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Katagiri Katumoto

A portrait of Katagiri Katumoto, Edo period, Daitokuji Yulin Institute collection. Unknown artist.

Katagiri Katsumoto (片桐 且元, 1556 – June 24, 1615) was a Japanese warlord Daimyo of the Azuchi–Momoyama period through early Edo period who in his youth was famed as one of the Seven Spears of Shizugatake. (The battle took place in May 1583). Katsumoto hailed from an ancient samurai clan with a long and distinguished history. In the early Middle Ages, Clan Katagiri served the Minamoto family, traditional head of the samurais that supplied early Shoguns and their government, and ruled the southern most part of Shinano region for nearly 500 years. Despite of his linage and the promising start at Shizugatake, Katsumoto's rise under Toyotomi Hideyoshi was relatively slow, compared to his fellow "seven spears" which included Kato Kiyomasa and Fukushima Masanori. More of a court samurai rather than a warrior as Kato and Fukushima certainly were, Katsumoto was kept in Osaka region, the de-fact capital of Japan under the Toyotomi family, and his holdings were in Ibaraki area in the north. (where today stands a small bronze statue). After the battle of Sekigahara (1600) which followed Hideyoshi's death, Katsumoto was appointed the chamberlain of the Toyotomi household whose fortune, with infant Hideyori, only son of Hideyoshi, as the head of the dynasty, became increasingly precarious before the over-mighty and ambitious Tokugawa Ieyasu. The ensuing 15 years, Katsumoto sought to negotiate a compromise between ruthless Ieyasu who had already decided to destroy his former master's dynasty once and for all and was only waiting for the right time to pounce on one hand, and stubborn and haughty Yodo-dono, mother of young Hideyori, who was hopelessly out of touch with the new Tokugawa rule on the other. Increasingly suspicious of Katsumoto's loyalty, Yodo-dono finally banished Katsumoto from Osaka castle which directly resulted in the siege of Osaka(1614-5) by Ieyasu's 200,000 strong army. The following summer, the Toyotomi family was annihilated with mother and son committed suicide within the burning castle.