Onodera Shigemichi

Onodera Shigemichi[lower-alpha 2] (小野寺茂道, died in or after 1601) was a samurai commander, keeper of Nishimonai Castle and half-brother of the regional lord (daimyō) Onodera Yoshimichi. Famous for his last stand against the Mogami clan, Shigemichi is still honored in Nishimonai as part of an annual bon dance.

In this Japanese name, the surname is Onodera.
Onodera Shigemichi
Native name
小野寺茂道
Born Before 1566[lower-alpha 1]
Died 1601(?)
Nishimonai or Shōnai, Japan
Allegiance Onodera clan
Years of service ?–1601
Rank Keeper of Nishimonai Castle[2]
Battles/wars Onodera–Mogami conflict
Relations Three sons (Ichimasa, Magorokurou, Norimichi), two daughters[1]

. . . Onodera Shigemichi . . .

Shigemichi was born sometime before 1566[lower-alpha 1] as the illegitimate son of Onodera Terumichi,[2] the head of the Onodera clan and daimyō of a relatively small domain in Dewa Province, specifically the part that later became southern Akita Prefecture. Though the Onodera clan was deeply entrenched in its territory and had an experienced and loyal army, it was constantly beset by more powerful rival families, most importantly the Mogami clan that wanted to take control of the Onodera lands.[5] Thus growing up in a time of constant warfare, Shigemichi went on to serve as samurai for his family and fought in many battles, earning a martial reputation.[1] After his father’s death, Shigemichi did not succeed him as daimyō due to his illegitimacy. Instead, his younger brother Onodera Yoshimichi became the next family head, and Shigemichi loyally served him. He was appointed the keeper of Nishimonai Castle,[2][1] which was a strategically significant and highly contested stronghold that controlled the Onodera clan’s southern holdings.[6]

Even though the Onodera had managed to defeat or at least stall numerous invasions by outsiders over time, their position finally became untenable in 1600. In the war for the control over Japan between the forces loyal to Tokugawa Ieyasu and Toyotomi Hideyori, Onodera Yoshimichi had chosen to side with the latter. The other lords in the Akita region instead pledged allegiance to the Tokugawa cause. Toyotomi Hideyori’s followers were decisively defeated at Sekigahara, but Yoshimichi refused to give up. This provided the Mogami, who had sided with Tokugawa Ieyasu, with the chance to subjugate the now isolated Onodera. They invaded with a large army in late 1600 and quickly overran the Onodera, forcing Yoshimichi to surrender, whereupon he was exiled.[7]

. . . Onodera Shigemichi . . .

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. . . Onodera Shigemichi . . .