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Masanori Fukushima

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Masanori Fukushima

Masanori Fukushima

Masanori Fukushima (1560-1624) was a Toyotomi retainer and future Tokugawa general during the Warring States Period. He was famed for being one of the "Seven Spears of Shizugatake", and was a close companion of Kiyomasa Kato, a fellow Toyotomi retainer. He was considered one of Hideyoshi Hashiba's "children", alongside him. Masanori was awarded with his own clan, the Fukushima, and Owari Province, as recognition of his bravery in fighting for Hideyoshi's unification of Japan, but sided with Ieyasu Tokugawa during the Sekigahara Campaign that occurred after the death of Hideyoshi. He laid siege to Kyoto, the stronghold of his former colleague and rival Mitsunari Ishida, in hopes of killing him and taking power as Shogun, but failed, and so joined Ieyasu in his war with Mitsunari that culminated in the Battle of Sekigahara, during which his men killed Yoshitsugu Otani and won great fame. 

Biography

Toyotomi retainer

Masanori

Masanori in battle armor

Masanori Fukushima
Masanori Fukushima was born in Owari Province, home of the Oda clan of Nobunaga Oda. In 1580, he enlisted in the army, fighting in the Siege of Miki, where the Oda destroyed the Bessho clan of Harima Province.

After Nobunaga's death, he served in the army of his general and retainer Hideyoshi Hashiba, who was considered by many to be his heir. He served at the Battle of Yamazaki in 1582 when Mitsuhide Akechi, the betrayer of Nobunaga, was killed. However, Masanori's shining moment happened when he fought in the Battle of Shizugatake a year later, where he met his future friend Kiyomasa Kato and future enemy Mitsunari Ishida, showing such courage that he became one of seven "Spears of Shizugatake". He fought alongside Kiyomasa and Mitsunari again at Komaki-Nagakute in 1584 against the Tokugawa, another Hashiba victory.

In 1586, he took part in an expedition to Kyushu led by Kiyomasa Kato, serving in the Battle of Iwaya Castle against the Shimazu in an alliance with the Tachibana, showing his valor to the populace of Kyushu as well. His last battle in the Toyotomi ranks was the Siege of Oshi Castle in 1590, where he took a castle belonging to the Hojo in the Odawara Campaign, the last campaign in Hideyoshi's unification of Japan.

War against Mitsuhide

In 1598, after serving in Korea during the many samurai invasions directed by Hideyoshi, he became a great general. When Hideyoshi died that year, he took part in the succession war and fought Mitsunari, his old nemesis. He raised an anti-Ishida Coalition, but failed to kill Mitsunari and exited the conflict. He rejoined the war against him in 1600 when Ieyasu Tokugawa raised the Eastern Army, opposing Mitsunari's Western Army for control of Japan. He served in the Battle of Sekigahara alongside Kiyomasa, who died in battle that day. Masanori became entitled to lands in Hiroshima, and retained them until his death.

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