Tsukushi Hirokado


Tsukushi Clan


Hizen Province

Lifespan:  Kōji 2 (1556) to 4/23 of Genna 9 (1623)

Other Names:  二九市丸, Shigetsune, Yoshifuyu, Muan (monk’s name)

Rank:  bushō, daimyō

Title:  Junior Fifth Rank (Lower) and Deputy Governor of Kōzuke, 進士兵衛, Director of the Imperial Cavalry of the Left Division

Clan:  Tsukushi

Lord:  Ōtomo Yoshishige (Sōrin) → Ōtomo Yoshimune → Toyotomi Hideyoshi 

Father:  Tsukushi Korekado

Siblings:  Sister (wife of Tsukushi Okukado), Hirokado, Harukado (Saemon-no-taifu), Hidekado, sister (wife of Munakata Ujisada)

Wife:  Younger sister of Saitō Shigezane

Children:  Hirokado, Nobukado, Hidekado (Kamon), Shigekado (Sakon), Tokikado, Yōfukuin (formal wife of Tachibana Naotsugu), Eiunin (second wife of Tachibana Naotsugu), Chōtokuin (consort of Kuroda Nagamasa)

Adopted Children:  Yoshihiro Masakatsu (Tsukushi Daizen-no-suke)

Tsukushi Hirokado served as a bushō and daimyō from the Sengoku to early Edo periods.  Hirokado was the lord of Katsu-no-o Castle in Hizen Province.

The Tsukushi clan are considered to have been descendants of Ashikaga Tadafuyu from the Nanbokuchō period or an illegitimate branch of the Shōni clan.  The Tsukushi were kokujin, or provincial landowners, and the lord of the manor of Tsukushi in the Mikasa District of Chikuzen Province.  There are various theories concerning the lineage of the Tsukushi clan during the Muromachi and Sengoku periods, but the details are uncertain.

In 1556, Hirokado was born as the son of Tsukushi Korekado.  His father, Korekado, surrendered to the Ōtomo clan and, before long, died, whereupon Hirokado inherited the headship of the clan.  (There is also a theory that Korekado took his own life.)

In 1578, after the Ōtomo clan incurred a major defeat at the Battle of Mimikawa, Hirokado joined with Akizuki Tanezane, Harada Takatane, Munakata Ujisada, and Ryūzōji Takanobu to revolt against the Ōtomo and fought multiple times against Tachibana Dōsetsu, Takahashi Jōun, among others.  In 1578, when Hirokado’s younger brother, Tsukushi Harukado (Saemon-no-taifu), became eleven years old, he was adopted by Nabeshima Naoshige and accompanied him to Saga.

In 1586, Hirokado had his daughter wed Takahashi Munemasu (Tachibana Naotsugu), the second son of Takahashi Jōun, becoming relatives.  He came under the command of the Ōtomo again so, during the Siege of Iwaya Castle that same year, he allied with the Ōtomo, was attacked by the Shimazu clan, and his territory was taken away.  During a battle for Takatori Castle in Hizen Province, his brother, Harukado, engaged in a majestic one-on-one duel against Kawakami Tadakata of the Shimazu clan near the front gate of the castle and both of them died from injuries sustained in the bout.  Hirokado was captured by the Shimazu army and incarcerated at the Daizen Temple in Chikugo Province.  The following year, Toyotomi Hideyoshi launched the Subjugation of Kyūshū and, after the withdrawal of the Shimazu army, Hirokado escaped from his place of incarceration, gathered retainers and reclaimed his former territory.  As recognition for his achievements, Hirokado was granted landholdings with a yield of 18,000 koku in the Kamitsuma District of Chikugo Province.

From 1592, Hirokado served in the Bunroku-Keichō Campaign on the Korean Peninsula and, as a member of the division commanded by Kobayakawa Takakage, fought with valor in Jeolla Province.  He further served in the Battle of Byeokjegwan, in addition to a defensive battle in Seongju County and the Battle of Gadeokdo, an island of Pusan.  In 1600, at the Battle of Sekigahara, his heir, Mondonoshō Hirokado joined the Western Army and attacked Ōtsu Castle defended by Kyōgoku Takatsugu.  Meanwhile, Hirokado himself associated with the Eastern Army and holed-up in his base in Chikugo.  After the main forces of the Western Army were defeated at Sekigahara, Tokugawa Ieyasu removed the Tsukushi clan from their position.  Thereafter, Hirokado underwent the rites of tonsure, adopted the monk’s name of Muan and relied upon Kuroda Nagamasa and Katō Kiyomasa.  After the Katō family was removed from their position, Hirokado turned to the Hosokawa clan for support.

Hirokado died in 1623.

Anecdotes and descendants

While incarcerated at the Daizen Temple in the wake of the defeat to the Shimazu army, Hirokado composed waka, or traditional poetry.

In 1627, Mondonoshō Hirokado, the successor to Hirokado, was awarded 3,000 koku for his contributions during the Siege of Ōsaka.  His descendants continued as high-ranking hatamoto of the Edo bakufu with landholdings of 3,000 koku.

Hirokado’s son, Hidekado, served as a retainer of the Tachibana clan in the Yanagawa domain.  Another son, Shigekado, became a retainer of the Hosokawa clan in the Kumamoto domain.  His fourth son, Tokikado, adopted the name of Wakae Goemon and, together with his sons, Yoshikado and Naokado, served the Niwa family in the Nihonmatsu domain in Mutsu Province.  Naokado adopted the name of Hayashi Heisuke and his descendants continued as retainers of the Nihonmatsu domain.

Hirokado’s daughter, Eiunin, became the second wife of Tachibana Naotsugu and bore Tachibana Tadashige as Naotsugu’s fourth son.  Tadashige was adopted by Tachibana Muneshige and became the lord of the Yanagawa domain in Chikugo.