Murashige Araki
Murashige Araki (NATS)
Character Information
Clan(s)/Alliance(s): Ikeda
Weapon Type:
Unit Type: Brave
Significant Battle(s):
Kii Province
Arioka Castle
First Appearance: Samurai Warriors: State of War
Historical Information
Real name:
Araki Murashige
Japanese name:
荒木 村重
June 20, 1586

Murashige Araki is one of Nobunaga's military commanders and tea masters, said to have been one of his lord's most trusted advisors. For reasons still not clear to this day, Murashige rebelled against Nobunaga. He is famous for imprisoning Kanbei within Arioka Castle's gaols for a year during the tense mediations between him and the Oda.

The Nobunaga no Yabou 201X poll for 3-star officers puts him in eighteenth place.

Role in GamesEdit

Samurai WarriorsEdit

Murashige is often a part of Nobunaga's middling campaigns in this series. He joins the Oda offensive at Itsukushima and Kōzuki Castle during the fourth title; he defects with the Azai later in the narrative. Chronicles and 4-II include downloadable scenarios that have Murashige imprison Kanbei. Both games portray him as a petty, self-centered lord who bolsters Arioka Castle's defenses. He becomes infuriated if Hanbei outsmarts him.


In Kessen III, Murashige is one of the many lords who surrenders to Nobunaga when the Oda lord enters the capital. Sometime off-screen, Murashige is convinced by Mitsuhide and Fujinaga to collude with the shogunate forces. He feigns loyalty to the Oda before he defects in chapter 9.

The player has the option of subjugating his rebellion in Settsu. If they do, Murashige will imprison Kanbei and be clear about his true allegiance. He and his retainers make a stand at Arioka Castle. Regardless of whether the player fights or ignores him at this time, Murashige evades capture and continues to oppose Nobunaga for the rest of the game.

Nobunaga's AmbitionEdit

Nobunaga no Yabou 201X Murashige has already joined the Oda. Prior to the UMA invasion, he and Kazumasu were stationed within Settsu and ordered on stand by for Nobunaga's peace talks with Kennyo. They are attacked and overrun by Tsuchi-ikazuchi's forces. By the time the protagonist's party arrives to Arioka Castle to save him, Murashige falls to the UMA's magics. He barely has time to warn Hideyoshi of the danger before he succumbs to the spell. Tsuchi-ikazuchi puppets Murashige to attack the nearby Hanakuma Castle with the brainwashed Honganji Rioters.

When the protagonist's party intercepts Murashige again, Tsuchi-ikazuchi simultaneously threatens to assassinate Nobunaga. Once the UMA learns of Shigehide's trick, Kennyo purifies Murashige. The freed Murashige is sorely regretful of his actions and apologizes to Hideyoshi. He gladly resumes his service to Nobunaga.

Geten no HanaEdit

Geten no Hana Yumeakari mentions him in passing as "Lord Araki" during Kanbei's romance route. Murashige's revolt and his one year imprisonment of Kanbei within Arioka Castle's gaols took place approximately two years before the main narrative. After he is subjugated, Murashige disappears from the narrative.

Voice ActorsEdit


  • "We’re friends, aren't we? I will explain things to lord Nobunaga! Now put down your spears! Fujinaga Isshiki... What are you doing in this place? You should be living peacefully alongside his Lordship."
"Peacefully? You fool. We shall return to the capital with the aid of the Mōri Clan. It won't be long before the enemies of the Oda arise. Before long, the Oda will fall!"
"Murashige. Have you been a traitor this entire time?"
"Well now. I couldn't really say."
~~Kanbei, Fujinaga, and Murashige; Kessen III

Historical InformationEdit

Araki Murashige's origins are unclear and disputed; not much is recorded to verify the Araki clan aside from their servitude to the Ikeda. His father was either Araki Takamura or Araki Yoshimura. It is presumed that Murashige served Ikeda Katsumasa at a young age and was married into the family with Ikeda Nagamasa's daughter. He continued to serve Katsumasa until his lordship was exiled from Ikeda Castle and replaced by Ikeda Tomomasa —Katsumasa's younger brother. Allegedly, Murashige was acting under the Miyoshi Trio's manipulations and influenced Tomomasa.

Before this incident, the shogun had assigned leadership in Settsu Province to three governors: Ikeda Katsumasa, Wada Koremasa and Itami Chikaoki. Katsumasa's removal led to a gradual collapse in Settsu's security and made the reestablished Ikeda foes of the Oda. Nobunaga was busy dealing with the Asakura and Azai revolts at Anegawa and other places to immediately pass judgment on them.

After Koremasa had unified the Rokkaku clan and other nobles families in 1570, the Miyoshi Trio and Matsunaga Hisahide wanted to claim the Wada's amassed wealth and territory. The Ikeda were summoned to act; Murashige marched with a cavalry unit and Nakagawa Kiyohide laid ambush troops at Shiraikawara in 1571. Koremasa called upon Ibaraki Shigetomo for assistance, but their two hundred were outnumbered by the thousands of soldiers in the Ikeda army. Murashige's main camp was endangered by Ibaraki's troops once during the battle; they were crushed by Kiyohide's soldiers. Koremasa died a grisly death on the field and the Wada clan was annihilated soon after. There were a handful of stragglers who escaped the destruction, the most famous being Luís Fróis who rode a skiff to report the incident to Nobunaga. Koremasa was once praised by Fróis to have been a regal and perilous figure; his demise was a deafening blow to him. Nobunaga, on the other hand, became interested in the Ikeda forces. The battle is often cited to be the first time the Oda lord noticed Murashige.

When Nobunaga resumed his march towards the capital, he permitted the Ikeda to leave the Miyoshi and serve the Oda in 1573. During the same year, Tomomasa was convinced by Hosokawa Fujitaka to align with the shogun, and the Oda were in the midst of subjugating shogunate supporters. Given that the Miyoshi were on their last legs by this time, Murashige chose to abandon the Ikeda and accepted Nobunaga's offer. The Ikeda's decline led to their servitude to the Oda, allowing Murashige to sever his obligations to the Ikeda. Murashige then assisted efforts to suppress the shogun's supporters near the capital and fought at Wakae Castle.

In November 1574, Murashige dispatched his troops to obliterate the Itami, which was authorized due to their open support for the shogun. Chikaoki committed suicide within Itami Castle and Murashige claimed it as his new headquarters. He used it to subdue the neighboring aristocrats to quickly unify Settsu Province. Itami Castle was renamed Arioka Castle, and Murashige began a giant renovation plan to expand its boundaries to strengthen its defenses for sieges. It included hidden passageways for ambushes, included three additional gates leading to the main keep and surrounded itself with a city market. The castle's fortress like structure is said to be the first of its kind in Japan that would inspire later castles of the era such as Edo Castle and Osaka Castle. Nobunaga rewarded Murashige with a 370,000 koku stipend and donned him the military governor of Settsu in recognition of his services.


Murashige fought for Nobunaga against the Ishiyama-Honganji and their supporters in Kii Province for the next three years. During the first Kizugawaguchi conflict, Murashige was ordered to act as reinforcements for the Oda forces. His troops arrived after the conflict had concluded and were swiftly beaten by the massive Mōri navy. Once Nobunaga heard this, Murashige received the bulk of his lord's anger for wasting resources. He was an envoy to negotiate a treaty with Kennyo; he failed for the monk was bitterly disappointed with his presentation. When Hashiba Hideyoshi struggled with his campaigns in Harima Province, Murashige was reportedly distraught and nervous.

Nobunaga was surprised to learn about Murashige's rebellion in October 1578. He responded by entrusting Akechi Mitsuhide, Matsui Yūkan and Manmi Shigetomo to send messengers to Arioka Castle. Mitsuhide's daughter (argued as eldest daughter) was engaged or married to Murashige (or his eldest son and heir, Muratsugu); Mitsuhide and company threatened to hold the daughter, the son and Murashige's mother hostage if Murashige did not surrender peacefully. Moved to comply, Murashige left Arioka Castle to head towards Azuchi Castle. Midway, he rested at Ibaraki Castle. Kiyohide insisted for Murashige to stand his ground in Settsu, arguing that Murashige would likely be ordered to commit suicide once he reached Azuchi Castle. Convinced, Murashige returned to Arioka Castle. It is unclear whether he did this before or after Kiyohide answered Oda envoys with a death threat.

Regardless of the order of events, Murashige agreed to an alliance with the shogun, Kennyo and Mōri Terumoto; in short, the alliance was a non-aggression pact between the Ishiyama-Honganji and Murashige. Neither party would intrude on the other's territory in exchange for mutual cooperation and protection against Nobunaga. Around this time, Hideyoshi sent Murashige's fond acquaintance, Kuroda Yoshitaka, as an envoy to Arioka Castle. Murashige responded by imprisoning Yoshitaka at an undisclosed location. His motivations for sparing Yoshitaka or placing him in captivity are unknown. Fortified by his nine additional castles and the Ishiyama-Honganji's attacks on the Oda, Murashige was untouched at Arioka Castle for nearly a year.

The second Kizugawaguchi conflict and Murashige's animosity for the Christian warlords in Takazuki Castle led to the Oda gaining a foothold in Settsu. When they neared Ibaraki Castle, Kiyohide surrendered. His betrayal triggered three Settsu castles to join the Oda. Cut off from the Ishiyama-Honganji and his defenses crumbling, Murashige was confident he could still hold his ground with Arioka Castle, Amagasaki Castle and Hanakuma Castle. He gathered troops and set up defenses at the three points. On December 2, 1579, the Oda forces and Murashige's personal army clashed. The defenders were pushed back and retreated towards Arioka Castle. Nobunaga ordered his men to bombard the castle's gates with hours of artillery before he personally returned to Azuchi Castle.

It didn't dawn on them that Murashige and five or six attendants had secretly left Arioka Castle during the evening hours of September 22. Murashige infamously abandoned his family and retainers, only taking his prized tea ware with him to Amagasaki Castle. Once the main keep of Arioka Castle was overrun by December 7, Nobunaga held Murashige's family and retainers as hostages and issued Murashige an ultimatum: surrender Amagasaki Castle and Hanakuma Castle or forfeit the lives of his loved ones. Murashige refused to budge. Enraged, Nobunaga ordered Arioka Castle to be burned to the ground and ordered his troops to act on December 30, 1579 and January 2, 1580. According to the Nobunaga Kouki, 36 retainers and family members, 122 retainer wives and children, and 500 other people —nearly two-thirds of them being unarmed men and women— were executed and slaughtered outside of Amagasaki Castle. Dashi, Murashige's wife (either first or second) who was reputed as an unmatched beauty, was among the victims. The Araki retainers faraway from the conflict heard about the main castle's fall and committed suicide a few days afterwards.

Despite the devastation, Murashige and his remaining followers continued to defy Nobunaga. When Amagasaki Castle's defenses fell a few weeks afterwards, Murashige fled to his last fortress, Hanakuma Castle. Ikeda Tsuneoki and Ikeda Terumasa soon surrounded it with their Saika reinforcements in March 1580. Their first encounter killed many Araki retainers, but the castle's defenses stood strong. The Ikeda hit the defenders with guerrilla tactics five months later which finally broke through the gates. Murashige once again abandoned his family and retainers, fleeing by himself into Mōri territory. He allegedly hid in Onomichi.

Later YearsEdit

Under the Mōri's patronage, Murashige concealed his identity and gave up his samurai title to become an accomplished tea master. After Honnōji and receiving Hideyoshi's official pardon, Murashige relocated to Osaka and established a friendship with Sen no Rikyū. Rikyū is said to have personally mentored him, Murashige purportedly being one of his most talented students. Since Nobunaga's death relaxed his paranoia, Murashige bad-mouthed those he felt wronged him and slipped about his past on multiple occasions. He quickly earned the ire of Christian warlords. Murashige is said to have slandered Hideyoshi while he was away for Komaki-Nagakute; Nene passed the gossip to her husband which cemented his benefactor's disfavor. Fearing the possibility of execution, Murashige fled again and entered priesthood. He was known as Dōfun (道糞) or Dōkun (道薫) around this time.

He died in Sakai when he was 52 years old, a month after his last tea ceremony. The causes for his death are unknown. His grave was written to have been at Nanshūji though it is currently unavailable. A Buddhist tablet can be found for him at Kōsonji.

Iwasa Matabei, either Murashige's son or grandson, survived him and became a painter. His other argued sons either died at an undetermined date or worked as minor government officials. One of his descendants founded a martial arts style.

Posthumously, Murashige is appreciated as the founder of modern Itami city. The remains of Arioka Castle expanded the city's territorial boundaries and led to the development of its rich agriculture; it helped foster a prosperous art community throughout Japanese history. His surviving contributions to the tea arts are considered invaluable treasures.

Japanese FolkloreEdit

Murashige Araki Painting

Araki Settsu-no-Kami Murashige painted by Utagawa Yoshiiku as part of the Taiheki Eiyuuden series.


There are a few surviving historical texts which hint at the real Murashige's personality. A passing mention from Fróis remarked that, "[though he can] be short-tempered and stubborn, he is normally mild-mannered and cheerful." The Bukōyawa establishes him as a honest and sincere person who was guilty of short-sighted rulings. Hattori Tenjingu houses a letter written by Murashige during the Arioka Castle siege which carries heavy implications of his resolve to stop Nobunaga. These accounts are generally mentioned to discourage the popular accusation of Murashige being cowardly.

Legends are instead divided on his rationale. The Taiheki Eiyuuden associates him with a famous tale alleged to have taken place soon after Settsu's unification. Nobunaga teased that if Murashige stole the province from him, Murashige could stand a chance of defeating him. Nobunaga then skewered a mochi —alternatively manju— from the tip of his koshigatana (short-sword with no hilt) and pointed it towards Murashige's face, ordering his retainer to devour it. The room had paled yet Murashige simply thanked Nobunaga. In one bite, he slid the treat from the blade and ate it whole. Nobunaga laughed in amusement and gave Settsu to Murashige. Variations may have this event occur when Murashige first joins the Oda, when he first meets Nobunaga in an audience in 1573 or when he was 22 years old. Each one states that it was meant to be a secret test of character.

One rendition of him found in fables was that he was an opportunist, shamelessly adopting whatever disguise that best suited his needs. If he appeared righteous, he was doing it to deceive those watching him. He was a self-centered man who would do anything to save his own future. Anyone who hindered him was expendable. Murashige denied negotiations for hostages due to apathy and hatred. He didn't want to be held accountable for another's problems. When Murashige bit the manju, he was challenging Nobunaga with his ambition.

Another portrayal seen in contemporary times takes the historical mentions and exaggerates them. He was a kind and stern leader who tried his best to defend his loved ones but lacked the tact to succeed during his time. Murashige was trying to prove that he had no love for ambition by remaining courageous and steadfast to a single cause. He couldn't have predicted that Nobunaga would be so cruel to his hostages. When Murashige took the sweet from the blade, he was humoring his lord's odd request and showing his genuine gratitude.

Murashige continues to bounce between a trickster or a tragic hero in stories today.

Early LifeEdit

The two historical records which do mention the Araki genealogy contradict one another on Murashige's exact family relations. Folklore tends to favor Yoshimura as his birth father since Yoshimura had supposed fame as a Settsu-Ikeda retainer. If one is to believe the late Edo period records, Yoshimura was a distant descendant of the Hata clan founded by Fujiwara no Hidesato. A book claiming to have been written by Murashige's descendants argues that the Araki clan did not come into being until Murashige unified Settsu. Assuming that Yoshimura was his biological father, he has a handful of tales describing his youth.

Yoshimura was one of Katsumasa's six prized veterans but experienced a middle-age crises when he and his wife were not blessed with a child. One night, the husband and wife decided to pray for a child at a shrine dedicated to Kannon in Nakayama. They spent six days and six nights lighting twelve lanterns and reciting the scriptures. On the dawn of the seventh day, the married couple awoke to see a butterfly hover above the lit lanterns. It landed on the wife's abdomen and disappeared inside of her. The couple rejoiced and returned home. Fifteen months later, their son was born. Yoshimura named him Jūjirō (十二郎), believing him to have been conceived from the mystical butterfly.

His son was born as a large child with a ravenous appetite. He ate huge meals and towered over the other children. Young Murashige challenged his elders for sword and spear training and loved to practice mounted archery. When asked by his father to explain himself, Murashige replied that he wanted muscles and fortitude to succeed in their age. One time his father stood atop a Goban board and Murashige effortlessly slid him back to its proper spot within the corner of the room. The boy added to his earlier comment that power isn't everything in the world, but he wanted to use it to cleanse the world of suffering. Yoshimura was impressed with his son on both instances and praised his son as someone who would grow into their era's Xiang Yu. He had Murashige admitted into official samurai service when he was twelve years old.


Around 1563 (or 1564~1567), the Settsu-Ikeda was said to have been divided into a civil dispute between Katsumasa and Tomomasa after their predecessor, Nagamasa, passed away. The historical details of the conflict are currently disputed and unknown, but legends describe that the two lords were divided on whether to obey the shogun or the Miyoshi Trio. Katsumasa's position as clan head was jeopardized because he was not biologically related to Nagamasa unlike Tomomasa. He thought that allegiance with the shogun could protect himself.

Young Murashige —then known as Yasuke (弥介 or 弥助)— felt that Tomomasa was the rightful heir and banded with sympathetic Ikeda retainers to join his cause. Yet the four clan elders who served Nagamasa sided with Katsumasa. Their superior authority silenced Tomomasa's right to passage. To counter, Tomomasa's supporters feigned obedience to them and invited the clan elders and their supporters to a banquet as a sign of good faith. Once the elders were drunk, they lashed out against them. Murashige is accredited to have personally slain two elders —in legends since historical accounts are on the fence on whether they were elders or even related to the Ikeda dispute. Fearing further bloodshed, Katsumasa and the remaining elders fled.

Since Tomomasa's known history is filled with uncertainties, there are a few Edo period tales which speculate that Murashige was manipulating him. He pushed for Tomomasa to become clan head because he knew of the young man's anxieties and incompetence. After the civil dispute had ended, Murashige convinced the young lord to grant him the Ikeda name. He would then adopt Tomomasa as his son so as to protect him from further mutiny. He swore to be loyal but was aiming to make Tomomasa his puppet. Within these stories, Murashige flourished as the head of the Settsu-Ikeda.

After he received word of Katsumasa's flight or their allegiance to the Miyoshi Trio or Wada Koremasa's demise, Nobunaga sent a letter applauding the Ikeda of their prowess and courage. He named twenty-one individuals who he thought were outstandingly commendable. Among them was Murashige who he dubbed "Ikeda Settsu-no-Kami Murashige". Nobunaga's letter is often used to support the idea that Tomomasa rewarded Murashige by marrying him to Ikeda Nagamasa's daughter. This same letter is also the basis for the posthumous splashy fictional title, The Twenty-One Greats of the Ikeda. One Edo period document claims that there was a page missing and there were actually thirty-six noteworthy retainers. Out of these twenty-one, Murashige and Kiyohide are often associated with the title; the others are either obscure in historical records or illegible.

While the exact reasons for Murashige's rebellion and Yoshitaka's imprisonment are not known, there have been several proposed theories:

  • String of defeats against the Mōri and Ishiyama-Honganji made Murashige lose faith in his future. Alternatively, Murashige befriended the two factions and were moved by sympathy to fight for them.
  • Kiyohide was sympathetic to the Ishiyama-Honganji. Murashige chose to rebel and cover for his friend rather than face Nobunaga's punishment of treason. Yoshitaka decried his actions and he was imprisoned for earning Murashige or Kiyohide's anger.
  • Became greedy and frustrated. He allied with the Mōri and Ishiyama-Honganji because he was convinced that he could take Nobunaga down on four fronts.
  • Despised Hasegawa Hidekazu, one of Nobunaga's beloved pages. Murashige caught sight of Hidekazu urinating from the second floor balcony of a castle and was disgusted. He figured the page's deplorable behavior was a reflection of his master.
  • Held a grudge against Nobunaga for forcing him to eat the treat from his blade. Murashige found the act degrading.
  • Convinced by Mitsuhide to rebel due to hatred towards Nobunaga's methods. Or Murashige felt sorry for Mitsuhide losing his mother and decided to seek justice for his comrade's loss. Yoshitaka was captured to silence him and stall talks.
  • Conspired with Yoshitaka to assassinate Nobunaga. Holding Yoshitaka as a prisoner was a cover up for their scheme to make Hideyoshi the land's leader. Or Murashige thought the Kodera would turn against him if he killed Yoshitaka and compensated by making him a prisoner to stay their hand, simultaneously planning to make Yoshitaka a bargaining ticket in his requests to Nobunaga. Nobunaga suspected Yoshitaka's disloyalty to him and ordered for Matsujumaru's execution.

Early within the fighting, a stray Oda soldier managed to slip past the security of Settsu's castles and approached Arioka Castle directly. He was apprehended at its gates and brought before Murashige's presence. The soldier was not afraid to die but pleaded for the lord to spare his life for the sake of his ill seventy-year-old mother. Since his own mother was being held hostage by the Oda, Murashige empathized with him. He gave the soldier a modest amount of gold as a reward for his family love and personally escorted the man until the main gate.

At one point during the rebellion, Hideyoshi was sent to Arioka Castle to negotiate peace with Murashige. Murashige lost himself in fear and thought to discard his past. Once he heard of Hideyoshi's visit, Kawahara Munefuyu suggested killing him to hinder Nobunaga. Murashige refused, citing Hideyoshi as a person who truly understood him. He knew that Hideyoshi's visit wasn't a bid for his surrender; it was a plea to restore his faith in himself. It would be dishonorable to turn on such a friend. Murashige personally kept Hideyoshi company, gladly sharing drinks with him and seeing him off with a merry farewell.

Once he became a tea master, Murashige was said to have adopted Dōfun himself. He named himself after a road of muck. It implies that although he kept true to his beliefs, he regretted and was ashamed of the choices he made in the past. The tea master mentioned it to Hideyoshi when they later reunited at Osaka Castle. Hideyoshi warmly renamed Murashige Dōkun as a sign of forgiveness. Its renaming meant to paint the past black or to leave the past behind him. Although he meant well in his original intentions, Hideyoshi slurred the name after Murashige slandered him. In light terms, Dōkun instead meant a despicable scoundrel who could never change his ways.

Murashige's cause of death is unknown, but there are stories which postulate that Hideyoshi or angry Christian warlords could have been responsible for it.