Hojo Ujinao

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Hôjô Ujinao was the eldest son of Hôjô Ujimasa, and succeeded him to become the fifth head of the Hôjô clan.

Birth and Early life

On December 19th, 1562, the end of the same year Oda Nobunaga first entered Kyôto, Kuniomaru was born as the first son of Hôjô Ujimasa and Ôbai-in (the eldest daughter of Takeda Shingen). In his coming of age ceremony, his name changed to Hôjô Ujinao.

Ujinao's First Campaigns

Before his assumption of the role of daimyô of the Hôjô, Ujinao accompained Ujimasa during his campaign against the Takeda. The fighting between the two families was intermittent and yielded no result, until of course, Oda Nobunaga and Tokugawa Ieyasu launched their invasion of the Takeda domain in 1582. This conquest ended with the death of Takeda Katsuyori who committed seppuku during the battle of Temmokuzan.

Thus, the Hôjô had the much more powerful Oda clan at their borders, and the clans' relationship was quickly turning hostile as an Oda general Takigawa Kazumasu made advances into Kôzuke. Fortunately for the Hôjô, Akechi Mitsuhide rebelled against Oda Nobunaga on June 21, 1582, trapping and killing his former commander at the Honnôji temple. Ujimasa and Ujinao seized this oppurtunity and defeated Kazumasu at the Battle of Kanagawa. Ujinao followed this up by capturing Oda territories in the Kantô region.

Ujinao, The 5th Odawara Hôjô daimyô

After a dispute between the Hôjô and Tokugawa concerning the ruler of the provinces of Shinano and Kai, the Tokugawa agreed to a truce, giving the Hôjô part of Kai. Soon after tension ceased between these two clans, Ujinao even married Tokugawa Ieyasu's daughter Matsudaira Tokuhime in 1584. This was about the time Ujimasa stepped down as daimyô of the Hôjô clan, Ujinao then took his father's former place, but in reality Ujimasa continued to rule his domain with his son. During the events after Honnôji, Toyotomi Hideyoshi took over Akechi Mitsuhide's place as unifier of Japan by defeating him at Yamazaki. Hideyoshi had united everyone under his banner, including Tokugawa Ieyasu, except the Hôjô. Tokugawa advised that the Hôjô should submit to Hideyoshi, but this advice fell on deaf ears, and Hideyoshi began his siege of Odawara in 1590. Ujinao wished to attack Hideyoshi's 200,000 men on the field with his 50,000, but decided to use defensive strategies instead. After all, taking a defensive position inside the castle had put an end to earlier sieges made by the Uesugi and the Takeda, both of which had ran out of supplies. Unfortunately for the Hôjô though, the Toyotomi were prepared and had an endless amount of supplies. Thus after three months of practically no fighting the Hôjô surrendered.

Fall of the Hôjô

After his successful siege, Hideyoshi made Ujimasa and his brother Hôjô Ujiteru commit seppuku. Ujimasa wrote a death poem:

Ujimasa's death poem

Autumn wind of eve
Blow away the clouds that mass
O'er the moon's pure light
And the mists that cloud our mind
Do thou sleep away as well
Now we disappear
Well, what must we think of it?
From the sky we came
Now we may come back again
That's at least one point of view

Ujinao and his wife were spared though, and were exiled to Mt. Kôya, south of Ôsaka. Ujinao was then moved to Kawachi, where he is believed to have died of smallpox. His wife Tokuhime, who never bore a child of Ujinao, was then arranged to be married to Ikeda Tadatsugu by Hideyoshi.


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