Hatano Hideharu (波多野秀治)

Hideharu HATANO was a Daimyo (Japanese territorial lord) of Tanba Province in the Sengoku period. He was the last head of the Hatano clan.


He was born as a son of Harumichi HATANO in 1541. Harumichi was the head of the main Hatano clan and Hideharu should have simply taken it over, but somehow Hideharu became an adopted child of his uncle Motohide HATANO before taking over his father's position.

The Hatano clan had been working for Nagayoshi (Chokei) MIYOSHI since the death of Hideharu's grandfather Tanemichi HATANO, and Hideharu was at first a vassal of the Miyoshi clan. Probably for that reason, he attended at the enthronement ceremony of the Emperor Ogimachi. However, after the death of Nagayoshi (Chokei) in 1566, Hideharu recaptured their headquarters Yakami-jo Castle to become independent as a Sengoku Daimyo. He also formed an alliance with his adopted son-in-law Nagaharu BESSHO of Harima Province.

In 1568, when Nobunaga ODA visited Kyoto to obey Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA, Hideharu became Nobunaga's vassal. In 1574, Hideharu joined Mitsuhide AKECHI's army sent by Nobunaga and fought to suppress local powers who were opposed to the Oda clan in Tanba, but all of a sudden in February 1575, he changed his allegiances and attacked Mitsuhide's army and repelled them (The Battle of Kuroi-jo Castle).

Enraged Nobunaga ordered Mitsuhide to invade Tanba again. Against this, Hideharu fought by barricading himself in the Yakami-jo Castle and coped with Mitsuhide's attack for over one and a half years. However, with Mitsuhide's plan, local powers of Tango and Tajima Provinces who used to be on Hideharu's side turned to the Oda clan side; and they ran out of army provisions due to being besieged for a long time, he surrendered to Mitsuhide in 1579.

Later on, Hideharu was sent to the Azuchi Castle with his brother Hidenao but on Nobunaga's order, he was executed by crucifixion in Jion-ji Temple of Jogo-in in Azuchi on July 5. He died at the age of 39.

It happened to be the date exactly three years before the Honnoji Incident.

His Last Tanka (Japanese Poem)

よわりける 心の闇に 迷はねば いで物見せん 後の世にこそ (means 'If I were not lost in the darkness of my weakening mind, I would show them something, maybe in the future.)

His Personality and Anecdotes

He had high respect for the Imperial Court and he not only donated funds for the ceremony of the enthronement of the Emperor Ogimachi but also provided a security service for Kyoto by leading his army.

The reason that Hideharu, who were crushingly weaker in force size, amount of material and human resources, could fight against Nobunaga for more than one and a half years was that he was superior at hit-and-run tactics utilizing the topography of the mountains in Tanba. However, this upset Nobunaga extraordinarily and Hideharu ended up being executed by crucifixion.

There are several theories about Hideharu's surrender. Mitsuhide, who was irritated by the prolonged battle, ended the tact of holding the castle by promising to save Hideharu and Hidenao under the condition that Mitsuhide would give his own mother (this could have been his aunt who brought him up) as a hostage to Hideharu and Hideharu and Hidenao would surrender and open the castle. Yet, because Nobunaga did not forgive and executed Hideharu and his brother, the enraged johei (castle garrison) killed Mitsuhide's mother by crucifixion. This is believed to have caused the Honnoji Incident remotely. However, it is also said that this story was created in the Edo period. In another theory, a johei, who was unhappy about the prolonged battle, is thought to have taken Hideharu and his brother to Mitsuhide and opened the castle.

[Original Japanese]