Bessho Yoshiharu (別所吉治)

Yoshiharu BESSHO (1579 - August 25, 1654) was a daimyo (Japanese feudal lord) in the Edo period. The Load of Yagi Domain in Tajima Province. Son of Shigemune BESSHO. His lawful wife was the daughter of Kataie YAMAZAKI. Bungo no kami (governor of Bungo Province). His brothers were: Muneharu BESSHO; Shigeie BESSHO (hatamoto (direct retainers of the Edo bakufu), founder of the Arai-Bessho clan, Karoku (hereditary stipend) of 1,000 koku in the five district of Mino Province); Nobunori BESSHO; and Masayuki FUKUSHIMA.

There is a theory that although Yoshiharu is said to be the son of Shigemune, he was actually the son of Nagaharu BESSHO and escaped by following one of the vassals at the time of the fall of the Miki-jo Castle in 1580.

He took over as head of the family due to the death of Shigemune in 1591. He served in the Bunroku War (1592) and the erection of Fushimi Castle (1594) as the vassal of Hideyoshi. He joined the West squad at the Battle of Sekigahara (1600), and joined the attack to the Tango no kuni Tanabe-jo Castle (Tango Province). After the battle, he was authorized for land ownership by Ieyasu TOKUGAWA for some reason; this is thought to be because Yoshiharu's aunt was the menoto (a woman providing breast-feed to a highborn baby) of Hidetada TOKUGAWA. Also, some people say that it is because of the achievement made by his brother Sonjiro BESSHO for the East squad.

In 1615, Yoshiharu was additionally granted 5,000 koku crop yields in the Tanba Province due to the distinguished war service at the Siege of Osaka; he then owned 20,000 koku crop yields in total. In 1628, however, it was found that he faked illness and went to falconry instead of going to work. He was punished by being deprived of his fief by the order of the bakufu, and then the Bessho clan as a daimyo family (feudal lord family) fell.

In 1648, his son Moriharu BESSHO was pardoned, and was later granted 1,000 bales. His descendent continued as a hatamoto of 700 koku. Yoshiharu spent the rest of his days under the support of his son.

[Original Japanese]