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  Famous Môri Generals  




Môri Motonari
Mutsu no kami
Motonari was a son of Môri Hiromoto. When his eldest brother Okimoto died in 1516, he acted as a guardian for Okimoto's young son Kômatsumaru. During this period he defeated the Takeda, a local power. When Kômatsumaru himself died of illness in 1523, Motonari became the head of the family. He spent the first decades of his career as daimyô caught between the rival Amako and Ôuchi clans and in due course served both them them as a vassal. He held off an Amako attack on his Koriyama Castle and afterwards took part in Ôuchi Yoshitaka's failed 1542-43 campaign to bring down the Amako's Gassan-Toda Castle. The next decade was spent consolidating the Môri position in Aki, which was much improved by adopting sons into the Kikkawa and Kobayakawa families. When Sue Harukata overthrew Yoshikata in 1551, Motonari was essentially an independant daimyô. He managed to defeat and kill Harukata at Miyajima in 1555; by 1557 he had taken the Ôuchi capital and was a rising power in the western provinces. He competed with the Otomo on Kyushu and between 1564-66 brought down the Amako. His last years were spent assisting his grandson Terumoto in his expansion eastward. In addition to having a reputation as a gifted and cunning strategist, Motonari was a poet and a patron of the arts. He is considered one of the greatest of the sengoku daimyô.
Môri Takamoto
Bitchû no kami, Daizen-daibu
Takamoto was Motonari's eldest son. He served as a hostage to the Oûchi clan in his youth and married an adopted daughter of Ôuchi Yoshitaka. He became the Daimyô of the Môri after 1555 and in 1560 recieved the title Daizen-daibu with the blessing of the Court. On his way back from fighting the Ôtomo to lead the Môri campaign in Izumo he died suddenly while visiting Wachi Masaharu, forcing his father out of his semi-official retirement. No specific cause for his death other then illness was ever disclosed; however, his father was sufficently suspitious of Wachi to have him murdered in 1568. Takamoto was considered a man of culture and certain paintings by him survive.
Môri Terumoto
Terumoto was the son of Takamoto. He became the Daimyô of the Môri following the death of his grandfather Motonari in 1571 and continued to expand Môri influence in the Chugoku region. He became involved in a protracted conflict with Oda Nobunaga highlighted by the two naval battles of Kizawaguchi, the second of which resulted in a defeat of the formidable Môri navy. He proved unable to halt the Oda's westward push (lead by Hashiba - Toyotomi - Hideyoshi) and was perhaps spared only by Nobunaga's death in June 1582. He honored an agreement made with Hideyoshi and afterwards became a valuable supporter of the latter, providing troops for Hideyoshi's campaigns in Shikoku and Kyushu. He led forces in the two Korean Campaigns of the 1590's and was named one of the regents responsible for ruling while Hideyoshi's young son Hideyori came of age. In 1600 he was torn on whether to support Ishida Mitsunari or Tokugawa Ieyasu and while he ended up throwing in with Ishida, his involvment was undercut by his lingering uncertainty. His forces saw little fighting at Sekigahara and the Môri domain was afterwards reduced considerably. He was made to retire and was at length succeded by his son Hidenari. An average leader, he had relied heavily on the abilities of his uncles Motoharu and Takakage while they were alive; their loss was keenly felt in 1600.
Kikkawa Motoharu
Jibu-Sôsuke, Suruga no kami
Motoharu, the 2nd son of Môri Motonari, was adopted into the Kikkawa and became the head of that family in 1550. He proved himself an invaluable asset to his father Motonari, and fought in countless engagements alongside his brother Kobayakawa Takakage. Following the surrender of Amako Yoshihisa in January 1566 Motoharu was given Izumo province, where he clashed with Amako loyalists headed by Yamanaka Yukimori. He was active in the war with the Oda that culminated in the Siege of Takamatsu Castle in Bingo and after the death of Nobunaga (1582) played an important role in Hideyoshi's conquest of Shikoku in 1585, landing with his brother Kobayakawa on Iyo with 30,000 men. He died the following year and was succeded by his third son,Hiroie (his eldest son, Motonaga, had died in 1587). A great commander, Motoharu was one of the pillars of the Môri house.
Kobayakawa Takakage
Takakage was the 3rd son of Môri Motonari and was adopted into the Kobayakawa family in 1550. He became, along with his brother Kikkawa Motoharu, a pillar of the Môri house and fought bravely in numerous battles. He had a long-time correspondance with Toyotomi Hideyoshi, which may have assisted in the peace the Môri and Hideyoshi arrived at in 1582 following the fall of Takamatsu. Takakage played significant roles in the Shikoku and Kyushu Campaigns and was given Chikuzen province in 1587. He led a division of Kyushu troops to Korea in 1592 (numbering some 16,000 in total) and defeated a Chinese force at the Battle of Byôkchekwan near Pyongyang in 1593. On the other hand, he was harried by Korean guerillas in Chollado province somewhat later that year and was forced to retreat. In 1595 he was named one of the original Regents (which numbered six prior to his death) and given the title Chûnagon by Hideyoshi, with whom he had become close friends. Being childless, he adopted Hideyoshi's nephew Hideaki as his heir and died at Mihara in Bingo Province in 1597. Often depicted as being the most intellegent of Motonari's sons, Takakage was one of the great figures of the latter half of the sengoku age.
Môri Motokiyo
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Motokiyo was Motonari's 4th son and was adopted into the Hoida Family. He was considered a competant commander, though overshadowed by his elder brothers. Given land in Bitchû, Motokiyo was active in the Môri's eastward expansion and was skilled in castle construction. He was the father of Môri Hidemoto.
Môri Motoaki
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Motoaki was Motonari's 5th son and was adopted into the Tomita family. He distinguished himself in the struggle with Yamanaka Shikanosuke in Izumo Province.
Kobayakawa Hidekane
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Hidekane was the 9th and last son of Môri Motonari (and one of seven to reach adulthood). He was adopted as child by Ota Hidetsuna and was later brought to Kyoto by Toyotomi Hideyoshi and allowed to use the name 'Toyotomi''. He served in the Kyushu Campaign and was afterwards given a large fief in Chikugo at Kurume. During the Sekigahara Campaign he commanded troops for the 'western army' and fought under Tachibaba Muneshige at Ôtsu Castle. After the battle he was deprived of his Chikugo holdings and was given a small fief in Nagato Province.
Kikkawa Hiroie
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Hiroie was Kikkawa Motoharu's son and succeded his elder brother Motonaga when the latter died in 1587. He ruled the former Amako domain and was one of the most powerful men in the Môri clan, later leading troops under his cousin Môri Terumoto in the 1st and 2nd Korean Campaigns. When sides were being drawn between Ishida Mitsunari and Tokugawa Ieyasu, Hiroie urged Terumoto to side with the latter, a recommendation that Terumoto did not specifically decline (despite going along with Ishida), thus prompting Hiroie to send a secret message to Ieyasu to the effect that he could count on the Môori to do nothing in the coming fight. In the Battle of Sekigahara, Hiroie, with 3,000 men, occupied the lead position in the Môri army deployed on the east side of Mt. Nangû - when the fighting began he refused to move, thus preventing Môri Hidemoto (with 15,000 men) from entering the fray. After the battle, Hiroie was disappointed to discover that Ieyasu had no intention of rewarding the Môri for their inactivity, though he did increase Hiroie's own fief somewhat. Hiroie built Iwakuni Castle in 1608.
Môri Hidemoto
Iyo no kami, Kai no kami
Hidemoto was the eldest son of Môri Motokiyo (Motonari's 4th son) and was Terumoto's cousin. Before Sekigahara he governed Suo and Nagato. In 1600 he led a force that brought down Annotsu Castle in the opening moves of the Sekigahara Campaign and at the Battle of Sekigahara he personally commanded a 15,000 man unit postioned on Mt. Nangû and was willing to offer battle. Kikkawa Hiroie, however, positioned to his front, had decided not to challange the Tokugawa, and would not move. Hidemoto was therefore unable to lend his weight to the Western army and retreated without fighting. After the battle, his personal fief was later reduced by the Tokugawa to 50,000 koku (from 200,000).
Akagawa Motoyasu
Motoyasu was a son of Akagawa Fusanobu. He became the head of the Akagawa following the death of his elder brother Narihide in battle around 1523. He was a notable retainer of Môri Motonari and was named one of his '18 Generals'. He became a close retainer of Môri Takamoto and was consulted by him on most matters. After the sudden death of Môri Takamoto in 1563 he was confined to his home under suspicion and was later made to commit suicide along with his adopted son Matasaburou. Akagawa Nobuyuki, a nephew, was named as heir to his house.
Amano Takashige
Takashige was an important retainer of Môri Motonari and was present in the campaign that brought down Gassan-Toda Castle between 1564-66. He afterwards assisted Kikkawa Motoharu in his fight with Amako adherants under Yamanaka Shikanosuke in Izumo Province. He later fought at Kozuki Castle in Harima Province (1578).
 Ankokuji Ekei
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Ekei was a favored retainer of Mori Motonari, who called him his 'little monk'. The head priest of the Ankoku-ji (Ankoku Temple), he was a noted tea master and one of Toyotomi Hideyoshi's confidants through his role as a Môri diplomat. Thanks to his friendship with Hideyoshi he recieved a fief in Iyo Province following Hideyoshi's conquest of Shikoku in 1585. He urged Mori Terumoto to support Ishida Mitsunari in 1600 and commanded 1,800 men at Sekigahara but saw little fighting. After the battle he was captured and executed in Kyoto along with Ishida and Konishi Yukinaga.
Fukubara Hirotoshi
Sakon no jô, Shimosa no kami
Hirotoshi was the son of Fukubara Motoyoshi and served served both Môri Motonari and Môri Terumoto. He was present at the Battles of Koriyama (1540) and Miyajima (1555) and in 1557 he trapped Ôuchi Yoshinaga at Chôfu in Nagato Province and forced him to commit suicide. He provided daughters in marriage to Katsura Motozumi and Kuchiba Michiyoshi. The Fukubara, relatives of the Môri, served them until the end of the Edo Period.
Honjô Sunemitsu
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Tsunemitsu was a local power in Iwami Province ans originally a vassal of the Amako. He defected to the Môri in 1563, after Amako Haruhisa's death. Sunemitsu held Yamabuki, which was important to control of the Iwami silver mines.
Iida Motochika
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Motochika was the second son of Kodama Motoyoshi. He fought under Motonari in the battles with the local Takeda family and later at Koriyama Castle (1540). He is remembered as one of Motonari's '18 Generals'.
Inoue Motokane
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Motokane was the son of Inoue Kawachi no kami Mitsukane and the de facto head of a notable Aki family that nominally served the Môri. He held Tenjinyama, which was just to the south of Motonari's Koriyama. As Motokane grew more powerful militarily and economically, he began to test the leadership of Môri Motonari, whom he become openly critical of. In 1550 Motonari forced Motokane and many members of his household to commit suicide on the grounds of treasonous behavior, an act that secured the Môri as Aki's most powerful family. The Inoue were afterwards allowed to continue on as Môri retainers
Katsura Motozumi
Motozumi was the son of Katsura Hirozumi (d.1523). He became an important retainer of Motonari and was entrusted with Sakurao Castle as well as with spreading disinformation during the movements leading up to the Battle of Miyajima in 1555. He was initally married to the daughter of Môri retainer Fukuhara Hirotoshi but later took as wife the daughter of Shiji Hiroyoshi. He was succeded by his son Hirosumi. The Katsura were related to the Môri but were briefly disgraced when Katsura Hirozumi had been compelled to commit suicide on suspicion of treason in 1524.
Kodama Naritada
Naritada was the 2nd son of Kodama Motosane. He became a popular and effective administrator and advisor for Môri Motonari and Môri Takamoto. He was succeded by his son Motoyoshi.
Kuchiba Michiyoshi
Shimotsuke no kami
Michiyoshi was a younger son of Shiji Motoyoshi. He served Môri Motonari in a number of campaigns and was later a chief retainer of Môri Takamoto. He was a veteran of Miyajima (1555), Shiraga (1563), and the Gassan - Toda Campaign (1564-66). Michiyoshi was married to a daughter of Fukuhara Hirotoshi and his son was Kuchiba Haruyoshi.
Kumagai Nobunao
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Nobunao was a warrior locally powerful in Aki Province and held Takamatsu Castle. His father (Motonao) had died in battle under Takeda Motoshige and he allied with Môri Motonari. He served in a number of Motonari's military endeavors, later rendering service to Môri Terumoto.
Kunishi Motosuke
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Motosuke distinguished himself during the Siege of Koriyama in 1540. He spent much of his career in the service of Môri Takamoto.
Murakami Takayoshi
Yamato no kami
Takayoshi came from a family that had at one point been what amounted to pirates of the Inland Sea. The Murakami, which consisted of three branches, came under control of the Môri around 1550 and were instrumental in the 1555 victory at Miyajima. Takayoshi became the commander of the Môri's navy and defeated Oda naval forces at the First Battle of Kizawaguchi (1576). In the Second Battle of Kizawaguchi, however, Takayoshi's fleet was overcome by heavy warships built specifically to cut the naval supply lines to the Ishiyama Honganji. Takayoshi was technically subordinate to Kobayakawa Takakage.
Shiji Hiroyoshi
Kôzuke no suke
Hiroyoshi was the son of Shiji Motoyoshi and first served Môri Okimoto. Following Môri Motonari's rise to the head of the Môri after 1523, Hiroyoshi became one of his most trusted advisors. An important administrator for Motonari, he assisted in the upbringing of Môri Takamoto. He was the elder brother of Kuchiba Michiyoshi.
Shishido Takaie
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Takaie was from a locally powerful house that had come to accept the authority of Môri Motonari around 1540. He played an important role in the actions leading up to Amako Haruhisa's attempts to bring down Koriyama in 1540. He was married to Môri Motonari's daughter.
Wachi Masaharu
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Masaharu was at first a vassal of the Amako and later sided with the Môri. In 1563 Masaharu entertained Môri Takamoto with a banquet when the latter was on his way to lead the Môri campaign against the Amako. Takamoto died suddenly while staying at the Wachi household, and Masaharu was immediatly held under suspicion by Takamoto's father, Môri Motonari. He was later killed on Motonari's orders at Itsukushima.
Watanabe Hajime
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Hajine's father had challanged Motonari and been killed; Hajine himself became a distinguished Môri retainer. He is credited with saving the life of Motonari during the retreat from Gassan-Toda in 1540 near the Ômori silver mines and gained much prestige for this. He went on to fight at the Battle of Miyajima in 1555 and Moji in 1561.