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|First Appearance:||Samurai Warriors 3|
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September 23, 1573
Hisamasa Azai is Nagamasa's father and the second clan head of the Azai family. Unlike his talented son, Hisamasa did not have the drive to lead his men into war and was considered a cowardly, weak leader. A popular legend states that he is one of the reasons for the Azai's defection, the story stating that Hisamasa insisted his son resist the distasteful Nobunaga.
Role in GamesEdit
In Samurai Warriors 3, Hisamasa joins the defenses of Odani Castle. Upon struggling in battle, he can be rescued by his son. Worried for his father's safety, Nagamasa orders Hisamasa to retreat back to their castle.
Hisamasa appears in Warriors Orochi 3 as Nagamasa's substitute field officer should the player include his son in their team.
He is also a minor officer in Kessen III during the siege of Odani Castle. If defeated, he will lament that his actions to motivate Nagamasa against Nobunaga were wrong.
Azai Hisamasa was allegedly the offspring of Azai Sukemasa. He has been argued to have been Amako Keian's biological or adopted child or Rokkaku Yoshitaka's bastard son adopted by Sukemasa. Either his sister's lineage or his intelligence led to Hisamasa inheriting the clan after Sukemasa's death over his step-brother, Akimasa. After becoming clan head, he led a campaign against the Rokkaku clan and lost, forcing him to serve under Yoshitaka in 1558. As a condition of peace, he agreed to marry his son, Takamasa (Nagamasa), to the daughter of Rokkaku retainer, Hirai Sadatake, much to the chagrin of the Azai clansmen.
Hisamasa's dependence on the Rokkaku is often stated to be a sign of weakness and cowardice as a ruler in legends and folklore. Recent evidence suggests his reliance was a diplomatic choice to protect the clan. The Azai-Asakura alliance was originally formed during Sukemasa's time out of necessity, mainly to benefit the Azai's revolt for independence against their Kyōgoku masters. When the talented individuals of the Asakura clan perished in 1555, Hisamasa lost faith in their alliance and sought to claim the Rokkaku. While he failed, his Rokkaku servitude protected the Azai from the Kyōgoku and solidified a base for building the Azai's affluence. He allegedly gained influence by excelling with reconstruction and tax reform, though the full extent of his services remains unclear.
Two years later, he and Nagamasa conspired against the Rokkaku at Norada in an attempt to win back their independence. Although they were victorious, the Azai retainers lost faith in Hisamasa and forced the father into retirement as a recluse at Chikubu Island. It was first believed that political power was completely transferred to Nagamasa, yet recent findings suggest that Hisamasa still had lingering influence over the clan. Edo folklore often interprets his presence as being the driving cause for strengthening Asakura ties and defiance to the Oda. Modern historians now speculate that his pseudo position left a safety cushion for the Azai leadership. Nagamasa would never be in danger of losing the Azai name as long as his father lived, even if he lost to Nobunaga. Details for the uprising and Hisamasa's activities at this time are foggy, however, so these ideas cannot be clarified with certainty.
When the siege of Odani Castle commenced, Hisamasa and his defenders were stationed at the smaller keep. The Hashiba army laid waste to his position. Hisamasa refused to withdraw or surrender, and his defenders are said to have died fighting. After sharing his last drink with Azai Koreyasu and Tsurumatsu Dayu, Hisamasa was said to have committed suicide. Tsurumatsu was his second. Since Tsurumatsu was a Noh dancer, there is speculation that Hisamasa pursued the arts and culture during his departure from government affairs. His wife, Ono-dono, either disappeared from history or was captured and killed by Oda troops. Out of his children, only Kyōgoku Maria survived him and the Azai's downfall.