Lifespan: Kyōroku 2 (1529) to 11/13 of Bunroku 4 (1595)
Titles: Assistant Master of the Eastern Capital Office; Governor of Mimasaka
Lord: Amago Haruhisa → Mōri Motonari → Mōri Terumoto
Father: Akana Mitsukiyo
Siblings: Akikiyo, Sadakiyo, Morikiyo
Akana Morikiyo served as a bushō during the Sengoku and Azuchi-Momoyama periods. Based at Akana Castle in the village of Akana in the Iishi District of Izumo Province, the Akana were a kokujin, or provincial family of influence, serving the Amago clan of Izumo and, later, the Mōri clan of Aki Province.
Serving under the Amago clan of Izumo
In 1529, Morikiyo was born as the third son of Akana Mitsukiyo, a kokujin affiliated with the Amago clan based at Akana Castle (Setoyama Castle) in the village of Akana in the Iishi District of Izumo Province.
At the First Siege of Gassantoda Castle launched by Ōuchi Yoshitaka beginning in 1542, Morikiyo’s father, Mitsukiyo, died in battle while defending Setoyama Castle and the castle fell to the Ōuchi. In 1543, his grandfather, Akana Hisakiyo, took advantage of the retreat by the Ōuchi army to recapture Setoyama Castle. Afterwards, Morikiyo’s brothers (who had earlier been taken hostage by the Ōuchi) died in Chikuzen Province. Morikiyo’s older brother, Akana Akikiyo, was killed. His second brother, Akana Sadakiyo, killed himself owing to personal anguish from being on the side of the Ōuchi while his family home was aligned with the Amago. As a result, in 1544, Morikiyo became the head of the Akana clan with Hisakiyo serving as his guardian. After the battle, Amago Haruhisa (the sengoku daimyō of Izumo and military governor of eight provinces in the western region) increased Morikiyo’s fief in return for the loyalty demonstrated by his deceased father.
In 1560, Haruhisa died, and, after the start of the Second Siege of Gassantoda Castle by Mōri Motonari, the Mōri army launched a major attack against Setoyama Castle. Motonari, acting through Mitoya Hisasuke, urged surrender on the condition that he would recognize the right of land ownership. Morikiyo responded favorably by affiliating with the Mōri. In addition to the original territory with a value of 500 kan, Morikiyo obtained recognition of territory in Izumo and Iwami with a value of 264 kan. Moreover, Morikiyo was exempt from special levies imposed by the district or Imperial Court for construction and other expenditures. Despite the affiliation with the Mōri, the Akana clan maintained a degree of autonomy in the conduct of their affairs.
Serving under the Mōri clan of Aki
Under the command of the Mōri, in 1566, Morikiyo joined in the vanguard of forces of the Mōri army to attack Amago Yoshihisa at Gassantoda Castle. Morikiyo also engaged from 1568 to 1569 at the Siege of Tachibana Castle, and in battles against the Amago’s revival forces after an invasion by Amago Katsuhisa of Izumo.
In 1573, Morikiyo transferred leadership of the clan and the village of Akana to his eldest son, Akana Yukikiyo and retired. In later years, he adopted the same name as his grandfather of Hisakiyo. However, in the spring of 1590, Yukikiyo transferred territory with a combined value of approximately 1,000 kan (500 kan in the Akana manor and 500 kan in Izumo and Iwami) to his eldest son, Saijumaru (later known as Nakagawa Motoki). Yukikiyo then died a few months later and Motoki succeeded him as head of the clan.
Morikiyo died toward the end of 1595 at the age of sixty-seven.
There is an anecdote concerning Morikiyo’s surrender to the Mōri. An elder in the family named Morita Saemon who had served since the era of Morikiyo’s father was resolutely opposed to surrender to the Mōri. As a result, even after the surrender by Morikiyo, Saemon stirred uprisings throughout the territory, antagonizing the Mōri army with guerilla tactics. Upset at these actions, Motonari remonstrated Morikiyo, to which Morikyo proclaimed he had betrayed his lord to submit to the Mōri, but they are truly loyal retainers, causing further upset with Motonari.