Kinoshita Yoshitaka

木下吉隆

Kinoshita Clan

Daimyō

Lifespan:  15xx to 3/20 of Keichō 3 (1598)

Rank:  bushō, daimyō

Title:  Junior Fifth Rank (Lower) and Master of the Palace Table

Clan:  Kinoshita

Lord:  Toyotomi Hideyoshi

Kinoshita Yoshitaka served as a bushō and daimyō during the Azuchi-Momoyama period.  He was a retainer of the Toyotomi clan and close associate of Hideyoshi.  His  common name was Hansuke, and other real names included Yoshitoshi and Yoshitane.  In letters, his name appears as Kinoshita Hansuke.  He held the title of Junior Fifth Rank (Lower) and Master of the Palace Table.

His origins and the first half of his life are unknown.  He had the surname of Kinoshita, but it is uncertain whether he was a relative of Toyotomi Hideyoshi.

Under one theory, Yoshitaka (Hansuke) was the second son of the abbot of the Shōmyō Temple in the Anpachi District of Mino Province.  This temple had close ties to Hideyoshi, and as Yoshitaka gained stature, he moved to Nagahama.  In 1582, after the coup d’état against Oda Nobunaga known as the Honnō Temple Incident, the abbot of this temple, Shōkei, assisted members of Hideyoshi’s family including One (Hideyoshi’s formal wife also known as Kōdai-in) and others.  Shōkei is surmised to have been Yoshitaka’s nephew (the son of Yoshitaka’s older brother).

Yoshitaka first served as a secretary under Hideyoshi.  From around 1583, he drafted supplemental contents to licenses issued by Hideyoshi and served as a sōsha, or master of ceremonies.  Many of the letters issued by Hideyoshi are jointly signed in the name of Kinoshita Hansuke.

During the Bunroku Campaign, as a commander of the umamawari, or mounted soldiers, Yoshitaka led 1,500 soldiers to stay in reserve at Nagoya Castle.  In the ninth month of 1593, following the removal of Ōtomo Yoshimune (the sengoku daimyō from Bungo Province), Yoshitaka was granted a fief of 25,000 koku comprised of the Ōno, Naoiri, Ōita, and Amabe districts in Bungo.  On 9/13, his fief was increased by 300 koku.  On 10/3, he was conferred with the title of Junior Fifth Rank (Lower) and Master of the Palace Table, achieving a ranking of a lord.  On 7/1 of Bunroku 4 (1595), his fief was further increased by 10,000 koku.

In the eighth month, after the demotion of Toyotomi Hidetsugu, Yoshitaka was ordered to detain under house arrest and monitor Hidetsugu.  Furthermore, he served as an escort for transporting Hidetsugu to Mount Kōya.  However, after arriving at Mount Kōya, Yoshitaka himself was suspected of being a party to Hidetsugu’s rebellion, whereupon he was promptly removed from his position, turned over to Shimazu Yoshihisa, and sent into exile in Bōnotsu in Satsuma Province.

In 1598, he is surmised to have either killed himself in his location of exile or, upon orders of Hideyoshi, was killed by Shimazu Yoshihisa.  Despite this punishment, Yoshitaka was not a close associate of Hidetsugu and therefore not likely involved in the rebellion, so there is a strong possibility that he get caught-up in a power-struggle within the Toyotomi administration.

Yoshitaka may have been the husband of the daughter of Nishio Mitsunori referred to as Kinoshita Daizen Taifu but the details are uncertain.  If this were the case, the three sons of Daizen Taifu (Nishio Noritsugu, Nishio Yoshinori, and Nishio Ujinori) who were cared for by Mitsunori would have been the surviving children of Yoshitaka.