Yamauchi Katsutoyo (山内一豊)

Katsutoyo YAMAUCHI was a warrior and feudal lord from the Warring States period to the Azuchi-Momoyama period and the Edo period. He was the head of the Tosa Yamauchi clan and worked for Nobunaga ODA, Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI and Ieyasu TOKUGAWA. He fought for the Tokugawa side during the Battle of Sekigahara and his services were recognized; therefore, he was given Tosa Province, equaling 200,000 koku. He was the first lord of the Tosa Domain.

He was the third son of Moritoyo YAMAUCHI, a chief vassal of the Iwakura Oda clan. His mother was Hoshuni (or Hoshuin according to some opinions). She might have been a daughter from the Kajiwara clan, a local clan of Owari. His grandfather was Hisatoyo YAMAUCHI. His elder brother was Juro YAMAUCHI, and his younger brother was Yasutoyo YAMAUCHI.. His wife, Kenshoin was known as a faithful, supportive partner (she is famous as 'Chiyo,' but it isn't known whether this was her actual name). She was also said to have been the daughter of Tomooki WAKAMIYA, or alternatively the daughter of Morikazu ENDO. He went by the name of Iemon. He later took Yasutoyo's legitimate son, Tadayoshi YAMAUCHI (second lord), as his foster son.


Regarding the origin of the Tosa Yamauchi clan into which Katsutoyo was born, the content submitted by the Tosa Domain for the "Kansei Choshu Shokafu" (a record of family trees of samurai warriors of the Edo bakufu) produced in the latter half of the Edo period stated that they were the descendants of the Sudo Yamanouchi clan, who were the descendants of FUJIWARA no Hidesato. However, it isn't known whether they were actually the descendants of the Sudo Yamanouchi clan because the apparent descendants of that clan existed separately in Bigo Province during the Warring States period (this Yamauchi clan later became part of the Mori clan and continued into the Edo period) and a record of even the name of the ascendants of Kazutoyo has not been found for eight generations preceding Katsutoyo's great grandfather. Folklore of the Aizu region says that Katsutoyo was part of the Yamauchi clan (a branch family of Sudo Ymanouchi clan), which worked for the Ashina clan, which in turn became Nobunaga's vassal when he wandered, but this doesn't fit Katsutoyo's accomplishments during the Owari period.

It is considered that Katsutoyo's Yamauchi clan began to appear in the history of the Owari Province (western Aichi Prefecture) from the time of Katsutoyo's grandfather, Hisatoyo. Regarding the family history before this, some theories assert that it could have been a small local clan based in Sanomiyajo, Tanba Province (Sannomiya, Kyotanba-cho, Funai-gun, Kyoto Prefecture), but this is unclear (certain historical documents hint at this possibility). However, Katsutoyo's father Moritoyo was definitely a chief vassal of the Iwakura Oda clan, which ruled the four upper districts of Owari as Shugodai (deputy of Shugo, provincial constable).

The reading of 'Yamauchi' and 'Katsutoyo'

The reading of 'Yamauchi' was considered to be 'Yamanouchi' in many historical reference books and dictionaries. This follows the reading of the Sudo Yamanouchi clan, read as 'Yamanouchi,' who are thought to be the ancestors of the Tosa Yamauchi clan.
Indeed, the toponym of Yamanouchisho, Kamakura (Yamanouchi, Kamakura City, Kanagawa Prefecture) became the basis for reading the family name of Sudo Yamanouchi clan as 'Yamanouchi.'

However, the aforementioned "Kansei Choshu Shokafu" has hiragana readings of Katsutoyo's Yamauchi clan as 'Yamauchi.'
Additionally, a letter addressed to Katsutoyo from Okurakyo-no-tsubone, a lady-in-waiting for Yododono, still exists in the present Yamauchi family and writes the address in hiragana as 'Yamauchitsushima dono.'
From the above evidence, it has been recently considered that the correct reading of the name is 'Yamauchi.'

Next, regarding the pronunciation of his given name, it is conventionally read as 'Kazutoyo' but is actually thought to be read 'Katsutoyo,' judging from the pronunciation of subordinates who received the use of a character from his name.

The production team of the 2006 NHK Historical drama series, "Komyogatsuji" (Crossroads of a Great Achievement) deliberated until the last moment about which pronunciation, 'Katsutoyo' or 'Kazutoyo,' should be used.
The team settled on 'Kazutoyo YAMAUCHI.' according to the message fom the current Yamauchi family, 'Please use the name that is familiar to most people.'


He was born in Kurodajo Castle (Owari Province), the residential castle of the Yamauchi family located in Kuroda, Haguri District, Owari Province (currently Kuroda, Kisogawa-cho, Ichinomiya City, Aichi Prefecture). The Yamauchi family was then under the protection of the Oda clan (the head was Nobuyasu ODA, subsequently Nobukata ODA) of Iwakurajo Castle (Owari Province), and his father, Moritoyo, was a chief vassal. However, the Iwakura Oda clan opposed its kin, powerful Nobunaga ODA, and the Yamauchi family was drawn into this conflict as a chief vassal. First, in 1557, Kuroda-jo Castle was attacked by pirates (thought to be in league with Nobunaga ODA) and his elder brother Juro was killed, and in 1559, their lord's residential castle Iwakurajo Castle fell; it is very likely that his father Moritoyo was killed or committed suicide here. Hence the Yamauchi family was broken up and wandered as they lost their lord and head.

Katsutoyo himself initially worked for the lord of Kariyasukajo Castle (Ichinomiya City) Masasada AZAI, and the lord of Matsukurajo Castle (Owari Province) (Kakamigahara City, Gifu Prefecture) Nagayasu MAENO, then left Owari and worked for the lord of Makimurajo Castle in Mino Province (Anpachi-cho, Anpachi-gun, Gifu Prefecture) Masatomo MAKIMURA, and the lord of Omi Province Seta-jo Castle (Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture) Kagetaka YAMAOKA. Around 1568, he worked for Nobunaga ODA and became yoriki (police sergeant) of Hideyoshi KINOSHITA (later Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI).

Later, he had his first military engagement in the Battle of Anegawa in October and November 1570. In September and October 1573, he fought in the Battle of Tonezaka against the Asakura clan, and even though his face was seriously injured, he killed the enemy warrior Tameyuki MITAZAKI.. The arrow that pierced Katsutoyo's cheek became the family treasure of the descendants of his retainer Tamekiyo GOTO, who pulled the arrow out, and is currently owned by the Folk Heritage Museum in Aki City, Kochi Prefecture.

The marriage to his wife, who was known as Kenshoin, probably occurred sometime between the Genki era (1570) and Tensho era (1573).

Due to these achievements, he was given 400 koku (a quantity of rice to feed one person for one year) in Karakuni, Asai District, Omi Province (currently Torahime-cho, Higashiazai-gun). At this time, Hideyoshi hardly had any retainers for himself, so Katsutoyo changed his position to become Hideyoshi's own direct vassal. Considering the fact that his colleagues Nagamasa ASANO, Yoshiharu HORIO and Kazuuji NAKAMURA received about 100 koku level at the same time, he was one step ahead with 400 koku.

Then, in 1577 he was given 2000 koku in Une, Harima Province (within Akaho City, Hyogo Prefecture). Later, he joined Hideyoshi's invasion of the Chugoku region and fought in the battle over Mikijo Castle at Harima (the Battle of Mikijo Castle) and the siege of Tottori-jo Castle in Inaba Province.

The period as a minor feudal lord in the Toyotomi government

After Nobunaga died, Katsutoyo continued to be active as Hideyoshi's vassal. In the preliminary battle of the Battle of Shizukatake in 1583, he had the honor of being the first one to reach the enemy at the attack on Kameyamajo Castle (Ise Province) (Kameyama City, Mie Prefecture). The next year (1584) he participated in the battles of Komaki and Nagakute and was instructed by Hideyoshi to construct the tsukejiro (front line base) in order to surround Ieyasu. Later, in 1585, he became the chief vassal of Hideyoshi's nephew, Hidetsugu TOYOTOMI, and later became the lord of Takahama-jo Castle, Wakasa Province; before long, he became the lord of Omi Nagahama-jo Castle (Omi Province) and received 20,000 koku. At that time, Yoshimasa TANAKA, Yoshiharu HORIO, Kazuuji NAKAMURA and Naosue HITOTSUYANAGI were chief vassals of Hidetsugu. In 1585, he lost his only daughter, Yonehime, during the Great Tensho Earthquake. He was appointed Junior Fifth Low Court Rank and Chief of the Province of Tsushima.

In 1590, he participated in the Battle of Odawara, and attacked Yamanaka-jo Castle. Soon afterward, he was given the land yeilding 51,000 koku of rice a year (1 koku is 5 bushels) in Kakegawa-jo Castle in Totomi Province. In Kakegawa, he restored the castle and constructed the castle-town. Together with the Sunpu-jo Castle lord Kazuuji NAKAMURA, who ruled the land across the river, Katsutoyo constructed dikes and changed the flow of the Oi River, which frequently caused floods. During the Bunroku-Keicho War, he was exempt from war duty like other feudal lord of the chief-vassal class of Hidetsugu, but he provided manpower for building war ships and constructing Fushimi-jo Castle. In 1595, Hidetsugu was executed under suspicion of treason, while Shigeaki WATARASE, an advisor to Hidetsugu along with Katsutoyo, being forced to commit ritual suicide when he became involved in this incident and tried to defend Hidetsugu. However, Katsutoyo and the other chief vassals (Tanaka, Nakamura and Horio) continued taking the position of having nothing to do with the incident and managed to avoid punishment. At this time, 8,000 koku of Hidetsugu's territory became Katsutoyo's.

After Hideyoshi's death in 1600, he participated in the subjugation of Kagekatsu UESUGI following one of the Council of Five Elders, Ieyasu TOKUGAWA, and when one of the five major magistrates, Mitsunari ISHIDA raised his forces while Ieyasu was away, Katsutoyo joined the eastern forces. At this time, when many of the warriors were determining whether to join the western forces or the eastern forces during the war council called the Koyama Counci at Shimotsuke Province, Koyama-jo Castle, Katsutoyo immediately offered his residential castle, Kakegawa-jo Castle, to Ieyasu and gained his favor. The plan to provide his castle was originally proposed by Takauji HORIO when they were discussing in advance, but Katsutoyo borrowed it (Hakuseki ARAI, "Hankanpu" (Genealogy of the Protectors of the Shogunate). It is true that Katsutoyo was actively wooing the people around him to join the eastern forces because other Tokaido feudal lords, particularly the older generation, were losing power since Kazuuji NAKAMURA was near death and Takauji's father, Yoshiharu HORIO, was seriously injured after an attack by a would-be assassin. Terumasa IKEDA, the lord of Yoshida-jo Castle in Mikawa Province also had frequent contact with Katsutoyo, and it is assumed that they discussed the issues at hand. During the main conflict of the Battle of Sekigahara, Katsutoyo was in charge of opposing the Mori and Chosokabe troops. Although he didn't make a prominent contribution during the battle, his achievements prior to the fight were highly recognized and he received the Tosa Province worth 98,000 koku (a koku number submitted by the Chosokabe clan at the Taiko-kenchi (the land survey by Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI), which was later accounted as 202,600 koku from a land survey by the Yamauchi clan).

Lord of Tosa Province

In 1601, his land was transferred from Kakegawa to Tosa and he made a triumphal entry into Urato-jo Castle. The feudal lords who had received much larger amounts of land and came from a different place usually hired many of the former local vassals because they had problems filling the ranks. The former Chosokabe clan warriors were mainly the cultivators who were allowed to arm themselves who rebelled against the new lord and caused many battles within Tosa Province (such as in demanding the return of the former lord, Morichika CHOSOKABE). In response, Katsutoyo used people from other places for important positions and dared to use military force such as the attack at Tanezaki Beach. Thus there was the danger of assassination, and he took five body doubles with him when he inspected sites such as castle construction (the existence of body doubles was confidential and usually not recorded, but Katsutoyo's case is a rarity in that it is clearly recorded). This left problems throughout the province, and this issue of former Yamauchi family vassals being in higher positions and former Chosokabe clan vassals being discriminated against as country samurai continued until the end of the Edo period, ultimately leading to the birth of people such as Ryoma SAKAMOTO. He built Kochi-jo Castle on Mt. Odakasa on the plain of Kochi as the center of administration by inviting Tsunaie DODO, who was a master-less samurai after the Battle of Sekigahara, to serve as magistrate with 7,000 koku, and completed the castle town in 1603. He advanced to Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade of the Governor of Tosa Province around this time.

He prohibited his people from eating raw bonito because of the danger of food poisoning. His people roasted the surface, and claimed that it was not raw in order to eat bonito. This is said to be the origin of bonito tataki.

In 1605, he died of disease at Kochi-jo Castle. He died at the age of 60.

Homyo (posthumous Buddhist name): Daitsuindonoshinposhudendaikoji
Graveyard: The Yamauchi family graves are at Nichirinzan Shinnyo-ji Temple in Tenjin-cho, Kochi City, Kochi Prefecture. Shobozan Myoshin-ji Temple Daitsu-in in Hanazono Myoshinji-cho, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto City (his remains are in the grave at Nichirinzan Shinnyo-ji Temple, so only his ihai (mortuary tablet) is located at Myoshin-ji Temple Daitsu-in).

There is a bronze statue of Katsutoyo riding a horse, holding a spear at Kochi-jo Castle.

History of office and rank, and the transition of territory

1573: He received 400 koku in Karakuni, Omi Province (Karakuni, Torahime-cho, Higashiazai-gun, Shiga Prefecture).

1577: 700 koku was addded in Une, Harima Province (Une, Akaho City, Hyogo Prefecture)
At this time, he owned a total of 2,700 koku (there are alternate theories regarding the sum of koku).

October 21, 1582: 500 koku was added in Innami District, Harima Province (Southern Hyogo Prefecture).

September 16, 1583: 361 koku was added in Shimeno, Kawachi Province (Kinyahonmachi, Hirakata City, Osaka Prefecture)

October 1584: He became the lord of Nagahama-jo Castle in Omi Province and owned 5,000 koku.

June 29, 1585: He became the lord of Takahama-jo Castle in Wakasa Province and owned 19,870 koku. August or September 1585: He becomes Hidetsugu TOYOTOMI's chief vassal. October 21, 1585: Owned 20,000 koku as lord of Nagahama-jo Castle in Omi Province.

October or November 1585 – May or June 1586: He was appointed Shogoinoge (Senior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade) and Chief of the Province of Tsushima ("Kazutoyo Koki" (Biography of Kazutoyo YAMANOUCHI)). An opinion has it that since most of his peers who were vassals of Toyotomi were appointed Jugoinoge (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade) at this time, this might be a written error of Jugoinoge rather than Shogoinoge.

October 21, 1590: He became the lord of Kakegawa-jo Castle, Totoumi Province and owned 50,000 koku. November 22, 1590: He became the daikan (governor) of Ichimiya, Shuchi District, Totoumi Province (Ichimiya, Shuchi-gun Mori-machi, Shizuoka Prefecture) and owner of 19,980 koku.

November 2, 1594: 1,000 koku was added in Suzuka District, Ise Province (Suzuka City, Mie Prefecture)

August 26, 1595: 8,000 koku was added from Hidetsugu TOTOMI's territory in Totoumi Province

December 1600 or January 1601: He became the feudal lord of Tosa Province, with 98,000 koku (later surveyed as 202,600 koku).

He was promoted to Jushiinoge (Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade) on May 6, 1603 and transferred to Tosa no kami (the governor of Tosa Province) ("Tokugawa jikki" (The True Tokugawa Records)).

He died on November 1, 1605.

On November 15, 1919, he was awarded Zo Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank, posthumously conferred).


(Gifu City)
Kenshoin or Chiyo, Matsu was Katsutoyo's wife who was considered to be a clever woman who supported her husband and used her dowry (some say savings she had put away, even though they were poor) and bought a fine horse (Meibaichiran Kagami Kurige). This story was commonly used in textbooks during the pre-World War II period and used in school education to exemplify the ideal woman. It isn't known if this is true, but she is known as the person after whom 'Chiyogami' or Japanese paper with colored figures is named.

[Original Japanese]