Ikeda Katsumasa (池田勝正)

Katsumasa IKEDA (1539-year of death unknown), was a busho (Japanese military commander) and daimyo (Japanese feudal lord) from the Sengoku period (period of warring states) to the Azuchi-Momoyama period. He was the family head of the Ikeda clan. Hachiro Saburo (八郎三郎). The Governor of Chikugo Province, Minbu-taifu (Senior Ministerial Assistant of Popular Affairs) and Shugo (Provincial Constable) of Settsu Province.


In 1563, the former family head Nagamasa IKEDA died, then Katsumasa took over his father's position as the heir of the Ikeda family in Settu Province (He was not a son of Nagamasa but because he was talented both in literary and military arts, he was elected as the heir of the Ikeda family). According a theory, Katsumasa was the legitimate son of Nagamasa and other children including Tomomasa were paternal half-brothers. At that time, the Ikeda clan was a sworn allies of the Miyoshi clan, but the next year, after Nagayoshi MIYOSHI's death the Miyoshi clan lost power, so Katsumasa fought against Hisahide MATSUNAGA in cooperation with Miyoshi Sanninshu (Miyoshi Triumvirate).

In 1568, when Nobunaga ODA went to Kyoto supporting Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA, the Ikeda clan resisted ruling by Nobunaga while other local ruling families in Settsu Province capitulated to Nobunaga, but the Ikeda clan finally capitulated due to overwhelming military force of Nobunaga. Because Nobunaga recognized ability of Katsumasa, he did not blame the resistance against him and even gave Katsumasa additional territory and assured his territory (according to the 'Oda-Bukan' the territory was 60,000 koku crop yields.
At this point, Nobunaga planned to have local ruling family including the Ikeda clan as his retainers to stabilize his ruling in Settsu Province and he entrusted ruling of Settu Province to Katsumasa, Chikaoki ITAMI and Koremasa WADA, then those three were called 'three military governors of Settsu Province.'
Katsumasa was assigned Shugo in Settu Province by the Muromachi bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) (It is said Nobunaga had proposed this to the Muromachi bakufu) and had Chikaoki ITAMI and Koremasa WADA as his retainers.

In 1569, at the time of Conspiracy of Honkoku-ji Temple by Miyoshi Sanninshu, he led his army and fought with Yusai HOSOKAWA and Yoshitsugu MIYOSHI against Miyoshi Sanninshu, then he ran into the enemy line on his own and contributed to the victory.

Later he cooperated with Nobunaga for suppression of Tajima and Harima Province, at the Battle of Kanagasaki in 1570, he led Mitsuhide AKECHI and Hideyoshi KINOSHITA as rear guard and helped Nobunaga escape without danger. However, the same year his retainer Murashige ARAKI (Because his wife was a daughter of Nagamasa IKEDA, he belonged to the Ikeda clan) and Tomomasa IKEDA (the legitimate son of Nagamasa) accepted a stratagem by Miyoshi Sanninshu and banished Katsumasa from Ikeda-jo Castle in cooperation with the Miyoshi clan. Later Katsumasa was ordered to be the lord of the Harada-jo Castle by Nobunaga to compete with Murashige's force which was on the side of Miyoshi Sanninshu, and he moved from place to place with Yusai HOSOKAWA to fight but after Murashige ARAKI became a retainer of Nobunaga, Katsumasa went into retirement at Ikeda (It is also said that Katsumasa traveled to the Kyushu region).


He conducted heinobunri (a separation of the warrior class in this domain from the soil) at an early point and led 3,000 soldiers at the Battle of Kanagasaki.

He took note of guns from early on, and sometimes hired Negoroshu (a group of armed priests in Negoro-ji Temple); it is said he had a lot of guns and was aware of how to use a gun and usage for military purpose.

There is a theory that Katsumasa ran away in front of enemies at the Battle of Katsura-gawa River; however, because Nobunaga did not punish him, the theory is without credibility.

Koremasa WADA, who became Katsumasa's retainer for the meantime, was from Koka and hired ninja for information gathering and stratagem.

Sometimes Katsumasa's name is written as "勝政" instead of "勝正" but according to historical materials from his time, there are only signature and write-down as "勝正," so "勝政" is wrong.

[Original Japanese]