Chiba Kunitane


Chiba Clan


Shimōsa Province

Lifespan:  3/22 of Kōji 3 (1557) to 5/7 of Tenshō 13 (1585)

Other Names:  Chiba-no-suke

Rank:  bushō

Title:  Vice Minister of Central Affairs

Clan:  Chiba

Father:  Chiba Tanetomi

Mother:  Daughter of Unakami Yamashiro-no-kami

Siblings:  Yoshitane, Kunitane

Wife:  [Formal] Adopted daughter of Hōjō Ujinao, [Second] Daughter of Iwamatsu Morizumi

Children:  Shigetane

Chiba Kunitane served as a bushō during the Sengoku period.  Kunitane served as the twenty-ninth head of the Chiba clan.

Kunitane was born as the second son of Chiba Tanetomi, the twenty-seventh head of the Chiba.

Kunitane’s older brother, Chiba Yoshitane, the twenty-eighth head of the clan, stood in opposition to the Gohōjō clan, triggering his ouster at the hands of his retainers.  Thereafter, Kunitane succeeded him as the next head of the clan.  To avoid pressure from Satomi Yoshihiro, in the eleventh month of 1571, his coming-of-age ceremony was held at the Sakura-Myōken Shrine.  In 1582, Takigawa Kazumasa, a senior retainer of Oda Nobunaga, advanced into the Kantō and sent a messenger to Kunitane to encourage Kunitane to dispatch his own messenger to Nobunaga, but Kunitane refused.  After entering into a political alliance through marriage with the Hōjō, upon request of the Hōjō, he deployed on several occasions.

His military prowess invoked fear among those in neighboring provinces, while members of the Chiba family and their retainers yearned for his mercy.

In 1585, while at new year’s banquet, he scorned a servant named Kuwata Magogorō for breaking wind.  Resentful of the criticism, on the evening of 5/1, while Kunitane slept, Magogorō stabbed him with a short sword and he died the following day.  Kunitane was twenty-nine years old.  Sentsurumaru (Chiba Shigetane) was his son and designated heir, but, owing to his youth, the Hōjō clan intervened and Chiba Nobushige, the natural son of Hōjō Masauji, succeeded Kunitane instead.

On one of the memorial towers among a cluster of towers from the Muromachi period at the Kairin Temple in the city of Sakura, an inscription includes a prayer for the enlightenment of Kunitane.