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Hidemitsu Akechi

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Hidemitsu Akechi
Hidemitsu Akechi (NAIT)
Character Information
Clan(s)/Alliance(s): Akechi
Weapon Type:
Sword
Unit Type: Fierce
Significant Battle(s):
First Appearance: Samurai Warriors
Historical Information
Real name:
Akechi Hidemitsu
Akechi Mitsuharu
Japanese name:
明智 秀満
明智 光春
Born:
?
Died:
July 4, 1582
Birth year uncertain due to unknown heritage.

Hidemitsu Akechi is related to Mitsuhide and one of his retainers. He is best known for his defiant last stand at Sakamoto Castle, declaring his unending loyalty to his lord. After his death, he has been romanticized as a heroic and resourceful general to his lord in legends.

Role in GamesEdit

Hidemitsu acts as one of Mitsuhide’s constant subordinates in the Samurai Warriors series, often appearing at Honnōji and Yamazaki. Chronicles has him accompany Gracia during said battles.

In Warriors Orochi, Hidemitsu serves as Mitsuhide's replacement officer when players assume the latter's role.

Kessen III has him be an officer at the Guerilla Battle at Sekigahara in chapter ten. He can summon a countless number of bodyguards if enemy messengers reach him. Hidemitsu survives this encounter to oppose Nobunaga for the rest of the game.

Historical InformationEdit

Akechi Hidemitsu's origins are a complete mystery. His early pseudonym was Miyake Yahei (三宅弥平次) before he was renamed Mitsutoshi (光俊) and then Hidemitsu. All that is known for certain is that he served the Akechi clan. In 1578, he was considered for a marriage to Mitsuhide's daughter who was originally going to be married to Araki Murashige. Her first marriage arrangement was called off due to Araki's rebellion. After his marriage to Mitsuhide's daughter, he was known under the Akechi name. The marriage document records that it took place May 1582. In 1581, he became castle lord of Fukuchiyama Castle.

Hidemitsu was in Mitsuhide's ranks for the attack on Honnōji. Afterwards, he was ordered to guard Azuchi Castle. During the Yamazaki conflict, he acted as a part of Mitsuhide's rear guard and was routed by Hori Hidemasa of the Hashiba army.

Hidemitsu fled into Sakamoto Castle where it was soon surrounded by Hidemasa's troops. Hidemitsu thought himself unworthy to be near his lord's personal treasury filled with gifts from Nobunaga. He sought to protect them from harm for his lord, personally standing atop one of the castle guard towers to proclaim his request. Yet he strangely refused to hand over the wakizashi Kichihiroe. Hidemasa and his men were taken aback and, after a pause for thought, inquired for an explanation. Hidemitsu answered,

Vin1 As you may well be aware, this sword was an imperial treasure, dropped by its owner Lord Magistrate Asakura in Echizen. My lord secretly sought for it and stored it here. You wish for me to give it away, when it is eternally bound to my lord's life and favor. It is bound it to my waist so that I may bestow it to the hallow mountain of my lord's death. Permit me this duty. Vin2

In the night hours of July 4, Hidemitsu used the sword to kill his own wife and Mitsuhide's wife. He or his subordinates set fire to the castle, perishing in the flames.

Japanese FolkloreEdit

OriginsEdit

One theory is based on historical records from the time period which states Hidemitsu's name before becoming a part of the Akechi, Miyake Yahei. Tennouji Yakaiki confirms that the Miyake were a retainer family for the Akechi. Legends derive from this notation to create various deviations of his origins. Either his Akechi name was adopted because of his status as a trusted retainer, he originated from a completely different branch of the Miyake in Mino or Izumo, or he was the son to Miyake Takasada, an independent lord from Bizen.

The Edo period accounts propose his Miyake origins are false and Yahei was used as one of his many pseudonyms. They show favoritism for a heroic image and often prefer to dub his alias as Samanosuke (左馬助 or 左馬之助 or 左馬之介) in ode to his alleged trust with his lord. Within these accounts, Hidemitsu was born into the Akechi family. The Akechi Gunki, which has been contested by modern historians for its accuracy, states Hidemitsu as Akechi Mitsuyasu's second son and Mitsuhide's cousin. His other given name, Mitsuharu, stems from Mitsuyasu's name and frequently appears in records from this period. Legends from this time period state his childhood name as Iwachiyo (岩千代).

Naosuke Abe, a writer of the Meiji period, alleges a different theory in his Ena Sosho. According to his text, he defines Tōyama Kageyuki to be the same man as Mitsuharu's father and Mitsuhide's uncle. Mitsuharu would then be Kageyuki's son Kagetora and therefore a completely different entity than Hidemitsu. This theory is currently littered with historical inconsistencies but is one of many popular misrepresentations of Hidemitsu known in modern culture.

CareerEdit

Hidemitsu Akechi Crossing Lake Biwa

Painting of Lake Biwa crossing by Utagawa Toyonobu from the Newly Selected Records of the Taiko.

Hidemitsu was said to be a man of culture. He was said to have favored using the Akechi Koshirae sword, heralded as an expert sword fighter in many legends. Mitsuhide was the eldest son and inheritor of the Akechi clan, so it was decided from an early age that Hidemitsu would serve him. Dōsan's death and Mitsuyasu's suicide delayed these plans. Both Hidemitsu and Mitsuhide were forced to become landless samurai during their retreat. When Mitsuhide started serving the Oda, Hidemitsu reunited with his cousin and enlisted into his lord's service.

Before Mitsuhide began his instigation at Honnōji, he wanted consultation regarding his uncertainties with Nobunaga. Hidemitsu advised for Mitsuhide to clear his head of anxieties before they come back to haunt him. He warned that if his lord had any inkling of doubt, the heavens would not grant him leadership. Although he sounded opposed to the idea, Hidemitsu was already making arrangements for his lord's instigation. His cautionary statements were made to mask their movements from potential spies. During his retreat from Azuchi Castle, Hidemitsu set fire to the main keep and its inner grounds.

Once he learned of Mitsuhide's retreat, Hidemitsu sought to retreat towards Sakamoto Castle. However, when he arrived to Otsu, his path was impeded by Hidemasa's soldiers. His allies fell one by one, and Hidemitsu alone survived. Rather than risk the fight, Hidemitsu cut across Lake Biwa with his beloved horse Ōkage. He dismounted from his saddle and held onto its reigns to avoid drowning his steed with the weight of his wet armor. Hidemasa's men were left speechless at the sight. Miraculously, the duo safely made the journey and reached Sakamoto Castle. This legend is often dubbed "Akechi Samanosuke's Lake Crossing".

When Sakamoto Castle was surrounded by Hidemasa's troops, Irie Chōbei rode towards the castle. Hidemitsu knew him and refrained from shooting him. Instead, he requested for Chōbei to listen to his ramblings. Hidemitsu reflected that he was a warrior who fought his whole life. He sacrificed everything for his lord and thought he was content to leave behind a glorious fate for his descendants. On that day, he would die for a concept and would never live to know a day of peace. Everything that happened to him would soon happen to Chōbei. Although he cited his achievements in a positive light, it was clear to the pair that Hidemitsu thought his life was in vain. Hidemitsu died when he was 46 years old. Chōbei learned from his warning and gave up his samurai life to be a prosperous merchant.

Hidemitsu's alleged close ties to the Miyagi clan solidified his sons' survival. His eldest son served the Hosokawa and went by the name Miyake Shigetoshi. His illegitimate son Tarōgorō was fabled to be Sakamoto Ryōma's ancestor. Tarōgorō supposedly wrote a detailed account of his family history and his father's exploits, which led to his heroic status in legends.

While many stories prefer to highlight his death, there are tales which state he survived Sakamoto Castle and assumed Tenkai as his alias.

GalleryEdit

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