Date Masamune

Date Masamune
Portrait of Date Masamune

Date Masamune

Date Masamune (伊達 政宗) was a daimyō of Mutsu Province living from 1567 to 1635, during his life he had the nickname of One Eye Dragon (Dokuganryū) as he had a lost an eye to disease. The son of Date Teramune, he was also Lord of Yonezawa Castle12 coming to lead the Date Clan aged 17.1

He was an excellent waka poet. Studied Noh, insence ceremonies and calligraphy.2 

He extended the clan terrotories by taking over 30 districts in Mutsu and Dewa Provinces ultimately defeating the Ashina Family in 1589 before moving his base to a castle in Aizu. A year later he was made to give up the castle to Toyotomi Hideyoshi.12

In 1592 and 1597 he helped Hideyoshi with his invasions of Korea2 and later uring the Battle of Sekigahara he sided with Tokugawa Ieyasu and so was awarded the Sendai Domain for his efforts.12

Here he built up Sendai, promoted land reclamation, and started a salt industry.1 Additionally he set up silk industries, horse breeding, gold and silver mining, and under toook a census of his lands.2

He also became intrested in Christianity and allowed christians to build a church in 1611. Later considering relations with the King of Spain and the Pope he sent Father Sotelo and Hasekura Tsunenaga to Mexico and Rome in 1613. Unfortunately he later turned his back on Christianity after he had to ban Christians from his territory after the shogunate banned the religion.2


1. Kodansha. (1993) ”Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia”. Tokyo: Kodansha Ltd.
2. Louis Frederic, translated by Kathe Roth (2002) “Japan Encyclopedia”. London: Harvard University Press.

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