Ninomiya Naritoki


Ninomiya Clan


Aki Province

Lifespan:  Tenbun 15 (1546) (?) to 5/3 of Keichō 12 (1607)

Rank:  bushō

Title:  Junior Fifth Rank (Lower), Governor of Shinano

Clan:  Ninomiya (an illegitimate branch of the Hemi clan from the line of Minamoto no Yorinobu of the Seiwa-Genji)

Lord:  Mōri Terumoto

Father:  Mōri Motonari or Ninomiya Haruhisa

Mother:  Daughter of Yda Motomichi (a consort of Mōri Motonari)

Siblings:  (if Motonari was father): Mōri Takamoto, Kikkawa Motoharu, Kobayakawa Takakage, Hoida Motokiyo, Mōri Motoaki, Izuha Mototomo, Amano Motomasa, Suetsugu Motoyasu, Mōri Hidekane, Naritoki, sister, Goryū-no-tsubone (formal wife of Shishido Takaie), sister (wife of Uehara Motosuke); (if Haruhisa was father):  Naritoki, Harusada, sister (wife of Kōda Yosanbei), 元鏡

Wife:  Daughter of Kadota Mototada

Children:  Kadota Mototsune, Yada Tsuneyuki, daughter (wife of Zaima Motohisa), daughter (wife of Nakamura Mototoshi), daughter (wife of Hirasa Motosada), daughter (wife of Satake Motoyoshi)

Ninomiya Naritoki served as a bushō from the Sengoku to early Edo period.  Naritoki was a retainer of the Mōri clan and close associate of Mōri Terumoto.  His family was a member of the ōgumi, or group of families of higher pedigree serving as direct retainers of the Mōri clan.  He had the common name of Yoji.

Origins and early years

Naritoki was born as the son of Ninomiya Haruhisa.  Under another theory, he was the illegitimate son of Mōri Motonari.  His mother was the daughter of Yada Motomichi of Bungo Province.  Owing to discrepancies in the genealogical chart of the Ninomiya family, his birth year is not certain and deemed to be either 1546 or 1549, however, according to another account in these records, he was born several months after the death of Motonari’s formal wife, Myōkyū, supporting the theory that he was born in 1546.  At the same time that he attended to his ill wife, having a consort give birth made for bad appearances, so Morinari transferred her while seven months pregnant to a retainer named Ninomiya Haruhisa, after which Naritoki was born.  He was then raised as the son of Haruhisa but, after Naritoki was born, Motonari communicated that Naritoki was his child, so he was given clothing and a suit of armor and named Torahōmaru.

Within the Mōri family, Naritoki was consistently regarded as the son of Haruhisa and it was not known that he was the illegitimate son of Motonari.  After the death of Motonari, one of his consorts named Nakanomaru informed Mōri Terumoto in regard to Naritoki, after which his origins became known and, thereafter, he served as a close associate of Terumoto.

On 2/22 of Eiroku 5 (1562), Naritoki attended his coming-of-age ceremony in which Motonari served as the honorary individual in charge of crowning him at which time he received one of the characters from the name of Motonari and adopted the name of Naritoki.  On 9/13 of Eiroku 6 (1563), Naritoki served valorously in battle at the Odaka tower at Shiraga Castle in Izumo Province and, on 10/18, received a letter of commendation from Motonari for his contributions.


In 1569, during the Invasion of Northern Kyūshū, Motonari, while based in Akamagaseki, dispatched Naritoki on a mission to kill Mizoguchi Genba.  Naritoki proceeded to kill Genba in Akamagaseki.  As a reward, Motonari presented Naritoki with a personal sword manufactured by Bizen Osafune Kanemitsu.  On 4/14 of Eiroku 13 (1570), Naritoki was granted a fief of 15 kan in the village of Umaki in the Satō District of Aki Province.  On 12/30 of Genki 3 (1572), Mōri Terumoto conferred upon him and his son, Kadota Mototsune, the official name of Tarōemon-no-jō, or Lieutenant of the Outer Palace Guards of the Right Division.

In 1589, the Mōri clan moved from their former base at Yoshida-Kōriyama Castle to Hiroshima and commenced the construction of Hiroshima Castle.  Naritoki, along with Hoida Motokiyo, served as magistrates to oversee the construction.  There is a theory that Naritoki was also involved in the selection of the building site.  The construction occurred at a time of financial difficulties, but Naritoki strove in earnest, applying ingenious techniques to overcome these challenges and manage to complete construction of the new castle.  In particular, he successfully employed novel practices to construct a large castle in a river delta with a soft foundation.

In 1591, Naritoki performed a significant role in the conduct of surveys of all of the Mōri landholdings, carrying multiple responsibilities.  On 2/20 of Tenshō 20 (1592), Terumoto increased Naritoki’s fief by 2,172 koku.

Service as a close associate to Mōri Terumoto

After the Bunroku Campaign that began in the fourth month of 1592, from the eighth month of 1593 following Terumoto’s return from the Korean Peninsula, political affairs of the Mōri were led by five senior retainers of Terumoto including Naritoki, Enomoto Motoyoshi, Sase Motoyoshi, Katada Motoyoshi, and Chō Motoyoshi.  These five individuals came from diverse backgrounds and experiences.  Their responsibilities provide insight into the intention of Terumoto to select individuals based on merit independent of origin and family pedigree.

In 1595, Toyotomi Hideyoshi permitted him to adopt the Toyotomi surname, and he used the name of Toyotomi Naritoki.  On 11/6, he was conferred the title of Junior Fifth Rank (Lower) and Governor of Shinano.  From the end of 1597, Naritoki accompanied Terumoto while Terumoto was stationed in Kyōto to serve in his capacity as a member of the Council of Five Elders for the Toyotomi administration.  Those following Terumoto to Kyōto included, among senior retainers, Naritoki, Enomoto Motoyoshi, and Katada Motoyoshi, and, as group leader, Ankokuji Ekei and Fukubara Hirotoshi.  Around this time, Naritoki possessed landholdings of 9,010 koku.

In 1600, after the Battle of Sekigahara, he followed the transfer of the Mōri to Bōchō (meaning Suō and Nagato provinces) and moved his residence to Nagato.  Thereafter, he continued to serve as a trusted assistant to Terumoto.  He died on 5/3 of Keichō 12 (1607).  Based on the theory that Naritoki was the son of Motonari, he died at the age of sixty-two.  He was succeeded by his eldest son, Kadota Mototsune.

Descendants and character

His descendants served as leaders of the band of retainers of the Chōshū domain with landholdings of 891 koku in the village of Kama in the Mine District of Nagato.  The remains of their residence continue to exist in the urban area below Hagi Castle.

Naritoki was known for being a quiet and hardworking individual who paid attention to detail.  Based on his career, he is considered to have been competent not only in the military arts, but also in the fields of finance, engineering, and construction.