Ōtomo Sōrin

Hear about Otomo Sorin on Episode 4 of our Podcast, the Japan Archives.

Ōtomo Sōrin

Ōtomo Sōrin (大友 宗麟) was a daimyō (Feudal Lord) in the Province of Bungo in Kyushu. He had as his vassal the Samurai Tsunokuma Sekiso who was famed for his supernatural abilities to control weather.

His location made him have a great deal of interactions with the Jesuit Missionaries who came to Japan and wanted to stay here and spread Christianity. He was one of the first warlords to receive flintlock rifles from the missionaries.

He converted to Christianity in 1578 when he was 49 saying that he would make Kyushu a Christian domain, and then all of Japan.

Due to this, in 1578 it culminated in the Battle of Mimikawa. The battle involved the forces of Ōtomo Sōrin and his vassal Tsunokumo Sekiso.

Sekiso warned again this battle, saying they would lose. However, Ōtomo having converted to Christianity believed the Lord would make them prevail. Records say between 3 to 20 thousand people died just on Ōtomo’s side. Sekiso remained loyal and still followed him into battle where he died. Ōtomo however survived, and lived another 9 years.

Dying of illness in 1587 nothing had come of his dream for a Catholic Empire.1

Footnotes

1. Yoda, H & Alt, M. (2012) “Ninja Attack: True Tales of Assassins, Samurai and Outlaws” Tokyo: Tuttle Publishing.

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Ōtomo Sōrin