|15 October 3151
|Saburo Toranaga (adoptive)
Born to middle-class parents Toranaga spent part of his childhood on the streets of Yamashiro, New Samarkand when he was orphaned at the age of seven. Learning to pickpocket for survival, Toranaga became one of his city's premier thieves until he was caught three years later. Destined to spend the rest of his life in prison the young Matsuhari was instead adopted by Saburo Toranaga, a retired Tai-sa from the Sword of Light.
Tutored by Saburo in the strictures of bushido, Matsuhari was able to gain entrance to the Sun Zhang MechWarrior Academy where he graduated with honors. Assigned to the Genyosha, he saw action against both the Raven Alliance and Clan Ghost Bear but came to believe that neither foe was a worthy enemy and grew restless at the lack of a true opponent. This led to anger against the reigning Coordinator Vincent Kurita, and Toranaga grew determined to remove him from the throne. He found the means to do so when he discovered the existence of Yori Sakamoto, granddaughter of Franklin Sakamoto and thus great-granddaughter to the revered Coordinator Theodore Kurita. While thus descended from an illegitimate scion of the ruling house, Yori was still a Kurita by blood and therefore a perfect pawn in Toranaga's schemes.
By the late 3120s Toranaga had risen to become Warlord of the New Samarkand Military District. In 3129 he was the target of an assassination attempt while on the planet Kaznejoy. The role played by battle armor troops equipped with Kishi suits in foiling the assassination attempt and saving Toranaga had the effect of taking an already-successful form of battle armor and sealing its popularity with the Draconis Combine Mustered Soldiery.
Years of plotting against Vincent Kurita paid off in early 3137 after a series of deaths that practically wiped out the Combine's ruling family. With the Coordinator along with both of his sons slain and no apparent surviving heirs, Toranaga was able to install his protégée, now formally bestowed with the surname Kurita, as the new figurehead ruler of the Combine. For himself Toranaga secured the long-vacant position of Gunji-no-Kanrei, making him undisputed leader of the Combine military, and began preparations for a major campaign against House Kurita's historic enemy the Federated Suns.
The first step in this audacious vision would be the conquest of the long-disputed Draconis Reach in 3139. In an unexpected move, Toranaga convinced Wolf's Dragoons to sign on with the Combine for the first time since the Fourth Succession War. The current leadership of the Dragoons agreed to end their legendary feud with House Kurita and proceeded to drive all AFFS forces out of the Reach by the end of 3139. Toranaga then informed them of their next assignment: spearheading an all-out assault upon the Federated Suns itself in 3141.
Toranaga's invasion plans were temporarily derailed that same year when a Draconis March counterattack into the Reach sparked a much more serious crisis. Coordinator Vincent's daughter Emi Kurita, who'd survived the destruction of her family, arose from hiding with a son, Daisuke. Presenting him as a more legitimate claimant to the throne than Yori, Emi and her supporters in Clan Nova Cat and the DCMS took advantage of the fighting in the Draconis Reach to instigate the Draconis Combine Civil War. Despite some setbacks, however, Toranaga prevailed over the rebels by early 3143 and ruthlessly destroyed any future threats to Yori Kurita from either Clan Nova Cat or rival Kurita claimants.
Vanquisher of the Suns
Fortunately for Toranaga, Wolf's Dragoons and the Ryuken had been able to prevent their Federated Suns opponents from making any headway in the Draconis Reach throughout the rebellion, and so preparations for the invasion were able to resume uninterrupted. With units and supplies restored in full, the DCMS unleashed a three-pronged assault in March 3144. Swiftly crushing all in their path, the first of many triumphs of this invasion was won on Palmyra. Under Toranaga's personal supervision DCMS forces destroyed most of First Prince Caleb Davion's assembled army and, against the Kanrei's express orders, killed the Suns ruler himself.
Toranaga's victory broke the Davion defenses along the whole front and barely two months later Robinson fell to the Dragon. As a result of his excellent planning and meticulous preparations, Toranaga had thus far orchestrated perhaps the most successful DCMS offensive since the First Succession War. With the new First Prince Julian Davion still on the other side of the Inner Sphere and the AFFS seeming rudderless, the Kanrei with his ruler's support chose to wring as much advantage as he could from this favorable state of affairs.
Throughout 3146 the DCMS drove ever-closer towards New Avalon, until in early July Combine forces and Wolf's Dragoons invaded the Federated Suns capital itself. The fighting raged for three months until Toranaga, previously leery of mercenaries stealing House Kurita's glory, broke the stalemate by reluctantly turning Wolf's Dragoons loose upon the front lines. In short order, the remaining AFFS defenders fled New Avalon and House Davion's homeworld was firmly in the Dragon's brutal grasp. While Yori Kurita celebrated this unprecedented victory with a lavish parade, Toranaga himself focused upon securing the Combine's extensive gains from the wounded but still dangerous Federated Suns.
Determined to hold the Combine's large swath of conquered worlds (dubbed "the Dragon's Tongue"), Toranaga instituted a ruthless stance towards the occupied territories. Nonetheless, both the conquered populace and the AFFS continued to resist. The latter mounted multiple attacks against DCMS targets while civilians under Combine rule responded to their new overlords with riots, workers strikes and sabotage, diminishing the Dragon's material gains from its conquests. Toranaga's reaction to these threats was to fortify the DCMS' existing gains rather than risk overextending his army further, and to petition the Coordinator for more troops, which Yori denied.
By early 3148 Toranaga had grown increasingly concerned with the chronic raiding by Federated Suns units. The damage inflicted by Operation PERCEVAL and the strain upon DCMS forces holding the conquered territory led him to believe that New Avalon had been a conquest too far. Thus the Kanrei continued to unsuccessfully request the conscription of new soldiers as a solution to both problems.
To Toranaga's intense frustration Yori Kurita consistently denied his pleas for more troops, until in June 3148 the Coordinator finally gifted Toranaga a new unit solely under his command: the Hikage. Toranaga's reaction upon receiving this mobile elite force was mixed - while he was thrilled at the prospect of countering the constant AFFS threat to the Dragon's Tongue, the fact that Yori could create such a unit without his knowledge left Toranaga enraged at the prospect of losing control over his once-pliant figurehead ruler.
Nonetheless Toranaga willingly unleashed this new force against the Davion troops who had been bedeviling the Dragon's Tongue. While he considered the Hikage's first operation - a strike against Operation PERCEVAL's base and senior command - a qualified success at best, Toranaga was still pleased with the unit's accomplishments in its baptism of fire.
The Unity Pact
In early 3149 the Republic of the Sphere's lighting offensive across the Dieron Military District left the Kanrei contemplating his realm's altered situation. With the Wall evidently down the Dragon had a chance to strike towards Terra itself but lacked available forces to do so without dangerously exposing another front.
An unexpected solution to this conundrum arrived in April, in the form of a proposal from the Capellan Confederation with an alliance. The Coordinator drove home Toranaga's diminishing control over her by ensuring that his admittance into the talks was long delayed; when he was finally allowed to join Toranaga's first reaction was one of hesitancy. While a joint assault upon the Republic by the two states might aid the Combine's own ambitions towards Terra, it would also give Daoshen Liao a chance to claim humanity's homeworld and declare himself First Lord of a new Star League. Toranaga felt such an outcome was too risky and so he advised Yori Kurita to decline the Capellans' offer. The Capellan ambassador revealed that Devlin Stone had returned to lead the Republic, this was enough to sway the Combine leadership to agreed to the alliance. While Toranaga still had concerns about the resulting Unity Pact, he set about preparing the Combine's part in the joint offensive to come.
In 3151, when First Prince Julian Davion attempted to reunite the various splinter groups of the mercenary Eridani Light Horse, Toranaga, feeling threatened, paid one of the claimants, Colonel Lyle Goss, to assassinate Amelia Donovan, the strongest ELH leadership claimant, and pin the blame on the Federated Suns, in order to indirectly control the Eridanis or at least keep them divided. Goss not only failed, his actions allowed Donovan to resurrect the ELH and make herself their new lieutenant general.
The 24 May, he was informed by his aide Min Nohiro, about the situation on the Tongue and the ELH's contract for the Suns, giving orders to reinforce it, though later Yori Kurita sabotaged many of these.
After the Suns launched Operation Dawn, Matsuhari put his forces on New Avalon on high alert, but the real invsaion came much later, the 7 June. Julian Davion asked his surrender, but Toranaga didn't answer, ordering his forces to dig in Avalon City.
After Dawn task force landed, Toranaga sent headhunting missions, attempting to decapitate the AFFS' leadership, but with limited success, and at a great cost. The 17 September, Toranaga fough his last battle: leading the Fifth Sword of Light, he led a counterattack against the Suns' ground forces. He fought a duel against the Prince's Champion, Erik Sandoval-Groell. He managed to down his Axman, but then the First Prince Julian Davion engaged him, and in a single strike, his Marauder II downed Toranaga's Atlas. Julian demanded his surrender, and Toranaga yielded to the one which had defeated him: Erik Sandoval, and was taken prisoner.
Death and Legacy
Toranaga was captured, but despite being interrogated, but he only asked for the right to commit seppuku to the Coordinator. He soon became a problem for his captors: the citizens demanded he meet military justice. Julian wanted to allow him to commit seppuku in exchange for the Combine's retreat from New Avalon's nearby worlds. Eventually, Toranaga's final destiny wasn't any of those options: the 15 October, Julian visited him on his cell on a late hour for a private talk. Eventually, the Prince felt pity for him and gave him to have a honorable death, shooting him with his pistol, killing him instantly.
Unwilling to return Toranaga's body to the Combine or to allow him to stay on New Avalon's ground, Julian ordered a space burial to get rid of his mortal remains. officially, Matsuhari had pend himself on his cell. Erik Sandoval was furious about Toranaga's death, but Julian and his advisors carefully hid what he had did, and to the public only was said than he had simply died on his cell. Toranaga's death weakened his loyalist's resolve to hold on the remaining Dragon's Tongue worlds. Yori Kurita used his death to ensure all Matsuhari's loyalists became only loyal to her. She blamed him indirectly for the defeat, declared a month of mournind for honored all deceased DCMS soldiers, honoring them... except for him.
- Amongst his other actions Toranaga is also notable for being the individual responsible for ordering that Shiro BattleMechs were only to be piloted by DCMS MechWarriors of acclaim and honor following the Shiro's introduction to service in 3135.
- Era Report: 3145, pp. 89–90: "Matsuhari Toranaga profile"
- The Damocles Sanction, ch. 12
- Era Report: 3145, p. 89: "Yori Kurita profile"
- Technical Readout: 3145 Draconis Combine, p. 4: "Kishi Battle Armor"
- Era Report: 3145, pp. 21–22: "Dragon Rising"
- Era Report: 3145, pp. 31–32: "Savage Tumult"
- Era Report: 3145, pp. 32–35: "Setting Suns"
- Technical Readout: 3145 Draconis Combine, p. 2: "Introduction"
- Shattered Fortress, p. 28
- Shattered Fortress, pp. 28–29
- Shattered Fortress, pp. 33–34
- Shattered Fortress, pp. 59–60
- Shattered Fortress, pp. 67–68
- Strong as Steel in No Greater Honor, p. 291
- The Damocles Sanction, ch. 4
- Dominions Divided, p. 23
- The Damocles Sanction, ch. 7-94
- Dominions Divided, p. 36
- The Damocles Sanction, ch. 11-12
- Dominions Divided, p. 41-42
- The Damocles Sanction, ch. 12-13
- Dominions Divided, p. 55-57
- The Damocles Sanction ch. 9
- Technical Readout: 3145 Draconis Combine, p. 44: "SH-1V Shiro"