Mitsunari, who turned down dried persimmons out of health concerns even at the point of death

Ishida Mitsunari (1560-1600)
Ishida Mitsunari was born in Oumi Province as the second son of Ishida Masatsugu. His childhood name was Sakichi.
He served Hideyoshi as a page. He served Hideyoshi as cheif commander during the campaign to attack Chuugoku. Since Hideyoshi become the shogun, Mitsunari too rose prominence as his close associate.
He was selected as one of the five commissioners. Excelling at dealing with paperwork, he worked hard as Hideyoshi’s right-hand man. After Hideyoshi’s death, he was the main actor countering against the influence of Tokugawa, but lost at the Battle of Sekigahara. He used a crest depicting “大吉大一大万”. It means, “One for all and all for one, then we shall have world peace.”

Picture Caption: The three cups of tea offered to Hideyoshi and the dried persimmons he declined to eat
Above: The three cups of tea of carefully considered warmth and thickness offered to Hideyoshi, that caused him to make Mitsunari an officer.
Below: Mitsunari was mistaken about the effect of dried persimmons.

After this, Mitsunari was sentenced to die in the Capital. While on the way to the execution grounds, feeling thirsty he said, “I’d like some hot water.” Since there was no hot water, it seems the guardman gave him some dried persimmons. Upon this, he refused them saying, “I cannot eat dried persimmons since they become poisonous phlegm.” Mitsunari worried over his own health unchangingly, even as the moment of death was upon him. The people around him laughed, “This is a man whose head is about to be severed. There’s no way such poison would have time to take effect.” But Mitsunari gave this refutation.
“For the hearts of the small men who criticize me that is quite right. However, those who embrace great ambitions hold their lives dear until the very moment their neck is severed. I think it is because they still desire to accomplish their dream somehow.”
About dried persimmons, Mitsunari’s understanding was mistaken. It was thought that phlegm was a disease of the respitory system such as asthma, and dried persimmons had an effect on that. Persimmons are high in Vitamin A and C and potassium, and thus have very high nutritional value. Also, the white powder that develops on the surface has an effect of easing coughing. None the less, we should follow the example of the indomitable spirit of Mitsunari, who was careful about what he ate until the moment of his death, refusing to give up on his great dream for the revival of the House of Toyotomi.

Recipe: Nira Rice
Ingredients: Garlic leeks (nira), Cold rice
Directions: Boil normal chopped nira in a broth of bonito and konbu. When the nira is cooked, add in miso and cold rice and boil.


熱さや濃さの なる「3杯の茶」で秀吉をもてなしたことが士官のきっかけとなる(上)。