Uwai Kanemasa


Uwai Clan


Hyūga Province

Lifespan:  Genki 2 (1571) to 9/10 of Keichō 4 (1599)

Other Names:  Chūgo (common)

Rank:  bushō

Clan:  Uwai (Suwa)

Lord:  Shimazu Yoshihiro

Father:  Uwai Hideaki

Siblings:  Satokane, Kanemasa

Children:  Suwa Kaneyasu

Uwai Kanemasa served as a bushō during the Azuchi-Momoyama period.  He was a retainer of the Shimazu clan.

In 1571, Kanemasa was born as the second son of Uwai Hideaki.  A man of strong build, he was appointed to serve as the lord of the manor of Kobayashi in Hyūga Province.

For the Bunroku Campaign, he accompanied Shimazu Yoshihiro to the Korean Peninsula along with twenty members of the Kobayashi group.

In 1599, after Ijūin Tadazane launched the Shōnai Rebellion, Kanemasa deployed with the army to suppress them.  During a battle at Komatsu-ga-o, as Hirata Masamune pulled back toward Nonomidani, he returned with six individuals to impede the enemy.  Despite incurring injuries, Kanemasa fought valiantly.  A retainer of Tadazane named Matsunaga Gozaemon hesitated in front of Kanemasa, going as far as to clutch an arquebus.  Kanemasa was then shot with an arquebus by Taniguchi Iyo, a bushi from Mimata-in-Kajiyama near Kotani in the Shiwachi township.


During his youth, Kanemasa was educated at the Chōzen Temple in Iino.  In his last will, he requested to be buried in a location where the sound of the temple bell could be heard in the Kobayashi township so he was buried on the border with Iino.  His grave, known as the Chūgo burial mound (under his common name), remains there to the present day.  Kanemasa’s descendants, from the era of his lineal heir, Kaneyasu, adopted the surname of Suwa from their ancestors.

Taniguchi Iyo took Kanemasa’s head but owing to a lateral attack by the Hongō forces, discarded it on the road.  An unfamiliar youth took the head and appeared in front of the Suwa Shrine adjacent to Nonomidani.  The wife of a resident of the shrine found it and said “the gods loathe uncleanliness so do not bring this near the shrine” whereupon the youth laughed without saying a word.  After the wife informed her husband of the strange encounter, he headed toward the shrine but the youth was gone and Kanemasa’s head was on the floor beneath the altar.