Narita Ujinaga


Narita Clan


Shimotsuke Province

Lifespan:  Tenbun 11 (1542) to 12/11 of Bunroku 4 (1596)

Rank:  bushō, daimyō

Title:  Junior Fifth Rank (Lower), Master of the Outer Palace Guards of the Left Division, Assistant Captain of the Cavalry of the Left Division, Governor of Shimōsa

Clan:  Narita

Domain:  Shimotsuke-Karasuyama

Lord:  Uesugi Kenshin → Hōjō Ujimasa → Hōjō Ujinao → Gamō Ujisato → Toyotomi Hideyoshi

Father:  Narita Nagayasu

Siblings:  Ujinaga, Nagatada

Wife:  [Formal] Daughter of Yura Narishige, [Second] Daughter of Ōta Sukemasa

Children:  Ujinori, Kaihime (consort of Toyotomi Hideyoshi)

Adopted Children:  Nagatada (Yasuchika) – Ujinaga’s younger brother 

Narita Ujinaga served as a bushō and daimyō during the Sengoku and Azuchi-Momoyama periods.

The original surname of the Narita clan was the Fujiwara, having descended from Fujiwara no Morosuke, a noble from the Heian period.

In 1542, Ujinaga was born as the eldest son of Narita Nagayasu.  His wife was the daughter of Yura Narishige, and second wife the daughter of Ōta Sukemasa.

In 1563, owing to an invasion by Uesugi Kenshin, Ujinaga’s father, Nagayasu, was compelled to retire and Ujinaga inherited the headship of the clan.  In 1566, Ujinaga quarreled over the headship with his younger brother, Narita Nagatada (Yasuchika), who had been cherished by his father.  Support from elders including Toyoshima Mino-no-kami caused Nagatada to stand down so Ujinaga secured his position.  As a result of these circumstances, Ujinaga first became subservient to the Uesugi, but after viewing them as less powerful, he followed his father by betraying the Uesugi in favor of the Hōjō.  At this time, he separated from his wife, the daughter of Ōta Sukemasa, who relied upon the Satake clan to continue resistance as an ally of the Uesugi.  In 1569, after Uesugi Kenshin and Hōjō Ujiyasu formed an alliance, based on a territorial pact between the clans, Kenshin formally recognized members of the Narita family as retainers of Ujiyasu.  During the Tenshō era (1573 to 1593), Ujinaga annexed Kisai Castle, the base of his uncle, Oda Tomooki, and assigned his younger brother, Nagatada, to the castle.

In 1582, after Takigawa Kazumasu, a retainer of the Oda clan, advanced into the Kantō, Ujinaga came under his command.  After the coup d’état against Oda Nobunaga known as the Honnō Temple Incident, Kazumasu incurred a major defeat against Hōjō Ujinao at the Battle of Kannagawa, whereupon Ujinaga returned to the service of the Gohōjō clan.  In 1590, during the Conquest of Odawara by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Ujinaga was holed-up in Odawara Castle so he had a relative and retainer named Narita Nagachika protect Ujinaga’s base at Oshi Castle in Musashi Province.  In Ujinaga’s absence, Nagachika was subject to an attack by flooding by Ishida Mitsunari but, owing to ineffective attacks by the Toyotomi forces, was able to hold out in an event known as the Siege of Oshi Castle.  The defenders at Oshi Castle could withstand the siege owing to the ineffective command of Mitsunari as well as support from local residents. The peasants conscripted to build the dams to flood the castle purposefully made defects so the dams kept failing to the advantage of the defenders.

After the demise of the Hōjō clan, Ujinaga, together with his younger brother, Nagatada, served Gamō Ujisato.  Later, his daughter, Kaihime, was shown favor by Hideyoshi and he was granted 20,000 koku in Karasuyama in Shimotsuke Province.  In 1592, during the Bunroku Campaign, he served at Nagaoya Castle in Hizen Province.

Ujinaga’s eldest son died early in 1586, so Ujinaga adopted his younger brother, Nagatada, as his designated heir.  Ujinaga died on 12/11 of Bunroku 4 (1596).