Hōjō Ujikuni (北条氏邦) & Daifuku Gozen (大福御前)

Hōjō Ujikuni (北条氏邦) & Daifuku Gozen (大福御前), husband and wife, are said to be the 2nd and 3rd generation headmasters of Toda-ha Buko-ryu, following Toda Seigen.

Lineage of the Go-Hōjō

Hōjō Sōun (北条 早雲)

Sōun (1432 -1519) is the founder of the  “Go-Hōjō, “the late Hōjō,” a clan unrelated to the the Hōjō regents of the Kamakura period.  A scion of a low-ranking branch of the Taira, he changed his named from Ise Shinkurō when he fought his way to power.  He eventually conquered both Izu province, as well as Kamakura.  He took Odawara castle , which became the center of Hōjō rule for approximately 100 years.  He is regarded as the first “Sengoku Daimyo.”

 

Hōjō Sōun

Hōjō Ujitsuna (北条氏綱)

Ujitsuna ((1487–1541) was the son of  Hōjō Sōun.  Taking Edo Castle in 1524 ignited a long conflict with the Uesugi. The Hōjō also caime into conflict with the Takeda, the main rivals of the Uesugi. Eventually, Ujitsuna took control of the Kantō plain.

 

Hōjō Ujitsuna

Hōjō Ujiyasu (北条 氏康)

Ujiyasu (1515—1571) inherited a world at war.  He broke the power of the Uesugi until their rebirth under the leadership of Uesugi Kenshin.  He expanded Hōjō territory to cover five provinces, which brought him into conflict with Takeda Shingen.  In 1569, under the leadership of two of his sons, he repulsed Takeda at the battle of Mimasetoge.  He was subsequently able to establish a balance of peace between himself and both Kenshin and Shingen, before passing his domain on to his eldest son.

 

Hojo Ujiyasu

A print by Yoshitoki – Hōjō Ujiyasu

Hōjō Ujimasa (北条氏政)

Ujimasa (1538 – 1590) was the 4th daimyo of Odawara.  In the waning years of the Sengoku Period, he fought battles against may different enemy forces, succeeding in maintaining the Hōjō domain intact.  He retired in 1590, handing power to his son, Ujinao. In the same year, they were defeated by Toyotomi Hideyoshi in a siege of Odawara castle.  Ujimasa and his brother Ujiteru, were required to commit seppuku.

 

Hōjō Ujimasa

Hōjō Ujinao (北条氏直)

Ujinao (1562-1591) was the final Hōjō daimyo of Odawara.  He was linked by marriage and birth to some of the most powerful figures in the Sengoku period.  After his defeat at Odawara, he and his wife were exiled to Koyasan, where he died one year later.

 

Hōjō Ujinao

Hōjō Ujikuni (北条氏邦)

Ujikuni  (1541–1597), was the third son of Hōjō Ujiyasu, and a cousin of Hōjō Ujinao. He was the castle lord of Hachigatajyo in Musashi province.  This was a remarkable castle, surmounting a plateau, with a high cliff overlooking the Arakawa River behind, and the Fukasawa River valley in front. Under his leadership, the castle withstood numerous sieges.

The Hōjō were one of the last obstacles to Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s subjugation of all of Japan. He moved against them in 1590. First, Maeda  Toshie and Uesugi Kagekatsu surrounded Hachigata castle, and after a month’s siege, Ujikuni surrendered the castle, under the condition that the lives of his men be spared. Ujikuni then moved on to Odawara to aid in its defense.  Hideyoshi himself moved against the castle, and totally defeated the Hōjō after a three month siege.

After this defeat, Ujikuni became a monk, but he was invited to live in Kaga,  the domain of the Maeda Toshiie, who had defeated him at Hichigatajyo.

Ujikuni was a leader as ferocious as the times he lived.  In 1568, when Takeda Shingen invaded western Kantō, Ujikuni ordered that no supplies were to be moved without a Hōjō seal: anyone violating this order would be crucified.

I have seen no records, to date, that establish that Ujikuni trained in Toda-ryu. He is, nonetheless, documented within the ryu as the second generation headmaster, following Toda Seigen.

Daifuku Gozen (大福御前)

Daifuku Gozen was the daughter of the warlord, Fujita Yasukuni (藤田 康邦).  She became the wife of Hōjō Ujikuni.  Subsequent to the defeat of the Hōjō at Odawara, Ujikuni was exiled to the Maeda, while Daifuku Gozen was held at Shoryuji Temple (正竜寺), close to Odawara. Among the treasures that are kept at Shoryuji is a large naginata blade, allegedly one of hers. Daifuku Gozen became a Buddhist nun, taking the name, Someiinin.  She pledged to recite the 25th chapter of the Lotus sutra,  the Fumon Bon every day for 1000 days.  Finishing this in Bunroku 2, she committed jigai (the woman’s form of suicide – cutting her carotid with a kaiken (knife) while facing a Buddhist altar.  She is generally documented as the 3rd generation headmaster of the Toda-ha Buko-ryu.

 

The graves of Ujikuni and Daifuku Gozen

Hōjō Kamekuro Kunitoki

Kunitoki was one of the sons of Ujikuni and Daifuku Gozen. 

Shoryuji Oshō (正竜寺)

Following Kunitoki in the Chichibu lineage of Toda-ha Buko-ryu is a “priest of Shoryuji,” who, in Nitta Suzuyo’s notes, is described as famous with his skill with a naginata. It is possible that he is a ‘missing link’ in the transmission of Toda-ryu to the Suneya clan.