Takita Shigekane

田北鎮周

Takita Clan

Bushō

Bungo Province

Lifespan:  Tenbun 12 (1543) to Tenshō 6 (1578)

Rank:  bushō

Title:  Assistant Vice-Minister of Justice, Governor of Sagami

Clan:  Takita

Lord:  Ōtomo Yoshishige (Sōrin)

Father:  Takita Chikakazu

Adoptive Father:  Takita Akishige (Shōtetsu)

Siblings:  [XX], Akinari, Akishige (Shōtetsu), Akimasu, Shigekane

Children: Akinobe, wife of Takita Munekazu, 雪江 (wife of Inazu Shigemasa), Munekazu (son-in-law – second son of Yoshihiro Akinobu)

Takita Shigekane served as a bushō and retainer of the Ōtomo clan, the sengoku daimyō of Bungo Province.

The Takita were a branch of the Ōtomo clan based in the Naoiri District of Bungo.  In the early period, the Takita served Ōtomo Yoshishige (known as Sōrin), and Shigekane received one of the characters in his name from Yoshishige.  Shigekane demonstrated military prowess in the course of multiple events, achieving positive results in battles against the Mōri in the 1560’s, suppressing a rebellion by Tachibana Akitoshi in 1568, and in a battle against Mōri forces under the command of Kobayakawa Takakage.

In 1578, Shigekane made further contributions in an attack against Tsuchimochi Chikashige in an early clash as a prelude to the Battle of Mimikawa.  Thereafter, Shigekane served in the vanguard of Ōtomo forces attacking Yamada Arinobu at Taka Castle in Hyūga Province.  At this time, however, the Ōtomo commanders lost their zeal owing to the leaning of their lord, Yoshishige, toward Christianity.  Consequently, in an effort to energize his comrades, Shigekane launched a risky surprise attack against the opposing forces.  This caused an elongation of their formation, exposing them to a counterattack and defeat by the Shimazu.  Shigekane died in the battle and the Ōtomo clan declined thereafter.

After Shigekane’s death, his older brother, Takita Shōtetsu, rebelled in an attempt to take over the clan, but was killed by forces under Ōtomo Yoshimune.  His lineal son, Shigenobu, served as lord of Hisashi Castle, but died young.  This gave an opportunity for Shigekane’s son-in-law, Takita Munekazu, who came from the Yoshihiro clan, to inherit the clan.  From 1586 to 1587, he fought together with Saeki Koresada against the Shimazu in the Battle of Hōsatsu.  After incurring the disfavor of Toyotomi Hideyoshi owing to his performance in the Battle of Pyongyang Castle in Korea, in 1593, Yoshimune was relieved of his duties and entered the priesthood.  Munekazu then became a rōnin, or wandering samurai.  In 1632, he moved to Higo Province and served Hosokawa Tadatoshi.  His son, Munenari, remained in the village of Hisashi, serving as a local official.