Katō Yoshishige

加藤可重

Katō Clan

Higo Province

Katō Yoshishige

Lifespan:  15xx to 8/28 of Keichō 9 (1604)

Other Names: [Common] Seizaemon, Uma-no-jō

Rank:  bushō

Clan:  Katō (originally Kataoka)

Bakufu:  Edo

Domain:  Kumamoto

Lord:  Katō Kiyomasa

Father:  Kataoka Shōemon Kunihide

Children:  Masakata

Katō Yoshishige served as a bushō during the Sengoku period.  He was a senior retainer of Katō Kiyomasa, the lord of the Kumamoto domain in Higo Province in Kyūshū.

Yoshishige originated from Ōmi Province and his original surname was Kataoka.  The Ōmi-Kataoka were members of the Mikawa-Asuke clan.  During the Ryakuō era (1338 to 1341), Asuke Norihide received from the Ashikaga shōgun land in the village of Kataoka in the Kurita District of Ōmi, whereupon Norihide changed his surname from Asuke to Kataoka.  Norihide’s eighth-generation grandson is surmised to have been Kataoka Shōemon Kunihide but the details are uncertain.

Yoshishige is deemed to have been born as the son of Kunihide.  Yoshishige’s son was Katō Masakata.

In 1588, Yoshishige accompanied Katō Kiyomasa to Higo after a promotion to the status of daimyō governing one-half of the province with a fief of 190,000 koku.  In 1589, Yoshishige was granted 10,000 koku in the Aso District.  He then renovated Aso-Uchinomaki Castle and governed his fief.

On 8/28 of Keichō 9 (1604), Yoshishige died.

Family temples

The Katō family temples include the Uchinomaki-Jōshin Temple in the city of Aso and the Jōshin Temple in Honmachi in the city of Yatsushiro.  Even to the present day, Yoshishige is fondly referred to as Uma-no-jō-san.  His grave is in Ozato-Yuyama in the city of Aso.  Large cedar trees serve as bodhi trees to pray for the souls of ancestors.  A figure of the Buddhist deity known as Mahākāla for good fortune is enshrined near the entrance.