Hisano Shigekatsu


Hisano Clan

Harima Province

Hisano Shigekatsu

Lifespan:  Tenbun 14 (1545) to 6/13 of Tenshō 20 (1592)

Name Changes:  Umanosuke → Shigekatsu

Other Names:  Shibei (common)

Rank:  bushō

Clan:  Hisano

Bakufu:  Edo

Domain:  Chikuzen-Fukuoka

Lord:  Kuroda Mototaka → Kuroda Yoshitaka → Kuroda Nagamasa

Father:  Hisano Shigemasa

Mother:  Daughter of Onoe Yoshichika

Wife:  Daughter of Yoshida 重生

Children:  Shigeyoshi, Shigetoki

Hisano Shigekatsu served as a bushō during the Sengoku and Azuchi-Momoyama periods.  As a retainer of the Kuroda clan, he was included among a group of retainers called the Twenty-Four Elite of the Kuroda.

In 1545, Shigekatsu was born as the son of Hisano Shigemasa, the lord of Kanatsurube Castle in Harima Province.

After an attack by Bessho Yasuharu, the lord of Miki Castle, Shigekatsu relied upon Kodera Norimoto and moved with his family to Gochaku in Harima.  In 1569, Shigekatsu, together with his father, Shigemasa, served Kuroda Mototaka.  At the Battle of Aoyama-Kawarakeyama that same year, he served with the vanguard forces.  At this time, Shigemasa incurred serious injuries so Shigekatsu succeeded him as the head of the clan.

In 1577, Shigekatsu served valorously in the Battle of Aga and assaults on Takakurayama and Kōzuki castles.  In the eleventh month of 1578, at the time when Kuroda Yoshitaka was incarcerated by Araki Murashige at Arioka Castle, Shigekatsu was a chief retainer.  Thereafter, Shigekatsu obeyed Yoshitaka and deployed for the Siege of Miki in 1580, an assault on Chōzuisan Castle in 1581, the Battle of Yamazaki in 1582, and the Battle of Shizugatake in 1583.

Beginning in 1586, at the Pacification of Kyūshū by the Toyotomi army, Shigekatsu followed Yoshitaka and traveled to Buzen and Chikuzen provinces, participating in assaults on Kokura Castle, Urutsu Castle, and Takasu Castle.  During the assault on Takasu Castle, he joined the vanguard forces, riding a palomino horse.  Upon viewing the impressive horse, Harada Nobutane, the lord of Takasu Castle, surrendered while Toyotomi Hideyoshi himself was astonished.  After the campaign, Shigekatsu was assigned to plan for the reconstruction of Hakata which sustained damage during the war.  In 1587, during an uprising by kokujin, or provincial landowners, against the entry by the Kuroda family into Buzen, Shigekatsu obeyed Kuroda Nagamasa to join the operation to suppress the uprising and, during an assault on Ōhata Castle, killed Niiro Geki.

In 1588, Shigekatsu was granted a fief of 6,000 koku.  In 1590, during the conquest of Odawara, Shigekatsu followed Yoshitaka to serve in the encampment.  In 1591, during the construction of Nagoya Castle, the assignments of several daimyō had yet to be determined so he resolved the situation through persuasion and a limited use of funds.

In the fourth month of 1592, Shigekatsu sailed to the Korean Peninsula for the Bunroku Campaign.  On 6/12, while serving as a sentinel at the Battle of Pyongyang, he encountered enemy troops and, despite being injured, cut down his opponent but, the next day he died of his injuries.  He was forty-eight years old.


In the Edo period, Shigekatsu’s great-grandson, Kuroda Kazutsura, served as a tairō (the highest-ranking position in the administrative organ of a daimyō family), of the Chikuzen-Fukuoka domain.

In 2014, the oldest known soroban, or abacus, in Japan received by Shigekatsu from Toyotomi Hideyoshi was discovered.  It is kept by Unshūdō, a traditional manufacturer of soroban based in Ōsaka.