Kobayakawa Takahira

小早川敬平

Kobayakawa Clan

Bushō

Aki Province

Lifespan:  Kyōtoku 1 (1452) to 4/17 of Meiō 8 (1499)

Other Names:  Matatsurumaru (childhood), Matatarō (common), Mototoshi, Motohira

Rank:  bushō

Title:  Assistant Director of the Bureau of Palace Maintenance, Governor of Mimasaka

Clan:  Numata-Kobayakawa

Father:  Kobayakawa Hirohira

Siblings:  Takahira, Nomi Korekage

Children:  Sukehira

Kobayakawa Takahira served as a bushō from the mid-Muromachi period to the Sengoku period.  He was the head of the Numata-Kobayakawa clan based in Aki Province.

In 1452, Takahira was born as the eldest son of Kobayakawa Hirohira, a bushō and the head of the Numata-Kobayakawa.  After the outbreak of the Ōnin-Bunmei War in 1467, Takahira’s father, Hirohira, led the Kobayakawa army and joined with Hosokawa Katsumoto to march upon Kyōto.  At this time, Takahira remained in Aki to manage political affairs in lieu of his father.  In 1473, upon the death of Hirohira, Takahira inherited the headship of the clan and then traveled to Kyōto to serve as a member of the Eastern Army.

Meanwhile, Kobayakawa Takakage, the head of a cadet family known as the Takehara-Kobayakawa, viewed the death of Hirohira as an opportunity to expand so Takahira was attacked by the Western Army at his base at Takayama Castle.  In 1474, he returned to Aki to battle against the Western Army.  After the end of the Ōnin-Bunmei War, in 1479, he was appointed by Ashikaga Yoshimasa (the eighth shōgun) to serve in the hōkōshū, or military organ under the direct control of the bakufu so he went to Kyōto and served as an attendant to Yoshimasa.

In 1493, after returning to his province, and with the backing of the Muromachi bakufu, Takahira steadily expanded his influence into Bingo and elsewhere, establishing a system of magistrates to serve as a foundation for the Kobayakawa clan in the Sengoku period.  On 4/17 of Meiō 8 (1499), Takahira died at the age of forty-eight.  He was succeeded by his eldest son, Kobayakawa Sukehira.