Murakami Kagechika


Murakami Clan

Seto Inland Sea

Murakami Kagechika

Lifespan:  Eiroku 1 (1558) to 2/9 of Keichō 15 (1610)

Other Names:  Genhachirō → Saburō-Hyōe-no-jō (common), Nyoshin (monk’s name)

Rank:  bushō

Clan:  Noshima-Murakami

Bakufu:  Edo

Domain:  Chōshū (Hagi)

Lord:  Kobayakawa Takakage → Kobayakawa Hideaki → Mōri Terumoto

Father:  Murakami Takeyoshi

Mother:  Second daughter of Murakami Michiyasu

Siblings:  Motoyoshi, Kagechika

Wife: [Formal] Daughter of Hiraoka Fusazane, [Consort] Daughter of Yangban (Korean aristocrat)

Children:  Hachisuke, Motonobu, daughter (wife of Murakami Mototake, Shishido Kageyoshi)

Murakami Kagechika served as a bushō from the Sengoku to early Edo periods.  He was a retainer of the Kobayakawa and Mōri clans.

In 1558, Kagechika was born as the second son of Murakami Takeyoshi, the head of the Noshima-Murakami clan.

In 1578, Kagechika deployed for the Siege of Kōzuki Castle and, thereafter, operated with his older brother, Murakami Motoyoshi.

Kagechika came under the command of Kobayakawa Takakage (the third son of Mōri Motonari).  In 1587, after the Pacification of Kyūshū, Takakage became a daimyō in control of Chikuzen and Chikugo provinces while Kagechika became a chief retainer with a fief of 6,000 koku and Hino Kageyuki was assigned to his command.

In 1586, Mōri Terumoto (the lineal grandson of Mōri Motonari) ordered retainers including Sugiyama Motozumi (Tosa-no-kami), Sugiyama Narizumi (Seibei) (father and son) and Sase Motoyoshi to snatch the wife of Sugi Motonobu, known as Kanehime, to become his consort.  On 3/1 of Tenshō 17 (1589), notwithstanding that Terumoto was his lord, Motonobu departed with the intention of appealing directly to Toyotomi Hideyoshi in Ōsaka.  Aware of the potentially grave implications for the family, and despite the pitiable outcome, Takakage ordered Kagechika to track him down and, on 3/6, Kagechika killed Motonobu at Funagakure in Ōshima in the waters off Nogami-no-shō (Tokuyama).

During the Bunroku Campaign that commenced in the fourth month of 1592, Kagechika and Motoyoshi served under Kikkawa Hiroie, crossing the sea to Korea and, on 6/5, at the Battle of 茂渓, Korean forces led by 孫仁甲 attacked the fortress at 茂渓 defended by Kagechika, but the members of the garrison fought valiantly, repelling the Korean forces and then pursuing them, killing several hundred.  In the course of this battle, Kagechika sustained injuries so, on 6/6, Terumoto sent him a letter praising his efforts and expressing concern about his injuries.  On 6/7, he sent another letter to offer a reward of five pieces of silver.  Hoida Motokiyo (the fourth son of Mōri Motonari) shared Terumoto’s concerns in regard to Kagechika’s injuries and also sent a letter to him on 6/7, noting that he was requested by Terumoto to inform him that it was important to convalesce and that if he was in pain, during the rotation of troops the next day, he should remain in the fortress so he can recover.  On 12/13, he repelled another assault by the enemy forces and killed more during a subsequent pursuit, but, after being injured again, he received further letters from Terumoto and Motokiyo.

Having learned of Kagechika’s exploits during the Bunroku Campaign, Hosokawa Tadaoki and Ikeda Terumasa recognized his bravery and sought him as a retainer, but Kagechika rejected these offers, citing the kindness shown by the Mōri from the era of Mōri Motonari.  His loyalty delighted Terumoto, Takakage, and Motokiyo and they advised him to remain attentive.

In 1595, after the retirement of Takakage, Kagechika served as a retainer of Takakage’s adopted heir, Kobayakawa Hideaki.  After Takakage died on 6/13 of Keichō 2 (1597), Kagechika left the Kobayakawa clan and moved to the island of Yashiro (Suō-Ōshima). Upon the invitation of Terumoto, he returned to the service of the Mōri clan.  On 4/17 of Keichō 4 (1599), he was granted a fief of 1,000 koku on the Kamagari archipelago in Aki Province.

In 1600, Kagechika and Motoyoshi led Murakami naval forces and forced the surrender of Inoshishiyama Castle in Awa Province in the territory of the Hachisuka clan.  Thereafter, upon orders of Terumoto, Kagechika separated from Motoyoshi and, as a member of the Mōri army, served in the Siege of Anotsu Castle and the Siege of Ōtsu Castle.  At the Battle of Sekigahara, Terumoto served as the supreme commander of the Western Army.  In the wake of their defeat, the Mōri witnessed a reduction of their territory from eight provinces to only two (Suō and Nagato), corresponding to a reduction in their fief from 1,120,000 koku to 298,000 koku.  At this time, Kagechika received a fief of 1,500 koku on the island of Yashiro where he moved with his father, Takeyoshi, and became the head of the navy of the Chōshū (Hagi) domain of the Mōri family in the early Edo period.  Meanwhile, after Terumoto underwent the rites of tonsure and adopted the name of Sōzui Genan, Kagechika followed and adopted the monk’s name of Nyoshin.

On 2/9 of Keichō 15 (1610), Kagechika died at the age of fifty-three.  His lineal heir, Hachisuke, inherited the headship of the clan but, in 1613, died early so was succeeded by Kagechika’s second son, Murakami Motonobu.


During the Bunroku-Keichō Campaign, he kept the daughter of a captured member of the Korean aristocracy (Yangban) as a consort.

Murakami Takeyoshi gave a flute as a gift to Kagechika at the time of his first experience in battle.  The flute remains a family treasure passed-down through generations of the Noshima-Murakami clan.