Being both a Japanese Daimyo and a Samurai warrior of the Sengoku period, Hojo Ujimasa lived a short life. He was born in 1538 and died in1590.
His parents were Hojo Ujiyasu, his father and his mother were Zuikeiin. When he was a child, he was given the childhood name Matsuchiyomaru.
Ujimasa was the fourth head of the Hojo clan and he was also the Daimyo of Odawara Castle. He was the son-in-law of the famous Takeda Shingen.
However, he also had a second wife which was Hoshoin. Most of his children were born to him by Obaiin. Odawara is now located in present-day Kanagawa Prefecture in Japan.
Life in Odawara Castle
Five generations of the Odawara Hojo clan that included Hojo Ujimasa had improved and expanded the Odawara Castle being the center of their domain. This domain surrounded the Kanto region.
During the Sengoku period, this castle was known for its strong defenses. This castle was strategically located in a hill surrounded by moats with water and dry ditches. This protects the castle from the attacks of the enemies.
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Hojo Ujimasa At The Battle of Omosu
This infamous battle was fought between the Hojo and Takeda clans in the Sengoku period. The Battle of Omosu was fought on the coast of the Izu peninsula.
This particular battle was between the head of the Hojo clan against Takeda Katsuyori who was the head of the Takeda clan. Each had their land armies.
Those who fought in the seas were referred to as navies. Both of these armies faced each other squarely. In this battle those that belong to Hojo clan like Ujimasa were victorious.
Mysterious Death of Hojo Ujimasa
Towards the end of Hojo Ujimasa’s life, his death was clouded with mystery. Some claimed that he died by committing suicide while others say that he was stabbed to death.
According to one reliable source, he was forced to commit suicide along with his brother Ujiteru. This was a result of failing to go against Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s army during the Siege of Odawara.
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Death Poem Of Hojo Ujimasa
Hojo Ujimasa was filled with shame when he admitted defeat in the hands of the enemy. As every Samurai was, he also expressed the same sentiments before he committed a ritual suicide or seppuku.
The graves of the brothers of the Hojo clan (Hojo Ujimasa and Ujiteru) are known by locals as a place that is endowed with fortunate powers which can be felt by those who visited their graves.
These graves can be accessed via present-day Odawara station. Some say that these graves had the same stone where the brothers committed seppuku.
Life Inspired Games
Hojo Ujimasa has inspired video games for today’s generation. Such video games like Kessen, Warriors Orochi, Samurai Warriors 2 and 3, plus a lot more. He was also depicted in other Shogun games that involved war.
Ujimasa is also displayed as a professional wrestler for the Dramatic Dream Team featured in February 2013. For a hero that has inspired future generations, Hojo Ujimasa is honored with respect for a Samurai and Daimyo who lived in feudal Japan.
Image Source: 大阪城天守閣 特別展 秀吉への挑戦 [Public domain]