Kakizaki Kageie


Kakizaki Clan

Echigo Province

Kakizaki Kageie

Lifespan:  Eishō 10 (1513) (?)  to 11/22 of Tenshō 2 (1574)

Rank:  bushō

Title:  Izumi-no-kami (Governor of Izumi)

Clan:  Kakizaki

Lord:  Nagao Tamekage → Nagao Harukage → Uesugi Kenshin

Father:  Kakizaki Toshiie

Wife:  [Formal]  Daughter of Kuroda Hidetada

Children:  Sukeie, Haruie, son-in-law of the family of Nagao Tosa-no-kami (?)

Kakizaki Kageie served as a bushō during the Sengoku and Azuchi-Momoyama periods.  He was a retainer of the Nagao (Uesugi) clan, the sengoku daimyō of Echigo Province.  Kageie served as the lord of Kakizaki and Saruge castles.  He was one of the Seven Generals.

In 1513, Kageie was born as the son of Kakizaki Toshiie, a kokujin, or provincial landowner, in Echigo.

Initially, he served Nagao Tamekage, and, after the death of Tamekage, he served his son, Nagao Harukage.  When Harukage engaged in a succession struggle against Nagao Kagetora (Uesugi Kenshin), Kageie supported Kagetora.

Under Kenshin, Kageie served a key role as the general of a vanguard battalion of 300 troops.  In 1558, he protected Kasugayama Castle in the absence of Kagetora.  In 1561, Kageie participated in an attack against the Hōjō clan at Odawara and, soon thereafter, served in the vanguard in the Fourth Battle of Kawanakajima against the Kai-Takeda clan.  He attacked the main base of Takeda Shingen at Hachimanbara, and nearly decimated the main division of the Takeda army.

Together with Saitō Tomonobu, Kageie was appointed as a magistrate to carry out important policies in the Uesugi territory such as the issuance of exemptions from levies.  In 1570, he contributed to the forging of an alliance with Hōjō Ujiyasu of Sagami Province known as the Etsusō dōmei.  Active in both provincial and diplomatic spheres, he sent his son, Kakizaki Haruie, as a hostage to Odawara Castle.  He earned the absolute trust of Kenshin, and during the ceremony for Kenshin to become the deputy shōgun of the Kantō, Kageie and Saitō Tomonobu served as bearers of long swords.

On 11/22 of Tenshō 2 (1574), Kageie died of illness.  His eldest son, Sukeie, incurred serious injuries during an invasion of Etchū Province the previous year, so his second son, Haruie, succeeded him.  His grave is at the Ryōgon Temple which keeps a portrait of Kageie and his wife.

Cause of death

Regarding the cause of death of Kageie, there are assorted theories that have become, in part, commonly accepted.  In the twelfth month of 1575, Kageie obeyed Kenshin by deploying as the general of a battalion of 300 soldiers to Mizu Island in Etchū Province, but then a rumor circulated that he was colluding with Oda Nobunaga.  After concluding this was true, Kenshin sentenced him to death.

However, Kageie’s son, Haruie, was not complicit in the crime of treason.  In a record of the Uesugi family of those serving in the military dated in the second month of 1575, and in a list of retainers from 1577, Haruie’s name appears as the head of the Kakizaki family.  As of 1575, the Uesugi and Oda clans were not engaged in military conflict.  Moreover, it is doubtful that Kenshin would have executed Kageie for that reason who he otherwise trusted.  This raises many issues with respect to the authenticity of this account.  There is also a theory that, in 1577, Haruie colluded with the Oda and was sentenced to death.  This may be the result of confusion between the stories of Kageie and Haruie.  Meanwhile, the Kakizaki family continued after the Otate Conflict with Haruie’s son, Kakizaki Noriie, as the head of the family.

Character and Anecdotes

In records of the Uesugi, Kenshin praised Kageie by noting that no one of good sense in the seven districts of Echigo would fight against Izumi-no-kami.

Even among the Uesugi army which was known for valor, Kageie was an exceptional warrior.  During battles by the Uesugi army, he regularly joined the vanguard forces, and simply upon hearing his name, enemy forces would flee.

There is a story that, when Kenshin was around forty years old, Kagie heard that he had fallen in love with a young woman named Isehime. Isehime had been tendered by her father, Chiba Uneme, the lord of Hirai Castle in Kōzuke Province when Unume was unable to join a deployment by Kenshin to the Kantō.  Kageie strongly objected, convincing Kenshin to break the relationship.  Unable to serve as a wife or consort, Isehime then entered the Seiryū Temple as a nun but died the following year.  Thereafter, Kenshin did not get married throughout his life.

With respect to the basis for suspicions of collusion with Nobunaga as the reason for his death penalty, Kageie sent a horse that he no longer needed for sale in a market in the environs of Kyōto, and after Nobunaga purchased the horse for a high price on the premise that horses from Echigo were of high caliber, Kageie sent a gift and thank you letter.  Kageie did not inform Kenshin of these details so it was surmised that Kageie sold the horse directly to Nobunaga whereupon Kenshin suspected that Kageie was colluding with Nobunaga and killed him.

In the fifteenth century, the fourth son of Shimazu Suehisa named Shimazu Morioki was a believer in Yakushinyorai​ (Bhaisajyaguru – the healing Buddha) and went on a pilgrimage to various provinces.  This included a visit to worship at a temple called Yoneyama-Yakushi in Echigo.  The Kakizaki clan had a tradition for generations to worship at Yoneyama-Yakushi and Kageie was also an ardent follower of this faith.

The Kakizaki clan were generational followers of Bhaisajyaguru (the healing Buddha) in Echigo.

During the early period of Kenshin’s era as the head of the Uesugi, Kageie served as one of the leaders in the family.  He came from a family of high pedigree, being well-versed in traditions and culture and having the wit to serve in important roles including as the host of diplomatic envoys.