193 cm (6'4")
Wooden Plaque of the Cat Gods
|Moveset Type:|| |
|Playable Debut:||Samurai Warriors 2|
|Real name:|| |
|Japanese name:|| |
August 21, 1535
August 30, 1619
Initially available (WO1~2)
Odawara Castle (WO3)
|Personal Item:|| |
|Sacred Treasure:|| |
Yoshihiro Shimazu is argued to be the seventeenth head of the Shimazu clan. A ferocious warrior who takes chances, he earned the nickname, "Devil Shimazu" (Hanja: 鬼石曼子, Kanji: 鬼島津), during Hideyoshi's attempt to invade Korea. Yoshihiro is the second son of his family line –his older brother being Yoshihisa and his younger brothers are Toshihisa and Iehisa. His famous nephew is Toyohisa.
In Saihai no Yukue, his height is two centimeters taller (close to 6'5") and he is 55 years old. He takes naps as a hobby and likes to eat fish.
Role in GamesEdit
Yoshihiro is a war veteran who wants to feel thrill in battle. He starts his story defending his home against Hideyoshi's army in an-all-or-nothing bid for the Kyushu island. Whilst in the battle, he clashes blades with Ginchiyo, who swears to avenge her father and family at any cost. Although he and his family defeat Hideyoshi for one victory, the conqueror's resources and intelligence eventually force the Shimazu to surrender. As vassals under Hideyoshi, he joins the eastern siege of Odawara Castle. Seeing Hideyoshi's cleverness, Yoshihiro gives up his own ambitions for conquering the land. After Hideyoshi passes away, however, Yoshihiro realizes his discarded dream has a slight chance to succeed. Disowning his right as clan head and giving it to his nephew, Toyohisa, Yoshihiro joins Mitsunari.
After winning Kusegawa, the Western army suffers grievous losses at Sekigahara. Regardless, Yoshihiro decides to turn the tide of the battle by charging with his men through the center. By keeping Toyohisa, Ginchiyo, Mitsunari and Sakon alive, Yoshihiro is able to direct the Western army to victory. Mitsunari orders a pursuit of Ieyasu's army at Edo Castle. Once it seems as though Mitsunari is on the verge of winning, Yoshihiro defects and gambles on taking the land in one battle. During the final confrontation, he slays Ginchiyo and is sadden that he cannot mourn her valor. With their victory, the Shimazu rule in the new land of peace and restless Yoshihiro gradually copes with the dramatic change.
His dream stage is a "what-if?" scenario of Yoshihiro's historical inactivity in Sekigahara. He waits until the Western army is nearly defeated and then charges out to battle to change the odds in their favor.
Yoshihiro first appears in the Ascendancy scenario of Samurai Warriors: Katana where he and Ginchiyo attack the Oda forces at Sekigahara only to be thwarted by the player. The second chapter of the Swordsman scenario has him act as the protagonist's ally during the latter's visit to Kyūshū. Delighted by the invading Toyotomi army's large numbers, the aged warrior helps drive them back and even convinces his companion to assist the liberation of Tsuruga Castle. He is also instrumental in keeping the enemy forces occupied while the player launches a successful sneak attack. His conflict with Ginchiyo becomes the driving focus of one chapter in the Savior scenario. When Magoichi and the protagonist cause his tactics against the Tachibana to backfire, he personally sets out to face them and loses, thereby forcing him to cease his attacks momentarily.
In Samurai Warriors 3, Yoshihiro's story begins in a similar manner as his previous story except that he has Muneshige as an additional rival. After Hideyoshi's death, Yoshihiro tries to join Ieyasu and heads to Fushimi Castle to aid Mototada Torii. However, since Mototada refuses his cooperation, an upset Yoshihiro joins the Western army's siege of the castle to teach Mototada a lesson. With his position within Mitsunari's ranks, he burns down the fortification and scatters the Eastern army. His diversion for the Western army lands him a place at Ise Province. In an effort to weaken Ieyasu's forces further, Sakon leads the siege of Ōtsu Castle. Yoshihiro reunites with Muneshige and they work together to break Tadakatsu's hold of the castle.
After the battle's conclusion, he reconciles his differences with Muneshige. With both men present on the losing side of Sekigahara, they gamble their lives to break through Ieyasu's forces after Mitsunari's camp falls. Escaping safely whilst defeating many of the Eastern army generals, Yoshihiro reveals his plan to rule the land by immediately pursuing and dispatching Ieyasu. Muneshige disagrees with the elder's plot. When Yoshihiro readies himself for what he believes to be a duel, the younger general instead slices both of their war banners and states that he won't lose to the elder. Yoshihiro departs from Muneshige to carry out his plan, both rivals expecting a fearsome challenge from the other in the future.
Yoshihiro's story route in Sengoku Musou 3: Empires takes place during his clan's efforts to unify Kyūshū. After their father's passing intensifies the Itō clan's invasion of Satsuma, the Shimazu siblings retaliate by using Yoshihiro's family as bait to lure them at Kakutō Castle while fooling their enemy's allies the Sagara with false ambush units. With the opposing forces distracted, the brothers successfully coordinate their attacks to annihilate them by using cats to tell the time. They go on to subdue the other regional clans until the Toyotomi's alliance with the Ōtomo impedes their progress.
While Yoshihiro shows no concern for his enemies' ideals or ethics throughout the story, he never neglects to pay respects to the fallen regardless of their affinity towards him. This earns him Ginchiyo and Muneshige's grudging respect when they storm Iwaya Castle to retrieve Jōun Takahashi's corpse. Hoping his rivals can best him before the Toyotomi army's larger numbers do, Yoshihiro is astonished by the pair's decision to put aside their hatred and assist the Shimazu. Together, he and the couple are able to prevent Hideyoshi's army from overrunning the region. His ending has him and Ginchiyo fawn over the former's litter of cats to enjoy the peace they fought for.
Samurai Warriors 4 Yoshihiro begins as the lord of his clan. He joins his brothers to reinforce Iehisa Shimazu at Taka Castle, facing impeding odds from Jōun Takahashi and the Tachibana army. Before the battle begins at Mimikawa, Yoshihiro prevents Toyohisa from rushing to an early grave and patronizes him to learn his place as a warrior. Throughout the Kyushu chapter, he acts as his nephew's mentor.
Yoshihiro asks his older brother, Yoshihisa, to act as bait to lure in the Ōtomo forces at Mimikawa. With their territory safe and morale high, the Shimazu soon receive request for reinforcements from their northern ally, Harunobu Arima. Joining with his forces at Okitanawate, they are outnumbered ten to one against Takanobu Ryūzōji. To place the odds in their favor, Yoshihiro orders to lure in their enemies into a dual rock slide. His strategy leads to the Ryūzōji's fall. In due time, the Shimazu dwindle their rivals and have nearly conquered Kyushu. Jōun and the Tachibana are all that remains to oppose them. During the siege of Iwaya Castle and Tachibanayama Castle, Yoshihiro predicts Jōun's trump card is Hideyoshi's reinforcements and urges for the troops to move quickly. His hunches prove correct when the Toyotomi navy becomes visible from the Shimazu conquered Kyushu.
The Shimazu stand their ground but are defeated by Hideyoshi's forces. Yoshihiro surrenders, feeling that it isn't his time to die yet. As a condition of his servitude to the Toyotomis, Yoshihiro and his nephew fight at Odawara Castle. They remain in the mainland and side with Mitsunari for Sekigahara. The elder suggests a night raid before the battle occurs to take advantage of Ieyasu's tired soldiers. Although his proposal is rudely rejected, Yoshihiro is fascinated by the gamble they're taking under him. He is surprised to see Ginchiyo siding with the losing side yet appreciates her company before the fight commences. In every version of the battle, the Shimazu forces will flee from the frontlines. The pre-rendered cinematic has Yoshihiro and his men charge only when Mitsunari's flight signals their defeat. They aim for Ieyasu's lightly defended main camp but are stopped by Tadakatsu and Naotora. At Toyohisa's behest, Yoshihiro flees from the battlefield.
After the battle, Yoshihiro reunites with Muneshige at the docks of Yanagawa. Well aware of Toyohisa's fate, he offers Muneshige the chance to avenge his father. The two men agree to retreat together to their home, reuniting with Ginchiyo soon afterwards to repel the Toyotomi army. Once he fulfills Muneshige's request for him, Yoshihiro issues his surrender to Ieyasu. Takatora arrives as the envoy, claiming that the Shimazu's previous resistance angered Ieyasu. He throws Toyohisa's worn-down helmet towards Yoshihiro before stating that the Shimazu's strength at Sekigahara moved Ieyasu's men, causing Masanori and others to plead forgiveness for Yoshihiro. Takatora departs with his lord's order of complete amnesty, and Yoshihiro is last seen congratulating his nephew for their victory.
Yoshihiro is one of the three who rescue Zhao Yun in Warriors Orochi. He helps Ginchiyo escape and later uses his family's tactic to assist Jiang Wei. During Wu's story, he also helps Xing Cai's defense at Odani Castle by springing an ambush on Sun Ce's troops.
He is one of the generals who decides to join forces with Sakon in Warriors Orochi 2. Desiring to test his abilities, Yoshihiro joins Huang Zhong and Sima Yi at Liang Province. They go to rescue Lu Meng's army from Sun Wukong and Lu Bu's forces. Thanks to their efforts, Sakon is able to gather allies from Wu. He shares his dream mode with Yukimura and Zhao Yun as the trio faces hundreds of enemies to rescue Liu Bei.
After Orochi's second defeat, the serpent army was on the verge of being extinguished. Interested in fighting for a losing cause, Yoshihiro volunteered his allegiance to them. Realizing that the tides had turned with Hydra's appearance, however, he instead feels that humanity has no chance of winning. When a future Ginchiyo and company confront him in the past at Odawara Castle, a beaten Yoshihiro agrees to join their fruitless sounding crusade for the satisfaction of a well earned victory. As a member of the coalition, he assists the chase for Da Ji at Kyushu and offers the plan to save Musashi. He remembers passing his serpent comrades attacking Dongkou which was unable to spare reinforcements and first shows his treachery by driving them away.
In Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate, he appears in some of the new conflicts against Tamamo in the mirror realm, and is one of the few warriors alongside Taishi Ci and Kanetsugu Naoe, who is willing to support the mystics at Xu Province in taking a large coalition led by Da Ji and Tamamo down. The ending cutscene for this stage is played in mostly his perspective, where he is shown walking through a tranquil forest and interacting with the likes of Zhou Yu and Shingen before catching a flower from Gracia and heading off towards an ocean.
Yoshihiro is the Warlord of Pugilis in Pokémon Conquest. He is aware of Nobunaga's conquests before the protagonist and contemplated heading north to challenge the powerhouse. When the protagonist has assembled the surrounding castles and enters his territory, Yoshihiro knows the odds are against him and seeks to be entertained with their encounter. Once he is defeated, he respectfully leaves his castle in the protagonist's hands.
In his special episode, Yoshihiro reflects that he's getting on in years, and it may be time for him to retire. Before he does, however, he embarks on the last and greatest gamble of his life, as he fights to conquer all of Ransei.
Shimazu appears in Kessen as one of the starting generals for the Toyotomi army. He is on ill-terms with Mitsunari before Sekigahara and fights with a small and very reluctant army. If his numbers dwindle in the low hundreds, he will automatically declare a retreat for his unit. He then leads his troops straight through Ieyasu's army, scaring the Tokugawa soldiers to open a path for Yoshihiro. He specializes in leading a fearful cavalry unit and has the ability to fire ballistae against foes. He is proud of his heritage, often yelling that his opponents will feel the wrath of his homeland. Though he will participate in battles following Mitsunari's death, he will not be one of the units to defend Osaka Castle.
Saihai no YukueEdit
In Saihai no Yukue, Yoshihiro is a respected veteran who starts as a loyal general for the Western Army. He constantly wears a stern expression and speaks with simple yet bold declarations. Mitsunari has a hard time understanding his true intentions, especially after he found a letter of surrender in the Shimazu camp.
After the first main camp falls, Yoshihiro bluntly explains that he is only looking out for his safety of his people. Since Mitsunari is not a Shimazu, he sees no reason to help him. However, once Mitsunari proves that he is willing to bet his life on winning, Yoshihiro agrees to wholeheartedly assist him. It's convenient for both men since the Shimazu army were moments before charging through the Eastern Army anyways. When Toyohisa sacrifices himself, Yoshihiro reminds their leader to honor his nephew's notions and proceed to victory. He acts as one of the last main generals who changed history. In the last battle, he defeats Ii, Kobayakawa, Tadakatsu, and Ieyasu in one blow. During the army's victory celebration, he and his cat spend the time to quietly mourn for Toyohisa.
He carries around a big cat which he affectionately calls, "Oni Bontan" (鬼ぼんたん). Oni Bontan usually expresses the same emotions that Yoshihiro does.
Despite initial beliefs by fans, Yoshihiro was actually developed after Ginchiyo and made specifically to be her opposite in both age, body type, and weaponry. To make him contrast with the first game's cast, he was designed to be the "white haired old man" character. As the only other character originating from Kyushu, they strove to make a gigantic strong man who truly fits his historical nickname. He was given a hammer since the producer thinks it fits with the "sturdy old man" image.
Proud of his "devil" title, Yoshihiro is a daring veteran who loves to fight against impossible odds. He thinks that battles are a necessary means of the era and can only see death on the other side of battle. Therefore, he strives to find satisfaction whilst in war, resisting the inevitable for the prospect of glory. While the English script emphasizes his playful and cheerful qualities, he is considerably more solemn and cautious in the original Japanese script. His battle cry is "Chesto!", which is a common yell to raise morale and is a possible nod to folklore surrounding him.
Although he doesn't care much for his own safety, he does care deeply for his family. Should he die during battle, he sometimes uses his final words to plea for the immunity of his family, requesting that only he himself be held responsible for his actions. He or his clansmen frequently use the "Tsuri no Buse" (釣り野伏せ) tactic (or lead ambush units), which is especially used by him and other characters in the Warriors Orochi series.
In the past, Yoshihiro killed Ginchiyo's father and several members of the Tachibana clan in combat. Though they're allies in the Western Army, she's antagonistic to him and frequently tells him various death threats. Even though they are enemies, they each share a kindred love for battle and respect one another's capabilities. In the recent title, his rivalry with Ginchiyo is reduced and he shares somewhat friendlier relations with Muneshige. He calls both them "brats" or "kids", a double pun in Japanese for their younger age as well as ties to the devil.
Also despite his image, Yoshihiro akin to his historical records, is shown to be very fond of cats.
Yoshihiro is symbolized by the words "smash" (砕) and "ogre" (鬼) and blue flames in the Samurai Warriors series.
Yoshihiro's titles in Samurai Warriors 2 are "Hero of Satsuma", "Proud Veteran", "Shimazu the Devil", "Wild Gambler", "One Man Army", "Island Colossus", and "Terrible Giant" (in the Xtreme Legends expansion).
His third weapon endowed him the power to smash through an enemies' frontline, barging through a castle like a wave. His Power version can pulverize anything with a single attack while his Speed versions grind people into dust.
The original name to his fourth and Unique weapons take their namesake from Mount Ibuki. Within Japanese mythology, there was an unnamed deity acting as the mountain itself. When the great Yamatotakeru was in Owari, he decided to subjugate the spirit personally. As to not sully the beauty of his famed sword, Ame-no-Murakumo-no-Tsurugi, Yamatotakeru decided to fight the deity bare handed. While climbing Mount Ibuki, he encountered a large, wild boar nearby. Yamatotakeru saw it but paid it no heed, thinking that the beast was much too ordinary for his attention. What he didn't know was that the boar was actually a spiritual medium of the very god he sought to defeat. Gravely insulted by Yamatotakeru's avoidance, the god of Mount Ibuki afflicted a terrible disease on its intruder. The illness drained Yamatotakeru of his strength causing him to collapse soon after descending the mountain.
Takemikazuchi forms the namesake of Yoshihiro's fifth weapon. He is a deity born from Kagutsuchi's death, one of the three emerging from blood speckled onto nearby stone. Thought to be a sword-wielding god of lightning, he is also known as a god of war or archery. In Hitachi-no-Kuni Fudoki, he is known as a sea god who commands the seas, guiding navies to victory. During the pacification of Nakatsu Kuni, he and Amenotorifune faced Takeminakata in combat. Each tussled with one another by grabbing their waistbands, tugging in a battle of strength. According to legend, their struggle became the origins for the sumo sport. After his victory over Takeminakata, Takemikazuchi was later known for morphing his own body into the legendary sword, Futsu-no-Mitama-no-Tsurugi. Harnessing immense power within this form, the sword could cause its targets to burst into flames in one mighty swing.
Hanafuda cards do act as his personal item in Asian ports in Warriors Orochi, but the original name includes a known betting combination, Ino Shika Cho (literally: Boar, Deer, Butterfly). Each card is assigned ten points in their respective suits. The particular deer card is represented by the tenth month and by maple leaves. According to tales regarding this card, social gamblers in Tokyo abbreviated it to be a simple "Shikato" or "Deer Ten". Eventually, the word became common slang for avoidance, thought to originate from the deer's characteristic visage and posture.
His heirloom in the fourth Samurai Warriors title is a historical title. He bestowed it for the two cats who survived the Korean campaign. Senganen continues to offer painted tributes to these two cats today for tourists.
- Mark Skoda - Samurai Warriors 2 (English)
- Tom Wyner - Samurai Warriors 3, Warriors Orochi (English-uncredited)
- Jamieson Price - Warriors Orochi 2 (English-uncredited)
- Mark Acheson - Kessen (English)
- Hisao Egawa - Samurai Warriors and Warriors Orochi series (Japanese)
- Daisuke Gōri - Kessen (Japanese)
- Ryousuke Kanemoto - Sengoku Pachislot Nobunaga no Yabou ~Tenka Sousei~
- See also: Yoshihiro Shimazu/Quotes
- "Mitsunari's a fine dreamer, but sooner or later reality's gonna smack him upside the head!"
- "That kind of statement would worry me, if you weren't my ally. Except, you're the one who likes losing, right? Does that mean I should worry?"
- ~~Yoshihiro and Sakon; Samurai Warriors 2
- "Yoshihiro... you're taking... a cat...? Onto the battlefield...?"
- "Of course. With her honed instincts, this cat will let us know when the enemy's about to attack. And she's the prettiest little kitty in the whole world! Yes she is!"
- "He's right, you know. It is a very pretty cat."
- "Do you think it wise to spill the blood of your brethren all because of your pig-headedness?"
- "Wise? Ha! I never consider the wisdom of battle! It simply must be fought - and so must be enjoyed."
- "It's a shame we couldn't become the best of friends."
- "I'd rather lose all my lands and reputation than befriend a demon like you."
- "If you say so."
- ~~Yoshihiro and Jōun Takahashi; Sengoku Musou 3: Empires
- "I'm surprised to see you here, girl. The Tachibana are not known to gamble. I thought you'd be siding with plump little Ieyasu."
- "We owe a debt to the Toyotomi, and so we sided with Mitsunari. That's all. We remember our debts... and our defeats."
- "As scary as ever. I'm going to have to keep an eye on both the Eastern Army and Western Army, aren't I!"
- "Fear not. No Tachibana would ever cut down an ally from behind. You are expected to fight to the death, however. A warrior who turns his back on a fight is worthless. Do so, and I will repay my debt to you."
- "That's a frosty form of encouragement. Are you planning on bringing snow to Sekigahara?"
- "Sure. And then we'll have tanuki stew for our victory banquet."
- ~~Yoshihiro and Ginchiyo; Samurai Warriors 4
- "This is indeed an honor, to test my strength against the mighty strategist of yore!"
- "And I look forward to witnessing wherefore you are labeled the devil."
- ~~Yoshihiro and Zhuge Liang; Warriors Orochi
- "I didn't know you had help... No fair, no one told me!"
- "Life just wouldn't be fun if you knew exactly what was going to happen, now would it?"
- ~~Dong Zhuo and Yoshihiro; Warriors Orochi 2
- "Master Shimazu, do you not remember what we discussed? When will you take off your armor?"
- "I'm from a warm area, so I am not accustomed to being cold. I'm also rather concerned about what the women might think."
- "Haha! I see you still have your youthful bashfulness as well, Master Shimazu!"
- ~~Huang Gai and Yoshihiro; Warriors Orochi 3
- "They shall feel the wrath of Satsuma!"
|Keys:||Normal Attack •||Charge Attack •||Musou •||Jump/Mount|
Samurai Warriors 2Edit
- : Smashes the ground with his hammer in front.
- , : Brings the hammer back in the opposite direction, launching the opponent.
- , , : Charges forwards, ramming the hammer-head into the opponent's ribs.
- , , , : Swings the hammer around his head, then a wide arc to the left in front of him.
- , , , , : Spins a full circle, swinging the hammer with him. Launches straight upward despite its motion.
- , , , , , : Opposite direction from the above, with a little extra swing towards the back to finish.
- , , , , , , : Charges forwards, grabbing the opponent, then tosses the opponent into the air, before swatting them away with the hammer to the upper right.
- , , , , , , , : Leaps into the air, then smashes the ground with his hammer, sending flames into the air from 5 cracks around him.
- , , , , , , , , : (Xtreme Legends only) Rams forward while infused with an green defensive aura. During the animation, the Shimazu crest can be seen hovering in the air.
- , , , , , , , , , , , : 360 degree swings to the left while moving forwards, finishing with a swing back to the right.
- , : Swings to the left with his hammer in midair.
- , : Pounds the ground with his hammer via a falling strike that emits a downed-target-hitting quake.
- Dashing : Charges forward with a lunge.
- : Repeatedly pounds the ground with his hammer. 3 more pounds with the hammer when his health is low.
- R1 + : Attack increases, defense decreases.
- R1 + : Increases defenses and musou after performing a stomp.
- Personal Skill : (Resist) becoming stunned when musou gauge is full.
- Warriors Orochi
Moves remain the same except for his C9 and his Level 3 Musou. He has a different R1 skill.
- R1: Delays for a bit to shoulder-charge forward via his left shoulder, plowing over any enemies in front. Buffs him with an aura that knocks back any targets that attempt to walk into him.
- Warriors Orochi 2
- Triple Attack 1: Produces a stream of air moving at mid-range.
- Triple Attack 2: Pounds weapon unto the ground with enough power to cause a quake.
- Triple Attack 3: Causes a pillar of light to erupt by pounding the floor with a leaping slam.
Samurai Warriors 3Edit
Keeps the same moveset with the following changes.
- (Ultimate/Kaiden): Yoshihiro slams his hammer into the ground, creating cracks in the earth. He then slams it again creating a volcanic eruption. Used as his True Musou in Warriors Orochi 3.
- Spirit Cancel:
- Warriors Orochi 3
Loses the ability to Spirit Charge and sidestep. Regains his C9 and gains a new Type Action.
- Dashing : Same as before, only it somehow has a larger-and-disjointed hitbox right behind Yoshihiro.
- R1: Charges into the enemy ranks with a slight wind-resistance aura at a short distance before hammering them with a downward smash that emits a quake that knocks back. Activates weapon elements on the quake portion which can also hit downed targets.
- , R1 (Ultimate only): Delays for a bit to perform a rapid-vertical-front-flipping-dive, where upon hitting the ground Yoshihiro then creates a small downed-target-hitting-quake before slamming to create a fire eruption.
Samurai Warriors 4Edit
Mighty strike is the same as Deadlock Attack. Moveset returns with some changes.
- : Finisher changes to a single mighty hammer swing which emits a slicing energy wave.
- Rage Attack/Musou Gokui effect:
- Awakened Skill effect (4-II only):
Yoshihiro is quite deadly on crowd control by most of his charge attack with wide range on early-beginning, but because of his low mobility, player should need a good speed horse for better mobility, because his movespeed is relatively slow (even a bit faster than Tadakatsu).
- See also: Yoshihiro Shimazu/Weapons
Samurai Warriors: Spirit of SanadaEdit
|Base Attack: 22|
|Base Attack: 271||Earth: 84||Wind: 77|
|Attack Up: 87||Attack Range: 71||Courage: 89|
|Fury: 78||Insight: 90||Verity: 83|
|Base Attack: 278||Fire: 87||Lightning: 80|
|Attack Up: 90||Attack Range: 90||Attack Speed: 81|
|Courage: 92||Clarity: 88||Momentum: 83|
Rare Weapon AcquisitionEdit
- Stage: Second Siege of Ueda - Battle of Sekigahara
Shimazu Yoshihiro was considered as a valued asset for the Shimazu clan and was a man of ferocious tenacity. He was favored by his brothers and grandfather, each one of them praising his loyalty to their family. During his youth, he was known to have amazing stamina as he sustained five deep arrows wounds to his armor and still fought with tenacious vigor. His bravery and honest character continued to impress several men, including Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Tokugawa Ieyasu, and Fukushima Masanori. It is said that his older brother was often compared to Yoshihiro and was treated coldly in comparison, some going as far to praise Yoshihiro as "the seventeenth clan head". While Yoshihiro had a great deal of accomplishments, it's currently unknown if he was actually ever considered as a valid candidate for the clan's leadership. To avoid confusion it's generally accepted that he was made the clan's leader in name only, giving the power of his clan to his brother, Yoshihisa.
Yoshihiro is also believed to have been a loving family man. He treated his horse, Hizatsuki Kurige, very well and only rode this steed into battle. While he was away during the Korean campaign, he constantly wrote letters to his family. In one letter to his wife, he wrote:
After his return from Korea, he became a cultured man who enjoyed tea ceremonies, I Ching, and different aspects of Sinology. He also migrated forty Korean pottery makers and they passed their techniques to different parts of Satsuma. Their influence paved a revolution for the providence's pottery. He had three brothers, one wife, one concubine, and seven children.
He was born as Shimazu Takahisa's second son. His mother was one his father's concubines known as Sezo Fujin. After he visited the shogun, Ashikage Yoshitaka, he was bestowed with the honored name, Yoshitaka. When he came into adulthood, he was renamed Yoshihiro. He experienced his first battle when he was 19 and accompanied his father to the Ōsumi Province at Iwatsugi Castle. They faced several Kyushu generals from the Gendoin, Kamou, Hishikari, and Irikin clans. Yoshihiro succeeded in decapitating the Kamou's leader, Norikiyo, but suffered serious wounds in the process.
In 1560, to save Shimazu Tadachika from Itō Yoshisuke's abuse, Yoshihiro was adopted into the Itō family and sent to Obi Castle. Two years later, however, the families lost respect for one another. The purpose behind his adoption was abandoned and the two armies clashed. He was then sent to the Kitahara clan, who donned him as one of their clan's honorary generals. When more defectors from the Itō clan migrated over, Yoshihiro moved to Iino Castle. In 1566, the Itō army began to march to his location. With his brothers, Yoshihisa and Toshihisa, Yoshihiro fought a brave resistance against him. After each side suffered great losses, the Itō army withdrew.
Although they were enemies, Yoshihiro never forgot the kindness he experienced with his adoptive family and integrated a design of the Itō crest for his code of arms. He is said to have done this during these years.
Serving under his elder brother, Yoshihiro continued to show bravery against the Itō forces during the Battle of Kizakibaru in 1572. The battle was fought in an effort to expand the Shimazu family territory. Itō Sukeyasu, who received reinforcements from three sides, split his army of 3,000 into two separate battalions in an effort to surround Yoshihiro and his family. To retaliate, Yoshihiro's wife and fifty volunteers took shelter in another castle while he lead an attack from Kakutō Castle. His enemy tried to corner him with a fire attack, but one of his trusted generals spotted the spark and reported the incident. Wanting to stump his foe at intelligence, Yoshihiro sent spies familiar with the local region to report on the situation. Learning the general geography of the land, he gathered 160 from his 300 men under his command. Sukeyasu's army chose to also perform a night raid on Kakutō Castle around this time. Though the Shimazu troops were able to surprise their foes, there were heavy casualties on both sides due to the young and inexperienced soldiers dragged into the conflict. The confusion was enough to demoralize Sukeyasu's troops and they fled from the castle.
Yoshihiro chose to not immediately pursue them since a report of 500 enemy soldiers was said to have been stationed and ready for them near Mount Suwa. When Sukeyasu's troops were resting near a river, however, Yoshihiro sprung an ambush from his artillery and personally rode on a chestnut-colored horse into the surprised enemy army. He dueled and slayed three generals in his charge, forcing the Itō army to make a battered retreat up Mount Suwa. Yoshihiro was already ready for this move and, when his foes progressed up the hills, he signaled another ambush with his spies in the area. Stopping his enemy in their tracks, he trapped them from their rear with the remainder of his 300 men. The enemy army was ultimately stumped by this strategy and their resistance collapsed with 500 survivors (mainly composed of the ones who did not have a chance to march into the battle). Sukeyasu was killed by a stray bullet whilst trying to escape the chaos. Although it was a victory for Yoshihiro, it was also a bloody scene for both sides and it is said that it took four months to give proper burials to the deceased in the field. Yoshihiro only had 53 soldiers remaining after the battle.
The particular formation used by Yoshihiro in this conflict later became his family's famous trademark and feared tactic, Tsuri no Buse (literally: "Hidden Fishing Field"). To summarize the tactic's use in later battles, the army is split into three formations and placed in three different locations. One army waits in the center and lures the enemy to attack them (otherwise known as "fishing"). When the middle army sees their chance, the two other squadrons are signaled to surround the enemy from two directions (usually the left and right).
Yoshihiro distinguished his reputation as a brave general after the battle. After the Itō clan was suppressed, he also took part in The Battle of Mimikawa, which lead to a crushing defeat for the Ōtomo family and the annihilation of their troops in modern day Kijō, Miyazaki. Taking the place of his older brother, Yoshihiro lead the Shimazu offensive against them and significantly decreased his enemy's territories. In 1587, Hideyoshi was in the midst of his Kyushu Campaign and reinforced the Ōtomo clan. The Shimazu family decided to eventually surrender during the Battle of Nejirozaka, in which they faced a massive army of 80,000. It is said that Yoshihiro opposed the decision, fighting valiantly against several enemies and pressing for a do-or-die resistance. He only agreed to the idea once his brothers gradually laid down their arms and offered one of their children as a hostage.
He had been a willing and a skillful general for Hideyoshi. On both 1592 and 1597 of the Seven-Year War, Yoshihiro set his foot on the Korean peninsula and successfully carried out a series of battles. On 1597, working together with Tōdō Takatora, Katō Yoshiaki and Konishi Yukinaga, Yoshihiro defeated Won Kyun's navy. At the Battle of Sacheon (泗川) in 1598, facing Ming army counting 37,000, Yoshihiro defeated them with only 7,000 soldiers. Shimazu troops under Yoshihiro were called "Oni Shimazu (literal translation-Shimazu demons or Shimazu ogres)" by Ming. Based on the superstition that the shape of cat's pupils told the exact time of day, Yoshihiro was said to have brought seven cats with him on the field in an effort to correct his judgment on time. At least two of them survived the trip back to Japan and were later enshrined at Senganen.
On the final battle of the war, the Battle of Noryang, Yoshihiro's objective was to cross the Noryang Strait, link up with Konishi and retreat to Japan. Most of the 500 ships under his command were destroyed or captured by the Joseon and Ming navies under Admiral Yi Soon Shin. However, an estimated 150 to 200 of his ships managed to limp back to Japan. Upon his return, Yoshihiro was awarded for his services since Yi Soon Shin was killed by his army.
After Hideyoshi's death, the Shimazu army became split between Yoshihisa and Yoshihiro's desires. His brother was anti-Toyotomi while Yoshihiro still supported the departed Taiko. As a result, Yoshihiro and his few army of men became stranded in Osaka and did not have the power to summon more men from Satsuma. He was further isolated when his son, Tadasune, assassinated Ijuin Tadamune in 1599. Tadamune's son, Tadazane, sought to avenge his father's death. What followed was a massive internal conflict between both clans known as the Shōnai Rebellion (庄内の乱, Shōnai no Ran). Since Ieyasu's mediation had ultimately ended the conflict, the Shimazu clan were indebted to him. This rebellion was later blamed for the small number of troops Yoshihiro had available for the Battle of Sekigahara.
In 1600, many people popularly believe that Yoshihiro was originally sided with the Eastern army. He lead 1,000 men as reinforcements to assist Torii Mototada at Fushimi Castle. However, Mototada doubted his loyalties to Ieyasu and refused to let Yoshihiro enter. As such, Yoshihiro became stranded once more and eventually assumed a post in the Western army. There are few historical records that accurately describe the event, but it is speculated that something of this nature occurred since Ishida Mitsunari was said to have greeted Yoshihiro scornfully. Furthermore, the Western commander denied to lend him any more troops for their campaign.
With this treatment, Yoshihiro participated in few of the battles before the Battle of Sekigahara. The night before, Yoshihiro's troops were in a prime position to ambush Ieyasu's troops and was said to have suggested a night raid. Ukita Hideie supposedly agreed with him. Mitsunari and his closest advisors disagreed with the notion, the famous reason being that Mitsunari thought it was dishonorable. Instead, Yoshihiro was assigned to lead the frontal attack at Sekigahara since some allies were still fearful of the Eastern army's numbers. Yoshihiro answered by refusing to move his troops. When the battle worsened in its early hours, Yasojima Sukesaemon requested that the Shimazu family should send reinforcements. Yasojima was said to have been angered by Yoshihiro's stagnant activity and yelled at him to march or the battle would be lost. Yoshihiro thought nothing of the words but continued to be upset by the rudeness he experienced.
After Kobayakawa Hideaki's defection, Yoshihiro's original escape route was blocked by the fleeing Western officers. Awaiting the charging armies, he contemplated fleeing with his remaining 300 and was convinced by his nephew, Toyohisa, to put the plan into action. Seeing as there was no turning back, Yoshihiro decided to lead the rush forward, determined to at least meet a glorious end if he should fail to retreat. His army trampled through Fukushima Masanori's troops and headed straight for Ieyasu's camp. Unable to reach his goal, however, his army diverged south and met the combined forces of Ii Naomasa, Honda Tadakatsu, and Fukushima. Though his army broke through, they continued to be pursued.
Seeing the situation, Yoshihiro immediately called for his tactic, Sutegamari (捨て奸, Lit: Abandon Deception). This plan essentially has a team of snipers stationed along the pursuing army's path. The snipers would then only aim for the enemy commander and, after their initial snipe, would then fight to the death with their spears to claim the enemy commander's head. While this is happening, the main force would retreat. Chojuin Moriatsu and Toyohisa agreed to stay behind and fought back the main generals who gave chase, Naomasa and Matsudaira Tadayoshi. Yoshihiro successfully broke through enemy lines and Ieyasu, fearing the loss of more of his men, called off any more pursuits. He rendezvoused with his fleeing wife in Settsu, Sumiyoshi-ku and fled with Tachibana Muneshige by boat, sailing safely back to Satsuma. Out of the 300 men who accompanied him, it is said that 80 or so men survived the trip back home.
Once Yoshihiro returned to his homeland, he urged for peace talks with Ieyasu and finally had his own wounds properly attended. When conducting these negotiations, he sent his condolences for causing Fukushima and Naomasa's wounds. At the same time, Satsuma's boarders were heavily fortified in preparation for the worse case scenario. Fifteen days later, Ieyasu refused their request and was angered by the Shimazu's continued warfare with neighboring families. Though a formal attack was not issued, an army of 40,000 lead by Katō Kiyomasa had already gone to work to subdue the Tachibana family. The Shimazu clan had an army of 10,000 and, by then, Yoshihiro was well rested. Either side was ready to clash at any given time. Two months later, however, the army that was going to suppress the Shimazu withdrew.
Two years later, Ieyasu's anger towards Yoshihiro softened and he accepted that prolonging their standoff could possibly lead to another long war. He is quoted in various fictional mediums to have replied, "Do not try to dispose the Shimazu any longer, for Yoshihiro's acts were for the individual. Neither the clan's leader or his family consented to his behavior." Thus, the Shimazu family lowered their arms and finally designated the clan's next leader, Tadatsune. It is assumed that Yoshihiro thanked Ieyasu, as the Shimazu general could now pass into the next world without any regrets. He then retired to Kajiki, Kagoshima and devoted himself to teaching the youngsters in the area. He passed away peacefully at age 85 and his 13 trusted vassals followed him to his grave. He has two death poems. One writes, "I would have neither lived nor died, if the earth and heavens opened in front of me". The other is "Just as how the flowers and autumn colored leaves in the Spring and Autumn Annals never stay, a person too is empty and must head down the path to darkness".
- In Sengoku Angelique, Arios acts as the Yoshihiro of the cast. His full name is "Shimazu Arios Yoshihiro".
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