Yagi Toyonobu

八木豊信

Yagi Clan

Bushō

Tajima Province

Lifespan:  15xx to Unknown

Rank:  bushō

Clan:  Yagi

Lord:  Yamana Suketoyo, Hashiba Hideyoshi

Yagi Toyonobu served as a bushō during the Sengoku and Azuchi-Momoyama periods.  Toyonobu was the head of the Yagi clan, a kokujin, or provincial landowner, in Tajima Province and the lord of Yagi Castle.

The Yagi were affiliated with the Yamana clan serving as the military governors of Tajima.  The Yagi were counted among the Four Divine Kings of the Yamana but, as the influence of the Yamana waned, the Yagi increasingly demonstrated their independence.

At the time of his coming-of-age ceremony, he received one of the characters from the name of Yamana Suketoyo and adopted the name of Toyonobu.

In the era of Toyonobu, the Yagi affiliated with the Mōri clan who became a major power governing a majority of the Chūgoku region.  Toyonobu reported to Kikkawa Motoharu, a senior retainer of the Mōri, in regard to the attack by Tainoshō Koreyoshi upon Kakiya Mitsunari (an ally of Oda Nobunaga) as well as the invasion of Tanba Province by Akechi Mitsuhide, a senior retainer of the Oda.  He frequently encouraged the deployment of Mōri forces.

Around 1579, Toyonobu cast-off the influence of the Mōri and instead affiliated with Hashiba Hideyoshi, a senior retainer of the Oda who invaded Tajima.

Toyonobu participated in the invasion of Inaba Province.  In 1580, during the First Siege of Tottori Castle, Toyonobu was assigned to defend Wakasaoniga Castle and obtained recognition from Hideyoshi of his rights to 20,000 koku in the Chizu District of Inaba Province.

In 1581, the lord of Tottori Castle changed from Yamana Toyokuni to Kikkawa Tsuneie.  As the Mōri regained power, Toyonobu was no longer able to defend Wakasaoniga Castle and his whereabouts became unknown.

During the Tenshō era (1573 to 1593), Toyonobu turned to the Shimazu clan and served as a secretary for Shimazu Iehisa.  In historical accounts of the Shimazu clan, he is identified as the lineal heir of Yagi Masanobu, a descendant of the Yagi clan from the lineage of the Kusakabe clan.  It has been confirmed that the same seal was used during the era that he served in Wakasaoniga Castle as well as the era when he served as a retainer of the Shimazu clan.

Cultural pursuits

Yagi Muneyori, the great-grandfather of Toyonobu, was a renowned poet in poetry circles during the Muromachi period.  He cultivated friendly relations with nobles such as Ichijō Kaneyoshi.  Waka composed by Toyonobu are among the historical records of the Yagi family.  In the fifth month of 1575, when Shimazu Iehisa participated in a renga event in Kyōto, Toyonobu’s younger brother, Yagi Oki-no-kami, was among those in attendance.  Toyonobu himself also spent time with nobles and cultured individuals, including at a tea ceremony hosted by Tsuda Sōgyū, a tea master and merchant from Sakai.  It appears that Iehisa engaged Toyonobu in part owing to the breadth of his cultural knowledge and connections.  While en route to worship at the Ise Shrine, Iehisa visited Tajima and Inaba provinces and met Toyonobu at this time.