Fukami Nagatomo


Fukami Clan


Higo Province

Lifespan:  Tenbun 1 (1532) to 8/21 of Tenshō 18 (1590)

Rank:  bushō

Title:  Governor of Mikawa

Clan:  Fukami

Lord:  Sagara Haruhiro → Sagara Yoshihi → Sagara Tadafusa → Sagara Yorifusa

Domain: Hitoyoshi

Father:  Fukami Yorikane

Siblings:  Nagatomo, Oribe-no-suke, Sakon

Children:  Settsu-no-suke, Yorishige

Adopted Children: Yorimichi, Yorikura

Fukami Nagatomo served as a bushō during the Sengoku and Azuchi-Momoyama periods.  Nagatomo was an elder of the Sagara clan.  The Sagara were a sengoku daimyō family governing the southern portion of Higo Province in Kyūshū.  Nagatomo was also known as a composer of traditional Japanese poetry known as waka and renga.

The Fukami clan was founded by Minoge Nagamichi, the son of Minoge Sukenaga and grandson of Sagara Nagauji, the fourth head of the Sagara clan of Higo.  Through the generations, the Fukami served as administrators of the Sagara, but Nagatomo was well-known to be particularly skilled as a bugyō, or commissioner.  Under the influence of his first lord, Sagara Haruhiro, a cultured individual, Nagatomo excelled in waka and renga.  There is an anecdote that, in 1572, when the consort of Sagara Yoshihi had difficulty in giving birth to their child, Shin-ni, Nagatomo provided a verse to wish her a safe delivery.

In 1581, upon the death in battle of Yoshihi, Nagatomo and Indō Yoriyasu backed and advised Yoshihi’s orphan, Sagara Tadafusa.  When Yoshihi’s younger brother, Sagara Yorisada, rebelled with the intention of taking over the clan, Nagatomo endeavored to resolve the problem.  To pray for the recuperation of Shimazu Yoshihisa from ill health, Nagatomo created 10,000 verses.  Nagatomo’s efforts contributed to the maintenance of friendly relations between the Sagara and Shimazu clans.

Upon commencement of the Subjugation of Kyūshū led by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the Sagara joined the Shimazu in fighting against the invading forces.  While Yoshihisa retreated from Yatsushiro, Nagatomo retreated to Hitoyoshi.  At this time, Sagara Yorifusa (who succeeded Tadafusa) was in Hyūga Province, so Nagatomo took his younger brother, Sagara Nagamasa, and headed toward Yatsushiro Castle.  Nagatomo met with Hideyoshi to negotiate and gain Hideyoshi’s consent to the continuing existence of the Sagara clan.  Highly impressed by Nagatomo’s negotiating prowess and renga talents, Hideyoshi appointed Nagatomo to serve as the magistrate of the Minamata region in territory under the direct jurisdiction of Hideyoshi.

In 1587, Hideyoshi responded to uprisings by kokujin, or provincial landowners, in Higo by ordering the armies led by Shimazu Yoshihiro and Ijūin Tadamune to converge upon Ōkuchi to aid Sassa Narimasa .  Upon the request of Narimasa who mistakenly believed these forces were coming to attack, Yorifusa placed troops in Tsunagi and Sashiki castles in the border area and committed the blunder of blocking the entry of these forces into Higo, but Nagatomo proceeded to from Ōsaka to Kyōto and apologized to Hideyoshi, for which he was forgiven.

Nagatomo died of illness in 1590.  His designated heir, Fukami Setsu-no-suke, had earlier died in battle, so Fukami Yorikura, the son of Nagatomo’s younger brother, Fukami Oribe, succeeded him.