Yoshitora (active circa 1840 - 1880) 
Taiheiki: The Conquest of Shikoku, 1867

In the 1585 Toyotomi Hideyoshi invaded the island of Shikoku and seized the territory from local daimyo Chousokabe Motochika. In this ukiyo-e Hideyoshi is depicted on the right side, holding a war fan. Next to him, in the middle of the composition, you can see Kato Kiyomasa, one of Hideyoshi`s gemerals

Kato Kiyomasa: A True Warrior

Kato Kiyomasa, one of the most vicious and accomplished Generals of the Sengoku Jidai

Kato Kiyomasa. Kato Kiyomasa. You might be surprised but I actually quite like Kiyomasa, for some reason he’s grown on me rather recently. I’m not a fan of his character in Samurai Warriors mind, I actually think he’s a little poorly done and his obsession with Nene unnerves me so perhaps some of his character is overshadowed by this. Other than that I enjoy his level headedness – he’s a good middle ground between brash, pessimistic Mitsunari and I can’t say anything else other than fun loving if slightly brutish Masanori. So yeah, in short, I like Kiyomasa.

The real Kiyomasa was born in 1562 to a blacksmith in Nakamura – the same village as Hideyoushi. A popular story goes the two were childhood friends but that’s basically impossible, Hideyoushi was almost thirty when Kiyomasa was born. Nevertheless, he would come to serve Hideyoushi and made a name for himself at Shizugatake. Bringing more fame to his name in 1587, Kato took part in the Kyushu campaign and after was given a large fief in Higo right next door to Konishi Yukinaga who we all know he did not get on with.

Kato was part of the Nichiren sect of Buddhism and, while the story of him killing and cutting open pregnant women actually has little prevalence in defining his character as it only occurred at the Siege of Hondo Castle in Kyushu (an error I need to correct in my Korea essay) he did persecute them under Hideyoushi’s orders.  Unfortunately for Kiyomasa he would end up in a similar post to Konishi (alongside Kuroda Nagamasa but they got on just fine, the had been likely childhood friends with Nagamasa had been sent as a hostage) and relations between them only worsened.

Kato was undoubtedly the most successful general in Korea, he made it all the way up north – the bloody trail on the image I used for the post is how far north Kato got after they took Seoul and he even touched on Chinese soil at one point. Ultimately, he would be forced to turn back when he realised that he would also be to blame for the loss against the Korean-Chinese army at the hands of Konishi. I don’t think he was happy about that. Kiyomasa would also be on campaign in the second invasion of Korea, being surrounded in Ulsan with Asano Nagamasa where his troops were (figuratively speaking) reduced to eating bark before any provisions arrived for them.

So, what can be said about Kiyomasa’s character. Well, according to Clements he was an…odd ball?

“Katou was eccentric, even by samurai standards – in battle his helmet was a three foot hugh metallic hat, like a shark’s fin. Rare for the Japanese, he also favoured wild and piratic facial hair, claiming his beard helped cushion the rubbing of his helmet straps.”

While Katou’s appearance was strange enough his character is even stranger, I’d call him a traditional man but I really don’t think that’s quite the right word. He just seemed like he’d lost his mind to his “job” if I’m completely honest. Clements goes on to say:

“Katou was early to rise at 4am, practiced with horse, sword and bow every day without fail, and shunned any form of ‘hobby’ unless it was a wholesome outdoor pursuit or transferable skill like falconry, deer hunting or wrestling. He reserved particular ire for theatres and dances, and recommended that any samurai ‘who practises dancing – which is outside of the martial arts – should be ordered to commit seppuku.’  

Everyone (and by this I mean Tokugawa and Ishida) wanted Katou on their side. He was a skilled general and only in his thirties (36 at the time of Hideyoushi’s death; Mitsunari’s junior by 2 years and Ieyasu’s by almost two decades) he was, in all sense, a valuable asset for the both sides. Mitsunari was set out to lose Katou from the start, considering that he was so important to the Toyotomi when Hideyoushi was alive, some might wonder why he practically abandoned them. It can only really be put down to the fact that Katou didn’t like (even hated) Mitsunari. He supposedly disliked Mitsunari’s military meddling and never saw him as more than a civilian. While the two had strictly speaking served in the military together at battles such as Shizugatake Mitsunari’s role had very much fallen onto logistics, in basic terms: making sure people had enough food. If this was the case for Korea, it’s certainly easy to see why the two supposedly quarrelled considering the deprivation of food Katou and his forces faced. Then again, Mitsunari’s movements outside of his involvement as a politician in the first campaign are a little hazy so this is only a theory I think could be plausible.

There’s also a story that goes that Katou was outraged and being offered only tea after seven years in Korea, making him hate Mitsunari. I can’t remember if it’s an Edo story or not, even then it’s probably not true but it’s probably a good metaphor for how much he hated the man and is likely based of some event that did actually happen.

As we all know, Katou would fight on the side of Ieyasu and after their victory at Sekigahara, he would be given the other half of Higo. This had once been owned by Konishi and this was certainly a victory for Katou over his old…enemy, I’ll go with enemy rather than rival. It also greatly increased his income, pushing it up to 500,000 Koku. A koku is enough rice to feed a person for a year. So, if his lands could theoretically support 500,000 people a year just think of the taxes. There you go.

Kiyomasa would die in 1611 at the age of 49 and there’s a theory that his death was actually arranged by Ieyasu. I can certainly see a basis of this, his peers all seemed to live into at least their late fifties if not their 60s and early 70s. His death can be attributed to his time in Korea, there was an illness going around that claimed the lives of other generals who had been over there.

The theory that Kiyomasa’s death was arranged was that Kiyomasa was still close to Hideyori – after all, he’d hated Mitsunari not the Toyotomi. Ieyasu would want to get rid of this final opposition to the rule of his family, of course he would. Having Kiyomasa potentially betraying him when he was one of the best generals the age had seen and had a hugely impressive military record, along with a presumably relations swayed man wasn’t something Ieyasu wanted. On top of this, Katou’s son – Katou Todahiro – was accused of treason by Tokugawa Iemitsu, another potential lead on Kiyomasa’s fate.

Whether or not Katou met his end by arrangement or not, he died as one the most powerful and military hardened men of his age. Over his 17 year or more long career he fought on both Japanese and Korean soil, against his own people and foreigners. He distinguished himself as an erratic brute who really knew how to win a battle. Saying this, he may well have even been an important factor in the outcome of Sekigahara – perhaps if he had joined the Western army the outcome would have at least wavered slightly from what it was.

Korea: The Imjin War

The Imjin wars are one of the really, really dark moments of the Sengoku Jidai and of Japan’s history. Not so much for what happened there, though that certainly contributes heavily, but for the precedent that it would set. The Imjin wars, or rather, Japan’s invasion of Korea, would use a route that would find itself repeated 300 years later. Japan would annexe Korea much more successfully and devastatingly in the 1900s and leave a mark on both countries that cannot be forgotten.

The post is under the cut, once again this is too long to just sit on the blog

Keep reading



I’m not sure when I can share the actual pages X__X Maybe after results are announced? Idk. 

Kiyomasa stop being ridiculous

I read that Kiyomasa is supposed to be kinda gruff and all MANLY SAMURAI WAR MARTIAL ART ROAR but I keep on seeing the Kiyomasa from the Kumamoto Bushotai making silly faces and I just… SORRY KIYOMASA, I RUINED YOUR PERSONALITY

I really wanted to do that whole wrong number meme using my OCs from Dynasty and Samurai Warriors along with my friend’s own with the characters we ship them with.

Dynasty Warriors
Li Dian
Zhang Bao
Guan Yinping
OCs - Xian Ri (middle), Xiaoyu (behind Sian Ri), Chao Xurien (dude with the scar)

Samurai Warriors
Takatora Todo
Kiyomasa Kato
OCs- Mayu (left to Xian Ri) Ari (in the way back)

Disclaimer: I do not own Dynasty Warriors or Samurai Warriors, nor do I own the characters.
Image reference: pin.it/Jk9axTu

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明治八年京都大博覧會出品 御物 金鯱之圖 遠藤茂平 1875年

“今を距(さ)ること二百六十六年の昔慶長十五年庚戌徳川氏尾州名古屋の城を築くの時肥後國熊本の領主加藤清正この金鯱を造りて名古屋城天守櫓の鴟尾(むなかハら)に供するものにて明治四年辛未名古屋藩よりこれを官に献納する所なり 全躰ハ金を以て包ミ眼球并ニ齒ハ銀として瞳ハ赤銅にて造る 高サ 八尺七寸 尾ノ開キ 五尺四寸 胴ノ周 七尺三寸 胸鰭ノ開キ 四尺一寸 腹鰭ノ開キ 二尺五寸 眼徑リ 一尺 頭高サ 三尺 鼻ノ幅 二尺六寸 重量 四十餘員の人夫を以て運送(もちはこび)すといふ”