Tachibana Munetsugu

立花統次

Tachibana Clan

Bushō

Chikugo Province

Lifespan:  Tenshō 4 (1576) to 10/20 of Keichō 5 (1600)

Other Names:  Magogorō, Kasuke; [Common] Sandayū

Rank:  bushō

Clan:  Morishita → Tachibana

Lord:  Tachibana Muneshige

Father:  Morishita Chōun

Adoptive Father:  Tachibana Muneharu

Wife:  Daughter of Harajiri Shigekiyo

Children:  Tachibana Masayasu (Sandayū), Morishita Shigehiro (Gondayū)

Tachibana Munetsugu served as a bushō during the Sengoku period.  He was a retainer and family member of the Bekki clan, an illegitimate branch of the Ōtomo, the sengoku daimyō of Bungo Province.  The Bekki were senior retainers of the Ōtomo.

In 1576, Munetsugu was born as the third son of Morishita Chōun, a senior retainer of the Bekki.  In 1590, after Tachibana Muneharu took his own life at the age of twenty-seven, Munetsugu succeeded to the family name.  Munetsugu served valorously at the Bunroku-Keichō Campaign on the Korean Peninsula and, in 1596, received a fief of 1,000 koku.

In 1600, at the time of the Battle of Sekigahara, Munetsugu deployed for the Siege of Ōtsu Castle as one of eleven mounted soldiers in a distinguished unit with yellow canopies (to deflect arrows or other objects hurled at them on the battlefield).

At the Battle of Egami-Hachiin, Munetsugu served under the command of Ono Shigeyuki (a chief retainer of the Tachibana), leading forces in the third division.  Riding on his own, he broke-through several enemy positions and was later extolled for his forceful and valiant conduct in battle.  Eventually, after his horse was overcome with exhaustion, he was surrounded and killed in the battle.

Anecdotes

Notwithstanding his youth, he had the air of a shrewd and competent commander.  He was known to be very handsome too.

Resourceful, he acted prudently like a veteran to respond to an incident in which Ijūin Tadamune was murdered by Shimazu Tadatsune at the Shimazu residence in Fushimi.  As a result, he was praised not only by retainers of the Shimazu but also by Shimazu Yoshihiro.

At the location where he died in battle, Munetsugu is honored by local residents under the name of Sandayū-jizō.  Jizō, a guardian deity of children, is known as Khitigarbha-bodhisattva.  In a nearby village, the Tachibana-san Festival is held in the eighth month of each year to console the spirit of Tachibana Sandayū.  The Jizō is referred to fondly as Tachibana-san by local residents.