Kai Jōtaku


Kiyama Clan


Higo Province

Lifespan:  15xx to Keichō 2 (1597)

Rank:  bushō

Clan:  Kiyama

Lord:  Kuroda Yoshitaka → Kuroda Nagamasa

Father:  Kiyama Koresada

Wife:  Daughter of Kai Chikahide

Children:  Nobutsura

Kiyama Jōtaku served as a bushō during the Azuchi-Momoyama period.  His real name was Korehisa and he served as the lord of Kiyama Castle in the Mashiki District of Higo Province in Kyūshū.  Jōtaku was well-known as a practitioner of renga, or linked-verse poetry.  Jōtsku wed the daughter of Kai Chikahide.

The Kiyama were descendants of the Nitta clan in the Seiwa-Genji family.  The Nitta were a gōzoku, or wealthy family, from Kōzuke Province.  After coming to Kyūshū, Jōtaku was a kokujin, or provincial landowner, serving under the command of the Aso clan.  Based in Kiyama and Akai castles, Jōtaku governed the area of Kiyama in the Mashiki District.  Later, he transferred headship of the clan to his son, Kiyama Nobutsura (Jōin), after which he went to the capital of Kyōto and became the top disciple of Satomura Jōha, the foremost renga master of the time.  Thereafter, he either continued to reside in Kyōto or returned to Higo.

On 9/19 of Tenshō 13 (1585), on the day of the annual festival at the Kiyama Shrine, Jōtaku was attacked by the army of Shimazu Yoshihisa which had marched north from Satsuma Province and he lost Kiyama Castle.

After the Pacification of Kyūshū by Toyotomi Hideyoshi and the appointment of Kuroda Yoshitaka as the lord of Buzen Province, Jōtaku was invited as a guest.  Thereafter, Yoshitaka frequently participated in renga events at which Jōtaku was treated as an instructor.  In 1590, at the renga event held in Nakatsu in Buzen, Jōtaku recited his verses third in line after Yoshitaka and Kuroda Nagamasa (Yoshitaka’s son).

In 1597, during the Keichō Campaign on the Korean Peninsula, the Kuroda family was ordered to deploy to Korea, so Yoshitaka and his son, Nagamasa, deployed.  Yoshitaka’s second son, Kuroda Kumanosuke, remained behind in Nakatsu, but, later, Kumanosuke himself attempted to cross the sea to Korea.  Jōtaku joined him on the deployment to Korea but encountered a disaster at sea, drowning along with Kumanosuke.