Uragami Munesuke


Uragami Clan


Bizen Province

Lifespan: 14xx to 15xx

Rank:  bushō

Title:  Governor of Ōmi

Clan:  Uragami

Bakufu:  Muromachi bakufu, Deputy Military Governor of Bizen Province  

Father:  Uragami Norinaga

Siblings:  Munesuke, Norihisa, Noriyuki

Children: Muramune, Munehisa

Uragami Munesuke served as a bushō during the early Sengoku period.

Munesuke was likely the son of Uragami Norinaga; however, owing to discrepancies in the family tree and a lack of recorded history concerning his life other than the latter years, he may have been the son Uragami Norimune.  Following the death of his two sons, Norimune adopted a son named Sukemune from the Yasutomi clan.  After Norimune’s demise, Sukemune inherited his position.  Therefore, it is natural to conclude that Norimune did not have any intention of designating the lineal descendants of Norinaga such as Munesuke (his son) or Uragami Muramune (his grandson) of becoming his successor.

Munesuke’s year of birth is uncertain, but if he was the son of Norinaga, then he was likely born before Norinaga escapted to Shinano Province in 1441.  Munesuke was a lineal grandchild of Uragami Kamon.  Perhaps owing to the flight of Norinaga, Munesuke did not, even after growing up, become successor to the clan.  After Munesuke’s uncle, Uragami Norimune, rose in status, one family member named Uragami Motokage became the deputy military governor of Bizen Province, but no role was assigned to Munesuke so his advancement was delayed.

After Norimune’s two sons grew up, Norimune appointed the eldest son, Uragami Norikage, to the role of Assistant Director of the Bureau of Palace Maintenance, henceforth from Uragami Kamon.  Moreover, he appealed for Norikage to become head of the Uragami clan, and for Norikage’s younger brother, Norikuni, to succeed from Motokage the role of deputy military governor of Bizen to begin to secure important roles for his family members, resulting in misfortune for Munesuke.

However, in 1485, battles with the Yamana and Matsuda clans led to the successive deaths of Norikage and Norikuni, causing changes to Munekage’s circumstances.  In 1488, Munesuke contributed to banishing the Yamana clan from Fukuoka Castle.  Thereafter, he was appointed provincial governor of Ōmi, and further succeeded Norikuni as the deputy military governor of Bizen.  Although it took a long time, he finally acquired important roles.  In 1491, when Norimune and Motokage aimed to subjugate the Rokkaku clan, Munesuke stayed behind to protect the territory, and, through the conduct of these activities, gradually increased his local presence.

Without relying upon the Akamatsu clan or Norimune as intermediaries, Munesuke operated as a local official, issuing orders to families in Bizen who were subordinate to the Akamatsu (such as the Ukita, the Akashi, and the Osafune).  He thereby brought these local families under his command.  This is one of the reasons that many families in Bizen sided with the Uragami after Munesuke’s son, Uragami Muramune, separated from the Akamatsu clan.

In 1497, Munesuke attacked Tomiyama Castle in an effort to eliminate Matsuda Motofuji, but lost the battle after being caught in-between reinforcements from Motofuji and the soldiers defending the castle.  He retreated to Tatsu-no-kuchiyama, only to be surrounded by Matsuda forces who gave chase.  Munesuke evaded his predicament when forces led by Ukita Yoshiie arrived from Mitsuishi Castle and routed the Matsuda forces.

In 1499, when Uragami Murakuni fought against Norimune, Munesuke gave directions to Akashi Saburō to usurp the territory held by the Akamatsu serving as provincial governors of Tōtōmi.  Munesuke is said to have died prior to Norimune, who died in 1502, so Munesuke likely died between 1499 and 1502.