Lifespan: 15xx to 15xx
Title: Aki-no-kami (Governor of Aki)
Lord: Nagao Tamekage → Nagao Kagetora (Uesugi Kenshin)
Father: Kaji Hidetsune
Wife: Daughter of Nagao Tamekage (older sister of Uesugi Kenshin)
Kaji Harutsuna served as a bushō during the Sengoku period. He was a retainer of the Echigo-Uesugi clan. Harutsuna is counted among the Twenty-Five Commanders of the Uesugi. He had the common name of Hikojirō.
The Kaji were members of the Sasaki party of the Agakita Group and governed the Kaji manor in northern Echigo Province. The families comprising the Agakita Group defended their local authority in the northern portions of Echigo from the Kamakura to Sengoku periods. Agakita refers to the region to the north of the Agano River in Echigo. The Kaji clan were the main branch of the Sasaki party founded by Sasaki Moritsuna, a bushō from the late Heian period. The Sasaki party also included the Shibata, the Takenomata, and the Ijimino clans.
In the sixth month of 1503, Jōjō Sadazane received the daughter of Uesugi Fusayoshi, the military governor of Echigo, as his formal wife, became Fusayoshi’s son-in-law, and changed his name to Uesugi Sadazane. In the eighth month of 1507, Nagao Tamekage gave support to Sadazane to oust Fusayoshi. On 11/6 of 1508, Sadazane became the military governor but, in fact, was a puppet of Tamekage. Around this time, Sadazane wed the younger sister of Tamekage. His formal wife, Fusayoshi’s daughter, is believed to have died as of this time.
Gradually, however, Sadazane came to resent serving as a puppet for Tamekage. In 1513, he assembled forces comprised of Usami Fusatada and Usami Sadamitsu (father and son) who were lineal retainers of the family of the military governor, Jōjō Sadanori, from the main Jōjō clan (who was either a younger brother or nephew), and several clans from the Agakita Group, triggering a rebellion by the Jōjō clan. Harutsuna, together with, among others, Honjō Fusanaga, Ayukawa Kiyonaga, Suibara Masaie, Kurokawa Kiyozane, Nakajō Fujisuke, Ijimino Kageie, Shibata Tsunasada, and Takenomata Masatsuna, betrayed Tamekage.
Confronting a dire situation, Tamekage entered into a settlement which included having his daughter wed Harutsuna. After the death of Tamekage, Harutsuna served in an important role for Tamekage’s son, Nagao Kagetora. In 1564, Harutsuna was delegated Iiyama Castle.
Harutsuna was named among an elite class of retainers of the Echigo-Nagao clan known as the Group of Seven Generals including Kakizaki Kageie, Shibata Nagaatsu, Takenomata Kiyotsuna, Honjō Shigenaga, Irobe Katsunaga, and Nakajō Fujisuke.