Lifespan: Tenbun 18 (1549) to 4/10 of Keichō 20 (1615)
Rank: bushō, daimyō
Title: Governor of Awa, Steward of the Kumano Sanzan (three grand shrines)
Clan: Horiuchi → Kumano-Arima → Horiuchi
Domain: Kumano – chamberlain of Uto Castle
Lord: Oda Nobunaga → Toytomi Hideyoshi → Toyotomi Hideyori → Katō Kiyomasa
Father: Horiuchi Ujitora
Siblings: Ujitaka, Ujiyoshi
Wife: [Formal] Adopted daughter of Kuki Yoshitaka
Children: Shingū Yukitomo, Shigetomo, Ujihisa, Mera Michiyoshi, Arima Ujitoki, Ujikiyo, Ujiharu
Horiuchi Ujiyoshi served as a bushō and daimyō from the Sengoku to early Edo periods. He was a commander in the Kumano navy.
In 1549, Ujiyoshi was born as the son of Horiuchi Ujitora. His childhood name was Kusuwaka. The Horiuchi clan was a gōzoku, or wealthy landowner, with holdings of 27,000 koku around Shingū in Kii Province. The clan had the military resources to support the Kumano navy (unaffiliated pirates). The Horiuchi also served as the stewards of three grand shrines (the Kumano Hongū Taisha, the Kumano Hayatama Taisha, and the Kumano Nachi Taisha) known collectively as the Kumano sanzan, investing the clan with religious authority in addition to economic resources.
Originally, the Kumano-Arima clan was a powerful kokujin, or provincial landowner, in Kumano who were rivals of the Horiuchi clan, but internal conflicts led to their decline. The head of the clan, Arima Magosaburō, died without children so Ujiyoshi was adopted. In 1574, after the death of his father, Ujitora, Ujiyoshi succeeded his older brother, Ujitaka, who died early, becoming the lord of Shingū Castle. In the absence of a leader, the Kumano-Arima clan was extinguished.
In 1576, Ujiyoshi had conflicts with Kitabatake Nobukatsu (later known as Oda Nobukatasu) in regard to Miki Castle in Shima Province and Nagashima Castle in Kii Province. In 1581, however, Nobunaga granted him as his fief the territory of the Kumano shrines and he then served the Oda clan.
After the unexpected death of Nobunaga in a coup d’état on 6/2 of Tenshō 10 (1582), at the ensuing Battle of Yamazaki, Ujiyoshi supported Hashiba Hideyoshi and his fief was increased by 7,000 koku. Next, he invaded the northern portion of Kii, toppling, among others, Nakamurayama Castle in the Muro District. He then annexed into the Muro District that portion of the Ago District south of the Nisaka Pass. The Nishiki area of the town of Taiki became part of Kii.
During the Conquest of Kishū led by Hideyoshi, Ujiyoshi initially showed an intent to resist, but, in 1585, surrendered and he received recognition of rights to his landholdings. Following the pacification of Kishū, Ujiyoshi participated in operations to suppress uprisings by jizamurai and peasants who were opposed to the land surveys initiated by Hideyoshi. Thereafter, he joined in the Invasion of Shikoku and led the Kumano navy for the Conquest of Odawara and the Bunroku-Keichō Campaign on the Korean Peninsula including for the invasion of Jinju. In 1591, he was appointed as the head of the Kumano regional landholdings.
In 1600, for the Battle of Sekigahara, upon a proposal from Ishida Mitsunari, Ujiyoshi joined the Western Army (along with Kuki Yoshitaka) in exchange for 80,000 koku in the Muro District. He led a battalion of approximately 350 soldiers to invade Ise Province, but, after hearing of the loss by the main contingent of the Western Army, absconded and, in the tenth month, was attacked at his base at Shingū Castle by Kuwayama Kazuharu, the lord of Wakayama Castle affiliated with the Eastern Army. Ujiyoshi lost his castle and his landholdings so, in 1588, he fled to Kei Castle which was built for an invasion of Kitayama, but was confined to a house in the village of Kata in the Ama District of Kii.
Later, although he had affiliated with the Western Army, he was regarded as having been a passive participant so was pardoned and served Katō Kiyomasa, the lord of the Kumamoto domain in Higo Province, while receiving a fief of 2,000 koku. He served as the chamberlain of Uto Castle until 1612 when the castle was taken down. He died of illness on 4/10 of Keichō 20 (1615) at the age of sixty-seven.