Kinowaki Sukemori

木脇祐守

Kinowaki Clan

Bushō

Hyūga Province

Lifespan:  Daiei 6 (1526) to 3/22 of Tenshō 8 (1580)

Other Names:  Suketake

Rank:  bushō

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

Clan:  Kinowaki

Lord:  Itō Yoshisuke → Itō Yoshitake

Siblings:  Sukemori, Hachirō-zaemon

Kinowaki Sukemori served as a bushō during the Sengoku and Azuchi-Momoyama periods.  He was a retainer of the Hyūga-Itō clan.

Origins of the Kinowaki

In the Kamakura period, the Kinowaki clan originated when Itō Sukeyori, who had landholdings in Kinowaki in the Morokata District of Hyūga Province, adopted the surname of Kinowaki.  In the era of his son, Kinowaki Sukehiro, the family settled in Hyūga and expanded their influence from their base in the Morokata District.  In the Nanboku period, Itō Sukeshige from the main branch of the family came from Izu Province and entered Tonokoori Castle, becoming a son-in-law of the Kinowaki so the territory of the Kinowaki clan was inherited by the main branch of the famil, becoming a foundation for the prosperity of the Itō clan.  Before long, the Kinowaki clan was extinguished and, around the time of Itō Suketaka in the Muromachi period, an individual was adopted from the Itō and inherited the Kinowaki.  Sukemori was a descendant of this person.

In Satsuma Province, the Kinowaki serving as retainers of the Shimazu clan entered Satsuma while accompanying the daughter of Itō Tadasuke who was brought to wed Shimazu Tadamasa and then became servants of the Shimazu.

Profile

Sukemori was born in 1526.

In 1551, at the age of twenty-six, he was appointed as the lord of Oniga Castle.  Oniga was an outpost on the front lines in view of Obi Castle which, in turn, was located on the territory of Shimazu Tadachika.  This was a strategic location for battles against the Shimazu-Hōshū family (a cadet of the Shimazu shugo daimyō family), but in topography largely cut-off by a long, narrow route along the Nichinan shoreline in contrast to the interior location of Sadowara and Kiyotake castles.  As a result, even a limited counterattack could pose serious consequences.  Sukemori defended Oniga Castle for almost twenty years until Obi was captured in 1569.  Itō Yoshisuke personally wrote a letter to acknowledge Sukemori’s loyalty.

After the departure of Shimazu Tadachika, Yoshisuke’s second son, Itō Suketake, entered Obi Castle while Sukemori moved to the Matsuo citadel at Obi and served as a chief retainer of Suketake.

In the aftermath of the Battle of Kinowakihara in 1572, the Itō clan declined.  In 1577, Yoshisuke and his son, Suketake, took their close associates and temporarily withdrew from Hyūga to Bungo Province.  On this occasion, Sukemori escaped safely, going underground at the Kushima training grounds.  Three years later, he was apprehended by the Shimazu based on a report provided by an informant, and, together with his younger brother, Hachirō-zaemon, took his own life.