Torii Mototada (鳥居元忠)

Mototada TORII was a vassal of Ieyasu TOKUGAWA's in the Azuchi Momoyama period. He was from Watari-mura in Mikawa Province (present- day, Okazaki City, Aichi Prefecture).


His father, Tadayoshi TORII, had served the TOKUGAWA clan since the clan called itself the MATSUDAIRA clan and he once worked as Okazaki magistrate and the like; Mototada had served as one of Ieyasu's aides since Ieyasu was Imagawa's hostage and called Takechiyo MATSUDAIRA. After Ieyasu united Mikawa Province, Mototada became a bodyguard of Ieyasu and fought as the leader of the troop under the direct control of Ieyasu.

In 1572, he inherited the headship of his family due to his father's death. In the same year, as he injured his leg in the Battle of Mikatagahara and in the Battle of Suwahara-jo Castle, he had some difficulty in walking thereafter.

In 1582, during the Tenshojingo War, Hojo's detached force consisting of 10,000 men planned to attack Ieyasu from the rear, however, Ieyasu's 2,000 men, containing Mototada, drove them back and killed 300 of the Hojo force (the Battle of Kurokoma), and Mototada was given Gunnai region in Kai Province by Ieyasu, and became the lord of Tanimura-jo Castle. In 1585, in the Battle of Ueda, Mototada tried to defeat Masayuki SANADA, who communicated with Kagekatsu UESUGI, and attacked Ueda-jo Castle with Tadayo OKUBO and Chikayoshi HIRAIWA, leading 7,000 soldiers; however, they were repelled with great casualties.

When Ieyasu surrendered to Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI and was transferred to the Kanto region, Mototada was given 40,000 koku in Yahagi, Shimosa Province (Yahagi Domain).

In 1600, Ieyasu, who had become one of the Gotairo (Council of Five Elders) in the Toyotomi government after Hideyoshi's death, led the troops as the head of warlords, insisting on the subjugation of Kagekatsu UESUGI, then was asked to be in charge of Fushimi-jo Castle. During Ieyasu's absence, Mitsunari ISHIDA of Gobugyo (five major magistrates) and others raised an army against Ieyasu and fought a skirmish at Fushimi-jo Castle where Mototada held in with 1,800 soldiers (the Battle of Fushimi-jo Castle). Having prepared to die in the battle, Mototada continued fighting and was killed in a one-on-one battle against Shigetomo SUZUKI. He died at the age of 62.
His loyalty was honored as 'the paragon of all warriors in Mikawa.'
The floorboards of Fushimi-jo Castle have been kept in the following temples as the 'bloody ceiling': Yogen-in Temple, Hosen-in Temple, and Genko-an Temple in Kyoto City, and Kosho-ji Temple in Uji City.

Ieyasu, lamented over his faithful vassal and also recognized Mototada's achievements, promoted Mototada's eldest son and heir Tadamasa TORII to the Yamagata domain 240,000-koku feudal lord.


Mototada served Ieyasu Tokugawa from his childhood and rendered a lot of distinguished services but never received a citation. Although Ieyasu tried to give him a citation, Mototada refused it, saying a citation would be useful if only he served another lord, but as he could not think of any lord but Ieyasu, a citation was useless. It is said that Mototada was a subject of firm loyality. It is said that although Hideyoshi offered several times to say a good word in order for him to get an official rank, Mototada refused the offer, saying that he had no reason to receive any prize from anybody else except his master.

After the downfall of the Takeda clan, Ieyasu heard about a daughter of Nobufusa BABA, a senior vassal of the Takeda clan, and ordered Mototada to find her. Mototada reported to Ieyasu that the daughter could not be found, and he called off the investigation. After a while, when Ieyasu heard that the daughter had become Mototada's wife, he gave a hearty laugh and permitted their marriage.

A daughter of one of Mototada's sons, Tadakatsu TORII, married Yoshitaka OISHI, a chief vassal of the Ako Domain. A grandson of the couple was Yoshio OISHI, who died for his master in the Genroku Ako Incident.

Mototada's birthplace was Watari-cho town, Okazaki City, Aichi Prefecture (formerly Yahagi-cho town), where a monument marking the Torii clan's birthplace stands. Mototada's descendents, currently as the head family of the Torii clan, have been in charge of the monument. Many of Mototada's descendents live centering on the Kanto region, and in various places such as Tokyo, Tochigi, Kanagawa, Chiba, Iwate, Gunma, Ibaraki and Nagano. Even 400 years after Mototada's death, the Torii clans hold a family meeting called 'Torii-kai', which consists mainly of the former-daimyo Torii family and the head family of the clan, and continue studying historical aspects related to Mototada TORII.

[Original Japanese]