Kikuchi Takekane


Kikuchi Clan

Kikuchi Takekane

Higo Province

Lifespan:  Unknown to 2/13 of Tenbun 1 (1532)

Other Names:  Miyamatsumaru (childhood), Bettō-Tarō (common)

Rank:  bushō

Title:  Governor of Higo

Clan:  Takuma → Kikuchi

Father:  Takuma Takeyasu

Adoptive Father:  Kikuchi Taketsune

Adopted Children:  Kikuchi Yoshitake (Ōtomo Shigeharu)

Kikuchi Takekane served as a bushō during the Sengoku period.  Takekane was the twenty-fifth head of the Higo-Kikuchi clan.  He held the title of Governor of Higo. 

Takekane was born as the son of Takuma Takeyasu, a bushō, at Motoyama Castle in the Takuma District of Higo Province.  His childhood name was Miyamatsumaru.  The Takuma clan was one of the cadet families of the Kikuchi clan founded by Kikuchi Takemoto, the second son of Kikuchi Takezumi who was the son of Kikuchi Taketoki, the twelfth head of the Kikuchi clan during the latter part of the Kamakura period.  Takemoto owned land in the Takuma District and adopted the common name of Takuma Bettō Tarō.

After Kikuchi Masataka became the twenty-third head of the clan at the age of fourteen in 1504, the main branch of the Kikuchi clan was shaken by internal conflicts.  Amidst these circumstances, the Ōtomo clan, the sengoku daimyō of Bungo Province, sought to expand their influence in Higo Province by allying with the Aso clan, removing Masataka from the line of succession, and placing Aso Korenaga (later known as Kikuchi Taketsune) as the twenty-fourth head of the clan.  In 1511, however, Taketsune came into conflict with kokujin, or provincial landowners, in Higo as well as senior retainers of the Kikuchi.  Fearing for his personal safety, Taketsune fled to Waifu Castle (Kikuchi Castle) whereupon Takuma Takekane, with the backing of three senior retainers including Kumabe Chikauji (Kazusa-no-suke), Nagano 運貞 (Bizen-no-kami), and Uchikoga Shigenoru, inherited the main branch of the family and became the military governor of Higo.  He was not, however, able to exert his authority and only a portion of the retainers obeyed him.

Around this time, there was also a change of leadership at the Ōtomo clan and, in 1515, Ōtomo Yoshiaki inherited the headship of the clan at the age of thirteen, but a form of cloistered rule continued until the death of his father, Ōtomo Yoshinaga, in 1518, followed by his grandfather, Ōtomo Chikaharu, in 1524.  In the past, the Ōtomo clan was beset by prolonged succession disputes, but, in the era of Yoshinaga, these were brought under control so Yoshiaki could actively pursue the expansion of the clan’s territory.  This included the neighboring province of Higo which did not have a large power.  The prominent Kikuchi clan was weakened by internal conflicts so Yoshiaki arranged for his younger brother, Kikuhōshimaru to be adopted by Takekane as the designated heir of the Kikuchi, enabling the Ōtomo to govern Higo through him.  After undergoing his coming-of-age ceremony, Kikuhōshimaru adopted the name of Ōtomo Shigeharu and was welcomed to Waifu Castle.

In 1520, retainers from the Kikuchi clan under pressure from their lords in the Ōtomo clan to expel Takekane on the pretext of his being an imbecile.  Shigeharu then became the head of the Kikuchi family.  Serving as the twenty-sixth head of the Kikuchi, Shigeharu changed his name to Kikuchi Yoshimune and then Kikuchi Yoshitake.   Shigeharu, however, did not get along well with Yoshiaki, and, in the end, aimed to become an independent daimyō, leading to a blood feud between Yoshiaki and Shigeharu.

In 1523, Takekane fled with his former retainers to the Tamana District and raised arms at Tsutsugatake Castle, asserting that he remained the head of the Kikuchi.  At this time, an ally of the Ōtomo named Aso Koretoyo dispatched Kai Chikanobu to eliminate Takekane, whereupon Takekane was defeated by the allied forces of the Ōtomo and Aso and fled to the Takaki District of Hizen Province.

In 1532, Takekane died of illness in this same location.  His death marked the end of members from the bloodline of the main branch of the Kikuchi family.