Kuchiba Michiyoshi


Kuchiba Clan

Kuchiba Michiyoshi

Aki Province

Lifespan:  Eishō 10 (1513) to 7/28 of Tenshō 10 (1582)

Rank:  bushō

Titles:  Senior Assistant Minister of Justice, Governor of Shimotsuke

Clan:  Shiji clan (a branch of the Mōri under the Ōe surname) → Kuchiba clan (a branch of the Mōri under the Ōe surname)

Lord:  Mōri Motonari → Mōri Terumoto

Father:  Shiji Motoyoshi or Shiji Hiroyoshi

Siblings:  Shiji Hiroyoshi (?), Michitoshi

Wife:  Daughter of Fukubara Hirotoshi

Children:  Hiromichi, Haruyoshi, 元可, Sōryū, dughter (wife of Ihara Motoyoshi), daughter (second wife of Shishido Mototsugu), daughter (wife of Kurihara Shōemon)

Kuchiba Michiyoshi served as a bushō during the Sengoku and Azuchi-Momoyama periods.  Michiyoshi was a retainer of the Mōri clan of Aki Province.  Along with Kikkawa Motoharu, Kobayakawa Takakage, and Fukubara Sadatoshi, Michiyoshi was one of the Group of Four serving as senior commanders under Mōri Motonari.

The Kuchiba were a collateral branch of the Shiji clan (who in turn were family members of the Saka, a branch of the Mōri clan under the Ōe surname).

In 1513, Michiyoshi was born as either the second son of Shiji Motoyoshi or as the son Shiji Hiroyoshi.  He served under Mōri Motonari for a long time.  In his youth, he was known as Shiji Saitokumaru.  After he was was awarded control of the village of Kuchiba in the Ōchi District of Iwami Province, owing to his base at Biwakō Castle, he adopted the surname of Kuchiba.

In 1534, Motonari ordered Saitokumaru to approach Yamauchi Naomichi of Bingo Province whose relations with the Amago clan had deteriorated owing to the treatment of Enya Okihisa, whereupon Saitokumaru fostered closer relations with the Yamauchi clan.  At this time, Saitokumaru made repeated requests to be granted the character of “Michi” in his name, after which he assumed the name of Michiyoshi.

After his older brother (who may have been his father), Shiji Hiroyoshi, died around 1557, Michiyoshi was specially chosen to replace him.  In 1562, Michiyoshi exchanged kishōmon, or written pledges, with Kishima Kiyoyuki, a senior retainer of Akana Morikiyo who reverted to the Mōri clan.  In 1570, Michiyoshi and Kikkawa Motoharu provided their credentials in the form of a document evidencing their participation and contributions in battle, known as a gunchūjō, from the Yuhara clan of Izumo to Mōri Motonari and Mōri Terumoto.   Serving primarily in support of Motoyasu, Michiyoshi was assigned the tasks of subjugating and governing the Sanin Region.

In 1571, after the death of Motonari, Michiyoshi supported Terumoto and, along with Kikkawa Motoharu, Kobayakawa Takakage and Fukubara Sadatoshi, served as on the Group of Four on behalf of the Mōri. Michiyoshi excelled at affairs of governance, so he was respected as a well-known elder of the clan.  Laws promulgated by the Mōri in 1572 were jointly signed by the members of the Group of Four and issued to clan elders and members of the bakufu army known as the hōkōshū.

Michiyoshi died in the summer of 1582 at the age of seventy.