Date Masamune (伊達政宗)
Masamune DATE (September 5, 1567 - June 27, 1636) was a feudal warlord who lived during the Sengoku period. He was a feudal lord with the territories including Dewa Province (Ushu) and Mutsu Province (Oshu). He was the first lord of Sendai Domain in Mutsu Province.
His original family name was Fujiwara of the Fujiwara clan. His family lineage originated from the Date clan of Tomomune DATE as an ancestor. Masamune DATE was a legitimate son of the 16th lord, Terumune DATE and Yoshihime, a daughter of Yoshimori MOGAMI (a younger sister of Yoshiaki MOGAMI). His childhood name was Bontenmaru, name commonly used was Tojiro, and a posthumous name was Teizan. He was given the god title as Takefuruhikonomikoto, and enshrined at the Aoba-jinjya Shrine.
He contracted smallpox in his youth, and lost his eyesight of the right eye. He was known as one of the most prominent cultured person during the Sengoku period, while he preferred grand and flamboyant styles. His first name "Masamune" was named after the 9th lord of Date clan, Masamune DATE (Daizen no daibu [Master of the Palace Table]) who was the founder of a revival during the Muromachi period; therefore, he was often called Tojiro-Masamune to distinguish from Masamune DATE of Daizen no daibu.
In 1567, Masamune DATE was born in Dewa Province, at Yonezawa-jo Castle located in today's Yonezawa City. In 1571, he lost his eyesight of the right eye due to smallpox. In those days, there was no treatment for curing smallpox, thus it was a fatal disease.
An anecdote is told that Kagetsuna KATAKURA, with his short sword, enucleated Masamune's right eye that spoiled his appearance.
The father of Masamune, Terumune DATE was concerned about the future of Masamune, then he invited a Zen priest of the Rinzai sect, Kosai Soitsu for Masamune to teach Buddhism and Sinology with strict instruction. In 1575, Kagetsuna KATAKURA, who was a son of a Shinto priest, was appointed as the personal guardian of Masamune to become his attendant. Kagetsuna served and devoted his life to Masamune, sometimes as the closest aide, and sometimes as a strategist next to Masamune.
From the succession to the headship of the family to the Suriagehara War
In 1577, Masamune celebrated his coming of age, and in 1579, he got married with Aihime whose father was a warlord of Sendo and the lord of the Miharu-jo Castle, Kiyoaki TAMURA. In 1581, when Masamune was 15 years old, he went on his first battle to attack the adjacent province ruled by SOMA clan, and won a victory.
In 1584, Masamune succeeded to the family at the age of 18, and became the 17th lord of Date clan. At that time, his father Terumune was 41 years old and still in his prime, thus Masamune first declined to succeed family headship insisting on his immaturity; however, the determination of Terumune was strong as he saw through the talent of Masamune as a military commander; eventually Masamune accepted the succession of family headship.
The lord of the Odamori-jo Castle Sadatsuna OUCHI allied with the lord of the Nihonmatsu-jo Castle Yoshitsugu HATAKEYAMA, in order to free themselves from the ruling of Tamura clan, and then to oppose against Masamune. In 1585, Masamune advanced his troops to the Odamori-jo Castle. During the attack, Masamune revealed the cruel side of his nature by refusing the surrender of enemy soldiers and throughgoingly purged the entire enemy troops (Masamune's enemy mow down at the Odemori-jo Castle). His tactics of annihilating the enemy troops was an unprecedented event in Oshu region, where almost all ruling clans were relatives and kinsmen; this incident terrorized those feudal lords of neighboring territories. This annihilation tactics was set as a warming to neighboring countries. On the other hand, Masamune later accepted Sadatsuna as his vassal from the strategic point of view.
Closely witnessed the decline of Sadatsuna OUCHI, Yoshitsugu HATAKEYAMA asked Masamune to have a peace negotiation. The peace talk was settled by the mediation of Terumune by limiting the territory of HATAKEYAMA family to 5 villages. However, Terumune was abducted when he came to a castle gate to see off Yoshitsugu HATAKEYAMA, who had visited Terumune to express his gratitude for mediating the peace talk and securing his territory. When this incident occurred, Masamune was out in the field for hunting, but he rushed back to the castle and chased after the entourage of HATAKEYAMA, and shot everyone to death along with his father, Terumune. As for this incident, there are various theories regarding the causes and consequences; Terumune ordered Masamune to shoot Yoshitsugu together with him; or it was a plot of Masamune to kill his father, judging from the fact that the troops of Masamune coming after the group of Hatakeyama was prepared with guns.
Soon after the memorial service on the sixth day after Terumune's death, Masamune besieged the Nihonmatsu-jo Castle of Nihonmatsu clan for an avenging battle of Terumune's death; his troops engaged in a fierce battle against anti-DATE allied forces of Satake and Ashina clans with 30,000 soldiers organized for saving Hatakeyama clan, at the Hitotori-bashi Bridge in Adachi District. The DATE troop had less than one-fifth of soldiers compared to the allied forces, and the troops faced difficulties when a senior retainer Yoshinao ONINIWA was killed in the battle; however, they narrowly withstood against the enemy attacks and made the allied forces withdraw, and consequently Masamune won a victory (the Battle of Hitotoribashi).
Masamune promoted further invasion operations; in 1588, he conquered the territory of the opponent after the victory of the Battle of Koriyama. Receiving the support from the Tamura clan, the parents house of his wife Aihime, Masamune expanded his territory and influence to the middle part of Nakadori region in today's Fukushima Prefecture.
Kanpaku (a chancellor, a chief advisor to the Emperor) Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI issued a peace edicts to the feudal lords in Kanto and Tohoku regions, intended especially for the Hojo clan in Kanto region and the Date clan in Tohoku region. However, Masamune continued his warfare by ignoring the order from Hideyoshi.
In the same year, Masamune intervened in the family conflict of Osaki clan by invading the territory of Osaki clan with 10,000 soldiers, but Masamune was defeated due to the stiff resistance of Osaki clan, the betrayal of his ally Haruuji KUROKAWA, and the weather condition during the battle with a heavy snow. Ashina clan and Nikaido clan seized this defeat as the opportunity to invade the Southern part of the Date clan territory. At the same time, Masamune came close to an explosive situation with his uncle Yoshiaki MOGAMI, but Yoshihime intermediated between them to reconcile their relationship, thus Masamune managed to escape from his predicament.
In 1589, Masamune fought against the allied forces of Yoshihiro ASHINA and Satake clan from Aizu region in order to gain supremacy in Tohoku region. This battle is called the Suriagehara War (the battle was fought near Inawashiro-cho, at the foot of the Bandai-san Mountain). By the time of this war, Yoshihiro ASHINA had already become one of those many warlords coming under the umbrella of the chancellor Hideyoshi, therefore fighting against Ashina clan meant a defiance against Hideyoshi. The troops of Yoshihiro ASHINA consisted of 15,000 soldiers, while the troops of Masamune consisted of 21,000 soldiers; Masamune took up a position on the halfway up the Bandai-san Mountain. During this battle, Masamune's troops killed 300 cavalrymen and 2,000 infantrymen. Kurokawa-jo Castle fell to the troops of Masamune; Masamune took control of the Aizu region after the fall of Ashina clan. Masamune further advanced his troops to Suka-gawa River; consequently Masamune overthrew Nikaido clan. Before and after this battle, feudal lords such as Yoshichika SHIRAKAWA, Akimitsu ISHIKAWA and Tsunetaka IWAKI yielded to Masamune one after another, and served under him.
By that time, Masamune territorialized the Nakadori region and Aizu region of today's Fukushima Prefecture, the Southern part of Yamagata Prefecture, and the Southern part of Miyagi Prefecture; Masamune acquired one of the largest areas of domain among other warlords in Japan. Further to those own domains, Masamune also took control of those local ruling families in Southern Mutsu Province area such as Shirakawa Yuki clan, and the ruling families of today's Miyagi Prefecture to Iwate Prefecture area such as Osaki clan and Kasai clan.
Confrontation with Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI
Around that time, Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI was carrying out the unification process of Japan as a single nation, which he took over from Nobunaga ODA; Masamune strongly opposed to this unification process of Hideyoshi. Several letters were sent from Hideyoshi trying to persuade Masamune to visit Kyoto for swearing allegiance, but Masamune ignored them. Masamune had kept the alliance with Gohojo clan formed by his father, Terumune DATE, thus he was irresolute until the last moment whether he should fight against Hideyoshi, or join the Odawara Attack (the war led by Hideyoshi Toyotomi and his allies against Hojo clan). In 1590, Masamune finally yielded to Hideyoshi considering the number of soldiers making up the troops of Hideyoshi; Hideyoshi acknowledged to secure the fief of Masamune (however, the territory in Aizu region was forfeited, since the invasion of Aizu region was considered as a rebellious act against the order of Hideyoshi; Masamune's territorial land value became 720,000 koku [a unit of volume: rice 1-koku is 180.39 liter, lumber 1-koku is 0.278 cubic meter]). According to historical records, Hideyoshi threatened Masamune by virtually placing him under restraint for his tardiness at the Odawara Attack; however, upon the demand of explanation from Toshiie MAEDA who came to interrogate him, Masamune unexpectedly responded to ask for the instruction session of tea ceremony from SEN no Rikyu; Hideyoshi marveled at his tactful behavior. It is said that Masamune intentionally acted in this manner because he knew the preference of Hideyoshi who was fond of flamboyant styles and behaviors. After Masamune swore allegiance to Hideyoshi, the ally of Masamune, Ujimasa HOJO and his son Ujinao HOJO also surrendered to Hideyoshi; then Hideyoshi entered Masamune's Kurokawa-jo Castle in Aizu region, and conducted Oshu Shioki (punishment to the powerful warriors in the area of Oshu, to prevent them from strengthening their power). After the completion of this conduct, Hideyoshi finally achieved the "unification of Japan."
It is a commonly-held story that his mother had attempted to poison Masamune before he left to join the troops of Hideyoshi, and Masamune put his younger brother to the sword instead of executing his mother for punishment. However, there is also a theory that this story of poisoning Masamune is a fiction. Although Masamune's mother Yoshihime (Hoshunin) remained at the Date family even after this incident, she suddenly fled to the Yamagata-jo Castle after 4 years of the incident, where her elder brother, Yoshiaki MOGAMI resided (please refer to "Yoshihime" page for further information).
In 1591, Masamune subjugated the Kasai-Osaki Ikki (the revolt of the former retainers of the Kasai clan and the Osaki clan) with Ujisato GAMO, but Masamune himself was suspected of provoking the Kasai-Osaki Ikki. This suspicion originated from a letter obtained by Ujisato, which was supposed to be "written by Masamune" to the ikki group. In Kyoto, various rumors were spread that the wife of Masamune sent to Kyoto as a hostage was the double of the real one, or the banners and flags of Masamune were put up at the castle where the ikki group was taking up a position; those rumors had reached the ears of Hideyoshi. Therefore, Masamune headed to Kyoto. Masamune explained to Hideyoshi that the letter of instigating the ikki revolt was a forgery, then he was forgiven; however, he was order to transfer from the Yoneyama-jo Castle to the Iwate-jo Castle in Tamatsukuri District after the decision to reduce his territory to 580,000 koku; the name of the castle was changed to the Iwadeyama-Jo Castle since then.
In 1593, Masamune participated in the troops of Hideyoshi organized for the Invasion of Korea, and went to the front in Korean Peninsula. He was also engaged in construction projects. The armored costumes, which Masamune prepared for the troops of the Date clan were extremely gorgeous and splendid that their costume gave people a lot to talk about on the way to Kyoto. There are some records that the troops consisted of 3,000 soldiers, or rather 1,500 soldiers. While the residents of Kyoto were quietly observing the passing troops, they cheered for the splendidness of the military uniforms of the Date troops. After this event, people began to call "Date mono" (a person as if from the Date troops) for someone who preferred flamboyant style in cloth and wore it skillfully. It is said that in order to avoid being sent to the foremost front where the possibility of getting damages is higher, Masamune calculated and sought for the position of his troops to be near the headquarter, by applying his troops with the military uniforms, which would please Hideyoshi with showy character.
Under the ruling of Hideyoshi, Masamune was not chosen as the member of the Council of Five Elders because he had allied with Hojo clan and opposed against Hideyoshi, unlike those feudal lords who had served under Hideyoshi from the early stage of the unification process of Japan promoted by Hideyoshi.
In 1595, Kanpaku (a chancellor) Hidetsugu TOYOTOMI committed seppuku (ritual suicide performed by samurai) after he was suspected of treason against Hideyoshi. The relatives and fellows of Masamune were put under strain because Masamune had a close relationship with Hidetsugu. During that time, Komahime, the daughter of Yoshiaki MOGAMI and maternal cousin of Masamune, was executed together with the other wives and children of Hidetsugu just after she arrived in Kyoto to become the concubine of Hidetsugu. Masamune was also suspected of taking part in treason, but eventually he was considered not related, escaping from the difficulty of being implicated.
After the death of Hideyoshi, one of the Council of Five Elders, Ieyasu TOKUGAWA and Masamune broke the last will and testament of Hideyoshi, by setting up the engagement between Irohahime, the first daughter of Masamune, and Tadateru MATSUDAIRA, the 6th son of Ieyasu in 1599.
The Battle of Sekigahara and the participation of war by Date troops for Mogami troops
After the death of Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI, Ieyasu launched a campaign against Uesugi clan in 1600 upon suspecting the proprietor of Aizu region Kagekatsu UESUGI of treason. Masamune joined this campaign, and he captured a subsidiary castle of Uesugi clan Shiroishi-jo Castle defended by TOSAKA shikibu no Katsunori. While Ieyasu was out on this campaign, one of the members of the Council of Five Elders, Mitsunari ISHIDA raised an army against Ieyasu with Terumoto MORI as a supreme commander. Upon hearing this news, the troops of Ieyasu, which had been moving northward, changed their direction to the west at Oyama. At this time, Ieyasu sent a letter to Masamune indicating the reward of a new, additional territory of 490,000 koku value on top of his existing 580,000 koku upon victory ("Assurance of Hyakumangoku [1 million koku]" owned by the Sendai City Museum). It is considered that Ieyasu gave this "Assurance of Hyakumangoku" (Hyakumangoku meaning 1,000,000 koku of land) to urge the participation of Masamune to his Eastern Army, because his participation to the Eastern Army was critical in order to hold Kagekatsu UESUGI to Aizu region.
When the Sekigahara War broke out in September of the same year, Masamune joined the Eastern Army led by Ieyasu; when the troops of Uesugi clan led by Kanetsugu NAOE attacked the Yamagata-jo Castle where Mogami family resides, Masamune sent reinforcements led by his deputy, Masakage RUSU for Mogami clan (the Battle of Hasedo-jo Castle).
On September 25, Masamune ordered Tsunamoto MONIWA to capture the Yuhara-jo Castle located in the domain of Uesugi.
Once Masamune learned that Kanetsugu NAOE had gone back to Yonezawa after the Battle of Hasedo-jo Castle, he launched a campaign to the Sendo area, and on October 6, Masamune defeated the troops of Uesugi led by Sigenaga HONJO at Miyashiro. Moreover, the troops of Date clan besieged the Fukushima-jo Castle, while the troops withdrew on the following day of the siege because of the strong defense of the castle (the Battle of Miyashiroomote, while Uesugi clan called this battle as the Battle of Matsugaoka).
After the Battle of Sekigahara, a scheme of Masamune was exposed that he secretly ordered Munenao SHROISHI to support Tadachika WAGA for instigating ikki (uprising of peasant) in the territory of Nanbu clan (The uprising troops were defeated in April, 1601). Ieyasu took this "Waga incident" seriously, and he declared a thorough investigation regarding the incident; he annulled the promissory note of adding 490,000 koku, that is, to allow Masamune for acquiring hyakumangoku (1 million koku). In the end, the rewards granted to Masamune were limited to the permission of establishing Sendai Domain, along with the territorial gain of 20,000 koku by adding Katta District (Shiroishi) in Mutsu Province; his territorial land value became 600,000 koku in total (later, he acquired additional small and scattered territories in Omi Province and Hitachi Province, making his territorial land value to 620,000 koku in total).
Opening of Sendai Domain and Keicho Mission to Europe
In 1601, Masamune started the construction of the Sendai-jo Castle and its castle town; later he moved to the Sendai-jo Castle. Masamune as the founder, Sendai Domain was established there in Sendai. The territorial land value of Sendai Domain was the third highest in Japan for its 620,000 koku value, next to Kaga Domain of Maeda clan and Satsuma Domain of Shimazu clan; however, this figure was a face value, and the actual land value of Sendai Domain was estimated to exceed well over 1,000,000 koku.
The Sendai-jo Castle was a mountain castle with a defense system utilizing the natural topography of the mountain, while the construction of the castle town at the foot of the Sendai-jo Castle became a full-scale construction mobilizing 1 million people in total for the comprehensive development throughout the area. For the administration of the domain, Masamune established 48 offices and allocated his vassals to each office.
Masamune came up with a project plan to open trade between Sendai Domain and Spain (a trading oversea via Pacific Ocean); in 1613, Masamune built a galleon ship within Sendai Domain with the cooperation of Sebastián Vizcaíno, the envoy of the King of Spain, Felipe III, which was then named as San Juan Bautista. Once Masamune obtained an approval of Ieyasu, he appointed Luis Sotelo as the ambassador of the delegation, and dispatched over 180 people including his retainer Tsunenaga HASEKURA to Viceroyalty of New Spain (Mexico), Spain and Rome (Keicho era mission to Europe).
During the Siege of Osaka in 1614, Shigenaga KATAKURA felled Mototsugu GOTO, while he even withstood against the offensive movements of Nobushige (Yukimura) SANADA and greatly contributed to the victory.
Once the social conditions calmed and settled, Masamune mainly put of his effort on the development of his territory lands, and he developed Teizan-bori Canal since then. He developed and made adjustment to the Kitakami-gawa River basin system, turning those areas into a grain-growing district, which still remains until today. As the result of this development, Sendai Domain achieved the actual yield of rice crop in the amount of 1,000,000 koku, while the reported face value based on the original territory condition was 620,000 koku. In terms of the cultural development, Masamune actively introduced the Kyoto and its vicinity cultures by inviting technical experts, artisans and carpenters, and created a style based on the solemn and splendid Momoyama style with the mixture of those qualities found in northern regions; Masamune left various buildings such as Osaki Hachiman-gu Shrine and Zuigan-ji Temple that are designated as the national treasures today, and Shiogama-jinja Shrine and Mutsu Kokubun-ji Temple. Masamune invited Magobe KAWAMURA, a technical expert in Omi Province, and constructed the Port of Ishinomaki at the mouth of the Kitakami-gawa River. The Port of Ishinomaki enabled to provide the system of transporting the rice produce in the eastern bound shipping route, from the canals of Kitakami-gawa River basin to Edo via Ishinomaki (Most of the time throughout Edo period, half of the total rice produce distributed in Edo was the transported rice from the Port of Ishinomaki of Sendai Domain).
He continued to serve for Edo Bakufu under the 2nd Shogun Hidetada TOKUGAWA till the 3rd Shogun Iemitsu TOKUGAWA; in May, 1636, he died in Edo. He died at the age of 70. The cause of his death is considered to be cancerous pleurisy or esophageal cancer (esophageal cardiac cancer). Those wooden statues and pictures of Masamune produced after his death were given both eyes, while the right eye was represented slightly smaller than the other; this was based on the thought of Masamune, "my eyes were given by my parents, thus it is unfilial that I lost my right eye, even if the cause of that loss was an illness."
His death poem was "I was just going the way I believed the best as if going with the help of the moon light in front of me, in this unpredictable warring world".
His posthumous Buddhist name is Zuiganjiden-Teizan-Zenri-Daikoji (honorific title: Teizan-ko).
Yonezawa-jo Castle (Yonezawa City, Yamagata Prefecture)
1567 - 1585
Obama-jo Castle (Mutsu Province) (Nihonmatsu City, Fukushima Prefecture)
1585 - 1586
1586 - 1589
Wakamatsu-jo Castle (Oute-machi, Aizuwakamatsu City, Fukushima Prefecture)
1589 - 1590
1590 - 1591
Iwadeyama-jo Castle (Osaki City, Miyagi Prefecture)
1591 - 1601
Sendai-jo Castle (Aoba Ward, Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture)
1601 - 1627
Wakabayashi-jo Castle (Wakabayashi Ward, Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture)
1627 - 1636
The tomb of Masamune
His tomb is located at Zuiho-den morgue in Aoba Ward, Sendai City
Zuiho-den was built by Tadamune DATE in October, 1637 after the death of Masamune. It was designated as a national treasure in 1931, but the original building suffered war damage and it was burned down in 1945. Zuiho-den seen today is the one rebuilt in 1979.
Prior to the reconstruction, excavation and research of the graveyard were conducted in 1974; the scientific analysis of the bunes of the deceased revealed that his height was 159.4 cm (it was an average height of that time), while the analysis of the hair of the deceased showed his blood type was ABO type. About 30 burial goods were found, such as sword, armor, gold-lacquered ink stone box, pencil, pocket sun watch with a compass, pocket mirror, pipe, silver pendant, gold rosary, and etc.
Masamune's father Terumune named his son as Masamune, after the 9th lord of Date clan Masamune who was the founder of a revival of Date clan. Masamune seemed to be proud of the origin of his name, and he wished to be buried in the place associated with this particular ancestor; consequently he was buried at the location of his wish.
The rumor of believing Masamune as the reincarnation of one-eyed high priest Mankai was widely spread from the days of Masamune; among those folklores in Tohoku regions, some stories related with this belief have been transmitted, such as "the story of a peasant who set out on a journey for asking Sendai-sama (Lord Masamune) to cure the illness of his mother by the spiritual energy of Masamune."
There was a foreigner among those concubines of Masamune. This concubine was a Korean woman brought back with him as a captive when he went to the front in Korean Invasion.
Regarding the possibility of a homosexual relationship, there is a letter sent to a pageboy Sakujuro TADANO (Katsuyoshi TADANO) suggesting such relationship. There is also another example suggesting a homosexual relationship of Masamune with Shigenaga KATAKURA, the son of Kagetsuna KATAKURA; referring to "the Historical Records of KATAKURA clan," there is a description regarding the night before joining the Siege of Osaka, stating that Masamune kissed on the cheek of Shigenaga by saying, "who am I supposed to appoint a vanguard if I can not ask you for that" upon the request of Shigenaga to be the vanguard of the battle on the next day.
Masamune named his legitimate son Tadamune as his successor, while he was the second son of Masamune with his legal wife, Aihime. Masamune did not hand over the family headship to Hidemune, the first son of Masamune with his concubine, the lady of Izaka (a daughter of Izaka clan, commonly called as "Nekogozen," meaning "cat mistress") by determinedly placing Hidemune as an illegitimate child in consideration to the connection of Hidemune with Toyotomi clan.
When Masamune entered the Kurokawa-jo Castle after the battle of the Surigahara War, Date family member Shigemune DATE improvised a Tanka (a form of a Japanese traditional poetry) saying, "Otomosede Kayanono Yoruno shigure kite Sodeni sansato Nure kakaranuran" (Silently a light shower came to the night of Kayano, and softly and incessantly drizzled on my sleeve")
It is said that this tank became the origin of a minyo (a traditional folk song) in Tohoku Region called "Sansa Shigure" (incessantly drizzling light shower) in later years, which is sometimes sung in such celebratory occasions as a wedding ceremony; however this is not a fact but a popular belief. In the northern part of Fukushima Prefecture, and in Miyagi Prefecture, Sansa Shigure is often sung in such celebratory occasions as a wedding banquet; however, singing Sansa Shigure in Aizu region of Fukushima Prefecture could be rude and make people feel unpleasant.
When Masamune was summoned and confronted with an evidential letter by Hideyoshi Toyotomi upon the suspicion of instigating Osaki Ikki (the revolt of the former retainers of Osaki clan with the peasants of the region), Masamune made an excuse regarding the letter by indicating the lack of a pinhole on the letter at his seal mark of wagtail. Masamune succeeded to take his way out since it was proved only this evidential letter did not have the pinhole by comparing with all the other letters sent to Hideyoshi. In truth, there is a high possibility that Masamune utilized two kinds of written seal marks depending on an occasion; although Hideyoshi suspected of this possibility, he could not acquire conclusive evidence. Actually, there is no example among those existing letters sent from Masamune with a pinhole at the written seal marks.
Although there is a theory stating Masamune did not accompany with the troops set out to the Japanese invasion of Korean, it is an untrue belief and different from a fact. As the evidences of Masamune and his fellows visiting Korean Peninsula, "Garyubai" (a plum tree shaped in a form resembling a lying dragon) that Masamune brought back from Korea can be found at the Wakabayashi-jo Castle and the Zuigan-ji Temple rebuilt by Masamune.
By following Ieyasu, Masamune prioritized finding an opportunity to conquer the country in the future; he first aimed to retrieve his former territory by invading the land of the Uesugi clan, in order to acquire a total territory worth 1,000,000 koku with his own hands, which was the amount promised in the "Assurance of Hyakumangoku." However, his scheme was brought to a halt since the Battle of Sekigahara lasted in shorter period of time than Masamune had expected.
When the residence castle of Mogami clan, the Yamagata-jo Castle was attacked by the troops of Uesugi clan, Kagetsuna KATAKURA offered an advice for Masamune to watch for the opportunity of Mogami clan and Uesugi clan going down together and profit from it; however, Masamune rejected this advice for reason of protecting his mother, and sent a reinforcement. However, it is still unknown whether this story is true or not. Although Masamune sent a reinforcement for Mogami clan, the troops just stood by and watched while the troops of Uesugi clan attacked the Mogami troops. This fact indicates that Masamune had plotted a scheme to take action once Uesugi troop captured the Yamagata-jo Castle.
After "Osaka Natsu no Jin" (the Summer Siege of Osaka), Masamune had to abandon his ambition of conquering Japan, especially after seeing the decline and forfeiture of Tadateru MATSUDAIRA (the 6th son of Ieyasu and the husband of the daughter of Masamune, Irohahime); Masamune began to follow Ieyasu with respect by recognizing his wish for the peace and the security of the nation; he put in his efforts to the management of his territory. However, this view is often denied because there are some historical materials advocating the ambition of Masamune (the theory stating that Masamune had plotted a scheme to overthrow the Tokugawa Shogunate and put his son-in-law, Tadateru MATSUDAIRA in the position of shogun).
On May 7 during Osaka Natsu no Jin (the Summer Siege of Osaka), the party of Sukeshige JINBO deployed at Senbaguchi in front of other Date troops, was completely defeated by the surprise attack made by the party of Takenori AKASHI. It was rumored that this incident was an internecine strife plotted by Masamune. Masamune insisted that he had no choice but to finish up the Jinbo party himself, in order not to let his own troops dragged into the debacle of the Jinbo party upon the attack of the Akashi party. In consequence, this incident was settled when bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) confirmed after the insistence of Date clan, while this incident drew attention and promoted conjectures in various degree (refer to the section of Sukeshige JINBO).
Tsunefusa ISAGO (a legitimate son of Sadatsune ISAGO) violated a military order during the Siege of Osaka, but he joined DATE family rather than being punished. This is why there is a theory considering Tsunefusa as an illegitimate son of Masamune.
Masamune was highly respected from Iemitsu TOKUGAWA. For Iemitsu, Masamune was a person of ability, a tutelage to bring him up and support to be a shogun, and a leading figure in the period of warring states even competed against his grandfather, Ieyasu. Masamune would have been the substitute figure of his own father for Iemitsu in every aspect. Whether it was the intention of bakufu or not, the treatment of Masamune by Iemitsu himself was obviously beyond the degree of common practice, among those who were not hereditary or the original vassals of Tokugawa clan.
Masamune was allowed to put on a sword and a short sword even in front of the shogun. When a close vassal of the shogun examined those swords of Masamune as he got drunk and fell asleep, he found those swords were wooden ones.
Iemitsu allowed Masamune to use a purple fringe to grace his horse for the occasion of visiting the Nijo-jo Castle, while this was not allowed even among gosanke (the three privileged branch families of Tokugawa).
When Masamune became ill, Iemitsu arranged a doctor and ordered all shrines and temples in Edo to offer a prayer for his recovery; Iemitsu himself visited Masamune 3 days before Masamune's death. When Masamune passed away, Iemitsu moaned for his death more than the death of his father Hidetada; all the activities of taking lives of living, and amusements or entertainments were then prohibited for 7 days in Edo, and 3 days in Kyoto.
There was no end to the various suspicions against Masamune, regarding his possible involvement in plotting schemes of alienating targeted parties or instigating uprisings. "Date Hikan" (the secret records of Date) written by a retainer of Sendai Domain, Michitoki HANDA has a description stating there was a group of ninja (Japanese covert agent in feudal times) called Kurohabagigumi (Black shin guards Corps). On the other hand, any description regarding the name Kurohabagigumi can not be found in "Masamuneki" (the chronicle of Masamune).
Reference (regarding events such as Kasai-Osaki Ikki [the revolt of the former retainers of the Kasai clan and the Osaki clan], the revolt of Tadachika WADA)
Since shogun Iemitsu did not have any experience of participating in a war, he often asked Masamune or other feudal lords with multiple experiences of joining wars about the details of those battles. One day, Iemitsu invited Masamune and Yoshinobu SATAKE (chief general of the Western Capital Offices) and asked various questions regarding the Suriagehara War; Masamune as the winner of the war was eloquent, while Yoshinobu SATAKE as the looser of the war remained silent with his lip bit throughout the meeting.
It has been told that Masamune might have embraced the Christianity himself since there was a rosary among his relics. In fact, it is known that Irohahime, the eldest daughter of Masamune, was Christian for a period of time in her life.
Masamune took an unique way to maintain his health, by opening up one side of kotatsu (covered table with heat source beneath) to the air.
Masamune had a self-imposed rule not to get up in the morning until an attendant came to wake him up at a fixed time, even if he work up earlier.
Masamune's hobby was cooking. Originally Masamune was experimenting on cooking to develop military provisions, but he pursued cooking in search of gourmet meals once the Warring States period was over and the society was at peace. Masamune left a wise saying regarding cooking in "Meigosyu" (collection of remarks by Masamune in his life time), "serving a meal means to modestly provide a seasonal food cooked by the host himself, to entertain his guest. It is possible to say that there are influences of Masamune, for the fact that there are many dishes originated from Sendai. Masamune built storehouses of Miso (fermented soybean paste) in the castle town of the Sendai-jo Castle, and this example is considered to be the first establishment of a large-scale Miso manufacturing system in Japan.
Specialties of Iwadeyama, kori-dofu (frozen bean curd) and Natto (fermented soybeans) were the results of the study of cooking developed by Masamune, while those foods were originally intended for the usage as military provisions. There is also a story that Masamune invented a specialty of Sendai, zunda mochi (rice cake covered in sweetened mashed green soybeans).
Masamune appeared to have had many hobbies other than cooking, thus it is said he did not waste even a single day in his later years.
He was a smoker, and he smoked 3 times a day in regular basis, after getting up, at noon, and before sleeping. Among his relics, there is his favorite Oriental pipe (a pipe with a long straight shank and a small bowl).
Masamune gives impression as a person with no unguarded moment, but he could not keep control only of his drinking habit, and left some stories regarding his failures under the influence of alcohol. Among those stories, there is an outstanding one that Masamune even missed a meeting with Shogun Hidetada due to the hangover from drinking, while he made his way out by pretending to be sick.
The mask of Darth Vader appeared in the movie "Star Wars" was modeled after the kabuto (a headpiece of a Japanese warrior) of "the black-lacquered armor with 5 pieced cuirass used by Masamune DATE," which is currently owned by Sendai City Museum.
When Masamune visited his young brother Shuyu, who was at the Daihigan-ji Temple as a disciple of the 13th chief priest Kaiyo, they had a talk in various topics; Masamune was pleased with Japonica flowers in a garden and asked for them; in return he sent Garyubai (Lying-dragon plum) to the Daihigan-ji Temple.
Emperor Meiji commented on Masamune as follows;
"Masamune pursued the precepts of a warlord, while he was also after studies and learning, and then he thought and dreamed of foreign affairs to actually conducted the negotiations with foreigners." It is Masamune who shall be called as a warlord excelled in both literary and military arts.
A unique form of a ceremonial rhythmic hand clapping called Date Ipponjime (three sets of three claps and one final clap performed at the end of a special event) associated with the first lord of Sendai Domain Masamune DATE has been transmitted at the family temple of Mitsumune DATE, the Entsu-in Temple located in Matsushima-cho, Miyagi District, Miyagi Prefecture. Ipponjime consists of three claps and one final clap as "Iyo'o (call), clap clap clap! Iyo'o, clap!" and this combination of "3" and "1" represents "Sangokuichi" (the word is used to mean "unparalleled in Japan, China and India" meaning unparallel in the world), metaphorical to the dream of Masamune who sought for ruling Japan. The ambassador of the Keicho Mission, Tsunenaga HASEKURA was also sent off with this "Date Ipponjime," although this custom was concealed and disappeared not to reveal its hidden meaning, once TOKUGAWA shogunate became stable and solid. Therefore, there is no reference left regarding Date Ipponjime details; it was handed down for generations only within the Entsu-in Temple associated with Date clan.
It is considered that Masamune had repeatedly plotted to usurp the position of ruling the country by taking any opportunity since the time of the reign of Toyotomi clan.
During the Siege of Odawara led by Hideyoshi, Masamune made an excuse for his delay in joining the battle, stating that he was "so busy with the management" of Oshu, especially the territory of Ashina clan that he newly acquired. Masamune tried to overthrew Hideyoshi, by first overcoming the influence of Satake clan, and then joining hands with his ally, Gohojo clan. Hideyoshi conducted Oshu Shioki (punishment to the powerful warriors in the area of Oshu, to prevent them from strengthening their power) accompanied by Date clan. It seems that Masamune planned to organize allied forces of territorial lords of Oshu led by Date clan, and then the forces would cooperate with Gohojo clan, while he also anticipated and waited for the rise of seditious groups within the Toyotomi administration such as Ieyasu TOKUGAWA.
There is a theory stating that Masamune secretly conspired to expand his territory by agitating the Kasai-Osaki Ikki.
During the Battle of Sekigahara, Masamune took in Tadachika WADA to promote a revolt in order to invade the territory of Toshinao NANBU, but his scheme failed.
Ieyasu retaliated for Masamune's betrayal by canceling his assurance of granting rewards, and limited the reward of Masamune only to the addition of Katta District. This is one of the lowest territory gains among those warlords participated in the Eastern army.
There is a theory stating that the territorial value of his own land right before the Battle of Sekigahara, presented as 580,000 koku, had been calculated with the outdated measurement unit used before the scale and measurement revision, which was based on the unit of 1 tan (991.74m²) equal to 360 bu (1 bu was 3.3m²). If this theory is true, the recalculated territorial value increases to 670,000 koku if applied with the unit defined as 1 tan equal to 300 bu by Toyotomi administration. Sendai Plain has plenty of land spaces suitable for reclamation such as triangle sandbars, therefore the territory had a room for growth from the original condition. After the Sekigahara War, Masamune encouraged each proprietor of a domain for reclamation works by introducing a system to award the reclaimed land as a domain of the developer; this system promoted the development of new rice fields in the Sendai Plain.
(In 1628, the lord of the Shiroishi-jo Castle Shigenaga KATAKURA conducted the development of a new rice field, and newly acquired the territory of worth 1,000 koku.)
The reclamation work started by Masamune was taken over by the succeeding feudal lords of the domain, therefore the actual land value of Sendai Domain rapidly increased. After the Kanbun eras, the domain itself initiated and conducted the development of new rice fields. A century later, Sendai Domain became one of the largest domains in Japan by mid Edo period, which was considered to reach 2,000,000 koku in its actual territorial value. Since the time Masamune had started forwarding the rice to Edo, most of the rice supplied to Edo became the produce of Sendai Domain, thus the market price of rice in Edo was controlled and depended on the crop conditions in Sendai. At its height, one third of the face value of Sendai Domain, 200,000 koku of rice was sent to Edo. In 1732, rice price had a sharp rise in Edo due to poor harvest in the western part of Japan by locust plague, therefore double amount of rice was shipped from Sendai Domain compared to an average year. In this year, the profit of Sendai Domain reached to roughly 500,000 ryo (a unit of currency used during the Edo period. The value of 1 ryo at that time is roughly about 40,000 yen in today's value, thus it is roughly 20 billion yen). The wealth of Sendai Domain was widely known throughout Japan; "Dokusyo-Yoteki" (readings from a dripping of a pen) written by Sokken YASUI describes its territorial value as "over 2,000,000 koku," while "Tosenpuron" (the critics and reformation plan for politics) written by Banri HOASHI states as "2,500,000" koku.
Plotting to overthrow bakufu, Masamune dispatched Tsunenaga HASEKURA to Rome as an ambassador (the Keicho era mission to Europe). There is a convincing records describing this whole event in details.
While Tsunenaga HASEKURA was negotiating with Rome for concluding military alliance, he told King Felipe III as follows;
"Masamune has a strong influence." "He is also known for his bravery, and everyone recognizes him as a person to be the emperor." "Essentially the right of succession is acquired by a force in Japan."
A missionary of Spain under the care of Sendai Domain, Jeronimo de Angelis also sent the following letter to his country;
"Tenkadono (Ieyasu) was aware of the mission dispatched by Masamune to meet with the King of Spain, and he thought Masamune was thinking of a revolt against Tenka (Ieyasu, meaning the whole country). They (Ieyasu and his son, Hidetada) thought that Masamune dispatched an ambassador (Tsunenaga HASEKURA) to join hands with the King of Spain and Christian Authority, as a preparation for a revolt against Tenka."
Tsunenaga HASEKURA was also granted an audience with the Pope. This historical fact, that a single Japanese person was allowed to meet with the Pope in this period of time, is an achievement worth mentioning among other events in the diplomatic history of Japan. Many descendants of the retainers of Sendai Domain who remained and settled in Coria del Rio of Spain still exist there. They have taken "Harpoon" as their family name, which means "Japan."
It is considered that Masamune thought of the scenario of the decisive battle against the army of bakufu seeking for the reign of Japan, then he was preparing a draft tactical strategy on a map for this battle as "an internal tentative strategy upon the order of the council of war of Sendai Domain."
"After the fall of the Osaka-jo Casle in the 2nd year of the Genna era. When Sendai Domain was going to participate in the war, the order was issued to prepare for going into the battle.
For this case study exercise with my lord Teizan (Masamune),
My lord gathered all the waves and children of Date vassals for this exercise to listen. In the war, Sendai troops blocks the water of the Sendai-gawa River at Fujizuka-Yuriage, and position a surveillance party at Fujizuka. My lord is supposed to move with troops from the woods behind the base to Sunaoshi. Sunaoshi is the mountain located on the south, storing guns and their ammunition. At the crest of the mountain, place flags of the Sendai troops.
Once my lord considers possible to face with the enemy troops by the preparatory map exercise,
then quietly, from the woods behind the base to that prepared battle field (Sunaoshi),
my lord shall move and observe yourself."
(Masamune made a scheme to block the movement of bakufu army by flooding the southern part of Sendai after blocking the water of the Sendai-gawa River [today it is called Natori-gawa River], and then intercept the bakufu army by luring into a narrow place. In addition to that, Masamune planned to induce groups of ikki [revolt of peasants] to disturb the enemy into a confusion from behind.)
By facing with a large enemy troops, this will be the decisive battle to divide the fate.'
If my lord happened to be behind or lost in the battle, as described in this prepared strategy plan, it is the time my lord shall head for the Yoko-kawa River orientation.'
I shall say this is a place the destiny of my lord would be settled, naturally, this means all the luck of my lord ran out and the wish can not be fulfilled, then it is the time when my lord shall head for the final destination, Zuigan-ji Temple as your soul will rest.'
(In case if Masamune looses against the bakufu army, he was going to commit suicide at the Zuigan-ji Temple in Matsushima).
(Quoted from "Too roshi yowa" [Bedtime story by an old man at the ladies' chambers])
Consequently, his ambition to overthrow the bakufu was not realized since; Nagayasu OKUBO, who was a vassal of Tokugawa clan and had close relationship with Masamune, was punished after his death along with his all family members (Nagayasu OKUBO Incident); the son-in-law of Masamune, Tadateru MATSUDAIRA (6th son of Ieyasu) was deprived his status as a feudal lord and forfeited the territory; the attempt of Masamune to ally with Spain ended in failure.
It is considered bakufu was always keeping an eye on Masamune while he was alive, whether he would rise in revolt against bakufu or not.
On March 10, 1616, during the late years of Ieyasu, the director of a British merchant office in Japan, Richard Cocks wrote in his diary as follows;
"According to rumors, the war between the Emperor (Ieyasu) and his son, lord Karusa (Kazusa no suke [Governor of Kazusa Province] Tadateru MATSUDAIRA) was about to break out, and the father-in-law of lord Karusa, Masamune would give support for lord Karusa".
On April 16, 1628, Masamune invited Hidetada TOKUGAWA to the Edo office of Sendai Domain and entertained him. During the visit, Masamune himself served dishes to Hidetada; then the close vassal of Hidetada, Masashige NAITO spoke to Masamune saying, "I'd like you lord Masamune to taste food before serving for proving poison free."
According to "the wise saying of the lord Masamune," it is described that Masamune was outraged by this request and responded as follows;
Geki (Secretary of the Grand Council of State [Masashige]) speaks of unreasonable thing when someone such as Masamune asked your visit and serves dishes myself.'
This is not the occasion necessary to test dishes for poisoning.'
Putting poison is an old method used 10 years ago in unstable time.'
Whereas even 10 years ago, I swear to gods of Japan that I would never utilize a cowardly method such as poisoning, and never think of murdering.'
I will go into the battle and fight myself at least once.'
In other words, he was saying that Masamune would have plotted a revolt if it was 10 years ago (1618), (since the foundation of Tokugawa Shogunate was not stable and solid yet), but Masamune would not utilize such trivial method as poisoning even at that time, but to fight directly in a battle. It is that Masamune rebuked Masashige. Hidetada heard their exchanges behind a bamboo blind, and shed tears in saying, "that is just what the lord Date, a lofty, admirable man."
According to "the wise saying of the lord Masamune," Hidetada TOKUGAWA, who died in January, 1632, called Masamune at his deathbed and spoke as follows;
After suffering for long years, my illness has gradually made me feel depressed.'
In any case, I feel it is difficult to fully recover from this illness any more.'
During the time I have my consciousness, every happy events and incidents between you and me from the past until today, Lord Hidetada did not even forget any details of our happy times.'
When the illness of my lord Ogosho (Ieyasu) was serious and he was held at his residence in the Sunpu-jo Castle, an ill-informed person told us that you rose in revolt against bakufu. Then we could not care less, thus we were going to head for Oshu in such case, even though my lord Ogosho was still in sickbed. (When Ieyasu was on his deathbed at the Sunpu-jo Castle, he heard a rumor that Masamune would rise in revolt, thus Ieyasu was going to organize a punitive force to Oshu regardless of his illness.
In his late years, Masamune left a Kanshi (Chinese-style poem) "Suiyo-Kogo" (impromptu poems that people write when they are drunk).
'Bajo ni shonen sugi, yo tairanishite hakuhatsu oosi, zannku ha tenno yurusu tokoro, tanoshimazareba kore ikan'
First three phrases can be interpreted as follows;
"When I was young, I run through battlefields on a horseback, but once the world became peaceful, I grew old and my hair gradually turned gray.
Even though there is some time left for me to spend as heaven allowed,
However, the last phrase allows two completely different ways of interpretation as "what am I supposed to do without enjoying it," or "what is the reason that I cannot enjoy it?"
It is said that Masamune intentionally composed the last phrase in such manner in order to leave the room for interpretation in either way; this is a big mystery, which Masamune left.
Masamune recommended his family members and vassals to move to a castle built on a flat land after his death, since he thought such mountain castle as the Sendai-jo castle was not suitable for governing in a peaceful times. In other words, this indicates and allows to say that Masamune did not give up his ambition in his lifetime until the moment of his death, to acquire the right of ruling Japan.
As described above, Masamune, who persistently sought for acquiring the right of ruling in any possible opportunity, was cautiously watched by bakufu all the time.
It is said that he was always chagrined and said, "if only I was born twenty years earlier... (I could conquer Japan)"
On the other hand, there is an anecdote describing his opinion, quoted as "once I sought for acquiring the right of ruling Japan, but now I am in the position to support Iemitsu" when bakufu came under the administration of Iemitsu.
The inaugural speech addressed by Iemitsu for succeeding the position of shogun was highly overbearing one as follows;
"Unlike my grandfather and father, I am shogun by birth, therefore every feudal lord shall swear allegiance and show deference to me from now on. If you raise an objection, go back to your country and prepare for a war against me." To those words of Iemitsu, it is said that Masamune immediately responded saying, "there is no way anyone here has objection to your lord, of course Masamune as well," and everyone presented at the inauguration prostrated themselves. There are some possibilities regarding the context of this incident, as one states this speech of Iemitsu was based on the advice of Masamune, or another suggests the cabinet members of bakufu asked Masamune in advance to reply to the words of Iemitsu on the spot.
When cabinet members of bakufu were at a loss, since Iemitsu was enthusiastic about falconry and frequently away overnight, they requested Masamune to persuade Iemitsu to stop being away overnight. Masamune told Iemitsu. "I would like you to stop being away overnight. I used to try taking the life of lord Ieyasu in such occasion." After that, Iemitsu stopped being away overnight.
The career record of his official titles and court ranks
* Dates are according to the old calendar (until December 2, 1872)
Succession to the family headship
The intercalary month, August of 1585
He was given the title of jugoi (Junior Fifth Rank) and was appointed as the Governor of Mimasaka Province.
He was transferred as sakyo no daibu (the Master of Eastern Capital Office)
He was transferred as jijyu (the Chamberlain) and he also served as the Governor of Echizen Province at the same time. He was given the family name of "Hashiba" (the original family name of Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI) from kanpaku (the Chancellor, the chief adviser to the Emperor) Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI.
He held the post of the Governor of Mutsu Province in addition to the post of the Governor of Echizen Province. He resigned from the post of the Governor of Echizen Province. He was given the family name of "Matsudaira" from the 2nd Seiitaishogun (commander-in-chief of the expeditionary), Hidetada TOKUGAWA.
The intercalary month June, 19
The exact date is unknown.
He resigned from sangi (a Councilor).
August 19, 1626
He was promoted to jusani (the Junior Third Rank, Vice-councilor of state) while he was transferred to chunagon (the Vice-councilor of state).
The value of his territory valued increased to 625,000 koku (a unit of volume: rice 1-koku is 180.39 liter, lumber 1-koku is 0.278 cubic meter).
November 18, 1918
He was rendered junii (the Junior Second Rank).
Date Mimasaka no kami (Date the Governor of Mimasaka Province)
Date Sakyo no daibu (Date the Master of the Eastern Capital Offices)
Hashiba Date Jiju (Hashiba Date the Chamberlain)
Hashiba Nagai Jiju (Hashiba Nagai the Chamberlain)
Hashiba Mutsu Jiju (Hashiba the Chamberlain and the Governor of Mutsu Province)
Hashiba Jiju (Hashiba the Chamberlain)
Hashiba Osaki Jiju (Hashiba the Chamberlain of Osaki)
Osaki Jiju (the Chamberlain of Osaki)
Osaki Shosho (a vice-Provincial Governor of Osaki)
Hashiba Echizen no kami (Hashiba the Governor of Echizen Province)
Matsudaira Mutsu no kami (Matsudaira the Governor of Mutsu Province)
Sendai Saisho (the Chancellor of Sendai)
Sendai Chunagon (the Vice-councilor of state of Sendai)
Masamune was often called by nicknames such as Dokuganryu (one-eyed dragon) or Sendai Komon (the Vice-councilor of state of Sendai).
About the nickname of Masamune as "Dokuganryu"
This nickname first appeared in "Dokuganryu Masamune DATE" (written by Shien TAKAHASHI, emended by Tenzui KUBO, published by Shobido: Osaka in September, 1901). This nickname "Dokuganryu" was used in the title of the book. Other than this nickname, "the Conqueror of Ou" was also used in this book to describe him. Those nicknames of Masamune as "Dokuganryu Masamune DATE" or "the Conqueror of Ou" were not the nickname of his days, but the naming in later years.
In "Taikoki" (the biography of Toyotomi Hideyoshi), Masamune was called Taishu (governor-general) of Oshu.
Before this nickname was applied to Masamune, the name Dokuganryu had referred to Motoharu YAMAJI, the lieutenant general of the Imperial Japanese Army and the divisional commander of the 1st Army Division. The source of this example is a book called "Heroes of the Conquest in Shina (China)" (written by Saku HORIMOTO, published by Toundo Tokyo, in November, 1894).
The nickname of Masamune, "Dokuganryu Masamune DATE" was used for the title of a NHK (Nihon Hoso Kyokai, Japan National Broadcasting Corporation) historical drama in 1987, and also for the movie of the Daiei Motion Picture Company.
The books mentioned above can be found and accessed for their details through the Digital Library from the Meiji Era of the National Diet Library.
Major vassals of Date clan
Among those major vassals, Shigezane DATE, Kagetsuna KATAKURA and Tsunamoto ONINIWA are sometimes referred as the three outstanding vassals of Date clan, while Kagetsuna KATAKURA and Shigezane DATE are named as the two finest vassals of Date clan.
Late instructions Masamune to descendant
If you go too far into 'jin' (the terms of Confucianism referring to humanity with sympathy or compassion to others), you will become weak. If you go too far into 'gi' (the terms of Confucianism referring to righteousness among others), you will become inflexible. If you go too far into 'rei' (the general terms of Confucianism indicating rituals based on the moral standards and behavior models as manners developed for establishing social order), you will become flattery. If you go too far into 'chi' (the terms of Confucianism referring to knowledge acquired by studying), you will tell untruth. If you go too far into 'chi' (the terms of Confucianism referring to integrity by keeping promise and being truthful to others), you will come out on the loosing end.
Take a leisurely pace with calm mind, while economize in every cases to save money for preparation. The way of thriftiness is to endure various inconveniences; however, you do not feel any hardship once you consider yourself as a visitor to this world.
You shall have every meal by speak well of it even it is unpalatable. As long as you are in a position of a temporal visitor to this world, speaking of likes and dislikes is not worth mentioning.
Let go of the passing day, exchange greetings with your descendants and brothers, with the words of taking your leave for this world.