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domingo, 26 de abril de 2009

Goto Matabei at the Battle of Osaka

Goto Matabei at the Battle of Osaka Matabei is his popularly known name, but his real name is Mototsugu. He took service with Kuroda Yoshitaka (known also by his Buddhist name Josui) at an early age, and got the nickname “Spearman Matabei” for his numerous military achievements with that weapon. After the battle of Sekigahara, the Kuroda family earned the state of Chikuzen (which yielded about 2.677.000 bushels of rice), and Matahei became the lord of the castle of Chikuzen-Osumi (known also as Masutomi) and held a fief of some 82,000 bushels of rice. However, Matabei did not get along with Nagamasa. the older son of Yoshitaka, which led Matabei later to break away from the Kuroda family. Well known as a great warrior, Matabei was invited by feudal lords of neighboring states, but each time he was interrupted by Nagamasa and could not get into any offered services. As a masterless samurai he retired to Osaka. where he was for a time under Toyotomi Hideyori’s protection. That might be the reason he went to Osaka Castle to join the Toyotomi force when the Winter Siege of Osaka broke out. During the following year’s Summer Siege. he led 2,800 soldiers to attack Date Masamune’s force that consisted of as many as 23,000 soldiers. In that campaign Mototsugu (Matabei) is said to have gone into battle on a chestnut horse, clad in a kuroito-odoshi (a black-threaded suit of armor), a zunari-kabuto (a kind of helmet) with a shikami (a carving of a lion’s head) on the front part. He fought bravely and desperately, and was killed by the overwhelming number of the enemy. How he fought has been handed down from generation to generation in a story that praises him as a “hero who has been surpassed in deeds by none ever since the Genpei War.”

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