Katakura Kagetsuna


Katakura Clan

Mutsu Province

Katakura Kagetsuna

Lifespan:  Kōji 3 (1557) to 10/14 of Genna 1 (1615)

Other Names:  Kojūrō (common)

Rank:  bushō

Title:  Junior Fifth Rank (Lower), Governor of Bitchū, Senior Fifth Rank (posthumous) 

Clan:  Katakura

Bakufu:  Edo

Domain:  Mutsu-Sendai

Lord:  Date Terumune → Date Masamune

Father:  Katakura Kageshige

Mother:  Honzawa Naoko

Siblings:  Shigetsugu (older brother of a different mother), sister (older sister of a different mother), Kita (older sister of a different father), Kagetsuna

Wife:  Daughter of Yauchi Shigesada, consort (daughter of Uehara Gobei)

Children:  Daughter, Shigenaga, Tomotsuna, Yukitsuna, daughter (Safu)

Katakura Kagetsuna served as a bushō from the Sengoku to early Edo periods.  He was a retainer of the Date family.

Kagetsuna served as an attendant of Date Masamune and, later, as a military strategist.  Kagetsuna was the first head of the Katakura clan of the Sendai domain.  His common name of Kojūrō was adopted by generations of heads of the clan.  His helmet bore a crescent moon shaped amulet on the crest.

In 1557, Kagetsuna was born as the second son of Katakura Kageshige, the priest at the Hachiman Shrine (now known as the Narushima-Hachiman Shrine).  His natural mother was the daughter of Honzawa Gyōbu Sanenao.  His older sister of a different father, Katakura Kita, was the nursing mother of Masamune.  Katakura Kagechika was his uncle while Oniniwa Tsunamoto was his older brother-in-law (the younger brother of Kita born to a different mother).

While Kagetsuna was still a youth, his parents died one after another.  Kagetsuna was approximately twenty years younger than his sister so she raised him in lieu of his mother.  After a while, he was adopted by the Fujita family who were relatives of the Katakura.  Later, a son was born into the Fujita so Kagetsuna returned to reside with Kita again.  Kita was conversant in literature as well as the military arts and enjoyed tales of military exploits on which she lectured him.  As he grew up, Kagetsuna took a strong interest in these teachings from his sister.

In 1567, after Masamune was born as the lineal heir to Kagetsuna’s lord, Date Terumune, Kita was ordered to serve as Masamune’s nursing mother.

Around the beginning of the Tenshō era (1573 to 1593), a great fire occurred in Yonezawa below the castle of the Date family.  Owing to his efforts to combat the fire, Kagetsuna earned recognition and became a servant of Terumune.  Later, based on a recommendation from Endō Motonobu, in 1575, he became an attendant of Masamune and, later, served in important roles as a senior retainer.

In 1582, when Terumune attacked the Sōma clan, Masamune successfully negotiated with Ashina Moritaka to send reinforcements, but Moritaka was aware that Kagetsuna was a close associate of Masamune and, in a letter from Moritaka to Kagetsuna dated 9/11 (surmised to be of Tenshō 11 (1583)), Moritaka requested Kagetsuna to serve as an intermediary with Masamune.

Kagetsuna participated in and protected the Date clan from peril in a majority of the major battles led by Masamune, including the Battle of Hitotoribashi in 1585, the Battle of Kōriyama in 1588, the Battle of Suriagehara in 1589, the Conquest of Odawara in 1590, the Bunroku-Keichō Campaign in 1593, and the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600.  For the Conquest of Odawara, Kagetsuna convinced Masamune to deploy in support of Toyotomi Hideyoshi.

Kagetsuna further served as the chamberlain of Nihonmatsu Castle in the Adachi District, the lord of Ōmori Castle in the Shinobu District, and, after the conduct of the Oushū Retribution by the Toyotomi administration, as the lord of Sanuma and Watari castles.

Kagetsuna served as an intermediary on behalf of the Date clan for negotiations with other clans and many of the documents issued by Masamune in connection with diplomatic affairs include appendices from Kagetsuna.

In 1602, in the aftermath of the Battle of Sekigahara and after Masamune became the lord of the Sendai domain, Kagetsuna was awarded Shiroishi Castle and a fief of 13,000 koku as an exception to the policy of the Edo bakufu allowing only one castle per province.  Owing to illness, however, he sought to convalesce at shrines and temples in the territory of the Watari clan and did not go to Shiroishi until the spring of 1605.

During the Siege of Ōsaka beginning in the winter of 1614, Kagetsuna was bed-ridden so he could not support Masamune and sent his lineal heir, Katakura Shigetsuna, instead.  In 1615, Kagetsuna died of illness at the age of fifty-nine.

In 1928, Kagetsuna was posthumously conferred the title of Senior Fifth Rank.