Mitsuhide Akechi2
Mitsuhide Akechi
Personal Information
Born: 1526
Place of Birth: Kyoto/Mino province
Died: July 2, 1582
Cause of Death: Killed by a peasant
Place of Death: Battle of Yamazaki
Style name: 明智 光秀
Served: Oda
Participation(s): Battle of Honnoji
Battle of Yamazaki

Mitsuhide Akechi was a general under Nobunaga Oda, although he later betrayed Nobunaga Oda and caused him to commit suicide at Honnoji.


He was the son of Mitsukuni Akechi. Mitsuhide first served the Saito of Mino and later Ujikage Asakura of Echizen. In 1566 Mitsuhide is supposed to have acted as a messenger for Yoshiaki Ashikaga and thereafter served Nobunaga Oda.[1]

Serving the OdaEdit

Mitsuhide began his service to Nobunaga Oda in 1566.[2]Mitsuhide proved himself a capable general and in 1571 was awarded Sakamoto[3],worth 100,000 koku[4]and two districts in Omi province.[5] When Nobunaga went to war with the Mouri clan, Mitsuhide was assigned to lead the Oda contingent that would be marching along the northern coast of the Chugoku arm. He invaded Tamba, where he subdued the Hatano, and Tango, where he clashed with the Isshiki family.[6] In 1579 Mitsuhide capture Yakami castle by taking the mother of Hideharu Hatano as hostage. Nobunaga Oda however, had her crucified, whereupon the surviving retainers of the Hatano killed Mitsuhide's mother.[7] Mitsuhide, needless to say, bore Nobunaga some ill will. This was enflamed by a series of public insults Nobunaga directed at Mitsuhide that drew even the attention of Western observers. Nonetheless, Mitsuhide was generally well regarded for his talents both on the battlefield and as an administrator.[8]

Incident at HonnojiEdit

Mitsuhide hit back at Nobunaga in 1582 when the latter was in Kyoto by leadin a coup at the Honnoji temple.[9] Nobunaga ordered Mitsuhide to assemble his troops and march to the west, where Hideyoshi Toyotomi was embroiled in a struggle with the Mouri. Instead, Mitsuhide marched on Oda, who was occupying the Honno temple at the time. Nobunaga and his heir Nobutada were killed, and Mitsuhide declared himself the new shogun, however improbably. Mitsuhide worked as quickly as he could, and looted Azuchi Castle so as to reward his men and made friendly gestures towards a bewildered Imperial Court. The Akechi could claim descent from the Toki, and in turn the Minamoto, but, unsurprisingly, this would bear little fruit. Mitsuhide had counted on the support of Fujitaka Hosokawa, with whom he was related to through marriage. This alliance did not pan out as Fujitaka wisely cut his ties with the usurper. It is possible that Mitsuhide also hoped for the support of the Tsutsui, whose relation with Nobunaga had been none too good. Junkei Tsutsui, however, wavered, and in the end joined Hideyoshi Toyotomi. Another grave setback came within days. Mitsuhide had counted on Hideyoshi being tied up with the Mouri and thus being unable to promptly respond to Nobunaga's death.[10]


Unfortunately, Hideyoshi learned of the assassination before the Mouri, and signed a peace treaty with that clan. This allowed him to force-march back east at a rapid pace, catching Mitsuhide off guard. Mitsuhide and Hideyoshi clashed at Yamazaki and though the former fought bravely, his troops were defeated. Mitsuhide himself was killed while attempting to make his way to Sakamoto, which was held by his nephew, Hidemitsu Akechi. Soon afterwards, Sakamoto was reduced by Hidemasa Hori. [11]






  1. Samurai Archives, Akechi Mitsuhide
  2. Samurai Source book, Stephen Turnbull pg.27
  3. Samurai Archives, Akechi Mitsuhide
  4. Samurai Source book, Stephen Turnbull pg.27
  5. Samurai Archives, Akechi Mitsuhide
  6. Samurai Archives, Akechi Mitsuhide
  7. Samurai Source book, Stephen Turnbull pg.27
  8. Samurai Archives, Akechi Mitsuhide
  9. Samurai Source book, Stephen Turnbull pg.27
  10. Samurai Archives, Akechi Mitsuhide
  11. Samurai Archives, Akechi Mitsuhide