Akamatsu Norifusa

赤松則房

Akamatsu Clan

Bushō

Awa Province

Lifespan:  Eiroku 2 (1559) to 7/17 of Keichō 3 (1598)

Other Names:  Mitsumasa

Rank:  bushō

Clan:  Akamatsu

Lord:  Toyotomi Hideyoshi

Father:  Akamatsu Yoshisuke

Children:  Hironori, Norihide, Kashima Masayoshi

Akamatsu Norifusa served as a bushō during the Azuchi-Momoyama period.  He was the thirteenth head of the Akamatsu clan.

During the Sengoku period, the Akamatsu clan were in the midst of decline but Norifusa used his authority as a former military governor to maintain a degree of influence in Harima Province.  When, upon orders of Oda Nobunaga, an army led by Hashiba Hideyoshi invaded in the course of subduing the western provinces, Norifusa surrendered and became a retainer of Hideyoshi.

In 1583, Norifusa fought for Hideyoshi at the Battle of Shizugatake.  Thereafter, he participated in the Battle of Komaki-Nagakute, the Invasion of Chūgoku, and the Bunroku Campaign on the Korean Peninsula.  Norifusa was awarded 10,000 koku in Okishio in Harima Province and 10,000 koku in Sumiyoshi (including Sumiyoshi Castle) in Awa Province.  There is also a theory that the territory in Okishio was seized and he was left with only 10,000 koku in Awa.

In 1588, Norifusa received Kashima Masayoshi for adoption.  In 1598, Norifusa died.  In the Edo period, Masayoshi became the second head of the Kashima family serving as chief retainers of the Tokushima domain in Awa.

In 1600, Norifusa’s natural son, Akamatsu Norihide, died.  Among Norifusa’s descendants, one became the abbot of the Akamatsu Temple on Mount Kōya and another became a retainer of the Kuroda clan affiliated with the Fukuoka domain in Chikuzen Province.

Anecdotes

Hideyoshi called Norifusa “Okishio-dono.”  Having originated from a family of renown, Norifusa garnered more attention than other daimyō who surrendered and came under the command of Hideyoshi.

There is a lack of authenticated material to support his military exploits which has given rise to assorted suppositions regarding his life including as portrayed in novels.  Historical materials regarding the activities in his territory of Sumiyoshi in Awa are also scarce.

There is a theory that Norifusa was the same individual as Norihide.

At the Fukujō Temple in Tokushima Prefecture (headed by the Sumiyoshi Shrine), there is a five-part gravestone representing earth, water, fire, wind and heaven dedicated to Norifusa.