Matsukura Shigenobu


Matsukura Clan


Yamato Province

Lifespan:  Tenbun 7 (1538) to 7/7 of Bunroku 2 (1593)

Other Names:  Katsushige, Yahachirō (common), Gonzaemon, Ukon

Rank:  bushō

Title:  Master of the Imperial Guards of the Right Division

Clan:  Matsukura

Lord:  Tsutsui Junkei → Tsutsui Sadatsugu (natural son of Tsutsui Junkoku)

Father:  Matsukura Hidemasa

Siblings:  Shigenobu, Yajirō, name unknown (hostage of the Matsunaga clan)

Wife:  Daughter of the Anrakuji clan

Children:  Shigemasa, Shigetsugu

Matsukura Shigenobu served as a bushō during the Sengoku and Azuchi-Momoyama periods.  He was a retainer of the Tsutsui clan.

Shigenobu is regarded as the son of Matsukura Gonsuke Hidemasa, a senior retainer of the Tsutsui clan.

Shigenobu, along with Shima Kiyooki (Sakon), was viewed as one of the two pillars (or wings) of the Tsutsui clan.  The two of them were referred to as Ukon-Sakon. with the characters for right and left.  In addition to Mori Yoshiyuki, the three retainers were known as the Three Elders of the Tsutsui Family.  As of the twelfth month of 1583, however, Kiyooki was not of the rank of a senior retainer.

From 1559, the Tsutsui family served by Shigenobu fought against Matsunaga Hisahide.  In the second month of 1570, following an assault by Ido Yoshihiro on Tamonyama Castle held by the Matsunaga clan, an eight-year-old daughter of Yoshihiro and the eleven-year-old younger brother of Shigenobu who had been tendered to Hisahide as hostages were murdered.

On 6/2 of Tenshō 10 (1582), Akechi Mitsuhide launched a coup d’état resulting in the death of his own lord, Oda Nobunaga.  Based on a close relationship with Shigenobu’s lord, Tsutsui Junkei, who served as one of his security officers, Mitsuhide expected that Junkei would supply forces.  To control Kawachi Province, Mitsuhide established a formation at Horagatōge and observed Junkei’s movements.  Aware that he was under watch, Junkei likely interpreted the formation on Horagatōge as a means to either threaten or contain him.  In later eras, the reason for Mitsuhide’s deployment to Horagatōge was distorted such that Junkei was there to observe the battle between Mitsuhide and Hideyoshi, giving rise to a legend exemplifying the principle of opportunism (i.e., Junkei waiting to see who would prevail before choosing sides).  In fact, Junkei did not head toward Horagatōge.

In the fifth month of 1583, Junkei obeyed Toyotomi Hideyoshi and deployed to Iga Province.  Shigenobu, under the name of Yahachirō was in Junkei’s camp.  Owing to a nighttime attack by enemy forces, Shigenobu, along with his younger brother, Yajirō, and Shima Kiyooki, sustained injuries.

On 12/2 of Tenshō 11 (1583), his father, Hidemasa, died.  Soon thereafter, on 12/29, upon orders of Hideyoshi, a total of eleven retainers of the Tsutsui clan were promoted to the rank of daimyō including Shigenobu, along with Yajirō and Naka-no-bō Hidesuke.  Shigenobu was then granted a fief of 3,000 koku in Ochi in the Takaichi District of Yamato Province that served as the base of the Yamato-Ochi clan before their fall that same year after the head of the clan, Ochi Iehide, was assassinated by a retainer who was colluding with the Tsutsui clan.

In the second month of 1584, Shigenobu was ordered to revive Takatori Castle which had been the residence of the Ochi clan and then appears to have become the lord of the castle.

In the eighth month of 1584, Junkei died and was succeeded by his adopted son, Tsutsui Sadatsugu.  A funeral service was held in the tenth month.  On this occasion, upon the directions of Shigenobu, 1,000 monks read a portion of the same sutra in a Buddhist memorial service known as a senbue.

In the eleventh month, Hideyoshi conferred upon Shigenobu the title of Master of the Imperial Guards of the Right Division.

In the eighth month of 1585, Tsutsui Sadatsugu was transferred to Ueno Castle in Iga Province and Shigenobu followed.  Shigenobu’s son, Matsukura Shigemasa, was granted a fief of 8,000 koku in Nabari in Iga.

On 7/7 of Bunroku 2 (1593), Shigenobu died at the age of fifty-six.