Ichi, Chacha and Ishida Mitsunari

Ichi, Chacha and Ishida Mitsunari
Oichi or Ichi (1547–1583) a female historical figure in the late Sengoku-era. She is known primarily as the mother of three daughters who married well – Chacha (Yodo-dono), Hatsu and Go.

Oichi was the younger sister of Oda Nobunaga; and she was the sister-in-law of Nohime, the daughter of Saito Dosan. Oichi was equally renowned for her beauty and her resolve. She was descended from the Taira and Fujiwara clans.

Following Nobunaga's conquest of Mino in 1567, in an effort to cement an alliance between Nobunaga and rival warlord Azai Nagamasa, Nobunaga arranged for Oichi, then twenty years old, to marry Nagamasa. Their marriage was through political means, ensuring an alliance between the Oda and the Azai clans. She bore Nagamasa one son (Manjumaru) and three daughters – Yodo-dono, Ohatsu and Oeyo.

In the summer of 1570, Nagamasa betrayed his alliance with Nobunaga and went to war with him on behalf of the Asakura family. A story relates that Oichi sent her brother a sack of beans tied at both ends, ostensibly as a good-luck charm but in reality a warning that he was about to be attacked from both front and rear by the Asakura and Azai clans. According to the story, Nobunaga understood the message and retreated from his brother-in-law's assault in time.

The fighting continued for three years until the Asakura and other anti-Oda forces were destroyed or weakened. Oichi remained with her husband at Odani Castle throughout the conflict, even after Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a trusted vassal of Nobunaga at the time, began laying siege to the castle. When Odani was surrounded, Nobunaga requested that his sister be returned to him before the final attack. Nagamasa agreed, sending out Oichi and her three daughters.[5] Nagamasa had no hope of winning, and chose to commit seppuku.

Oichi and her daughters remained in the Oda family's care for the next decade. After Nobunaga was assassinated in 1582, his sons and vassals broke into two major factions, led by two of Nobunaga's favored generals, Katsuie and Hideyoshi. Nobunaga's third son, Nobutaka, belonged to the former group, and arranged for his aunt Oichi to marry Katsuie in order to ensure his loyalty to the Oda clan. But in 1583, Katsuie was defeated by Hideyoshi in the Battle of Shizugatake, forcing him to retreat to his home at Kitanosho Castle. As Hideyoshi's army lay siege to the castle, Katsuie implored Oichi to flee with her daughters and seek Hideyoshi's protection. Oichi refused, insisting on dying with her husband after their daughters were sent away. The couple reportedly died in the castle's flames.

Oichi's three daughters each went on to become important historical figures in their own right. The eldest and the most famous, Chacha became a concubine to Hideyoshi, who had killed not only both her birth parents but also her stepfather. She became known as Yodo-dono or Yodogimi (from Yodo Castle, given to her by Hideyoshi), and she bore him his only two sons, including his heir Hideyori. Yodo-dono and Hideyori later died in the Siege of Osaka, the final battle of the Warring States era.

The second, Hatsu, married Kyogoku Takatsugu, a man from a noble family once served by the Azai clan. The Kyogoku clan sided with Ieyasu after Hideyoshi's death, giving her the means to serve as an intermediary between Ieyasu and Yodo-dono. She worked in vain to end their hostilities, and after Yodo-dono and Hideyori's death, managed to save Hideyori's daughter by putting her in a convent.

The youngest, Go, married Tokugawa Hidetada, Ieyasu's heir and the second Tokugawa Shogun. They had many children, including the third Shogun Iemitsu, and Kazuko, consort to Emperor Go-Mizunoo. Kazuko's daughter Okiko became Empress Meishô, thus posthumously making Oichi both a grandmother to a Shogun and a great-grandmother to an Empress.

Ishida Mitsunari was a samurai who led the Western army in the Battle of Sekigahara following the Azuchi-Momoyama period of the 17th century. Also known by his court title, Jibunosho.

He was born in the north of Omi Province (which is now Nagahama, Shiga prefecture), and was the second son of Ishida Masatsugu, who was a retainer for the Azai clan. His childhood name was Sakichi. The Ishida withdrew from service after the Azai's defeat in 1573. According to legend, he was a monk in a Buddhist temple before he served Toyotomi Hideyoshi, but the accuracy of this legend is doubted since it only came about during the Edo-era.

Mitsunari met Toyotomi Hideyoshi when the former was still young and the latter was the daimyo of Nagahama. When Hideyoshi engaged in a campaign in the Chugoku region, Mitsunari assisted his lord in attacks against castles like the Tottori Castle and Takamatsu Castle (in present-day Okayama).

After Hideyoshi seized power, Mitsunari became known as a talented financial manager due to his knowledge and skill at calculation. From 1585 onward, he was the administrator of Sakai, a role he took together with his elder brother Ishida Masazumi. He was appointed one of the five bugyo, or top administrators of Hideyoshi's government. Hideyoshi made him a daimyo of Sawayama in Omi Province, a five hundred thousand koku fief (now a part of Hikone). Sawayama Castle was known as one of the best-fortified castles during that time.

Mitsunari was a leader of bureaucrats in Hideyoshi's government, and was known for his rigid character. Though he had many friends, he was on bad terms with some daimyo that were known as good warriors, including Hideyoshi's relatives Fukushima Masanori and Kato Kiyomasa. After Hideyoshi's death, their conflict worsened. The central point of their conflict was the question whether Tokugawa Ieyasu could be relied on as a supporter of the Toyotomi government, whose nominal lord was the child Toyotomi Hideyori.

In 1600, the Battle of Sekigahara was fought as a result of this political conflict. Mitsunari succeeded in organizing an army led by Mori Terumoto. But the coalition following Tokugawa Ieyasu was greater, and the battle resulted in Mitsunari's defeat.

After his defeat, he sought to escape, but was caught by villagers. He was beheaded in Kyoto. After execution, his head, severed from his body, was placed on a stand for all the people in Kyoto to see. However, a rumor has it that after a few days, his head mysteriously disappeared. Other daimyo of the Western army, like Konishi Yukinaga and Ankokuji Ekei were also executed.

Mitsunari had three sons (Shigeie, Shigenari and Sakichi) and three daughters (only the younger girl's name is known, Tatsuko) with his wife, and another child from a mistress.