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Araki Murashige

Araki Murashige (荒木 村重, 1535 – June 20, 1586) was a retainer of Oda Nobunaga, and daimyō (feudal lord) of Itami Castle during the late Sengoku period of the 16th century in Japanese history, in what is now Itami city in Hyōgo Prefecture.

He commanded part of Nobunaga's army in the ten-year siege of the Ishiyama Honganji, but was accused in 1578 of sympathies to the Mōri clan, one of Nobunaga's enemies, by Akechi Mitsuhide. He retreated to Itami and held out there against a one-year siege by the forces of Oda before the castle fell in 1579; Araki escaped, and lived out the rest of his life as a chanoyu disciple of Sen no Rikyu.

There is a semi-legendary tale told about Araki's creative use of a tessen, or iron fan, in saving his own life. After being accused of treason by Akechi Mitsuhide, Araki was called before his lord, Oda Nobunaga. As was customary, he bowed low over the threshold before entering the room. But he sensed somehow Nobunaga's plan to have his guards slam the fusuma sliding doors on him, breaking his neck. Araki placed his fan in the doors' groove, preventing the doors from closing. Nobunaga's plan revealed, Araki's life was spared, with much reconciliation.

His son, raised under his mother's name, was the significant artist Iwasa Matabei.


  • Ratti, Oscar and Adele Westbrook (1973). Secrets of the Samurai. Edison, NJ: Castle Books.
  • Turnbull, Stephen (1998). 'The Samurai Sourcebook'. London: Cassell & Co.
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