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Gamō Ujisato

Gamō Ujisato (蒲生 氏郷?, 1556 – March 17, 1595) was a Japanese daimyo of the Sengoku and Azuchi-Momoyama periods. The heir and son of Gamō Katahide, lord of Hino Castle in Ōmi Province, he later held Matsusaka (Ise Province) and finally Aizuwakamatsu Castle in Mutsu Province. He also controlled Obama Castle through one of his retainers, Gamō Chūzaemon.

Early life

Ujisato, known in his childhood as Tsuruchiyo (鶴千代?), was born in Hino, in the Gamō district of Ōmi Province in 1556. In 1568, Oda Nobunaga, who was en route to Kyoto, defeated the Rokkaku clan, who were the masters of Tsuruchiyo's father, Katahide (賢秀?). Upon the Rokkaku clan's defeat, Katahide as a former influential vassal, pledged loyalty to Nobunaga, and became an Oda retainer. However, the price of Katahide's pledge was giving up his son as a hostage, and so Tsuruchiyo was taken to Gifu, then the Oda clan's headquarters.

Tsuruchiyo's sagacity impressed Nobunaga, and soon, the young man had his manhood rite in Gifu, taking the name Utahide (賦秀?).[1] In the summer of 1569, Utahide took part in his first campaign, during Nobunaga's subjucation of Kitabatake Tomomasa of Kizukuri Castle. For his distinction in battle, Nobunaga gave his daughter Fuyuhime in marriage to Utahide, affectionately referring to Utahide as "my little son-in-law."[1] At the same time, he was allowed to return to his father's castle at Hino. Though Fuyuhime was still young at this point, she is said to have later matured into a stunningly beautiful woman.[1]

Aizu Wakamatsu Castle, where Ujisato was based

Major campaigns under Nobunaga

In 1570, Utahide fought at the Battle of Anegawa, and later that same year, joined his father in the Oda assault on the Asakura clan of Echizen Province. The two led a force of 1,000 men as the vanguard of Shibata Katsuie's army. The total number of men under Katsuie's overall command at that battle totaled 5,000. Of those 5,000, the number under Katsuie's command totaled 600, so this may give some impression of the importance of the Gamō family.[1] Following the betrayal of Azai Nagamasa, Utahide assisted in Nobunaga's withdrawal by taking him into his own Hino Castle, and facilitating his escape to Gifu from there. In recognition of this feat, Nobunaga gave Utahide and his father a stipend increase, and posted them to southern Omi, under the command of Shibata Katsuie. The Gamō would see action against the Asakura once more, in 1573. In 1575, upon Katsuie's posting to Kitanoshō Castle, the Gamō, ruling from their castle at Hino, came under Nobunaga's direct command, serving as hatamoto.[1] That year, Utahide fought at the Battle of Nagashino.

Nobunaga's assassination and Hideyoshi's rise

When Nobunaga was assassinated in 1582, Utahide was with his father, who had been posted as warden of Azuchi Castle. Together, the two sheltered Nobunaga's wife and children in Hino Castle, saving their lives. In the same year, Utahide submitted to Hashiba Hideyoshi. The following year, he joined Hideyoshi's attack on Takigawa Kazumasu, as well as the Battle of Shizugatake, and received the title of Hida no Kami (飛騨守?). In this year, his son Tsuruchiyo (Gamō Hideyuki) was born.

Following his siege of Oda Nobukatsu during the Battle of Komaki and Nagakute in 1585, he received Matsusaka, in the southern section of Ise Province, as his fief (rated at 120,000 koku). (The main castle of this fief was Matsugashima Castle (松ヶ島城?).[1]). After taking part in the subjugation of Kii Province in 1585, Utahide took the name of "Ujisato." Soon after, due to the influence of Takayama Ukon, he received a Christian baptism in Osaka, and took the baptismal name of Leo.

Career under Hideyoshi, and later life

In 1588, construction was completed on Matsuzaka Castle (松坂城?), where he immediately moved. Ujisato took part in all of Hideyoshi's subsequent campaigns: the Siege of Odawara (1590), the pacification of Ōshū (Mutsu and Dewa Provinces) (1590), and the Japanese invasions of Korea. For his role in the pacification of Ōshū, he received a 420,000 koku fief with its headquarters at Kurokawa Castle in Aizu. He renamed the castle Wakamatsu, the name which even the town retains to this day. In preparation for the Japanese invasions of Korea, Ujisato proceeded in 1592 to Hideyoshi's base in Nagoya in Hizen Province. He fell ill there, coughing up blood in early 1593. From Nagoya, he headed first to Aizu, and then to Fushimi, where the Gamō family's mansion was almost complete. Hideyoshi himself would visit the mansion twice after its completion[1] Ujisato died at age 40, at Fushimi Castle. Though his family would lose Aizu soon after with Hideyuki's transfer to Utsunomiya, the Gamō would later be returned to Aizu by Tokugawa Ieyasu.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Nihonshi Jinbutsu Retsuden. Yoropara. Accessed October 23, 2007.

References and further reading

  • Arai Masayoshi 新井政義, Nihonshi jiten 日本史事典. Tokyo: Ōbunsha 旺文社, 1987, p. 91.
  • Noguchi Shin'ichi 野口新一, Aizu-han 会津藩. Tokyo: Gendai Shokan 現代書簡, 2005.

External links

Preceded by
Daimyo of Aizu
Succeeded by
Uesugi Kagekatsu

Further reading

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