Bekki Shigetsura

戸次鎮連

Bekki Clan

Bushō

Bungo Province

Lifespan:  15xx to Tenshō 14 (1586)

Rank:  bushō; head of the Bekki clan

Title:  Governor of Hōki

Lord: Ōtomo Yoshishige → Ōtomo Yoshimune

Clan:  Bekki

Father:  Bekki Akikata

Adoptive Father:  Bekki Akitsura

Siblings:  Shigetsura, Shigekimi

Children:  Munetsune, Munetoshi

Bekki Shigetsura served as a retainer of the Ōtomo clan, the sengoku daimyō of Bungo Province.  Shigetsura served as the sixteenth head of the Bekki clan, a branch of the Ōtomo.  His father was Bekki Akikata, and uncle, Bekki Akitsura (later known as Tachibana Dōsetsu).

Shigetsura was the eldest son of Akikata.  Akitsura did not have a successor, so he became a surrogate father to Shigetsura.  Shigetsura received one character each in his name from his lord (Ōtomo Yoshishige) and from Akitsura.  Thereafter, he served under Akitsura in battles in Chikuzen and Buzen provinces.  In 1567, many members and retainers of the Bekki clan, including Akikata, died at the Battle of Yasumimatsu against Akizuki Tanezane.  Shigetsura, however, fought valiantly and achieved meritorious results.

In 1578, Shigetsura invaded the northern portion of Hyūga Province, killing, among others, Tsuchimochi Chikashige, decimating the Tsuchimochi clan.  In the sixth month of 1578, he deployed to the Battle of Mimikawa.  The Shimazu overwhelmingly defeated the Ōtomo, setting the stage for dark times ahead in Bungo.  Meanwhile, Tachibana Dōsetsu continued to fight strenuously to stem the decline of the Ōtomo in Chikuzen and Chikugo provinces.

In 1580, Shigetsura attempted to bolster the Ōtomo by submitting a letter, jointly signed with Shiga Chikanori, Ichimata Shigezane, and others providing earnest counsel to Ōtomo Yoshimune, but Yoshimune did not heed their advice.  In 1585, Tachibana Dōsetsu died, and the fortunes of the Ōtomo clan came to a definitive end.

In 1585, Shigetsura carried the authority to affix his own seal on behalf of the Ōtomo, but the outbreak of riots demonstrated the loss of support for the clan among local citizens.  Meanwhile, the Shimazu marched north to Bungo, and began to attack, but many of the leaders, including Shibata Shōan, Shiga Dōun, Kutami Akiyasu, Bekki Sangen, and Ichimata Shōden, had already colluded with the Shimazu, so remaining castles held by the Ōtomo soon toppled one after another.

In 1586, Yoshimune either executed Shigetsura along with other betrayers, or those involved relinquished their castles and were forced to kill themselves. Shigetsura’s eldest son, Bekki Munetsune, inherited the clan.