a visit to the Tsurugaoka-Hachiman Shrine.  He stayed in Kamakura for only two days.  On 7/25, he entered Yūki Castle in Shimōsa to arrange for his adopted son, Hideyasu (the second son of Tokugawa Ieyasu) to become an adopted heir of the Yūki clan and to formally grant the former territory of the Oyama and Mibu clans to the Yūki.  On 7/26, Hideyoshi entered Utsunomiya Castle in Shimotsuke Province, initially remaining in Utsunomiya for eleven days.  He then marched to Aizu in Mutsu for an inspection, returning to Utsunomiya from 8/4 to 8/14.  During the return to his base, he stayed in Sunpu Castle on 8/20, suggesting he departed Utsunomiya on 8/15.  Heavy rains were the official reason given for his long stay in Utsunomiya, but, prior to Hideyoshi’s arrival in Utsunomiya on 7/26, Satake Yoshinobu of Hitachi and Nanbu Nobunao of northern Mutsu came to Utsunomiya, and, on 7/28, Date Masamune arrived for the purpose of guiding Hideyoshi to Oushū.  Owing to the gathering of these daimyō from Kantō and Ouu, it can be surmised that, by this time, Hideyoshi had made most of the key decisions comprising the Oushū Retribution.  Moreover, reforms in the Kantō Region were implemented from 7/28 to 8/4.  Based on the territorial demarcations of the Satake clan on 8/1, and beginning with the earlier decision to move the Tokugawa clan to Edo Castle, the allocation of territory among the daimyō of the Kantō had been nearly determined.  As of 7/13, among the Five Councilors who served under Hideyoshi, those under the command of Mashita Nagamori had earlier arrived in Utsunomiya, requisitioning Utsunomiya Castle.  Although Utsunomiya Castle was under the control of the Utsunomiya clan, the Utsunomiya had moved their base to Tageyama Castle, so there was no political friction as a result of the use of the castle.  Prior to the arrival of Hideyoshi, retainers of the Toyotomi including Kanamori Nagachika and Kyōgoku Takatsugu were stationed in Utsunomiya.

While Hideyoshi was staying in Utsunomiya, he summoned Honda Tadakatsu and awarded him for his contributions on the battlefield in the Bōsō area (Awa, Kazusa, and Shimōsa provinces), giving him the helmet of Satō Tadanobu.  Over two decades later, this helmet was worn by Tadakatsu’s son, Honda Tadatomo, at the Siege of Ōsaka.