Kuroki Chikazane served as a bushō during the late Muromachi and Sengoku periods. He was a retainer of the Ōtomo clan of Bungo Province.
The Kuroki were kokujin, or provincial landowners, based in the township of Kuroki at the convergence of the Hoshino and Yabe rivers near the central portion of the Kamitsuma District in Chikugo. The Kuroki were counted among a group of fifteen influential families located in Chikugo under the command of the Ōtomo referred to as the Fifteen Castles of Chikugo. Chikazane, his son (Kuroki Akizane), and his grandson (Kuroki Akitaka) all received one of the characters in their names from the head of the Ōtomo clan. Chikazane’s great-grandson, Kuroki Ienaga, rebelled against the Ōtomo and did not receive a character in his name from the head of the Ōtomo at the time,, Ōtomo Yoshishige (Sōrin).
Prior to the era of Chikazane, the Kuroki served the Kikuchi clan of Higo Province. In 1465, his father (or, according to another theory, his grandfather), Kuroki Yukizane, along with other kokujin, or provincial landowners from Higo and Chikugo provinces, rebelled against Ōtomo Chikashige who had displaced the Kikuchi clan as the military governor of Chikugo. This invited a raid by the supporters of the Ōtomo.
Kikuchi Tamekuni dispatched his younger brother, Kikuchi Tameyasu, to assist but, in the end, the Kikuchi and kokujin from Chikugo were defeated while Yukizane was killed in action. His grandfather, Kuroki Tamezane, lived until the era of Kikuchi Yoshiyuki, but was killed in 1501 in a rebellion by Yoshiyuki’s granduncle, Uto Tamemitsu. Tamezane was born in 1407 so, if he died in 1501, that would have been a very long life for this period. Therefore, questions remain in regard to the family relationships.
Among those in the Kuroki clan, Chikazane affiliated with the Ōtomo from an early period. He received one of the characters from the name of Ōtomo Chikashige, the head of the clan, and adopted the name of Shigezane. During the Ōnin-Bunmei War, Chikazane served on behalf of the Ōtomo. He later served under Chikashige’s successor, Ōtomo Masachika, and received one of the characters from his name, at which time he adopted the name of Chikazane. His lineal heir, Kuroki Yasuzane, also received a character from the name of Ōtomo Yoshisuke and Ōtomo Yoshiaki. Until the death of his grandfather, Kuroki Tamezane, in 1501, he served under the command of the Kikuchi. Later, his great-grandson, Kuroki Ienaga and uncle, Kuroki Sanetsura, surrendered to Ōtomo Yoshishige (Sōrin), so not all members of the family affiliated with the Ōtomo but, after the surrender of Ienaga and the others, appear to have pledged their full allegiance to the Ōtomo.