Hojo Ujimasa (北条氏政)

Ujimasa HOJO was a busho (Japanese military commander) and a Sengoku daimyo (Japanese territorial lord in the Sengoku period) in Sagami Province who lived during the Sengoku period (period of warring states). He was the fourth family head of the Gohojo clan.

Brief Personal History

Ujimasa succeeded the territory expansion policy from his father, Ujiyasu HOJO, and achieved the biggest territory in the clan's history, but the rise of Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI led to the Siege of Odawara. After months of the Siege, Ujimasa surrendered and committed suicide with his younger brother, Ujiteru, which brought an end to the rule over the Kanto region by the Sengoku daimyo, the Hojo clan.

Succession to family headship

In 1538, Ujimasa was born as the second son to the third family head, Ujiyasu HOJO. As Ujiyasu's first son, Shinkuro, died young, Ujimasa became the heir of Ujiyasu and renamed Shinkuro and later Ujimasa.

In 1554, when the father of Ujimasa, Ujiyasu, established an alliance Ko So Sun Sangoku Domei (tripartite of Kai-Sagami-Suruga alliance) with Shingen TAKEDA and Yoshimoto IMAGAWA, Ujimasa took a daughter of Shingen TAKEDA, Obai-in, for his lawful wife. They were happily married.

In 1559, Ujiyasu retired and transferred the reigns of the family to Ujimasa, and Ujimasa became the fourth family head of the Hojo clan. However, diarchy by Ujiyasu and Ujimasa continued until Ujiyasu died.

While Ujiyasu was alive

After the transfer of the headship, Ujimasa was first assigned to create a tax ledger (a list of territories and the amount of rice yield) of vassals of the Hojo clan (A land survey was conducted every change of a family head). As the Hojo clan valued the people's opinion, it was common for the clan to change a family head for domestic reasons such as to conduct a land survey or political reforms.

In 1561, Kenshin UESUGI of Echigo Province rallied other daimyo of the Kanto and southern Mutsu regions and besieged Odawara-jo Castle by the huge army. Ujimasa followed Ujiyasu's lead to beat back the attack from the Uesugi army and defeated them by holding the castle. Knowing that Kenshin, who withdrew to Echigo Province, suffered huge damage in the Fourth Battle of Kawanakajima against Shingen TAKEDA, Ujimasa coordinated with Shingen to invade the northern Kanto region and took back most of the territory seized by the Uesugi army.

In 1564, Ujimasa won the Second Konodai Battle by attacking the Satomi army from behind in coordination with Tsunashige HOJO, although Ujimasa struggled and suffered a setback in the beginning of the battle against Yoshihiro SATOMI. This victory cleared a way for Ujimasa to extend its power to Kazusa Province. It also brought Taneharu SAKAI, the lord of Toke-jo Castle of Kazusa Province, to swear allegiance to Ujimasa temporarily. In the same year, Ujimasa removed Sukemasa OTA (the lord of Iwatsuki Castle of Musashi Province) from Musashi Province by maneuvering Ujisuke OTA, the oldest son of Sukemasa, and established the hegemony of the Hojo clan over the entire Musashi Province.

In 1566, Narishige YURA of Kozuke Province, an ally of Kenshin, swore allegiance to Ujimasa. In conjunction with the move, Masatsuna SANO and Takahiro KITAJO also swore allegiance to Ujimasa, which helped Ujimasa to expand his territory to Kozuke Province. Furthermore, as Harusuke YANADA (a family of the Mariya [Takeda] clan and a vassal of Haruuji ASHIKAGA) of Shimousa Province was temporarily reconciled with Ujimasa, a confrontation between the Hojo clan and Yoshishige SATAKE (the 18th family head), an ally of Kenshin, came to be actualized. Therefore, Ujimasa prepared his army for a war against Satomi, who cooperated with the Satake clan, and also Sukemasa, a guest commander of the Satake army.

In 1567, Yoshitaka and Yoshihiro SATOMI (a father and son) moved forces with an aim to regain the land of Kazusa Province. On the Hojo side, Ujimasa arrived at a fort in Mt. Mifune (Kimitsu City), a low mountain in eastern Kazusa Province, to counterattack the Satomi army, while a navy of the Hojo clan was carefully watching Sanuki-jo Castle located in the opposite side of the fort. However, under the circumstances that a local lord, who was a former vassal of the Satomi clan, let out the information of the Hojo clan to the invading army, and the invasion by Misaki Navy was delayed for some reasons, the Mifune-yama fort fell to Yoshitaka and Ujimasa lost the control over Kazusa Province (Battle of Mifune-yama).

Around the same time, the Imagawa clan of Suruga Province was on the verge of falling, as Yoshimoto IMAGAWA was killed by Nobunaga ODA. Meanwhile, Shingen TAKEDA of Kai Province, who saw it as a good opportunity, reversed the tripartite alliance with the Imagawa clan and invaded Suruga Province in December 1568, causing a complete fall of Ujizane IMAGAWA (heir of Yoshimoto). To counteract the conquest of Suruga Province by Shingen, Ujimasa moved his forces up to Satta-toge Pass of Suruga Province and expelled the Shingen army from the Province once and gained a control over a part of Suruga Province. Also, to save Ujizane IMAGAWA who held up fighting in Kakegawa-jo Castle, Ujimasa had a peace negotiation with Ieyasu TOKUGAWA of Mikawa Province, and succeeded in putting Ujizane (Ujizane's lawful wife was Ujimasa's younger sister, Hayakawa-dono) under Ujimasa's protection. Then, Ujimasa presented his second son, Ujinao, to Ujizane for adoption, and let Ujinao succeed the headship of the Imagawa family in order to justify the Ujimasa's rule over the Suruga Province. Also, in an effort to vie with Shingen, Ujimasa offered his younger brother, Saburo (later, Kagetora UESUGI), to Kenshin UESUGI, an archenemy of Ujimasa, for adoption (hostage), and established an alliance by also ceding a portion of Kozuke Province to Kenshin (the Etsu-So Alliance). This alliance meant the severance of a relation with the Takeda clan, and Ujimasa faced a tragedy of divorcing his loved lawful wife, Obai-in.

In October 1569, although Shingen TAKEDA invaded Odawara-jo Castle from Usui-toge Pass along with a detached force stationed in Kobotoke-toge Pass, Ujimasa countered the attack by holding the castle with his father, Ujiyasu, and successfully repelled the Takeda army. In the Battle of Mimasetoge, which Ujimasa started by chasing the Takeda army, while Ujimasa led the main army in place of Ujiyasu and moved the force up to Ogino (present-day, Atsugi City), about 10 kilometers south of Mimase-toge Pass (present-day, Aikawa Town) where Ujiteru and Ujikuni were stationed to ambush Shingen, Shingen moved his forces quickly to kill provision transporters of the Hojo army and beat Ujiteru and Ujikuni in Mimase-toge Pass. It is said that the Hojo army suffered big damage in the battle.
(It has been said that the Hojo clan suffered a crushing defeat in the battle, but a recent study shows that the Takeda army also had a number of casualties, hence it is likely that the battle ended in a draw.)
After the Mimasetoge Battle, although Ujimasa resisted Shingen's invasion of Izu and Suruga Provinces, castles in Suruga Province including Kanbara-jo and Fukazawa-jo Castles fell one after another, and also, Ujiyasu, a guardian of Ujimasa, became too sick to stay in the battlefront, and finally in 1570, Suruga Province was merged and virtually owned by Shingen except Kokokuji-jo Castle and a part of southern Sunto County which remained in the hands of the Hojo clan.

In October 1571, Ujiyasu died of disease with a will left for Ujimasa who followed the will to restore the alliance with Shingen TAKEDA (the Koso Alliance) in December, and abandoned the alliance with Kenshin instead.

In 1572, when Shingen TAKEDA went up to Kyoto, Ujimasa mobilized about 2,000 soldiers including Masanobu DAITO, ashigaru (common foot soldier), and Tarozaemon SHIMIZU, the head of Izusyu (the vassals of the Hojo clan who helped in the suppression of Izu Province) with herculean power, to reinforce the Takeda army, contributing to the winning of the Takeda army in a battle against the Oda and Tokugawa allied forces (Battle of Mikatagahara).

Masanobu DAITO died in the battle of Mikatagahara.

Battles against Uesugi and Takeda

After restoring the Koso Alliance, Ujimasa resumed a fight against Kenshin, and in 1574, when Kenshin moved his forces to Kozuke Province, Ujimasa also headed to the Province, and the two armies confronted at Tone-gawa River. However, Kenshin evaded the battle in coordination with a move of the Ikko sect in Ecchu Province. Meanwhile, Ujimasa forced Sekiyado-jo Castle of Shimousa Province ruled by Harusuke YANADA to surrender in December 1574, followed by another surrender of Gion-jo Castle of Shimotsuke Province ruled by Hidetsuna OYAMA in the following year. Also, Harutomi YUKI of Shimousa Province swore allegiance to Ujimasa, which increased the power of Ujimasa even more. In 1577, Ujimasa invaded Kazusa Province and realized the reconciliation with his old enemy, Yoshihiro SATOMI. This battle marked the first battle for his heir, Ujinao.

In 1578, when Kenshin UESUGI died, Kagekatsu UESUGI, his nephew, and Kagetora UESUGI (Saburo HOJO, legendary Ujihide, as his name), his adopted child and the younger brother of Ujimasa, started fighting over the succession of the reigns (the Otate War) (Although Ujihide HOJO had been identified as Kagetora, a new theory suggests that Ujihide is not Kagetora but the younger brother of Ujishige HOJO who served as the lord of the Edo Castle). During the internal conflict, Ujimasa was engaged in a battle against the Satake and Utsunomiya clans in Shimotsuke Province, and therefore, he sent Ujiteru and Ujikuni to Echigo Province in June for helping his biological younger brother, Kagetora. In late September, Ujimasa headed for Maebashi-jo Castle of Kozuke Province to assist Kagetora. However, Ujimasa returned to Odawara immediately.

At the same time, Ujimasa asked Katsuyori TAKEDA, the husband of his younger sister and his ally, to send reinforcements to Kagetora. At the beginning, Katsuyori himself joined the force to support Kagetora. However, Katsuyori faced a situation that his castles in the Tokai region were caught off guard and attacked by the Tokugawa clan and asked for reinforcements, and Kagekatsu UESUGI, who seized the Sado gold mine, offered gold to Katsuyori. Katsuyori finally switched to Kagekatsu side on the condition of the cession of Numata, Kozuke Province (the Koetsu Alliance).

Consequently, the Otate War ended with a victory for Kagekatsu, and Kagetora killed himself.

In rivalry with the Koetsu Alliance, Ujimasa built a new alliance with Nobunaga ODA and Ieyasu TOKUGAWA by reversing the Second Koso Alliance, and invaded the territory of the Takeda clan in Suruga from both sides. In 1580, Ujimasa attacked Katsuyori, which triggered the Battle of Omosu, but the battle ended in a draw. While Katsuyori continued his offense in Kozuke Province and the local samurai of Kozuke and Shimotsuke Provinces switched to the Takeda clan side, Ujimasa was pushed into the inferior position. To turn the tide, Ujimasa offered a vassalage to Nobunaga ODA who was building up the momentum by forcing Ishiyama Hongan-ji Temple to surrender. As Katsuyori TAKEDA, his opposition also aimed at making peace and an alliance with the Oda clan, the move by Ujimasa to forestall his enemy and formed an alliance before Katsuyori was a sophisticated diplomacy. In the same year, Ujimasa retired by transferring the reigns of the family to his heir, Ujinao HOJO, but followed the footstep of his father, Ujiyasu, to continue controlling the Hojo clan both politically and militarily.

Extension of its influence

In March 1582, when Nobutada, a legitimate child of Nobunaga ODA, launched the campaign of conquering the Takeda clan, Ujimasa ordered Ujikuni to gather information from Kozuke Province to compensate the information shortage in Suruga and Izu Provinces, as the information network in those two provinces had been shut down. After a short while, the information was transmitted by a ship from Ise that the Oda clan invaded the territory of the Takeda clan, Ujimasa responded to the move and invaded Takeda's territory in Suruga Province in concerted action. On April 13, Katsuyori committed suicide with his lawful wife, Keirin-in (a younger sister of Ujimasa) at the Battle of Tenmokuzan, which ended the Kai-Takeda clan.

Nobunaga sent his vassal, Kazumasu TAKIGAWA, to Mayabashi-jo Castle of Kozuke Province as Kanto Kanrei (a shogunal deputy for the Kanto region), and gave him western Kozuke Province and a part of Shinano Province to govern the Kanto region. The Hojo clan had already asked the Oda clan to unite and govern the Kanto region by offering the Hojo clan's domain to Oda's territory on one condition that Ujinao HOJO would have taken a princess of the Oda clan for his wife, but Nobunaga ODA did not give any clear response to it. Therefore, Ujimasa presented a written prayer to the Mishima-taisha Shrine as the effect that Ujinao would rule the Kanto region and have a marital relationship with the Oda clan. In addition, Ujimasa returned Gion-jo Castle of Shimotsuke Province to the former castle lord, Hidetsuna OYAMA, with the mediation by Kazumasu TAKIGAWA, to realize the controlling of the Kanto region by the Oda clan. Ujimasa was afraid of an increasing power of Nobunaga at the time, which helped to maintain the favorable relationship between the Oda and Hojo clans. According to a document kept by Kazumasu, the territory of the Hojo clan in the Kanto region was called 'Minamikata' and highly valued.

On July 1, Nobunaga ODA died due to the betrayal of Mitsuhide AKECHI at Honno-ji Temple of Kyoto (the Honno-ji Incident). Ujimasa, knowing of the death of Nobunaga, informed Kazumasu TAKIGAWA of its continued cooperation, but later invaded Kozoke Province with an army of 43,000 soldiers after ordering Ujinao and Ujikuni to occupy the Province, and in the following battle of Kanna-gawa River, the Ujimasa's army won a sweeping victory and expelled Kazumasu TAKIGAWA in Mayabashi-jo Castle from Kozuke Province. Later, the Hojo army also invaded Shinano Province from Usui-toge Pass. After coaxing Masayuki SANADA, Yoshimasa KISO and Yoritada SUWA and others, the Hojo army also beat Nobushige YODA and others, who raised an army with former Takeda soldiers as the Tokugawa side. Later, he was stationed in Komoro-jo Castle, and also brought the eastern and central areas of Shinano Province under its control. In the meantime, Ieyasu, who invaded Kai Province, skillfully persuaded Masayuki SANADA into the Tokugawa side with the help of Nobushige YODA, and also supported Sadayoshi OGASAWARA of Tokugawa side, which caused a confrontation between him and the Hojo army (Tenshojingo Rebellion).

Although Ujinao and Ieyasu confronted each other once in Wakamiko of the Kai Province (the Battle of Wakamiko), the Hojo clan reduced its power to fight against the Tokugawa clan, since in Shinano, Masayuki SANADA defected from the Hojo clan, and in Kurokoma of Kai Province, Ujitada HOJO, who led detached forces, lost to the Tokugawa army, and only the limited area of the Gunnai region remained in the hands of the Hojo clan in Kai Province. Therefore, the Hojo clan was reconciled with the Tokugasa clan by taking a daughter of Ieyasu, Tokuhime for Ujinao's wife.

The Hojo and Tokugawa clans settled a territorial dispute by giving the Tokugawa clan Kai and Shinano Provinces and the Hojo clan Kozuke Province, but the peace terms were unfavorable for the Hojo clan, because it had to waver the territorial rights of Saku and Oagata Counties of Shinano Province and the Gunnai region of Kai County. Furthermore, Masayuki SANADA of the Tokugawa side refused to surrender the Numata area of Kozuke Province to the Hojo clan and switched sides to the Uesugi clan, which brought a battle between the Sanada clan and the Tokugawa-Hojo alliance at Numata-jo Castle, Ueda, and also triggered the Numata Mondai and the Nagurumi Incident in later years.

Upon the death of Yoshiuji ASHIKAGA, Koga kubo (the Kanto district administrator), in 1583, the Hojo clan assumed a power by holding government posts, which let the clan to preside over the Kanto region as a top commander. In Musashi Province, the Edo region and Iwatsuki-ryo of Musashi Province were seized by the Hojo clan and both the Tone-gawa River and Hitachi-gawa River Systems were put under its control, which gave the clan the control of the distribution and traffic systems in the region, and the anti-Hojo alliance in the Kanto region was forced to choose either to obey or confront the Hojo clan. Also, it is said that the clan had an idea to use the Edo-jo Castle as a 'castle in retirement' to administer the political affairs there to ensure the rule over the region, but considering Ujimasa continued residing in Odawara, the plan seemed to have failed.

In 1585, when Yoshishige SATAKE (the 18th family head) and Kunitsuna UTSUNOMIYA attacked Sukeharu NASU and Yoshitake MIBU, Ujimasa began a full-blown invasion of Shimotsuke Province by building an alliance with the Nasu clan and put the southern half of the Province under its control. Also, in southern Hitachi Province, Ujimasa supported the Toki clan, the lord of Edosaki-jo Castle, and the Okami clan, the lord of Ushiku-jo Castle, and extended its influence to the region.

Thus, the Hojo clan achieved the largest territory of 2.4 million koku (667,200 cubic meters) including Sagami, Izu, Musashi, Shimousa, Kazusa, Kozuke Provinces and parts of Hitachi, Shimotsuke and Suruga Provinces.

From the subjugation of Odawara to the end of the Hojo clan

After beating Mitsuhide AKECHI, the Hojo clan faced against Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI who succeeded the project of unifying the whole nation from Nobunaga ODA.

In 1588, Hideyoshi asked Ujimasa and Ujinao, the father and son, to attend the imperial visit to Jurakudai (Hideyoshi's residence and office in Kyoto), but Ujimasa refused it. In the capital, there was a rumor that the Hojo clan would be subjugated, Ieyasu TOKUGAWA persuaded Ujimasa by the following written oath to send the younger brother of Ujimasa, Ujinori HOJO, to the capital as a representative of the clan, which helped to temporarily stabilize the relationship between the Hojo clan and the Toyotomi clan.

Ieyasu will not make a false charge against the Hojo clan or aim to acquire any territory of the Hojo clan. The Hojo clan will send siblings to the capital within this month. If the Hojo clan refuses to serve the Toyotomi clan, Tokuhime will be separated from her husband (Ujinao HOJO). According to the Bushu Bunsho (Bushu documents), sometime during this period, Ujimasa declared his complete retirement.
(It had been believed that Ujinao, his pro-Tokugawa son, was put up, as Ujimasa was a war advocate and opposed to the total subordination to Hideyoshi, but this theory yields some questions since Ujimasa later informed his vassals and influential domain people that he would go up to the capital himself.)

In March 1589, Tonari ITABEOKA, a member of hyojoshu (state council), went up to the capital and requested Hideyoshi to settle the Numata Mondai. Hideyoshi ruled that two thirds of the Numata area should be returned to the Hojo clan, and Ujimasa sent a letter in July to Hideyoshi promising his visit to the capital in December in return, and handover of the Numata area was carried out in August. However, Ujimasa proposed to reschedule the visit to spring or summer of 1590, but Hideyoshi refused the proposal, which worsened the relationship of the two again. Under the tense situation, the seizure of Nagurumi-jo Castle (the Nagurumi Incident) by Kuninori INOMATA, a vassal of Ujikuni, occurred in November. Hideyoshi ordered Ieyasu and Kagekatsu to visit the capital, and urged other daimyo to prepare their forces for the subjugation of the Hojo clan in coming spring of 1590. Also, Hideyoshi sent Moritsuki TSUDA and Ippaku TOMITA to the Hojo clan as an envoy of the shogun, and demanded that the clan punish the ringleader of the Nagurumi Incident and immediately visit the capital.

To these demands, Ujinao explained his inability to visit the capital that there were rumors that Ujimasa would be detained or his ruling domain would be changed, and urged Hideyoshi to remove these worries before going up to the capital, claiming that the difference in treatment between him in the Nagurumi Incident and Ieyasu TOKUGAWA who received good treatment from Hideyoshi when offering his vassalage; Ieyasu was allowed to take Hideyoshi's younger sister, Asahihime, for his wife, i.e. Ieyasu had Omandokoro (the mother of Hideyoshi) as a sort of his hostage before visiting the capital.

About the Nagurumi Incident, Ujinao made an excuse that the lord of the Nagurumi-jo Castle (the Sanada side) volunteered to switch to the Hojo clan, and there was no such an order from Ujimasa or Ujinao to seize the castle, and the castle was already returned to the Sanada side.

If this incident was indeed caused only by Inomata, it was a result of a lack of supervision by Ujinao and Ujimasa, and it can be said that the confrontation among moderate Ujinori, center Ujinao and pro-war Ujimasa, Ujiaki and Ujikuni surfaced through this incident.

However, Ujimasa and Ujinao repeatedly insisted in several (extant) letters that although the capital visit by Ujimasa was delayed, upon the acquisition of Numata-jo Castle, from December (old calendar) to spring or summer of the following year, Ujimasa was willing to visit Hideyoshi, and that the Hojo clan was not responsible for the seizure of Nagurumi-jo Castle. Based on these circumstantial evidence, it seems the truth about the so-called seizure of Nagurumi-jo Castle remains to be unknown.

On the other hand, Hideyoshi, who was frustrated with the delayed visit by Ujimasa, regarded Ujimasa's attitude not to visit and serve Hideyoshi as the rejection of the subordination to the Toyotomi family; issued a formal order to those daimyo to search out and destroy Ujimasa on December 23 (old calendar). Before the order, Ujimasa and Ujinao, who were informed of the 手切れ in the border of Suruga and Izu Provinces, organized their army to attack the Hideyoshi army by ordering the vassals of the Hojo clan and other local samurais on December 17 to join the upcoming battle against Hideyoshi in Odawara on February 19. In April, a war began and the Hojo army counterattacked the Toyotomi army invading from all the directions. At first, the Hojo clan was highly motivated in fighting the war, beating the Sanada and Ida clans invading from Usui-toge Pass, and scouting to discover the force levels of warlords on the Toyotomi side in the Suruga-Izu border, and so so on, but after Hideyoshi arrived at Numazu, the Hojo clan lost the following battle and was forced to surrender Yamanaka-jo Castle. After losing the Yamanaka-jo Castle, the Hojo clan held the Odawara-jo Castle for about three months starting in May 1590. The battle continued, and many castles in the Hojo territory, such as Shimoda-jo Castle, Matsuida-jo Castle, Tamanawa-jo Castle, Iwatsuki-jo Castle, Hachigata-jo Castle, Hachioji-jo Castle and Tsukui-jo Castle, fell one after another. Hopelessly outnumbered by the Toyotomi army of 220,000 soldiers, the Hojo army finally surrendered.

On this occasion, vassals of the Hojo clan held a discussion for more than a month whether to continue the war (a pro-war party) or to surrender (a pro-surrender party), but did not reach a conclusion, and this situation is believed to be the origin of a proverb, 'Odawara Hyojo' (Odawara conference, meaning 'an inconclusive discussion'), but originally, the phrase indicated a regular conference (Hyojo) held monthly by Hojo vassals.

On August 4, Ujinao surrendered to Hideyoshi on the condition that all the officers and soldiers of the Hojo clan were spared their life in exchange for his life. Although Ujimasa's father-in-law, Ieyasu, asked for a pardon for Ujimasa, Hideyoshi ordered Seppuku to Ujimasa and Ujiteru, and the chief vassals of Norihide MATSUDA and Masashige DAIDOJI, for their responsibility to cause the subjugation of the Hojo clan.

According to the information of Naomasa Ii, there was a prospect that they might be given a pardon, but Ujimasa and his younger brother, Ujiaki, committed Seppuku on August 10. Ujimasa's age of death was 53.

Kubizuka (tomb of the head) of Ujimasa is now found in Genryu-ji Temple of Fuji City, Shizuoka Prefecture.

The following is the death haiku (Japanese poem) written by Ujimasa.

Autumn wind of eve, blow away the clouds that mass over the moon's pure light and the mists that cloud our mind, do thou sweep away as well.'

Now we disappear, well, what must we think of it? From the sky we came. Now we may go back again. That's at least one point of view.'

It is possible that the strategy that the Hojo clan took to thoroughly resist the conquest effort by the Toyotomi clan brought about the outcome, different from the one for Ieyasu, the Chosokabe clan and the Shimazu clan. Thus, the Odawara-Hojo clan as a Sengoku daimyo came to the end.

Personal Profile

As a military commander, Ujimasa is not highly evaluated because he ruined his own clan.
In the Hojo-ki (a record of the Hojo family), Ujimasa is referred to that 'the fourth family head, Ujimasa, is such a fool that he was deceived by Norihide MATSUDA, a roshin (main retainer) and disturbed the affairs of the state, but due to the virtue of his father, Ujiyasu, he was spared his life.'
In this document, among the five family heads of the Hojo clan, Ujimasa is the only one who is disrespected this much and called without 'kun' (a suffix to refer to a ruler).

Personally, Ujimasa is known as a person who cared for his family, always kept a good relationship with his capable younger brothers and loved his wife. Although he divorced his lawful wife, Obai-in, upon the invasion of Suruga Province by the Takeda clan, Ujimasa hesitated to do so until the last moment, and when Ujimasa was reconciled with the Takeda clan after the death of Ujiyasu, he immediately asked to have the remains of his ex-wife and buried them in a cordial manner.


Although there are many anecdotes on Ujimasa HOJO, most of them are not favorable to Ujimasa.

A story of soup and rice

A famous anecdote about Ujimasa features soup and rice. At a mealtime, Ujimasa poured a soup on rice once, but poured it again as the soup was not enough.
His father, Ujiyasu, saw it and sighed as follows;
You have a meal every day, but you still do not know how much soup you need for your rice. The Hojo clan may end in my era.'
(Meaning, someone who cannot measure the amount of soup suitable for his rice cannot assess the situation of his territory or vassals right.)
The fact that Ujimasa could not evade the fall of the Hojo clan made this anecdote famous and also the reputation of Ujimasa very low. Although this anecdote is a fiction written in later years, it seems that the story mock the real story that Ujimasa sent his army to the same battle line over and over again in the confrontation against the Satake clan.

The story of wheat

Ujimasa saw peasants harvesting wheat and said: 'we should have a lunch with that fresh wheat.'
Wheat after harvest cannot be eaten immediately, but requires a process of drying, threshing and pearling before cooking. It is said that Shingen TAKEDA, who heard the story, laughed a lot at how ignorant Ujimasa was. This is the anecdote recorded in the Koyo Gunkan (records of the military exploits of the Takeda family).

[Original Japanese]