Nanbada Norishige



Nanbada Norishige

Musashi Province

Lifespan:  Unknown to 4/20 of Tenbun 15 (1546)

Rank:  bushō

Title:  Judicial Officer

Clan:  Nanbada

Bakufu:  Muromachi

Lord:  Uesugi Tomosada

Father:  Nanbada Hirosada

Children:  Three sons, daughter (wife of Ōta Sukemasa), daughter (wife of Ōmori Fujiyori (referred to under the title of shikibu no tayū) and mother of Nanbada Noritsugu)

Nanbada Norishige served as a bushō during the Sengoku period.  He was a retainer of the Ōgigayatsu-Uesugi family.  Norishige served as the lord of Matsuyama and Jindaiji castles in Musashi Province.  He held the title of danjō, or Judicial Officer.  His first name is surmised to have been Masanao and he had the Buddhist name of Zengin.

Norishige was born as the son of Nanbada Hirosada.

The Nanbada clan descended from the line of Kaneko Kotarō Takanori who was affiliated with the Matsuyama group.  The Matsuyama group were a band of bushi, or local samurai, having influence in the Matsuyama township of the Tama District of Musashi during the Heian and Kamakura periods.  The Matsuyama were one of seven such bands based in Musashi known as the Seven Bands of Musashi whose influence extended to the neighboring provinces of Shimotsuke, Kazusa, and Sagami during these periods.  From long ago, the Nanbada were based at Nanbada Castle in the Nanbada township in the Iruma District of Musashi.

At the Battle of Hanekura during the Kannō Disturbance (an internal conflict of the ruling Ashikaga family from 1350 to 1352 of the Nanboku period), Nanbada Kurō-Saburō who was on the side of Ashikaga Tadayoshi was killed by Koma Tsunezumi on the side of Ashikaga Takauji.  Thereafter, accompanying the advance of the Ōgigayatsu-Uesugi into the Iruma District in the latter half of the fifteenth century, from the end of the fifteenth century to the beginning of the sixteenth century, after lineal heirs of the Ueda and the Ōta clans who were senior retainers of the Ōgigayatsu-Uesugi came into conflict with their lord’s family and collapsed, the Nanbada rose to prominence as senior retainers in their place.  Details regarding the course of events up to that time, however, are uncertain.

In 1537, after his lord, Uesugi Tomosada, lost Kawagoe Castle, Norishige welcomed him to Matsuyama Castle and fought against the Gohōjō clan.  As a senior retainer of the Ōgigayatsu-Uesugi family, Norishige endeavored to restore the authority of the family.  In 1541, he took advantage of the death from illness of Hōjō Ujitsuna to launch an assault against Kawagoe Castle, but was stopped by Ujitsuna’s successor, Hōjō Ujiyasu.  Later, he requested support from Uesugi Norimasa, the deputy shōgun of the Kantō and head of the Yamauchi-Uesugi family.  Around this time, when Sanada Yukitaka sought assistance from Norimasa after being ousted by Murakami Yoshikiyo, included among those commanders in attendance is a reference to Nanbada Danjō-Shōhitsu (the title of an Assistant Director to the Imperial Office of Prosecution).  There is also a theory that around this time he received one of the characters from the name of Norimasa and changed his name from Masanao to Norishige.

Norishige’s maneuvers bore fruit when, in 1545, both branches of the Uesugi family formed an allied army with Ashikaga Haruuji (the  fourth Koga kubō) and surrounded Kawagoe Castle which was aligned with the Gohōjō clan.  However, in 1546, at the Siege of Kawagoe Castle, Norishige fell into an old well and died.  In the wake of his untimely demise, the Ōgigayatsu-Uesugi clan was extinguished.  Meanwhile, his three sons and nephew (Nanbada Hayato-no-shō) were killed in action during the earlier battle at Kawagoe Castle in 1537, so the Nanbada clan also collapsed.  Following the death of Norishige, his adopted son-in-law, Ōta Sukemasa, temporarily succeeded him as the head of the Nanbada clan, but later inherited his original family known as the Iwatsuki-Ōta clan.  Thereafter, Musashi-Matsuyama Castle became the subject of a dispute between Sukemasa and his nephew, Ueda Tomonao (whose mother was Norishige’s sister).  Individuals with the Nanbada surname then dispersed among the Ueda and Gohōjō clans.  In the Edo period, the descendants of Nanbada Noritsugu (the grandchild from a daughter married into another family) served as retainers of the Edo bakufu.

According to one anecdote, at the Siege of Musashi-Matsuyama Castle, Norishige exchanged waka verses in the midst of a battle against a retainer of the Hōjō clan named Yamanaka Shuzen.  This story led to the event being referred to as the “elegant” battle of Matsuyama Castle.