The Kataokas can trace their genealogy with temple records deep in the hills of Nagoya that date back 4 centuries. My father says our family tree is reliable back to 1600. In that year Japan was split into two warring camps, each led by a feudal warlord, vying for hegemony of Japan. One was Tokugawa, the other was Toyotomi, defeated in the battle of Sekigahara. My ancestor fought on the Toyotomi side. After the battle he settled in the village Kataoka, in the mountains of central Japan as the village chieftain. His descendants perfected the art of sake brewing and never left the village.
My father says that our ancestors never forgot how decisively they had been defeated so they always were ready to avenge themselves. Apparently they waited for a call to arms. They maintained their army and waited and waited but such a call never came. The Tokugawa ruled Japan without interruption until 1856.
A few years prior to that, a fleet of US naval vessels commanded by Commodore Perry challenged the Tokugawa government to open Japan to international trade. A government crisis ensued, and the Tokugawa were finally overthrown. The change in government finally gave my great grandfather a change to avenge his ancestor's enemy. He enlisted in the imperial army. His unit marched from Kyoto to Edo, which is modern day Tokyo. There they were soundly defeated by remnants of the Tokugawa clan. Undaunted, he returned to his native village of Kataoka and resumed his occupation—a sake brewer. The village of Kataoka still exists but our ancestors have moved away.
What I will remember is my ancestors' fierce loyalty to the Toyotomi clan and their willingness to fight for their convictions.