Lifespan: Eishō 10 (1513) to 11/24 of Bunroku 4 (1595)
Other Names: Nabechiyo (childhood), Yukihisa, Tarō, Suketarō, Gensuke (monk’s name)
Title: Governor of Aki (Aki-no-kami)
Lord: Shimazu Yoshihisa
Father: Kabayama Hirohisa
Mother: Daughter of Honda Kanechika
Siblings: Sister (wife of Shimazu Tadatoshi), Yoshihisa, Hōmangan
Wife: [Formal] Osumi (second daughter of Shimazu Tadayoshi)
Children: Tadasoe, Tadasuke, daughter (wife of Shimazu Iehisa)
Kabayama Yoshihisa served as a bushō during the Sengoku and Azuchi-Momoyama periods. Yoshihisa served as the eighth head of the Kabayama clan, an illegitimate branch of the Shimazu clan who served as the shugo daimyō of Satsuma Province.
The Kabayama clan was founded by Shimazu Sukehisa, the son of Shimazu Tadamune, the fourth head of the main branch of the Shimazu clan. The family adopted the surname of Kabayama based on the place name of Kabayama where they held land in Hyūga Province.
In 1513, Yoshihisa was born as the son of Kabayama Hirohisa, the seventh head of the Kabayama clan. He served the main branch of the Shimazu clan and wed, as his formal wife, Osumi, the second daughter of Shimazu Tadayoshi.
Yoshihisa enjoyed waka. He met Konoe Taneie and received the kokin denju. Tō Tsuneyori is known as the forefather of the kokin denju, interpretations of waka, or classical Japanese poetry, communicated in the form of historical secrets from instructors to their disciples. He also learned kemari, or kickball, from Asukai Masatsuna.
In 1539, when his lord, Shimazu Takahisa, deployed to Taira in Ichiki for the Battle of Yudaguchi, despite being wounded, he killed an enemy commander named Ono Sakon. As recognition for his valor, Yoshihisa was awarded Matsuura and Futamata in the township of Mukaishima in Ōsumi Province.
In 1548, after a conflict arose in the territory of the Honda clan, he received a cup of saké from Shimazu Tadayoshi and then led 100 retainers to Oinobyū and toppled Shimizu Castle. At this time, Yoshihisa found a waka in the writing alcove at the castle left by Honda 薫親 before fleeing the castle to which he composed a response on a tanzaku (a long, narrow strip of paper on which Japanese poems are written), attached it to an arrow, and, after getting within hailing distance of the fleeing Honda forces, launched the arrow with the poem. Impressed by his act, Shimazu Yoshihisa rewarded Yoshihisa.
In 1562, when a former retainer of the Kitahara clan, Shirasaka Shimōsa-no-suke, requested support to revive the Kitahara family, Yoshihisa served as an intermediary between Shimazu Takahisa and Shimōsa-no-suke. In 1570, in exchange for Obama and 堅利 in Ōsumi, he moved to Yokokawa. In 1583, after Shimazu Yoshihisa fell ill, Yoshihisa holed-up in the Hokedake-Yakushi Temple in Takaoka in Hyūga and chanted waka verses for seventeen days to pray for the convalescence of his lord. In 1592, at the Bunroku-Keichō Campaign, when Shimazu Yoshihiro sailed to the Korean Peninsula, Yoshihisa was of advanced age but became indignant when not allowed to serve in the event and composed a waka to express his disappointment.
In 1595, Yoshihisa died at the age of eighty-three. In 1557, his eldest son, Kabayama Tadasoe, was earlier killed in action while fighting against the Gamō and Hishikari clans at the Battle of Tendō so Yoshihisa’s second son, Kabayama Tadasuke, succeeded him.