名古屋在住、日本大好きラジオDJクリス・グレンが語る、
日本が誇る錚々たる戦国武将たちの魅力。
外国人の目に我が国の英雄たちはどう映っているのか?

 

島津四兄弟の末っ子・家久が敵将・元親に見せた優しさ

 

 

侍とは、戦う者。
しかし、そんな侍たちにも「心」はある。
今日は、そんなエピソードを紹介する。


1586年〜1587年にかけて、豊臣(羽柴)秀吉と島津氏との間でおこった
「九州の役」。その中の一つ「戸次川の戦い」では、秀吉の家臣であった
仙石秀久が「援軍が到着するまで待機せよ」という秀吉の命令や同軍であった
長宗我部元親らの忠告を無視し、戸次川を渡って島津軍に攻撃をしかけてしまう。
それが、敵の思うつぼとなり、豊臣勢は大敗することとなる。
しかも、その原因を作った仙石秀久本人は、真っ先に逃走。
おかげで、豊臣勢は総崩れ。
十河存保や長宗我部信親は敵中で孤立し、戦死した。22歳という若さで
亡くなった信親の父、長宗我部元親は、息子の死を嘆き悲しむ。

 
(長宗我部元親)

 
干潮のため舟を動かすことができずにいる元親のもとへ
敵であった島津家久の使者がやって来た。
「あなたの息子を討ち取ったことは、戦いゆえに、やむを
得なかった。満潮になるまで、陣をといてお待ちください」
そういって、無事に帰してくれたのだ。


侍とは、戦う者。しかし、人としての「優しさ」も、しっかり持ち合わせていた。
そんなことを感じさせるエピソードを知ると、ますます「サムライ」という
存在に憧れてしまう。強さと優しさを持ち合わせる島津家久。
カッコいいSAMURAIだ。



〈以下 英訳〉
A Samurai is a warrior first and foremost.
However, the samurai too had heart. This edition, focuses on an episode that shows the heart of a samurai. Particularly that of Shimazu Iehisa.

Between 1586 and 1587, Toyotomi (Hashiba) Hideyoshi and the Shimazu Clan clashed as Hideyoshi attempted to annex Kyushu. The island at the time was mostly under the control of the powerful Shimazu Clan, who had already aroused the ire of Hideyoshi, ignoring his earlier letters inviting the Kyushu based clan to submit to his authority, and in a return letter reminded Hideyoshi of their long pedigree, and the fact that 20 years earlier, he had been but a low ranked sandal bearer. This rankled Hideyoshi, who was then even more determined to take Kyushu. Among the many contingents sent by Hideyoshi were the troops under the command of Chosokabe Motochika and Sengoku Hidehisa. Their orders were to cross the strait from their fiefs in Shikoku and attack the castle of Funai. Sengoku chose to ignore those orders and instead rallied to aid the allied attack on nearby Toshimitsu Castle. Chosokabe against his better judgment was pressured into joining Sengoku. The army of the Kyushu lord, Shimazu Iehisa, on hearing of the movements, rallied extra troops for a counter attack and stormed the castle on January 20, 1587.

The battle between the Shimazu samurai and the troops under Chosokabe and Sengoku was a fierce one, and the Shikoku samurai were soon destroyed. Among those killed was Chosokabe’s 22 year old son and heir, Nobuchika. On the advice of his vassals, Chosokabe Motochika hastily retreated from the battle and attempted to flee back to Shikoku, however upon reaching the coast, he found his escape route cut off with his boats stuck in the sands of low tide.

Fearing capture, he was about to commit seppuku (ritual suicide) when a Shimazu samurai arrived with a letter from Lord Shimazu Iehisa. In it, the enemy lord had written;
“We regret very much having killed your son in yesterdays battle. We also note that your ship is stuck in the sands of the low tide. Wait patiently, the tide will rise again tomorrow morning and you shall be able to return. Please have a safe trip home.” The letter was followed with the return of the body of Chosokabe’s dead son.

Samurai were warriors first and foremost, but they also held their own version of what the Knights of Europe would call chivalry.
Shimazu Iehisa combined strength and fighting ferocity with kindness and consideration. That is the way of the Samurai!