Kiriyama Nobuyuki


Kiriyama Clan

Chikuzen Province

Kiriyama Nobuyuki

Lifespan:  Tenbun 23 (1554) to 3/17 of Kanei 2 (1625)

Other Names:  Akitoki, Magobei (common)

Rank:  bushō

Title:  Assistant Director of the Bureau of Palace Dining, Governor of Tanba

Clan:  Kiriyama

Bakufu:  Edo

Domain:  Chikuzen-Fukuoka

Lord:  Kuroda Mototaka → Kuroda Yoshitaka → Kuroda Nagamasa

Father:  Kiriyama Tameoki

Wife: [Formal] Daughter of Mori Tomonobu, [Second] Younger sister of Ogō Nobuaki

Children:  Toshiyuki, Kizaemon, Toshiaki

Kiriyama Nobuyuki served as a bushō from the Sengoku to early Edo periods.  As a retainer of the Kuroda clan, he was included among a group of retainers called the Twenty-Four Elite of the Kuroda.  He was a retainer of the Fukuoka domain in Chikuzen Province.

The Kiriyama clan originated from the village of Kiriyama in the Ōno District of Hida Province.  Later, the clan moved to the village of Kata in the Sakata District of Ōmi Province and became jizamurai, or peasant samurai.

In 1554, Nobuyuki was born as the second son of Kiriyama Tameoki in the village of Kata.  He served as a servant for Kuroda Mototaka in Harima Province.  In 1569, he had his first experience in combat at the Battle of 英保山.  In 1587, during a rebellion by Kii Shigefusa, Nobuyuki joined Hara Taneyoshi and Kuroda Ubei (the son of Kodera Kyūmu) to defend Kagurayama Castle located between Uma-ga-take Castle (the base of Kuroda Yoshitaka) and Kiidani Castle.

In 1588, Nobuyuki received a fief of 965 koku.  He served valorously in the Bunroku-Keichō Campaign.  In the course of the war, he returned to Japan and, as a messenger of Kuroda Nagamasa, he met Toyotomi Hideyoshi and gave a congratulatory address for peace, after which Hideyoshi presented him with armor.  In 1600, at the Battle of Sekigahara, Nobuyuki did not participate and instead was assigned to defend Uma-ga-take Castle.  After the war, he assisted Kuroda Toshinori when taking over Najima Castle in Chikuzen.  At this time, he negotiated with Hiraoka Yorikatsu, a chief retainer of Kobayakawa Hideaki, the lord of the castle.

In 1601, after the Kuroda family was transferred to Chikuzen, Nobuyuki received a fief of 3,000 koku.  Later, this was increased by 2,000 koku, yielding a total of 5,000 koku.  Nobuyuki served as the first representative of the clan in the village of Yamae known as the town of Shukuba.  He opened the Hiyamizu Pass, a perilous location for transport near Shukuba.  There is a stone monument extolling the achievements of Nobuyuki.  In 1604, after the death of Yoshitaka, Nobuyuki adopted the name of Ōinosuke (later called himself Tanba-no-kami) and later changed to Akitoki.

In 1619, during the reconstruction of Ōsaka Castle, Nobuyuki, together with Nomura Sukenao, Kuroda Naizen (Kenmotsu), and Kuroda Ichinari, served as overseers of the project.

Nobuyuki died on 3/17 of Kanei 2 (1625).  He was seventy-two years old.


A total of eight suits of armor remain from the group of retainers called the Twenty-Four Elite of the Kuroda including the armor from Nobuyuki.  This is kept at the Museum of the City of Fukuoka.  The helmet has the insignia of a bottle gourd and ornamental features on each side in the form of the claws of a crab.  The insignia of a bottle gourd was presented by Toyotomi Hideyoshi for the valorous service of Kiriyama Tanba-no-kami during the Bunroku-Keichō Campaign.

For a long time, Nobuyuki did not get along well with Mori Tomonobu, a fellow member of the Twenty-Four Elite of the Kuroda.  During the Bunroku Campaign, when Tomonobu was serving in the vanguard, Nobuyuki erroneously announced that it appeared the forces were going to lose, infuriating Tomonobu.  Even after Nobuyuki apologized, Tomonobu was unwilling to reconcile.  Years later, Nobuyuki and Tomonobu were in charge of construction work to open the Hiyamizu Pass.  Persons around them attempted to have them settle their differences, but when Tomonobu refused Kuriyama Toshiyasu forcefully struck Tomonobu on the head.  After further consideration, Tomonobu acknowledged his fault and gave his short sword to Nobuyuki.