Yamanaka Nobunao served as a bushō during the Sengoku and Azuchi-Momoyama periods.
At an early age, he left his family and wandered numerous provinces, arriving in Itami in Settsu Province. After meeting Nakagawa Kiyohide, the lord of Ibaraki Castle, upon Kiyohide’s recommendation, he served Araki Murashige. Nobunao was recognized by Murashige for his loyal service, receiving a prized Nobukuni sword and a curtain used in setting up a military encampments known as a jinmaku imprinted with the family crest. He then changed his name to Nobunao. Around the beginning of the Eiroku era (1558 to 1570), he was admonished by his lord, Murashige, for extravagance but did not abide and later resigned.
Thereafter, he adopted the monk’s name of Kiraku and resided peacefully in the village of Kōnoike until dying of illness in 1579.
According to genealogical records, the grave of Yamanaka Kirakusai is located at the Seichō Temple in the Kawabe District of Settsu, but cannot be found there now. There is a memorial to Yamanaka Nobunao and his wife on the grounds of the Kenkō hermitage at 2-chōme, Nakadera, Chuō Ward, Ōsaka built by the abbot in 1764. The inscription on the memorial indicates that Nobunao died on 8/16 of Eiroku 8 (1565), but this is in error.
He is said to have raised his nephew Yamanaka Yukimoto, the eldest son of Yamanaka Yukimori and founder of the Kōnoike family who became wealthy merchants. The Kōnoike zaibatsu, or business conglomerate, became the largest zaibatsu in Japan during the Edo period.