Lifespan: Eiroku 4 (1561) to 3/23 of Genna 8 (1622)
Other Names: Shirōbei, Hisamitsu
Title: Ōiri-no-suke (Assistant Director of the Bureau of Palace Dining)
Lord: Shimazu Yoshihisa → Shimazu Yoshihiro → Shimazu Tadatsune
Father: Kawakami Tadatomo
Adoptive Father: Aikō Sagami Mitsuhisa
Siblings: Tadakata, Tadae, Hisatomo
Children: Hisatsune, Gorōbei-Tadamitsu
Kawakami Tadae served as a bushō from the Sengoku to early Edo periods. He was a retainer of the Shimazu clan of Satsuma Province.
In 1561, Tadae was born as the second son of Kawakami Tadatomo.
Initially, Tadae was adopted by Aikō Sagami Mitsuhisa, the abbot of the Uchiono Temple (affiliated with the Tendai sect of Buddhism) in Yoshimatsu in the Aira District of Satsuma, but, upon orders of Shimazu Yoshihiro, returned to secular life. On 8/28 of Tenshō 4 (1576), several days after a celebration was held at Kobayashi Castle to celebrate the fall of Takaharu Castle held by the Hyūga-Itō, Tadae, at the age of sixteen, was appointed as the lord of the manor of Kobayashi. After serving in this role for approximately two years, he went to serve at the base of Yoshihiro at Iino Castle.
In 1587, during the Subjugation of Kyūshū by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Tadae entered Kobayashi Castle in an effort to intercept the army of Toyotomi Hidenaga. From 1592, Tadae, together with his younger brother, Kawakami Hisatomo, served meritoriously in the Bunroku Campaign on the Korean Peninsula. In 1599, during the Shōnai Rebellion, he contracted smallpox so could not deploy, but, upon request of Kamata Masachika, served as a military advisor. When Shiraishi Eisen (a guest commander of Ijūin Tadazane) led a small force out of Yasunaga Castle, he advised Masachika not to pursue them owing to the risk that enemy soldiers were lying in ambush.
In 1600, Tadae served in the Battle of Sekigahara, and, owing to his valiant fighting, received recognition as a member of a group of valorous retainers of Shimazu Yoshihiro known as the Five Spears of Kogaeshi. While fleeing under pursuit by Ii Naomasa and 100 soldiers from the Eastern Army, a servant of Tadae named Kashiwagi Gentō shot Naomasa and caused him to fall from his horse. Thereafter, upon orders of Yoshihiro, Tadae separated from the Shimazu forces returning to Satsuma and, serving as a messenger, headed toward the territory of Tokugawa Ieyasu. He provided a detailed explanation of the reasons why the Shimazu allied with the Western Army. On this occasion, he departed without his helmet and armor so a retainer of the Tokugawa hurriedly alerted him that he forgot these items, but Ieyasu intervened and said Tadae was a skilled military veteran and left his helmet and armor as evidence so there would be no doubt as to whether he fulfilled his mission, further noting that explanations were difficult in a perilous state of war. After fulfilling his duties, Tadae did not catch-up with the Shimazu forces in time so relied upon the Konoe family to return to Satsuma. Thereafter, Tadae was promoted to become a chief retainer of Yoshihiro.
In 1622, Tadae died of illness at a separate residence in Chōsa in the town of Aira in Satsuma. His lineal heir, Kawakami Hidatsune, was earlier burned to death for being a Christian convert so, in view of the achievements of Tadae, the Edo bakufu permitted his second son, Kawakami Gorōbei, to succeed Tadae, enabling the lineage of Tadae to continue.