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Useful Notes / Akechi Mitsuhide

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One of the more well-known names in the Sengoku Period. For good or bad, you decide.

Akechi Hyuga no Kami Mitsuhide (or "Jubei" for a more well-known nickname) was one of the most trusted vassals of Oda Nobunaga. He had served other lords before joining the Oda at the recommendation of Nohime, his childhood friend and Nobunaga's wife. He was talented in arts, excelled in warfare, and was generally a great guy. Too bad for him Nobunaga was a Bad Boss. Mitsuhide suffered insults here and there, ranging from getting yelled at in front of guests to being called "kumquat head". He was also a devout Buddhist and was very troubled when he saw Nobunaga burning down Buddhist temples (and everyone inside) on Mt. Hiei. He tried to endure this all, but he finally snapped after an incident where his mother was killed during a hostage situation gone awry. At this point, Mitsuhide no longer trusted in Nobunaga.

...Or so the popular history goes. Other accounts paint him as a shameless opportunist who tried to suck up to the most powerful lord of the age, yet others claim that he was manipulated into betraying Nobunaga. What is certain is that Mitsuhide was a shrewd politician, a talented governor, and that Nobunaga seemed to favor him a great deal for a good while before their eventual fallout. But everything is cloaked in so much myth and ambiguity, that modern scholars simply don't know why, really, Mitsuhide chose to do the act that made him infamous.

Eventually, Mitsuhide was told to reinforce Hashiba Hideyoshi, who was trying to take down the Mouri clan. Mitsuhide began to comply, but instead struck an unsuspecting Nobunaga at Honnoji Temple (immortalized by the oft-quoted "The enemy is at Honnoji!"), setting the building ablaze. In the end, Mitsuhide seized power from Nobunaga, who was Driven to Suicide along with his heir and many faithful retainers.

Mitsuhide tried to appeal to the other lords, but no clans would support him, either because they didn't trust him, or because they saw more potential in the other contenders for Nobunaga's legacy (Nobunaga's son Nobutaka, Hashiba Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu). Not even the Hosokawa clan, who were linked to him through marriage with his daughter, Tama, (later known as Gracia), would lend assistance.

To at least solidify his rule, Mitsuhide resorted to drastic and ruthless thing, hunting down any descendants of Nobunaga and killing them, and in addition almost ended the life of Tokugawa Ieyasu, one of Nobunaga's staunchest allies, when he was isolated far from his home. Unfortunately for Mitsuhide, Ieyasu had Hattori Hanzō in his entourage and they slipped Mitsuhide's attention by sneaking through the Iga province with Hanzo's guidance.

Mitsuhide's reign came to an end in merely 13 days after Nobunaga's death; one of the letters he sent to demand subjugation was intercepted by Hideyoshi's men, who informed Hideyoshi what happened while he was in the middle of campaign against the Western Mouri clan. He put the campaign on halt, and blitzed his way back to the capital, reaching Yamazaki in enormous speed and defeating the unprepared Mitsuhide in battle there. Mitsuhide retreated but was killed by a group of peasants. There were rumors that Mitsuhide didn't die, but instead retired, and later resurfaced as an influential monk named Nankoubou Tenkai, who went on to become an influential advisor to ironically Tokugawa Ieyasu, a case of great Irony if they were the same person, since previously Mitsuhide tried to have Ieyasu killed in Iga.

His actions had an effect towards his surviving family, his daughter Tama, where she became ostracized due to being considered the daughter of a traitor. She ended up taking a low profile, protected by her husband Hosokawa Tadaoki. Eventually she entered Christianity thanks to some contact and help from the Christian Samurai Dom Justo Takayama Ukon and bore the name she's most famous for: Hosokawa Gracia. She rose to prominence later when during the onset of the Battle of Sekigahara, Ishida Mitsunari took her and several nobles as hostages to coax people to sign up to the Western Army. Gracia wouldn't let that happen, however, according to many historians: normally she would commit seppuku for that, however, since Christianity forbid self-inflicted suicide, she used another option: telling her retainer Shousei Ogasawara that in any case she had to take her life, said retainer should be the one taking it. Thus said retainer did as she asked, later burning the house she resided and commiting seppuku too. Apparently, even if she's the daughter of Mitsuhide the traitor, her death caused enough uproar that Mitsunari quickly lost popularity and Tadaoki, enraged at this, ended up signing for the Eastern Army under Tokugawa Ieyasu instead.

Opinions about Mitsuhide vary to this day, and can be split into two main camps. One camp sees Mitsuhide as being justified in his betrayal, often giving Nobunaga a Historical Villain Upgrade, and in turn they promote Mitsuhide to the Lovable Traitor. The other camp sees him as a disgrace to samurai and claim that he prolonged the war by halting Nobunaga's unification of the country. This camp might describe him as the Judas Iscariot of the Sengoku era (despite the fact that Nobunaga himself isn't exactly Jesus Christ material.) Contrary to that, however, Gracia is squarely praised as 'sympathetic' on both sides, and even on both camps of Eastern-Western supporters in Sekigahara.

While he was not a very prominent daimyo, Mitsuhide remains a popular figure in Jidaigeki, partly because he single-handedly defeated the single greatest power of his time, and for the longest time, Mitsuhide's reasons were obscured to the world. Late historical and documentary discoveries, however, suggest his actions were in fact long-in-coming and that events in the lead-up to Honno-ji were, in fact, premeditated and intentional.note 

References to Mitsuhide appear in the following works:


  • A gender flipped meganekko version of Mitsuhide appears in Battle Girls: Time Paradox. She's loyal to Nobunaga to the point of lovesickness, and is willing to partake in shady operations to ensure success. She's also not very fond of Hideyoshi. She crosses into full Yandere territory when she torches Honnou Temple with Nobunaga passed out drunk inside, then goes into the huge fire after her so they can "always be together." They both survive.
  • Another gender flipped version appears in Sengoku Collection, a Fish out of Temporal Water with amnesia and apparently became a detective. Though it was All Just a Dream. Voiced here by Youko Hikasa.
  • In Hyouge Mono Mitsuhide is presented as a calm, stoic and very honourable man, torn between loyalty to his liege lord and the continued bad treatment he suffers from Nobunaga. Hideyoshi, presented as one of the heads of a conspiracy to replace Nobnunaga, outright tries to manipulate him into rebelling.
  • Yet another gender flipped version appears in The Ambition of Oda Nobuna, who's voiced by Sayuri Yahagi. She of course, is lovey-dovey towards Nobuna (the female version of Nobunaga in that universe), but starts to turn tsundere for the stand-in of Hideyoshi (which may theoretically complicate things in the future...) This portrayal is also notable for using the Kashima Shintou-Ryuu of kenjutsu. The Hideyoshi stand-in is an accidental time travel from the modern era who knows how things ended historically, and is desperately trying to figure out a way for both Nobuna (his Love Interest) and Mitsuhide (one of his closest friends) to survive the unification wars.
  • In Nobunaga Concerto he is in fact the real Oda Nobunaga, who, being sickly and breaking under all the pressure placed on him, escaped from his former life and gave up his name and title to Saburou (a high-school student who had timeslipped into the Sengoku period, and happened to look exactly like Nobunaga). Later on he returns as Akechi Mitsuhide to help Saburou, and the two of them carry out the historical Oda Nobunaga's actions, with Mitsuhide being responsible for the more controversial ones. Unlike most Mitsuhide incarnations, he worships his lord (seeing Saburou as having saved him and the Oda clan from certain ruin), and has vowed to live only for him. Of course, the Honnoji Incident is still a few years in the future... Voiced here by Yūki Kaji.
  • In Kanashi no Homura, Mitsuhide is the main character and is involved in a love triangle between Kichou and Oda Nobunaga as Mitsuhide and Kichou are in love as they are childhood friends while Mitsuhide hates Nobunaga for marrying Kichou as part of an alliance between their clans. The big twist in this manga is that Mitsuhide is actually a girl, and to makes things complicated, Nobunaga loved Mitsuhide.
  • Starring in his own short-lived manga, Sengoku Armors, which takes place 10 years after Oda Nobunaga's death where Mitsuhide resurfaces in order to protect Nobunaga's daughter from the evil clutches of Toyotomi Hideyoshi.


  • Appears in the novel Shogun under the name of Akechi Jinsai. Gracia also appears under the name of Mariko Buntaro and becomes the lover of the English sailor who is the hero of the novel. She does commit seppuku later, however.
  • Appears in Yoshikawa's Taiko. Although sympathetically portrayed, several characters comment that he's too smart for his own good.
  • While he didn't exactly appear in Makai Tenshô, his daughter Gracia was featured and it was one of the few medias that showcased just how bad she was ostracized due to Mitsuhide's actions. How bad? She was constantly ridiculed for it and was driven to despair that she accepted a Deal with the Devil, becoming a demonic antagonist alongside other figures like fellow Japanese Christian figure Amakusa Shiro.

Live-Action TV

  • Understandably, whenever the NHK's annual Taiga Drama covers the Sengoku Period (particularly the Oda-Toyotomi side of things), Mitsuhide will be a major supporting character. Rare, however, is when things are portrayed from his point-of-view
    • 1973's Kunitori Monogatari (国盗り物語), based from the novel by Shiba Ryotaro, focused on the politics of Mino and Owari, respectively Mitsuhide's and Nobunaga's home domains. The series follows their careers (with the figure of Saitou Dosan, Mitsuhide's lord and uncle, as well as Nobunaga's father-in-law, looming large and colouring their view of the war-torn country). Kondo Masaomi, later a veteran actor of both television and film, would play Mitsuhide in one of his earliest roles.
    • 2020 was the first time he is explicitly given center-stage, with Kirin ga Kuru (麒麟がくる), portrayed by Hiroki Hasegawa. The series portrays Mitsuhide (frequently referred to as "Jubei") as straddling the line between Classical Anti-Hero and Byronic Hero. We follow him saddled by Conflicting Loyalty for most of his life (to his compatriots in Mino, to the Ashikaga shogunate and Imperial Court he was taught to venerate, and to Nobunaga himself—who he sees as the only person capable of uniting the country). Without much power or influence to effectively pursue what he wants, he has been trapped to either stand by, struggle futilely in either keeping warlords in truce, or follow orders that leave him with Survivor Guilt. The title of the series itself (literally "awaiting the Kirin") is a metaphor for his lifelong desperation—seeking for peace to come when the warring country never gives it a chance. All of these eventually make him snap past the Despair Event Horizon—which leads to the Honno-ji Incident.

Video Games

  • Dragalia Lost presents a Gender Flip Mitsuhide as the Leader of the Mouse Clan, one of the Twelve Wyrmclans based on the Eastern Zodiac who's lazy and prefers to sleep in all day compared to her friend Nobunaga who's an utter Blood Knight. In this game, she's a light attuned 5* dagger unit who's only available for a limited time whose kit involves Death of a Thousand Cuts along with dropping mice on her opponent.
  • Sengoku Basara portrays him as a psychotic, sado-masochistic White Hair, Black Heart, wielding two scythes in battle. Basically a full-fledged villain second only to Nobunaga himself. He reappears in the third title as Tenkai, 'serving' Kobayakawa Hideaki and sporting a mouth-concealing mask to hide his identity. He attempts to resurrect his dead master so that he can kill him again. Only Oichi recognizes him, and Motonari hints when fighting him that he also knows who he really is.
    • Much to Tenkai's despair, even when he succeeds in resurrecting Nobunaga, Nobunaga claims not to know him at all. This is probably due to Hisahide stealing his identity, to prolong his suffering after he became a Death Seeker.
    • Ironically, while Mitsuhide does have an ending where he kills Nobunaga in the previous game, canonically he does not.
  • Capcom did also give him a better role in Onimusha 3: Demon Siege, where he gets a cameo (and despite being voiced by Norio Wakamoto of all people). He becomes playable in one of the games too. The main protagonist of the franchise is actually his nephew, Akechi "Samanosuke" Hidemitsu, who in history loyally accompanied him throughout his campaigns until the Akechi's fall at Yamazaki.
  • Samurai Warriors series opted for the "hero" Mitsuhide, who can be seen as a Well-Intentioned Extremist who eventually becomes disgusted by Nobunaga's behaviour and decides to finish him off. He wields a more traditional katana-with-sheath for his weapon, and eventually his daughter, just simply named Gracia and not touching her Christian historical tale (except her outlandish outfit as the closest reference), is included in the game and makes him a dad while still looking really pretty. Also notably in the third game, Mitsuhide's scenario follows the myth where he survived Yamazaki (after being given "The Reason You Suck" Speech by Hideyoshi in that game), went into hiding and eventually resurfacing on Ieyasu's side at Sekigahara as Nankobo Tenkai (but they still call him Mitsuhide anyway).
    • He's back for another antagonistic role in Kessen III, but only because they decided to make Oda Nobunaga a real sympathetic main protagonist. And even then, he wasn't as over-the-top as the Basara version.
      • Mitsuhide stars in Pokémon Conquest via another Koei proxy (via his Warriors incarnation), as one of the warlords fighting for control of the Ransei region. His home base is Nixtorm, and favors Ice type Pokémon; His initial partner Pokémon is Lapras, but he can later acquire Articuno. This preference acts as foreshadowing, since Ice was one of the only two types super-effective against Dragon, Oda Nobunaga's preferred type - the other being Dragon itself.note  In the main story he is a loyal servant of Nobunaga, but in his own special episode he decides his lord has gone too far and, of course, turns on him, even at one point quoting the aforementioned famous line.
      • For his aforementioned Warriors portrayal, he's voiced in Japanese by Hikaru Midorikawa (including the soft reboot (5) despite almost everyone else getting recast, the producers stated that it's doubles as a pun ever since he landed the role the first time because the kanji for "Mitsu" (光) can also be read as "Hikaru", who also reprises for the Kessen III portrayal (so have fun comparing Midorikawa doing sympathetic Mitsuhide and realistically antagonistic Mitsuhide). Funny enough, just like the above Sengoku Basara portrayal, in the third games of their respective home series, Vic Mignogna dubs both portrayals of Mitsuhide in English (though for the Kessen one, he's voiced by the veteran Cam Clarke).
  • Mitsuhide’s actions at Honno-ji are portrayed villainously in the ”Kyoto, 1582” scenario of the Conquerors expansion of Age of Empires II. His faction is just described as “Japan” and he’s No Name Given; the player controls Hideyoshi’s forces and is dispatched to destroy his castles, rather than face him in the open field at Yamazaki.
  • In Sengoku Rance of the Rance Series, Mitsuhide is a relatively weak tactician unit you get at the beginning of the game. You can later replace him with his daughter Gracia.
  • The setting of AkaSeka being what it is, a No Historical Figures Were Harmed version appears. Different from most iterations, this Mitsuhide was formerly Oda Nobunaga's enemy and is currently a subordinate whose devotion to Nobunaga rivals that of Mori Ranmaru. Since this game at once runs on Comic-Book Time, Status Quo Is God and Nobody Can Die, he is likely not going to show any sign of betraying Nobunaga soon. He is voiced by Kazuyuki Okitsu.
  • In Nioh, Mitsuhide has a place in the back-story of the game: his betrayal against Nobunaga is justified due to realizing the danger presented by the Amrita spirit stones and how he saw Nobunaga has been gathering them, on top of his other brutalities. To preserve the world from the dangers of Amrita, Mitsuhide sacrificed his honor and killed Nobunaga at Honnoji Temple, retiring from the world afterwards to become the Onmyōdō monk known as Tenkai. He returns in the prequel, where his betrayal was more detailed.
  • In Ikemen Sengoku, Mitsuhide is actually not the one who attempted to assassinate Nobunaga at Honno-ji due to either the butterfly effect of the time-traveling main character and Sasuke altering history or them being sent to a historical timeline different from their original one, but is still a shifty, perpetually-smirking schemer suspected in several game routes of plotting with Nobunaga's enemies to backstab him. However, he never truly betrays Nobunaga with every case of him appearing to have betrayed him turning out to be him being a Fake Defector who only pretended he was on the enemies' side to get more information on them or lure them into a trap, making it possible for him and Nobunaga to be both portrayed sympathetically enough to be viable love interests for the main character.
  • Mitsuhide made his first appearance in Nasuverse via Fate/Grand Order in the third GUDAGUDA event, though he had been referenced several times before as Micchi by Nobunaga. He's not a summonable Servant, but he served as the Big Bad of the event and has the powers of a Caster. Unlike Nobunaga, Mitsuhide didn't get the Gender Flip treatment the Fate series is notorious for. In this version, the reason he betrayed Nobunaga was because he was in love with her and got angry that she chose Hideyoshi to be her Number Two instead, believing that she was in love with him. He decided if he couldn't be Nobunaga's partner, no one could. His subsequent loss to Hideyoshi was at least partially due to him feeling guilt for it and the fact he couldn't stand a world where Nobunaga wasn't around. Also notably, the Sengoku Period shenanigans within the Nasuverse is contained via the wacky and humorous GUDAGUDA series. Mitsuhide is part of them, but when he takes the center of the conflict, the mini-series took a darker and serious turn, only to resume back to being wacky once he's out of the picture. And yes, Nobunaga does indeed refer to him as "Kumquat." if she's feeling disappointed at him.
    • He also makes mention that he also went by the alias 'Nankobou Tenkai', just like some of his resurfacing legends go. This indirectly sets up for a posthumous Heel–Face Turn. As Tenkai, he was only mentioned during the Ooku event, but he set up a plan that enables Chaldea to prevail against Kama, by saving the soul of Kasuga-no-Tsubone and instructing Matsudaira Nobutsuna to spread Ooku Hanafuda cards to store anti-Tokugawa powers all while acting like a depraved Hate Sink, all in order to give a fighting chance against Kama who became a Beast in the end. Turns out, being beaten to tar by Hideyoshi had a good effect for his moral standards.