1562 - 1611
Appearances: Kessen (1)
Katō Kiyomasa, also known as 虎之助 Toranosuke, was born in August 2, 1562. He was the son of a blacksmith in Nakamura, a village in Owari that Toyotomi Hideyoshi was also believed to be born there. Though often described as a childhood friend of Hideyoshi, it is unlikely, given the age difference between the two. Nonetheless, he served as a retainer to Hideyoshi and distinguished himself at Shizugatake, in 1583, where he became known as one of the "Seven Spears" of that battle.
He fought in the Kyushu Campaign in 1587 and participated in the battle of Sendaigawa, where he engaged in a single combat with Shimazu general Niiro Tadamoto. After the island was occupied and secured, Kiyomasa was given a fief in Higo province with an income of 250,000 koku.
Katō Kiyomasa grew hostile with his neighbor Konishi Yukinaga due to the persecution of Christians. During the Sekigahara Campaign, Kato, a Toyotomi loyalist, joined the Eastern army. One of the reasons were, the Western army were led by Mitsunari, whom Kiyomasa loathed as a civilian, and the fact that Konishi Yukinaga was on their side. Katō captured a number of castles that belonged to Konishi, he was about to invade Shimazu domain but the campaign ended and Ieyasu ordered him to stand down. Due to his service, Kiyomasa was given the other half of Higo which was formerly owned by Konishi Yukinaga. This raised his fief income to about 500,000 koku.
Kiyomasa passed away in the year 1611, it is believed that Ieyasu arranged his death. Katō was a friend of Toyotomi Hideyori and this made him a block in Ieyasu's plans to end this last threat to the Tokugawa Shogunate. At the same time, a disease called the "Chinese Pox" was making rounds and had already claimed a number of well-known lords such as Honda Masanobu and Kuroda Kanbei. Kiyomasa's son, 忠広 Tadahiro, was later on accused of treason against the Shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu and was banished.
Kiyomasa is often described as a ruthless fighter. He wrote to his followers later in life that poetry and dancing were shameful hobbies for a samurai, and ordered that anyone be caught or found himself engaged in the latter to commit suicide. His cruelty and love of combat earned him the nickname of 'Kishokan,' or "Devil General."
Biography created by: Shogun