Takanobu Ryuzoji (1/2)The man called Hizen no Kuma

Takanobu Ryuzoji

Takanobu Ryuzoji

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Ryuzoji Takanobu (1529-1584)
place of birth
Saga Prefecture
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Saga Castle

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During the Sengoku period, warlords fought for supremacy all over the country, but powerful Sengoku daimyo gradually emerged in each region. In the Chubu region, there was the Oda Nobunaga, in the Kanto region, the Hojo clan, and in the Chugoku region, the Mori clan. In Kyushu, the Shimazu clan, the Ryuzoji clan, and the Otomo clan were known as the three strongest clans in Kyushu, and not only were they competing with each other, but at one point they unified Hizen Province and were even called the ``Hizen Bears.'' I would like to introduce Ryuzoji Takanobu, who is also related to the Nabeshima clan.

Origin of the Ryuzoji clan

During the Sengoku period, the Ryuzoji clan grew from a kokunin in eastern Hizen Province to a Sengoku daimyo who ruled northwestern Kyushu. Ryuzoji Takanobu is also Nabeshima Naoshige's brother-in-law.

There are various theories about its origin and it is not certain. A commonly held theory is that Fujiwara Kiizen, the 8th grandson of Fujiwara Hidesato, moved to Ryuzoji Village in Ozutogo, Saga District, Hizen Prefecture, and took the surname Ryuzoji from the place name.

Kiie Takagi, the second son of Kietsune Takagi, who is said to be a descendant of Kisada Kusano, who is said to have descended from Michitaka Fujiwara, was adopted by Kiyoshi and called him Nanjiro.

It was later divided into several families, but from the end of the Muromachi period to the Sengoku period, the main family, the Muranaka Ryuzoji clan, declined due to the death of its head at a young age, so the Ryuzoji clan of Mizugae, which was based at Mizugae Castle, became the most powerful. has.
Afterwards, Ryogoku's experiments were passed on to the Nabeshima family, and their descendants changed their surnames and are said to have survived to the present day.

From birth to inheritance of family headship

He was born on February 15, 1529, as the eldest son of the Shu family of Ryuzoji, the grandson of Iekane Ryuzoji, at the Tenjin mansion in the east wing of Mizugae Castle, Hizen Saka District.

During his childhood, he was raised under the care of his great-uncle, Gokaku Osho, at Horinin. In 1536, at the age of seven, he became a priest and became a temple priest, taking the title Chunagonbo or Chujo, and his Buddhist name Engetsu (Engetsu). Engetsu is said to have had as much knowledge as a 20-year-old since he was 12 or 13 years old, and had outstanding physical strength.

When he was still a 15-year-old monk, a colleague of his at Horinin got into a dispute with the local people, so he ran into the temple and closed the door. 6 or 7 people were trying to force the door open, but Engetsu was holding it down, but the force was too strong and the door came loose, trapping 4 or 5 people under it. There is an anecdote that the people of the territory fled in fear.

In 1545, his grandfather, Iezumi Ryuzoji, and his father, Shuie, were accused of plotting against their lord, the Shoni clan, and were murdered by Yorichika Baba, a senior vassal of the Shoni clan. Engetsu was taken by his great-grandfather Iekane to escape to the Kamachi clan in Chikugo Province. In the 15th year of Tenbun (1546), Iekane raised an army with the support of Kamimori Kamachi, defeated Yorichika Baba, and restored the Ryuzoji clan, but soon afterward Iekane died due to old age and illness.

Iekane saw through Engetsu's ability and left a will asking him to return to secular life and inherit the Mizugae Ryuzoji clan. In accordance with his will, the following year, with the guidance of Engetsu and senior vassal Kanekiyo Ishii, he entered Kanekiyo's mansion, returned to secular life, took the name Tanenobu], and succeeded as head of the Mizugae Ryuzoji clan.

However, opinions among the family and old vassals were divided regarding Tanenobu becoming the head of the Mizugae family. So he went to Hachiman Shrine and drew the lottery three times to ask about the divine will, but it is said that the lottery chose Tanenobu all three times, so the succession to the family head was decided.
Afterwards, following the head of the Ryuzo-ji main family, Tanie, in 1547, on Tanie's orders, he attacked Shonifuyuhisa, the main line, and expelled him from Seifuku-ji Castle.

In 1548, Tanesaka passed away, so Tanenobu married his widow and took over the headship of the main family (Muranaka Ryuzoji Temple). However, there were many vassals such as Shizuyuki Ayabe who were dissatisfied with Tanenobu's takeover of the family headship, and in order to suppress this, Tanenobu joined forces with Yoshitaka Ouchi, the foremost Sengoku daimyo in the western region at the time, and the following year, Tenbun 19 In 1550, Yoshitaka appointed him the lord of Yamashiro, and he was given a character from his real name, which he changed to Takatane on July 1st, and then to Takanobu on July 19th of the same month.

In the same year, when the lawful wife of senior vassal Kiyofusa Nabeshima, who was the daughter of his grandfather Iezumi, passed away, Takanobu's mother, Yoshini, promoted Kiyofusa and her son, Naoshige, as talented individuals indispensable to the family. They enter the rear chamber and are considered relatives.

Hizen unification

In 1551, when Yoshitaka Ouchi died due to a rebellion by his vassal Takafusa Sue (later Harukata) (Daineiji Incident), Takanobu, who had lost his backing, (secretly connected with the Otomo clan) ) He was chased out of Hizen by his vassal Eimasu Tsuchihashi, who plotted to install Ryuzoji Kamikane as the head of the Ryuzoji temple. He fled to Chikugo and once again took shelter under Kamamori Kamachi, the lord of Yanagawa Castle. In 1553, he raised an army with the support of the Kamachi clan and won a victory, retaking Hizen. At that time, Masamitsu Oda submitted his submission, Eimasu Tsuchihashi was captured and executed, and Kakane Ryuzoji, who was the older brother of Takanobu's legal wife, was sent back to Saka District and given territory.

The article by Takanobu Ryuzoji continues.

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Tomoyo Hazuki
Writer(Writer)I have loved history and geography since my student days, and have enjoyed visiting historical sites, temples and shrines, and researching ancient documents. He is especially strong in medieval Japanese history and European history in world history, and has read a wide range of things, including primary sources and historical entertainment novels. There are so many favorite military commanders and castles that I can't name them, but I especially like Hisashi Matsunaga and Mitsuhide Akechi, and when it comes to castles, I like Hikone Castle and Fushimi Castle. Once you start talking about the lives of warlords and the history of castles, there's a side of you that can't stop talking about them.
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