Matsunami Yoshichika


Matsunami Clan

Noto Province

Matsunami Yoshichika

Matsunami Yoshichika served as a bushō during the Sengoku and Azuchi-Momoyama periods.  He was a retainer of the Noto-Hatakeyama clan.  Yoshichika was the sixth head of the Matsunami-Hatakeyama clan and served as the lord of Matsunami Castle in Noto Province.

The Matsunami-Hatakeyama were based at Matsunami Castle in Okunoto on the northern tip of the Noto Peninsula.  The clan was founded by Hatakeyama Yoshitomo, the youngest child of Hatakeyama Yoshimune, the third head of the Noto-Hatakeyama clan.  Initially, the family was simply an illegitimate branch of the Noto-Hatakeyama, but then absorbed the Matsunami clan, dogō, or small-scale landowners, in the Suzu District of Noto and established marital relations with the Chō clan, influential kokujin, or provincial landowners, in Noto.  Gradually, the family expanded its power to be on a par with members of the Hatakeyama family while Matsunami Castle supported Nanao Castle – a stronghold serving as the base for the Noto-Hatakeyama clan.

Yoshichika was born as the third son of Hatakeyama Yoshitsuna.  During the Tenshō era (1573 to 1593), Matsunami Yoshitatsu, the fifth head of the Matsunami-Hatakeyama clan, died early whereupon Yoshichika inherited the family name, adopting the name of Matsunami Yoshichika and became the lord of Matsunami Castle.  Yoshichika obeyed the Noto-Hatakeyama family to which he was born.  In 1577, during the Siege of Nanao Castle, Yoshichika headed toward provide support to the defenders.  Despite a valiant fight, the castle fell so he covertly escaped to his base at Matsunami Castle and attempted a revival.  He was then surrounded by the Uesugi army led by Nagasawa Mitsukuni.  Owing to the superior number of besieging forces, Yoshichika was defeated and took his own life.

Yoshichika was buried at Manpuku Temple in Noto.  According to the inscription on his portrait at the temple, he died at the age of fifty-one.

After becoming a widow, Yoshichika’s wife served as an attendant to the formal wife of Maeda Toshiie named Hōshunin.  His children became retainers of the Chō clan affiliated with the Kaga domain and of Maeda Toshimasa, the second son of Toshiie.