Lifespan: Tenbun 6 (1537) to 2/30 of Keichō 3 (1598)
Rank: bushō, daimyō
Title: Junior Fifth Rank (Lower Grade), Governor of Iwami
Clan: Matsushita – Imagawa, Tokugawa, and Toyotomi
Lord: Imagawa Yoshimoto → Imagawa Ujizane → Tokugawa Ieyasu → Toyotomi Hideyoshi
Domain: Head of the Kuno domain in Tōtōmi
Father: Matsushita Naganori
Siblings: Yukitsuna, Noritsuna, Tsugutsuna
Wife: Daughter of Matsushita Tsuramasa
Children: Akitsuna, Shigetsuna, Katatsuna (temporarily adopted by Yamauchi Yasutoyo), Orin (formal wife of Yagyū Munenori), daughter (wife of Nakamura Masayoshi), daughter (wife of Natsume Yoshinobu)
Matsushita Yukitsuna served as a bushō and daimyō during the Sengoku and Azuchi-Momoyama periods. Yukitsuna was the lord of Zudaji Castle in Tōtōmi Province.
Yukitsuna served as a benefactor of Toyotomi Hideyoshi before Hideyoshi became a retainer of Oda Nobunaga. He taught Hideyoshi on a range of subjects including the military arts, academics, and battle tactics.
Service to the Imagawa clan
Yukitsuna was born in 1537 in the Matsushita neighborhood of the Hekikai District of Mikawa Province. His father, Matsushita Naganori was a military tactician and expert with the spear. While lord of Zudaji Castle, Yukitsuna served Imagawa Yoshimoto, the eleventh head of the Imagawa clan and a powerful sengoku daimyō from Suruga Province. The Matsushita clan was subordinate to the Inō clan, a retainer of the Imagawa. Around this time, Kinoshita Tōkichirō (later known as Toyotomi Hideysohi) served the Matsushita clan. After Yoshimoto’s death, Inō Tsuratatsu, lord of Hikuma Castle in Tōtōmi Province, cut ties with the Imagawa. This was followed by conflict between those wealthy families who either supported or opposed the Imagawa. In 1563, Zudaji Castle was toppled and burned down by an army in support of the Imagawa.
Service to Toyotomi Hideyoshi
Following decimation of the Imagawa clan, Yukitsuna served Tokugawa Ieyasu. However, in 1574, he fought against members of the Takeda clan at the First Siege of Takatenjin Castle, but later surrendered. At the time, Toyotomi Hideyoshi served as a retainer of Oda Nobunaga and as lord of Nagahama Castle. Hideyoshi invited Yukitsuna to become one of his retainers. In 1575, Yukitsuna led a troop of 100 soldiers in front of Hideyoshi at the Battle of Nagashino.
Between 1582 (the year of the coup d’état against Nobunaga known as the Honnō Temple Incident) and 1583 (the year of the Battle of Shizugatake), Hideyoshi awarded him territory totaling 3,000 koku in Tanba, Kawachi, and Ise provinces. He may have been awarded the territory in Tanba owing to his work to utilize tributaries of the Yodo River to send materials downstream to aid in the construction of Ōsaka Castle. In the spring of 1587, he deployed as the leader of a battalion of 150 soldiers under his direct command to serve on the front in the Kyūshū Expedition. As noted in a letter to seventeen of the members of the battalion, Hideyoshi conferred upon Yukitsuna the titles of Junior First Rank (Lower) and Governor of Iwami, and increased his fief from 3,000 koku to 6,000 koku for his exceptional contributions.
In 1590, after the Conquest of Odawara, Yukitsuna was reassigned by Tokugawa Ieyasu to the Kantō. In the autumn of that year, Yukitsuna was awarded an additional 10,000 koku in Tōtōmi to his fief. Hideyoshi then awarded him 16,000 koku from the Kuno domain in Tōtōmi. At this time, he was based in Kuno Castle, a complex that, although small in scale, appeared finely crafted based on tiles found at the castle site.
Yukitsuna died early in 1598 and was succeeded by his second son, Matsushita Shigetsuna. It is uncertain why his eldest son, Matsushita Akitsuna did not become his heir. His daughter, Orin, wed Yagyū Munenori.