Hojo Genan (北条幻庵)

Genan HOJO/Nagatsuna HOJO was a busho (Japanese military commander) in the Sengoku period (period of warring states). He was born as the third son of Soun HOJO. He was a betto (administrator of a Buddhist temple) of Hakone-jinja Shrine. He was also an Inju (the chief of a temple) of Kongoo-in Temple.


He entered the priesthood when he was young, entering Hakone gongen (sacred mountain), and did ascetic practices in Mii-dera Temple in Kyoto.

He did not return to secular life after returning to Sagami, and ruled Naka County Sagami Province and Musashi Kozukue territory.

He lost his eldest son Saburo (his real son) early, his sons Tsunashige and Nagatoshi in the battle of Kanbara-jo Castle in Suruga Province (Shizuoka Prefecture) against Shingen TAKEDA in 1569, therefore, he adopted Kagetora UESUGI, the seventh son of Ujiyasu HOJO, giving him the reigns of the family, and retired, calling himself Genan Sotetsu. He made Ujitaka HOJO, the fourth son of Ujitsuna HOJO, succeed Kozukue-jo Castle after Saburo (Kagetora) had been adopted by Kenshin UESUGI, and gave reigns of the family to his grandson Ujitaka HOJO, the son of Ujinobu (Tsunasige).

According to 'the Tax Ledger (a list of vassals' shoryo [territory]) of the Hojo Family,' he had the biggest territory of the family which was more than 5,000 kanmon (1,000 kanmon = 10,000 yen).

He died in 1589 at the age of 97, (it is based on the Hojo Godai Ki [Chronicles of the Hojo family through five generations], however, current studied suggest it has many discrepancy between contemporary first class historical materials such as the Myoho-ji Ki [Chronicles of the Myoho-ji Temple] or ancient documents such as old letters, making its credibility doubtful, and Motoki KURODA dated Genan's birth during the Eisho era [1504-1521]. If it is true, his age of death was 10 years younger) one theory has it he was born in 1501. The Hojo clan fell, having been attacked by Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI after eight months of Genan's death.

He was an elder-like figure of the Hojo clan, exceling in Japanese horse-back archery technique and the art of Japanese archery, and joined the battles leading an army sometimes. He had ample knowledge about culture as a successor to the Ise family, whose job was manner denso, and was an educated man, being well versed in waka, linked verse, Japanese tea ceremony and garden, etc.

He was also dexterous, called as 'saddlesmith Genan,' being known as a master of making saddles and armors.

He left a note titled 'the Genan Memorandum' in which he wrote knowledge of civility and rules of etiquette when Ujiyasu's daughter married.

We can tell his ability from the garden of Soun-ji Temple, which is a family temple of Hojo Godai (the five generations of Hojo).

He was the only person who saw from start to end of the Gohojo clan among vassals whose records were left, serving all leaders from the first Soun HOJO to the fifth Ujinao HOJO.

[Original Japanese]