Murai Sadakatsu (村井貞勝)

Sadakatsu MURAI was the Kyoto Shoshidai (the Kyoto deputy) under the Oda administration. His assumed name (alias) was Kichibei. He gained the go (byname) of Shunchoken after becoming a Buddhist priest. His official rank was Minbusho (Ministry of Popular Affairs) of Nagato Province.

His birth place

According to Taikoki (Chronicle of Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI), Sadakatsu originated from Omi Province. Since he excelled in administration, he won strong trust from Nobunaga ODA and was assigned important positions from an early stage.

Sadakatsu already served Nobunaga when Nobuyuki ODA raised a flag of rebellion against his older brother Nobunaga in 1556, and tried to make a peace negotiation between Nobukatsu and Katsuie SHIBATA together with Hidemitsu (Hideyori) SHIMADA from the orders of Dota-gozen. He accompanied Nobunaga when he went to Kyoto with Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA, and stayed in Kyoto with Ryosei MYOIN, Nobumori SAKUMA, Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI, and Nagahide NIWA to manage the politics of warlords.

To Jokyo (going to the capital)

He took care of the affairs of state of the Oda clan, such as the acceptance of hostages during the fall of Mino Sannin-shu (three elite retainers of Mino), protection of the weakened Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA, and the construction of Nijo-jo Castle, and conducted negotiations with temples and shrines. He also managed the repairment of Kyoto gosho (the Imperial Palace) with Nichijo ASAYAMA.

Kyoto Shoshidai

Sadakatsu was assigned to be the Kyoto Shoshidai (Tenka Shoshidai (the Bakufu-appointed governor of the country)) in September 1573 after Nobunaga outcasted Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA and assumed full control of Kyoto. He was assigned along with Nobunaga's administrative officers and close associates, Yukan MATSUI, Sekian TAKEI, Mitsuhide AKECHI, and Naomasa BAN, "all the official affairs concerning Kyoto under the Oda administration," including maintenance of the security of Kyoto; negotiation with the Imperial Court, lords, temples, and shrines; repairment of the gosho (palace); entertainment of envoys; and preparation of Oda's Kyoto Umazoroe (military parade).

Sadakatsu ordered civilians to complete the repairment of tsuijibei (mud-filled fence or moat) of gosho in 1575, and divided them into groups to compete with each other in the progress of repairment. There were singing and dancing performances of civilians above tsujibei, which created a huge crowd in the surrounding area as many on-lookers came. Attracted by such a large crowd, Emperor Ogimachi and nobles also came to watch. With competition among the crowd, the repairment supposedly finished very quickly (according to "Shincho Koki" (Biography of Nobunaga ODA)).

In August of that same year, an imperial decree was given to promote Nobunaga in official rank, but he firmly declined, and instead, asked for investiture of his group of servants, which was accepted by the Imperial Court. Sadakatsu was appointed to Nagato Province.

He entered priesthood in 1581, gaining the Buddhist name of Shunchoken MURAI and passing his family estate to his son, Sadanari MURAI.
Luis Frois called Sadanari MURAI 'the governor general of Kyoto' and praised him as 'the respectable old man of paganism and holding many of the reins of power.'

His death

During Honnoji Incident in 1582, Sadakatsu was at his own residence, on the opposite side of Honno-ji Temple, but he rushed to Myokaku-ji Temple, the residence of Nobunaga's legal son, Nobutada ODA. He made a proposal to Nobutada to move to Nijo-jo Castle, and confined himself within Nijo shingosho (Nijo New Imperial Palace) with other servants of Oda to resist the army of Akechi, but was killed in battle along with Nobutada. His sons, Sadanari and Seiji MURAI, were also killed in battle at the same castle.

In Daiun-in Temple, Kyoto City, there is a preserved statue of Sadakatsu shaped like "the old man of tonsured head." His daughters married Narimasa SASA, Geni MAEDA, and Takaharu FUKUSHIMA.

[Original Japanese]