Yunokizaki Masaie


Yunokizaki Clan


Hyūga Province

Lifespan:  15xx to 5/4 of Genki 3 (1572)

Rank:  bushō

Title:  Tango-no-kami (informal)

Clan:  Yunokizaki

Lord:  Itō Yoshisuke

Yunokizaki Masaie served as a bushō during the Sengoku period.  He was a retainer of the Hyūga-Itō clan.  Masaie served as the lord of Yunokizaki Castle in Hyūga Province.  He was the representative of Sarukawa for the Uchiyama group.

An expert at the spear, he was extolled as the best spear fighter in Nisshū (another name for Hyūga).

On 5/4 of Genki 3 (1572), Masaie deployed for the Battle of Kizakibaru.  The Shimazu army adopted a strategy known as tsuri-yabuse by which a battalion commenced a frontal assault and then intentionally pulled back to draw the Itō forces forward, whereupon other units lying in wait attacked from the flanks.  This caused the Itō forces to unravel, and as the troops attempted to flee in defeat, Masaie served in the rear guard for the Itō.  He killed over 20 enemy troops with bow and arrow.  At Onizukagahara and, later, at Kayumochida, together with Hidaki Gensai, Masaie held his ground and fought valiantly against the pursuing forces from the Shimazu army.  However, while shooting an arrow toward Shimazu Yoshihiro, Yoshihiro’s beloved horse raised its front legs and deflected the attack by Masaie so the arrow just grazed Yoshihiro’s quiver for arrows.  According to another account, Masaie charged Yoshihiro with a spear.  In either case, Yoshihiro then killed Masaie.

His grave lies near the designated Ancient Battlefield of Kayumochida.

Later, after Hyūga fell under the control of the Shimazu clan, Yoshihiro engaged the descendants of Masaie to serve as retainers, awarding them a fief of 6 koku.  Yunokizaki Masatsugu was a descendant of Masaie.