Shibata Reinō


Shibata Clan


Bungo Province

Lifespan:  15xx to Twelfth month of Tenshō 14 (1586)

Rank:  bushō

Clan:  Shibata (descended from the Tachibana-Ōgawara clan)

Lord:  Ōtomo Yoshishige (Sōrin)

Siblings:  Shōan, Reinō

Children:  Tentokuji Munekatsu

Shibata Reinō served as a bushō during the Sengoku and Azuchi-Momoyama periods.  He was a retainer of the Ōtomo clan and an ardent follower of Christianity.  He was known among the Jesuit community as Shibata Reino and separately called the Hercules of Bungo for his mastery of the spear.  His real name is unknown.

Reinō was associated with a branch of the Shibata family descended from the Tachibana-Ōgawara clan.  His family were kokujin, or provincial landowners, in the Ōno District of Bungo (the Notsuin group) serving the Ōtomo clan.  Historical accounts first refer to this branch of the Shibata clan in connection with an individual named Shibata Kaemon-no-jō who was killed during the invasion of Hyūga in 1578.  Reinō is surmised to have been a member of the same family.

In 1580, Reinō participated in the capture of Aki Castle in Hyūga during a battle to suppress a revolt by Tabaru Chikatsura.  Thereafter, he served as a deputy to Ōtomo Chikaie, the second son of Ōtomo Yoshishige (Sōrin), who inherited the Tabaru clan and engaged in negotiations to bring-on the former retainers of the Tabaru clan.  He served as Chikaie’s deputy for a while but, in 1582, after Sōrin’s lineal heir, Ōtomo Yoshimune seized the territory of the Manju Temple in Funai, he was granted a residence for a military family in this area and delegated responsibility for almost all political matters of the Ōtomo family.  This important role was akin to serving as the magistrate for Funai.

Later, Reinō served valorously in numerous battles including against the Akizuki clan.  In the eleventh month of 1584, Reinō was permitted to use the family crest of the Ōtomo (in the form of an apricot leaf) and treated on a par as a family member.  In the third month of 1586, the Shimazu clan launched the Hōsatsu War by invading Bungo.  On this occasion, his son, Shibata Munekatsu, accompanied Sōrin on a trip to Ōsaka to urgently request support from Toyotomi Hideyoshi.  At this time, Sōrin adopted the monk’s name of Tentokuji and conferred the surname of Tentokuji to Munekatsu as well.  Upon orders for Yoshimune, Reinō was also called by this name.

When the Shimazu army laid siege to Niujima Castle in Usuki, Reinō joined Sōrin to hole-up in the castle.  Although the defenders repelled the Shimazu forces once, Reinō’s older brother, Shibata Shōan, defected to the Shimazu and served as their guide.  When Sōrin then questioned via his retainers the loyalty of Reinō and his son, Reinō was embarrassed at being held suspicious so, together with his son, charged out of the castle in a bid to call upon his family members who were with the Shimazu army.  At this time, Reinō and his son were both killed by enemy forces lying in ambush.  News of his demise caused Sōrin to shed tears as he anguished over the loss.