Gotō Sumiakira


Gotō Clan


Hizen Province

Lifespan:  Unknown to 3/18 of Tenbun 22 (1553)

Rank:  bushō

Clan:  Gotō

Father:  Shibue Kōsei

Adoptive Father:  Gotō Shikiakira

Children:  Takaakira (adopted from Ōmura Sumisaki)

Gotō Sumiakira served as a bushō during the Sengoku period.

Sumiakira served as the eighteenth head of the Hizen-Gotō clan (the lord of Takeo territory) in Hizen Province.  Sumakira was the adopted son of Gotō Shikiakira, the seventeenth head of the clan.  His natural father was Shibue Kōsei.  His childhood name was Chiyodōmaru.

Sumiakira was born as the son of Tachibana-Shibue Kōsei, the lord of Shiomi Castle in the Nagashima manor in the Kishima DIstrict of Hizen Province, and the daughter of Gotō Shikiakira.  Shikiakira did not have a son, so he adopted his son-in-law, Sumiakira, as his designated heir.  In 1519, he established the Ennō Temple that later became the family temple of the Takeo-Nabeshima clan.  In 1527, his natural father, Shibue Kōsei, died after drinking poisoned water, so Sumiakira used this as an opportunity to attack the Shibue clan and to claim the Nagashima manor as his own territory.  In 1530, Arima Haruzumi attacked Tsukazaki Castle in Takeo and then approached Sumiyoshi Castle in Yamauchi.  Sumiakira prayed for victory on Mount Kurokami.  He then launched a surprise attack against the Arima army encamped at Shiromizuhara on Mimasaka, achieving his desired victory.  The celebratory dance engaged in by the foot soldiers after the attack may be the origin of a local art in Takeo known as the wild dance.  Thereafter, Sumiakira and Arima Haruzumi reconciled and, after Sumiakira received Haruzumi’s younger sister as his wife, the two became brother-in-laws.  In 1535, Sumiakira supported Haruzumi to win a battle against Ryūzōji Iekane.  In 1540, Chiba Yoshitane advanced into the Kishima District so Sumiakira joined the Arima army and prevailed in a clash against the Chiba army.

In 1542, Shibue Kinchika (the third son of Shibue Kōsei and Sumiakira’s younger brother) joined forces with Hata Oki-no-kami (the lord of Kishitake Castle) and Matsuura Hizen-no-kami (the lord of Hirado Castle) and launched an invasion to recover his former territory in the Nagashima manor.  Sumiakira attempted to defend against the attack, but failed and retreated to Sumiyoshi Castle.  After recovering the Nagashima manor, Kinchika entered Hinoyama Castle.  Three months later, Sumiakira attacked the castle, forcing Kinchika to flee in defeat.  This same year, Sumiakira moved his residence to Tsukazaki Castle. 

In 1543, Baba Yorichika requested the cooperation of Sumiakira in a plot against the Ryūzōji clan.  In addition to Sumiakira, Yorichika requested the support of gōzoku, or wealthy landowners, in western Hizen including the Takushi, the Hata, the Tsuruda, and the Mawatari clans.  Yorichika had them feign a rebellion against Shōni Fuyuhisa, the lord of Ryūzōji Iekane.  Meanwhile, he convinced Fuyuhisa that Iekane was plotting a rebellion.  To enmesh the Ryūzōji in the scheme, he then encouraged Fuyuhisa to order Iekane to subdue the gōzoku of western Hizen.  In 1544, upon orders of Fuyuhisa, Iekane had his family attack western Hizen.  In 1545, the Ryūzōji army fled in defeat, while the residence of Iekane at Mizugae Castle was surrounded.  Baba Yorichika proposed to Iekane that he have some members of the Ryūzōji family come to Fuyuhisa to apologize while he have the remainder seek temporary refuge in Chikuzen Province, but, through Yorichika’s artifice, ambushes were set along the way for those sent to apologize as well as those sent for refuge in Chikuzen, and all were killed.  As a result, the Ryūzōji family faced annihilation.  In 1545, Sumakira adopted Matahachirō (the natural (illegitimate) son of Ōmura Sumisaki) and took him to Takeo.  Matahachirō was later known as Gotō Takaakira.