Tsuchimochi Chikanobu


Tsuchimochi Clan


Hyūga Province

Lifespan:  15xx to 15xx

Other Names:  Jirō (common)

Rank:  bushō

Clan:  Agata-Tsuchimochi

Lord:  Shimazu clan

Father:  Tsuchimochi Chikashige

Adoptive Father:  Tsuchimochi Hisatsuna (?)

Siblings:  Chikanobu, Naotsuna (?), Tametsuna (?), Hidetake (?)

Adopted Sibling:  Hisatsuna (?)

Children:  Unknown

Grandchildren:  Nobuyasu

Tsuchimochi Chikanobu served as a bushō during the Azuchi-Momoyama period.  He was a retainer of the Shimazu clan.

The Tsuchimichi were a powerful clan based in the northern portion of Hyūga Province in Kyūshū.  Prominent families included the Agata-Tsuchimochi in the area of Agata (Nobeoka) and the Takarabe-Tsuchimochi in the area of Takanabe.

Chikanobu was born as the son of Tsuchimochi Chikashige, a kokujin, or provincial landowner, in Hyūga, from the direct lineage of the Agata-Tsuchimochi family.

In 1578, Chikashige anticipated a raid by the Ōtomo clan so, owing to Chikanobu’s young age, assigned members of the garrison from Tsuchimochiyama Castle and Chikanobu fled for safety to Satsuma Province.  Thereafter, although the Agata-Tsuchimochi sustained a fatal blow, after the Ōtomo were dealt a major defeat at the Battle of Mimikawa, Chikanobu returned to Matsuo Castle in Agata with the backing of the Shimazu clan.

From 1579 to 1588, the Tsuchimochi clan served as the lord of the manor of Agata, but it is uncertain whether the head of the family at this time was Chikanobu or Hisatsuna.  A letter dated 1579 from Tabaru Shigetada (a senior retainer of the Ōtomo clan) to Ijūin Tadamune and Machida Tadafusa notes: “Tsuchimochi Jirōkurō is staying in Kadogawa-Omote so send the women and children.”  This demonstrated that, based on customary practices, the Ōtomo clan recognized Chikanobu as the successor.  Statements that efforts were made to avoid a war against the Shimazu further suggest that Chikanobu was serving as the lord of the manor.

In 1586, when the Shimazu army invaded Bungo Province, Shibata Shōan, the lord of Asahidake Castle in the Amabe District of Bungo near the provincial border with Hyūga, betrayed the Ōtomo and colluded with the Shimazu.  The Shimazu, however, were suspicious of him so he was assigned to Amatsura Castle apart from the rest of his family sent to Hoshikawa Castle.  Chikanobu then took over Asahidake Castle.  As the lord of the castle, he led 2,000 soldiers and deployed to Saeki, but his forces were eviscerated in a violent clash against an army of 1,800 soldiers led by Saeki Koresada of the Ōtomo clan.  This is known as the Battle of Katata.

His whereabouts thereafter are unknown.

It is noted that he had a grandson named Tsuchimochi Nobuyasu.