Kira Chikazane


Kira Clan


Kira Shrine

Tosa Province

Lifespan:  Eiroku 6 (1563) to Tenshō 17 (1589) (or after)

Rank:  bushō

Clan:  Kira

Lord:  Chōsokabe Motochika

Father:  Kira Sadachika

Mother:  Daughter of Kira Suruga-no-kami Nobunao (?)

Siblings:  Joen, Chikazane, Chikamasa, Chikahide (?)

Wife:  [Formal] Daughter of Chōsokabe Motochika

Children:  Chō Genemon

Kira Chikazane served as a bushō during the Sengoku and Azuchi-Momoyama periods.  He was a retainer of the Chōsokabe clan in Tosa Province.

Chikazane was born as the son of Kira Chikasada, the younger brother of Chōsokabe Motochika – the sengoku daimyō of Tosa and twenty-first head of the Chōsokabe clan.

From childhood, Chikazane was recognized as smart and courageous.  He wed Motochika’s daughter and performed an important role in the clan.  After the death of his father, Chikazane inherited the family but did not get along well with a close associate of Motochika named Hisatake Chikanao, causing persistent conflict.

In the twelfth month of 1586, Chōsokabe Nobuchika (Motochika’s eldest son) was killed in action, giving rise to succession struggle.  Chikazane advocated for Motochika’s second son, Kagawa Chikakazu, coming into conflict with Hisatake Chikanao who backed Motochika’s fourth son, Chōsokabe Morichika.  At this time, Chikazane repeatedly advised Motochika that Chikakazu become his successor, but his appeals (or slander from Chikanao) stirred anger in Motochika.  In the tenth month of 1588, Chikazane, together with Hieyama Chikaoki, were ordered to commit seppuku.  However, there exists a sign prepared by Chikazane dated 9/10 of Tenshō 17 (1589) (intended to be staked to a building’s ridgepole at construction time stating the building’s donor, builder, and other details​) for the Nishimorogi-Nyakuichiōji Shrine, so it was determined that Chikazane did not commit seppuku at the same time as Chikaoki.  In the land survey records of the Chōsokabe clan, in an entry dated 1/16 of Tenshō 19 (1591) concerning a survey of the village of Kamata in the Takaoka District, a fief is directly allocated to the honorable Renchi (Chikazane’s wife), confirming that, as a widow, she received landholdings directly from her father, Motochika.  Therefore, it is surmised that Chikazane committed seppuku between the ninth month of 1589 and the first month of 1591.  He was followed by seven retainers who martyred themselves.


After the death of Chikazane, mysterious occurrences were said to appear around his grave in Nishibun in the village of Kizuka in the Agawa District of Tosa.  Having learned of these events, Motochika prayed for their souls, but this was to no avail.  To calm the revengeful spirits, he enshrined the Kizuka myōjin, or gracious deity of Kizuka, at the grave of Chikazane.

The Kizuka myōjin and apparitions called the Shichinin misaki, or Seven of Misaki, (well-known in Shikoku folklore) served to symbolize the regrettable deaths of Chikazane and his retainers.

Chikazane’s son, Kira Sadachika, changed his surname to Chō, serving the Hosokawa of the Higo-Kumamoto domain in Kyūshū.  In the Meiji period, his descendants changed their surname to Chōsokabe.