Noma Takazane

野間隆実

Noma Clan

Bushō

Aki Province

Lifespan:  Unknown to 4/11 of Tenbun 24 (1555)

Other Names:  Takanori

Rank:  bushō

Title:  Vice Minister of Justice

Clan:  Noma

Lord:  Ōuchi Yoshitaka → Sue Harukata

Father:  Noma Okikatsu

Siblings:  Takazane, Norimasa

Wife: [Formal] Daughter of Kumagai Nobunao

Noma Takazane served as a bushō during the Sengoku period.  He was the lord of Yano Castle in the Anan District of Aki Province.  Takazane served as a leader of security forces in Hiroshima Bay.

The Noma were kokujin, or provincial landowners, in Aki.  Originally based in the Noma manor in Owari Province, the family moved in the Bunnan era (1444 to 1449) after Noma Shigeyoshi acquired landholdings in Aki.  At the peak of their prosperity, the family held land from Yano to Yakeyama, the Yoshiura area, and Kurahashi Island.  Amidst frequent clashes against the Asonuma, the Hiraga, and the Takehara-Kobayakawa clans, the family expanded its authority.

Takazane’s father, Noma Okikatsu, received one of the characters in his name from Ōuchi Yoshioki (a sengoku daimyō and the fifteenth head of the Ōuchi clan).  Similiarly, Takazane received one of the characters in his name from Yoshioki’ son, Ōuchi Yoshitaka.  Takazane wed the daughter of Kumagai Nobunao, the head of the Kumagai clan who also had a close affinity to Yano Castle.  He maintained cordial relations with his brother-in-law, Kikkawa Motoharu, and Motoharu’s father, Mōri Motonari.

In 1551, Ōuchi Yoshitaka was forced to take his own life during a revolt by a senior retainer, Sue Harukata.  This is known as the Tainei Temple Incident.  Takazane, similar to Motonari, allied with Harukata.  Motonari, however, secretly sought to eliminate Harukata.  Around 1554, these plans surfaced.  In the fifth month of 1554, the Mōri army launched an assault against Nihojima Castle, causing its lord, Shiroi Fusatane, to flee to Fuchū-Debari Castle.  In the ninth month, at the Battle of Oshikibata, the Mōri repelled the Sue army and killed a general named Miyagawa Fusanaga.  Takazane was committed to wait and see how the situation developed, but pressure from the Sue and Mōri clans intensified day-by-day.

In the first month of 1555, Takazane, together with Shiroi Fusatane, attacked Nihojima Castle, making clear his opposition to the Mōri.  Motonari did not anticipate that Takazane would betray the Mōri in favor of the Sue, for which he committed to an assault against Yano Castle.  In the fourth month, after learning of the southward advance of the Mōri army, Harukata assigned over 100 soldiers from Yamaguchi to Hani Genshichi and Obata (first name unknown) to reinforce the defenses at Yano Castle.  The Mōri laid siege to the castle, after which hostilities broke-out and the castle nearly fell in the face of a violent assault.  Later, Takazane’s father-in-law, Kumagai Nobunao, issued a warning to surrender which Takazane accepted provided that the Mōri guarantee that the lives of the defenders be spared.  He then vacated the premises.

Takazane and the others were transported to the Miri manor in an area held by Nobunao and murdered.  Immediately thereafter, retainers and members of the castle garrison were incarcerated at the Shinkyō Temple below Yano Castle and summarily killed.  This occurred just before the final showdown between Motonari and Harukata at the Battle of Itsukushima so it is surmised that these actions were taken to mitigate the risk of another betrayal at this critical juncture.  Hani Genshichi and others who came as reinforcements to Yano Castle believed a fabrication by Motonari that “soldiers who surrender will be sent to Suō Province.”  When Mizuochi Kai-no-kami, a senior retainer of the Kumagai clan, was en route to return home as a hostage, the party encountered a surprise attack by Ninomiya Toshizane and Hososako Sakyō-no-jō of the Mōri army and were all killed.

Later, retainers of the Noma, including Suenaga Yarokusaemon, served Kikkawa Motoharu as members of the naval forces.