Akahoshi Muneie


Akahoshi Clan

Higo Province

Akahoshi Muneie

Lifespan:  Kyōroku 3 (1530) to Genna 5 (1619)

Other Names:  Chikataka, Bitchū-no-kami, Suō-no-kami

Rank:  bushō

Clan:  Akahoshi

Lord:  Ōtomo Yoshimune → Ryūzōji Takanobu → Shimazu Yoshihisa

Father:  Akahoshi Chikaie

Siblings:  Muneie, Akimune

Children:  Shinrokurō, Chikatake, daughter (formal wife of Kamachi Shigenami), daughter

Akahoshi Muneie served as a bushō from the Sengoku to early Edo periods.

The Akahoshi were members of the Kikuchi clan, founded by Akahoshi Aritaka, the younger brother of Kikuchi Takefusa, during the mid-Kamakura period.  Along with the Kumabe and Jō clans, these three families served as chief retainers of the Kikuchi and were powerful kokujin, or provincial landowners, in the Kikuchi District of Higo Province.

In 1530, Muneie was born as the son of Akahoshi Chikaie.  Muneie received one of the characters in his name from his father and the other from Ōtomo Yoshimune, the twenty-second head of the Ōtomo clan and sengoku daimyō of Bungo Province.

After the death of his father in 1562, Muneie became the lord of Waifu Castle (Kikuchi Castle), a mountain fortress in northern Higo.  In 1578, Muneie lost his castle to the Ryūzōji clan of Hizen Province and Kumabe Chikanaga took possession while Muneie sought refuge with Kōshi Chikatame.

In 1581, after Ryūzōji Takanobu invaded Higo, Muneie, per a written pledge, tendered a son and daughter as hostages and surrendered.  Thereafter, he disregarded repeated requests to deploy on behalf of the Ryūzōji army, so was judged to be of duplicitous intent.  In 1583, the hostages were thus executed.  Distraught at the outcome, Muneie announced his opposition to the Ryūzōji clan, aligned with the Shimazu and, in 1584, served in the vanguard forces at the Battle of Okitanawate.  Muneie, together with a unit of fifty soldiers, appeared in red attire while joining the camp of Shimazu Iehisa.

Beginning in the seventh month of 1586 until the fourth month of 1587, Toyotomi Hideyoshi mounted a campaign known as the Subjugation of Kyūshū during which the Toyotomi supported the Ōtomo clan of Bungo and opposed the Shimazu clan of Satsuma.  Owing to Muneie’s association with the Shimazu, after the war, he lost his landholdings and, in 1619, died at the age of ninety in Awa Province.

Muneie’s daughter was the first formal wife of Kamachi Shigenami of Yanagawa Castle in Chikugo Province.  Fearful that Shigenami would align with the rival Shimazu clan, in 1580, Takanobu had Shigenami and his family killed.  Muneie’s daughter was also the mother of Kamachi Noriko who wed Kutami Shigefusa.  Meanwhile, Muneie’s surviving son, Akahoshi Chikatake, served Katō Kiyomasa.