Imagawa Yoshimoto

Imagawa Yoshimoto (今川 義元, 1519 – June 12, 1560) was a pre-eminent daimyō (feudal lord) in the Sengoku period Japan. Based in Suruga Province,[1] he was one of the three daimyōs that dominated the Tōkaidō region.

He died in 1560 while marching to Kyoto to become Shōgun. He was killed in the village of Dengakuhazama in Okehazama by Oda Nobunaga.

Imagawa Yoshimoto
Imagawa Yoshimoto
Japanese crest Imagawa Akadori.svg
9th head of Suruga-Imagawa family
In office
Preceded byImagawa Ujiteru
Succeeded byImagawa Ujizane
Personal details
Sunpu, Suruga Province, Japan
DiedJune 12, 1560 (aged 41)
Okehazama, Owari Province, Japan

Early life and succession

Yoshimoto was born in 1519, the third son of Imagawa Ujichika[2] of the Imagawa clan-which claimed descent from Emperor Seiwa (850–880). His childhood name was Yosakimaru (芳菊丸). His family branched from Minamoto clan by the Ashikaga clan. As he was not the eldest son, he was not an heir to his father's lordship. As a result, the young boy was sent to a temple where his name was changed to Baigaku Shōhō (梅岳承芳) or Sengaku Shōhō (栴岳承芳). In 1536, his older brother Ujiteru died suddenly, unleashing successional disputes. His elder half-brother, Genkō Etan (玄広恵探), tried to seize the lordship, but the clan split into two factions. Yoshimoto's faction argued he was the rightful heir because Yoshimoto's mother was the consort of Ujichika. Genkō Etan's faction disputed this based on Genkō's seniority, and that his mother was a member of the Kushima family. However, the Genkō faction was eliminated in the Hanagura Disturbance (花倉の乱 Hanagura-no-ran).[3] Baigaku Shōhō changed his name to Yoshimoto at this point and succeeded the clan.[3]


After Yoshimoto succeeded to family headship, he married the sister of Takeda Shingen of Kai. This allowed Yoshimoto to cement an alliance with the Takeda when he helped Shingen imprison his father, Takeda Nobutora, in 1540.[4] Soon after, Yoshimoto fought against the Hōjō of Sagami. In 1542, Yoshimoto began his advance into Mikawa Province, in an effort to fight the growing influence of Oda Nobuhide in that region, but was defeated in the Battle of Azukizaka (1542). In campaigns over the course of the ensuing decades, Yoshimoto wrested control over the Suruga, Totomi, and Mikawa provinces.[5]

In 1552, Shingen's son, Takeda Yoshinobu, married Yoshimoto's daughter. Yoshimoto and the Hōjō clan reached a peace agreement in 1554 with the marriage of Yoshimoto's son Ujizane to the daughter of Hōjō Ujitsuna. In 1558, Yoshimoto left the clan's political affairs in Ujizane's hands, in order to focus on dealing with the advance westward into Mikawa.

Battle of Okehazama and death

The grave of Yoshimoto Imagawa in Okehazama
Imagawa Yoshimoto's grave at Okehazama

In the summer of 1560, after forming a three-way alliance with the Takeda and the Hōjō, Yoshimoto headed out to the capital with Tokugawa Ieyasu (then known as Matsudaira Motoyasu) of Mikawa in the vanguard.[6] Despite having a strong force of 25,000,[6] Yoshimoto deliberately announced that he had 40,000 troops. While this statement put fear in many factions, Oda Nobunaga of Owari Province saw through it. (Some historical sources support the claim of 40,000.[7])

With many victories, Yoshimoto's army was letting its guard down, celebrating with song and sake. A surprise attack by the Oda army of 3,000[8] following a downpour left Yoshimoto's army in complete disorder.[9] Two Oda samurai (Mōri Shinsuke and Hattori Koheita) ambushed the Imagawa army and killed Yoshimoto, in the village of Dengakuhazama.[4]:37–39[10]

Imagawa Ujizane succeeded to family headship after Yoshimoto's death,[11] but the Imagawa clan fell from power. Ujizane was later summoned by Tokugawa Ieyasu and became a kōke in the administration of the Tokugawa clan. Yoshimoto's niece was Lady Tsukiyama, the wife of Tokugawa Ieyasu.

Yoshimoto has several graves; his body itself is buried at Daisei-ji, a temple in the city of Toyokawa in modern Aichi Prefecture.


  • Father: Imagawa Ujichika
  • Mother: Jukei-ni (d. 1568)
  • Wife: Jōkei-in (1519–1550)
  • Concubine: Ii Naohira's daughter
  • Children:
    • Imagawa Ujizane by Jōkei-in
    • Chotoku Ichigetsu (d. 1625) by Jōkei-in
    • Reishō-in (d. 1612) married Takeda Yoshinobu by Jōkei-in
    • Daughter (隆福院)
    • daughter married Mure Katsushige
Preceded by
Imagawa Ujiteru
9th Suruga-Imagawa family head
Succeeded by
Imagawa Ujizane

Appearances in popular fiction

He is a playable character in Pokémon Conquest (Pokémon + Nobunaga's Ambition in Japan), with his partner Pokémon being Pineco and Forretress.[12]

In the Samurai Warriors series, Yoshimoto is represented as a foolish old-fashioned nobleman. His weapon is a kemari which is inspired by his son, Ujizane's historical obsession towards kemari.

A female version of Yoshimoto appears in anime The Ambition of Oda Nobuna. In this version, instead of dying Yoshimoto is spared and later installed as a figurehead Shōgun to legitimize Nobuna's claim to Kyoto.

See People of the Sengoku period in popular culture.

In Sengoku Basara game and anime series, he was shown to be a weak leader, using his vassals as decoys while trying to retreat. In anime version, he was killed by Oda Nobunaga.


  1. ^ Zusetsu: Nihon meijōshū. (Tokyo: Gakken, 2003), p. 55.
  2. ^ Naramoto Michael, Nihon no kassen: Monoshiri jiten. (Tokyo: Shufu-to-seikatsusha, 1992), p. 259.
  3. ^ a b (in Japanese) "Suruga Imagawa-shi" on (12 July 2008)
  4. ^ a b Turnbull, Stephen (1987). Battles of the Samurai. Arms and Armour Press. pp. 43–44. ISBN 0853688265.
  5. ^ Nihonshi yōgoshū B (Tokyo: Yamakawa shuppansha, 2000), p. 122.
  6. ^ a b Naramoto, p. 254.
  7. ^ Frank Brinkley, A History of the Japanese People. (New York: Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 1915.), p. 784.
  8. ^ Nihonshi yōgoshū B, p. 122.
  9. ^ Naramoto, pp. 258–59.
  10. ^ "1560: The Spring Thunderstorm,"
  11. ^ Naramoto, p. 259.
  12. ^ "Yoshimoto + Pineco – Pokemon Conquest characters". Pokemon. Retrieved 2012-06-17.

External links

Arimatsu, Aichi

Arimatsu (有松町, Arimatsu-chō) was a town in Aichi Prefecture, Japan. It houses the Arimatsu Station of the Meitetsu-Nagoya Line, about 11 km southeast of downtown Nagoya. The town merged into Nagoya on 1 December 1964 and is now a part of Midori-ku, Nagoya.The Battle of Okehazama in 1560 located in the area of this town. Oda Nobunaga defeated Imagawa Yoshimoto and established himself as one of the front-running warlords in the Sengoku period.

It is a historical center of shibori or tie-dyeing workmanship, since the seventeenth century, dating back to 1608.

Battle of Azukizaka (1542)

In the first battle of Azukizaka (小豆坂の戦い, Azukizaka no tatakai) Oda Nobuhide defeated Imagawa Yoshimoto, setting the stage for his son, Oda Nobunaga, to become one of Japan's greatest warlords. Despite the defeat, later in 1548, Imagawa defeated Nobuhide in the Second Battle of Azukizaka and continued to expand his territory until 1560, when he faced Nobunaga and was killed in the Battle of Okehazama.

Battle of Okehazama

The Battle of Okehazama (桶狭間の戦い, Okehazama-no-tatakai) took place in June 1560. In this battle, Oda Nobunaga defeated Imagawa Yoshimoto and established himself as one of the front-running warlords in the Sengoku period.


Eiroku (永禄) was a Japanese era name (年号, nengō, "year name") after Kōji and before Genki. This period spanned the years from February 1558 through April 1570. The reigning emperor was Ōgimachi-tennō (正親町天皇).

Hattori Kazutada

Hattori Kazutada (服部 一忠, died July, 1595) was a samurai during Sengoku period in Japan. He was also known as Hattori Koheita (服部 小平太) and Hattori Unemenokami (服部 采女正).

Kazutada was born in Owari Province in central Japan. He started out as a page to Oda Nobunaga and fought as a pikeman against Imagawa Yoshimoto during the Battle of Okehazama in 1560. During the battle, Kazutada was the first of Nobunaga’s men to mount a personal attack on Imagawa Yoshimoto, but received a sword cut across the legs and was about to be killed when Mōri Yoshikatsu came to his rescue and killed Yoshimoto. He was rewarded by Nobunaga for his role in the victory, but little is known about his subsequent service.

After Nobunaga’s assassination, he transferred his allegiance to Toyotomi Hideyoshi and was awarded with lower 5th court rank in 1585. Following the Battle of Odawara in 1591, he was awarded with Matsuzaka Castle in Ise Province, with revenues of 35,000 koku, and was appointed to assist Hideyoshi’s proclaimed successor, Toyotomi Hidetsugu. He fought in the Bunroku Campaign in Korea (1592-1593), successfully taking the Korean capital of Seoul. He was subsequently purged with other supporters of Hidetsugu in 1595, and was forced to commit seppuku.

Ichijō Nobutatsu

Ichijō Nobutatsu (一条 信龍, 1539 – April 2, 1582) was a Japanese samurai of the Sengoku period, who was the younger brother of Takeda Shingen, the ruler of Kai Province. He is known as one of the "Twenty-Four Generals of Takeda Shingen". Nobutomo also served under Shingen's son, Takeda Katsuyori.

Ii Naomori

Ii Naomori (井伊 直盛, 1526 – June 12, 1560) was a retainer of the Japanese Imagawa clan during the Sengoku period of the 16th century. During the Battle of Okehazama in 1560, Naomori was killed while trying to protect his lord, Imagawa Yoshimoto during the attack led by Oda Nobunaga, who surprised his enemy when he attacked in thick fog following a hard rain. His childhood name was Toramatsu (虎松).

Naomori's daughter was Ii Naotora who succeeded clan. Later adopted Naomasa, one of the Four Guardians of Tokugawa Ieyasu, as her son

Iio Noritsura

Iio Noritsura (飯尾 乗連, died 1560) was a Japanese samurai of the Sengoku period, who served the Imagawa clan of Suruga. He was the lord of Hikuma Castle, and claimed the court title Buzen no kami. Noritsura's service to the Imagawa clan was during the life of Imagawa Yoshimoto. During the Eishō era (1504–1521), Noritsura built Hikuma Castle, and received it and 10,000 koku of territory around it as a personal fief. He died at the Battle of Okehazama in 1560.

Noritsura's son was Iio Tsuratatsu.

Imagawa Ujiteru

Imagawa Ujiteru (今川 氏輝, 1513 – April 7, 1536) was a Japanese daimyō of the Sengoku period, who ruled the Imagawa clan of Suruga Province. His childhood name was Ryuomaru (竜王丸). His father was Imagawa Ujichika and his mother was Jukei-ni (d. 1568).

Imagawa Ujizane

Imagawa Ujizane (今川 氏真, 1538 – January 27, 1615) was a Japanese daimyō who lived in the Sengoku through early Edo periods. He was the tenth head of the Imagawa clan, and was a son of Imagawa Yoshimoto and the father of Imagawa Norimochi and Shinagawa Takahisa.

Kōzō Shioya

Kōzō Shioya (塩屋 浩三, Shioya Kōzō, born August 18, 1955) is a Japanese voice actor born in Kagoshima Prefecture. He is represented by Aoni Production. His younger brother is voice actor Yoku Shioya.

Okabe Motonobu

Okabe Motonobu (岡部 元信, d. April 25, 1581), also known by his common name Gorobei, was Japanese samurai of the Sengoku period, in the service of the Imagawa clan. The second son of Okabe Chikatsuna, he became a senior retainer of the Imagawa, following in his father's footsteps. After his lord Imagawa Yoshimoto was killed at the Battle of Okehazama, he kept fighting and even retrieved his lord's corpse. Following the clan's collapse he switched allegiance to the Takeda clan and defended Takatenjin Castle. He died in 1581 when he was attacked by Tokugawa forces under Honda Tadakatsu.

Sakuma Morishige

Sakuma Morishige (佐久間 盛重, died June 11, 1560) was a Japanese samurai who served Oda Nobunaga.

In 1560, during the invasion of Owari Province by Imagawa Yoshimoto, leading up to the Battle of Okehazama, Morishige was appointed to defend the Marune fortress on the border of the province.

The fortress came under attack by Tokugawa Ieyasu (who was at that time named Matsudaira Motoyasu). During the siege, Ieyasu made effective use of concentrated arquebus fire. Morishige was killed by a bullet, and the fortress fell the attackers.

Sessai Chōrō

Sessai Chōrō (雪斎長老) (died 1557), also known as Taigen Sessai, was a Japanese abbot and mountain ascetic (yamabushi). He was the uncle of Imagawa Yoshimoto, and served him as military advisor and as commander of Imagawa's forces, despite his lack of any formal battle training or experience.

Sessai aided his nephew in consolidating the Imagawa territories, and in a number of political maneuvers which gained Imagawa influence over the Matsudaira family. By 1548 he had secured a young Tokugawa Ieyasu (a member of the Matsudaira family) as a hostage. However, Imagawa soon came into conflict with the Oda clan, and faced defeat at the 1542 battle of Azukizaka. After this, he left Sessai in command of his armies.

In 1545, Imagawa secured a treaty and alliance between his family and those of the Hōjō and Takeda Shingen. At some point after this, Sessai began to advise Tokugawa Ieyasu, though the extent of his role in Tokugawa's military exploits is unclear, and unlikely to be great.

Sessai died in 1557 due to complications from gout.

Siege of Kakegawa

The 1569 siege of Kakegawa was one of many battles fought by the Imagawa clan against various invaders during Japan's Sengoku period.

Imagawa Ujizane, the son of the late Imagawa Yoshimoto, held Kakegawa castle at the time that it was besieged by Hattori Hanzō under the command of Tokugawa Ieyasu. After a long battle, negotiations began, and Ujizane agreed to surrender the castle in return for the support of Ieyasu in regaining his former territory in Suruga province.

Siege of Terabe

The Siege of Terabe Castle took place in 1558 in feudal Japan. Terabe Castle was a possession of the Ogasawara clan of Mikawa province. The castle was built on the north shore of Mikawa Bay, in what is now called Hazu, in the city of Nishio, Aichi Prefecture.

In 1558, Suzuki Shigeteru, lord of Terabe Castle, defected from the Imagawa in favor of an alliance with Oda Nobunaga. The Imagawa responded by sending an army under the command of Matsudaira Motoyasu, a young vassal of Imagawa Yoshimoto. Terabe Castle was the first of a series of battles waged against the Oda clan.

Motoyasu's forces, attacked Terabe Castle, but were driven off by reinforcements sent by Nobunaga. Motoyasu then continued his campaign against other Oda clan possessions.

Matsudaira Motoyasu would later change his name to Tokugawa Ieyasu. The Siege of Terabe Castle was his first battle.

Suruga-Sagami Conflict

The Suruga-Sagami conflict was a battle during the Sengoku period (16th century) of Japan.

Takeda Nobutora

Takeda Nobutora (武田 信虎, February 11, 1494 – March 27, 1574) was a Japanese daimyō (feudal lord) who controlled the Province of Kai, and fought in a number of battles of the Sengoku period.

He was the father of the famous Takeda Shingen, who was originally named Harunobu, along with two other sons, Nobushige and Nobukado.

Takeda defeated Imagawa Ujichika in 1521 at the Battle of Iidagawara, Hōjō Ujitsuna in 1526 at the Battle of Nashinokidaira, Suwa Yorishige in the 1531 Battle of Shiokawa no gawara, and Hiraga Genshin in the 1536 Battle of Un no Kuchi with the aid of his son Shingen.During that battle, Nobutora was forced to retreat, but his son Harunobu defeated Hiraga and took the castle. Nobutora nevertheless wished to pass on his domain to Nobushige, and so Harunobu overthrew his father and exiled him to Suruga. Nobutora didn't return to Shinano until the death of Shingen in 1573, invited by his grandson Katsuyori, on that time Nobutora was in his 80's, some reported that even as an old man he still managed to strike fear to people around him.Nobutora was also a previous owner of a famous sword named "Soza Samonji" (宗三左文字), although he gave that sword to Imagawa Yoshimoto as a gift to secure an alliance. After Yoshimoto's death at the Okehazama, the sword came into possession of Oda Nobunaga. After the Incident of Honnoji, Toyotomi Hideyoshi recovered the sword, which he later gave to Tokugawa Ieyasu as a gift. The sword is currently a Cultural Properties of Japan

Takeda Yoshinobu

Takeda Yoshinobu (武田 義信, 1538 – November 19, 1567) was a Japanese daimyō of the Sengoku period. Born Takeda Tarō (武田 太郎), he was the son of Takeda Shingen, by Shingen's wife,

Lady Sanjō (三条夫人, real name unknown). He came of age in 1550, and took the formal name of Yoshinobu, receiving the "yoshi" from the 13th Ashikaga shōgun, Ashikaga Yoshiteru. In 1552, to further Takeda-Imagawa ties, he married a daughter of Imagawa Yoshimoto. While Yoshinobu served for a time as lord of the Takeda clan, he rebelled against his father, and was captured and imprisoned together with Obu Toramasa. This is because Yoshinobu objected to invasion of Suruga (Imagawa clan). Yoshinobu committed suicide by seppuku. Yoshinobu's nephew Nobukatsu (son of his half-brother Katsuyori) replaced him as lord of the Takeda clan who also was responsible for his death.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.