Asano Nagamasa (浅野長政)

Nagamasa ASANO was a daimyo who lived during the Azuchi-Momoyama and Edo periods.

He was one of the Go-Bugyo (Five Major Magistrates) of the TOYOTOMI Administration and his original name was Nagoyoshi. Since 'Nagamasa' was the name he used late in life, he was known as 'Nagoyoshi' for a long time. His was also known as Yahei. His mother was the daughter of Nagaakira ASANO and he was later adopted by her younger brother, Nagakatsu ASANO. His sons were Yoshinaga ASANO, Nagaakira ASANO (both members of the Hiroshima ASANO Clan), Nagashige ASANO (father of Naganao ASANO, the Ako ASANO Clan founder), and his 3 daughters married the daimyos Nagafusa SUGIHARA, Chikayoshi HORI and Sadatsuna MATSUDAIRA. Official Rank: Jugoinoge (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade) and Danjo-Shohitsu (Junior Assistant President of the Board of Censors).

He was born in Kitano, Kasugai-gun, Owari no kuni (Owari province), in present day Kitanagoya City, Aichi Prefecture, the son of Shigetsugu YASUI. Since his uncle, Nagakatsu ASANO, who was the head of Nobunaga ODA's archers, did not have a son, Nagamasa was adopted into the ASANO family as the husband of Nagakatsu's daughter, Yaya, becoming the heir. When Nagakatsu's adopted daughter, Nene, (later Kita no Mandokoro, Kodai-in) married Tokichiro KINOSHITA (later Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI), Nagamasa became the closest relative by marriage to Hideyoshi and, on Nobunaga's orders, became Hideyoshi's Yoriki (or adminisrative assistant). His military exploits included the attack on Nagamasa ASAI of Omi Province in 1573, the Battle of Shizukatake in 1583, and the invasion of Korea that was launched after Hideyoshi inherited the responsibility to unify Japan following the death of Nobunaga, and he was later rewarded for his outstanding political skills when he was assigned the role of conducting the Taiko-kenichi (land surveys instigated by Toyotomi Hideyoshi) and appointed to the position of Kyoto Shoshidai (the shogunate's military governor, who was stationed in Kyoto. For his services, Nagamasa was awarded the province of Kai no kuni, worth 220,000 koku in 1593. He was on a good terms with Gotairo (Council of Five Elders) member Ieyasu TOKUGAWA, but fought like cats and dogs with Mitsunari ISHIDA, despite both being Gobugyo members following Hideyoshi's death. (This has been questioned in recent studies.). In 1599, he was ordered to confine himself to Kai no kuni after being suspected, along with Toshinaga MAEDA, of an attempted assassination of Ieyasu. At the Battle of Sekigahara in the autumn of 1600, he served under Ieyasu's son, Hidetada TOKUGAWA, and after the war he retired, handing over the family estate to his son, Yoshinaga. After Ieyasu had established the shogunate in Edo, Nagamasa was granted the 50,000 koku Hitachi Makabe as a pension in 1606, in addition to Yoshinaga's territory.
He was 65 years old. The 50,000 koku Makabe was inherited by his third son, Nagashige, whose son Naganao moved to Ako, and this lineage produced Naganori ASANO, famous for the Genroku Ako Incident (also known as The Revenge of the Forty-seven Samurai).

Posthumous Buddhist name: "傳正院殿前霜台功山道忠大居士"
Grave site: Tenmokuzan-Densho-ji Temple in Sakurai, Makabe-machi, Sakuragawa City, Ibaraki Prefecture
and Koyasan-Shicchi-in Temple in Koya-cho, Ito-Gun, Wakayama Prefecture.

Recent Studies
Toru SHIRAKAWA, who is studying Mitsunari ISHIDA, has put forward the theory that the suppression of Nagamasa before the Battle of Sekigahara was Ieyasu's scheme to provoke the separation of Nagamasa and Toshinaga MAEDA from anti-Ieyasu factions such as Mitsunari ISHIDA. Supposedly it was his son, Yoshinaga, who fought with Mitsunari, causing Nagamasa distress over being caught between the two.
There is a story that, after the Battle of Sekigahara, Nagamasa was saddened by the foul mood at Osaka Castle (or Edo Castle according to some theories), lamenting 'when Mitsunari was alive, something like this would never have happened.'

[Original Japanese]