Mori Ranmaru

Mori Ranmaru

Mori Ranmaru

An unusually beautiful, skilled, and talented warrior. This was how others viewed Mori Ranmaru. He was also also known as Mori Naritoshi and was the son of Mori Yoshinari from the Mino Province.

Mori Ranmaru belonged to the Mori Clan who were the descendants of Seiwa Genji. It was Mori Motonari who expanded this clan’s power throughout Aki Province.

It was during the Edo period that Mori Motonari’s descendants became Daimyo of the Choshu Domain. This was under the Tokugawa shogunate.

It was during the Meiji Restoration period when the Daimyo and Han system were removed, and the Mori clan became part of the elite nobility.

Mori Ranmaru Early Years

As a young man, he became the student of Akechi Mitsuhide since they were both under the services of the Saito clan. Yet at some point, Mitsuhide and Ranmaru were able to end the Saito family’s rule.

Ranmaru followed his mentor in Ise-Nagashima and participated in the massacre of the peasant army. His mentor, Akechi Mitsuhide, retreated from the field.

Although he trusted Akechi, he lost faith and loyalty on his mentor after the attack against Oda Nobunaga at Honno-ji. Ranmaru viewed this as a sign of disloyalty and a betrayal of trust between master and lord.

Create Your Custom Samurai Sword

Custom Katana

Custom Wakizashi

Custom Tanto


Mori Ranmaru Under Oda Nobunaga

His skills and talent as a warrior were recognizable even at such a young age. This impressed Oda Nobunaga, thus, took him in as one of his men.

Aside from his skills, Ranmaru was also known for his loyalty and unusual beauty for a male. And at a young age, he became an attendant of Oda, and was also given a vital post by his lord.

Under Nobunaga’s leadership, Ranmaru Mori was rewarded at Omi with 500 Koku. After Takeda Katsuyori‘s death. Ranmaru was even given even more Koku of 50,000 at Iwamura Castle.

Mori Ranmaru At Battle of Tenmokuzan

Oda Nobunaga was at the height of his power when he destroyed the Takeda clan at the Battle of Tenmokuzan. He had most of central Japan under his control; however, Oda also had existing rivals such as the Mori clan where Ranmaru Mori belonged.

Each of these other clans like Mori, Uesugi and the Hojo were not in good terms with Oda. Despite this, he took advantage of the struggles within the internal affairs of his rival clans, and sent general Hashiba Hideyoshi to attack the Mori.

Other generals were also dispatched to attack the other rival clans. At some point during the battle, Hashiba required reinforcements. This was because the Mori clan’s movements were different from what the general had assumed.

Visit Our Shop

Katana for Sale

Shirasaya for Sale

Wakizashi for Sale


Akechi’s Defection

When Nobunaga decided to come to Hashiba Hideyoshi’s aid, he requested Akechi Mitsuhide to do so as well.

Oda Nobunaga travelled to Honno-ji temple which led Akechi to plan an uprising against his lord. He assumed that this was the best time for such, and took advantage of the situation because of these reasons:

  • Nobunaga was resting and was un-prepared for an attack.
  • All of his other Daimyo were occupied with other battles.
  • A number of his army were fighting in other parts of the country.
  • An element of surprise. He assumed that Nobunaga would not expect an attack from one of his most loyal Daimyo.
  • He was envious of Mori Ranmaru’s close ties and extra marital affair with Oda Nobunaga.
  • He was ambitious to the point that Akechi Mitsuhide would do anything to reach his dreams of power.

Extra Marital Affairs with Nobunaga

Mori Ranmaru, being an unusually beautiful male, had an existing vassal and lord relationship with Oda Nobunaga. This was actually a feudal Japanese tradition referred to as Nanshoku.

This was viewed as something honorable and was widely accepted in Japan as the source of strength between lord and vassal. Sex with men date back to ancient times. This was more obvious during the Tokugawa and Edo period.

Nanshoku is also known as Danshoku and it is the Japanese reading of the same Chinese characters. The characters used for this term means “male colors”.

However, this practice was discouraged during the Meiji period since there was a rise of a new view regarding sex within Japan and the influence of Western culture.

Mori Ranmaru: Death at a Young Age

Mori Ranmaru died with his brothers while defending Oda Nobunaga during the Honno-ji Incident. This was the same incident when Oda Nobunaga was forced to commit suicide at the hands of the samurai general Akechi Mitsuhide. This catastrophic event ended Nobunaga’s quest to form a centralized power in Japan under his authority.

There were different stories as to how Oda Nobunaga’s life ended at Honno-ji: one story states that when Akechi attacked the temple, Nobunaga and his men’s efforts were in vain since they were unprepared for an attack.

With that, he ordered Ranmaru to set the temple on fire so that nobody could take his head. During those times, warriors who defeated an enemy took their heads as a trophy.

Due to his loyalty and devotion to Nobunaga, Ranmaru followed his lord’s orders. Because of his character, he became one of the respectable characters known in Japanese history.

Image Source: Utagawa Yoshiiku [Public domain]