Chiba Katsutane

千葉勝胤

Chiba Clan

Chiba Katsutane

Shimōsa Province

Lifespan:  10/5 of Bunmei 3 (1471) to 5/21 of Kyōroku 5 (1532)

Rank:  bushō, daimyō

Clan:  Chiba

Bakufu:  Muromachi – Secretary of Shimōsa

Father:  Chiba Noritane

Children:  Masatane

Chiba Katsutane served as a bushō and daimyō during the Sengoku period.  He was the lord of Motosakura Castle in the Inba District of Shimōsa Province.

In 1471, Katsutane was born as the eldest son of Chiba Noritane.  On 2/15 of Entoku 4 (1492), his father entered the priesthood so Katsutane inherited the headship of the clan.  Noritane (or his grandfather, Suketane), with the support of the Koga kubō, acquired the role as the head of the Chiba clan so Katsutane also became the head of the clan (latter period Chiba clan).

Although the details are uncertain, discord arose between Ashikaga Masauji (the Koga kubō) and his son, Ashikaga Takamoto, on one side and Chiba Noritane and Katsutane on the other side.  Between 1502 and 1504, Masauji and Takamoto sought to eliminate the Chiba clan, establishing a base at Shinozuka located near Motosakura Castle from which to attack the Chiba.  However, as the conflict between the Ōgigayatsu and Yamauchi branches of the Uesugi clan intensified, the two sides settled.  In the ensuing Battle of Tachikawa-no-hara, Katsutane joined Uesugi Akisada in opposition to Chiba Moritane, but suffered a major defeat.  In 1505, based on the elaborate coming-of-age ceremony held for his son, Chiba Masatane, it is surmised that Katsutane had garnered recognition by numerous gōzoku, or wealthy families, in Shimōsa, as the head of the Chiba clan.  In 1509, Katsutane retired and transferred headship of the clan to Masatane, but he continued to maintain a grip on power and was also played a role in disputes within the family of the Koga kubō.

In 1517, the second son of Ashikaga Masauji (the Koga kubō) named Kūzen returned from a life in the priesthood to secular life, adopted the name of Ashikaga Yoshiaki, and rebelled.  Together with the Kazusa-Takeda clan, he gained control of Oyumi Castle which had been held by the Hara clan, retainers of the Chiba clan.  Yoshiaki then proclaimed himself the Oyumi kubō.  Katsutane informed via letter Ashikaga Takamoto (Yoshiaki’s older brother) that the neighboring Usui clan of Usui Castle had sided with the Oyumi kubō.  In 1519, Katsutane joined Yoshiaki by attacking Shiizu Castle in Kazusa where Yoshiaki was staying.  Meanwhile, although he requested reinforcements from Hōjō Ujitsuna to recover Oyumi Castle, Ujitsuna refused owing to his expectations of a political resolution with Yoshiaki.  At this time Ujitsuna maintained an equidistant relationship with the Chiba clan and the Oyumi kubō, which later evolved into a confrontational relationship with Yoshiaki after the Daiei era (1521 to 1528).

On 5/21 of Kyōroku 5 (1532), Katsutane died.  According to one theory, he was killed in action.

Anecdotes

Katsutane was an ardent practitioner of waka.  Together with his band of retainers, he formed the Sakura waka circle.  There are no records of waka created by Katsutane himself, but, in 1514, an associate named Nōsō Junsō prepared a compilation of waka that includes many waka from persons related to the Chiba clan.  In the era of Katsutane, the town of Sakura was developed and many shrines and temples constructed, during which Katsutane built the Kairin Temple and the Katsutane Temple.