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|Final ruler||Azai Nagamasa|
|Ruled until||1573, Azai Nagamasa commits seppuku|
The Azai was a line of daimyōs (feudal lords) seated at Odani Castle in northeastern Ōmi Province, located within present day Nagahama, Shiga Prefecture. The Azai originated in the early 1500s and claimed descent from the Hokke branch of the Fujiwara, a powerful clan in Japan from the Heian period to the Kamakura period. Initially, the clan were vassals of the Kyōgoku, but gradually emerged as independent daimyōs in northern Ōmi by the 1540s. However, Azai domains were soon conquered by the Rokkaku and the clan was forced into becoming their vassals. Azai Nagamasa became head of the clan in 1560 and successfully fought against the Rokkaku and Saitō Tatsuoki for independence by 1564. The Azai were long-time allies with the Asakura clan of Echizen Province who had assisted the clan in securing their independence. In 1570, Nagamasa joined the Asakura in their opposition to Oda Nobunaga, his brother-in-law and ally, to honour their alliance. The Azai were defeated by Nobunaga at the Battle of Anegawa in 1570, and all but eliminated when Nobunaga conquered Odani Castle and Nagamasa committed seppuku in 1573.
Order of successionEdit
- Azai Sukemasa – son of Azai Naotane, established Odani Castle in 1516
- Azai Hisamasa – son of Sukemasa, was defeated by the Sasaki clan
- Azai Nagamasa – son of Hisamasa, came into conflict with Oda Nobunaga and opposed him, entering an alliance with the Asakura clan and the monks of Mt. Hiei; he was defeated and forced to suicide by Nobunaga in 1573. He was married to Nobunaga's sister Oichi. His daughters included Yodo-dono (second wife of Toyotomi Hideyoshi and mother of Toyotomi Hideyori). Also Oeyo (wife of Tokugawa Hidetada and mother of the third Tokugawa shōgun Iemitsu)
- "The silk coloured portrait of wife of Takatsugu Kyogoku," Archived 2011-05-06 at the Wayback Machine Digital Cultural Properties of Wakasa Obama; Oichinokata, Gifu prefecture website.
- Turnbull, Stephen. (1998). The Samurai Sourcebook. London: Cassell & Co.
- __________. (2002). War in Japan: 1467–1615. Oxford: Osprey Publishing.