Five Clans of Amakusa

天草五人衆

Amakusa Clan

Shiki Clan

Ōyano Clan

Sumoto Clan

Kōtsuura Clan

The Five Clans of Amakusa were a group of kokujin, or provincial landowners, on the Amakusa archipelago, including the Amakusa, the Shiki, the Ōyano, the Sumoto, and the Kōtsuura clans.  During the Azuchi-Momoyama period, Amakusa was unique in Japan to the extent that it served as the home to 23,000 Christians out of a population of 30,000, along with more than 60 priests and 30 churches.

The Five Clans of Amakusa pledged obedience in the face of the campaign led by Toyotomi Hideyoshi known as the Subjugation of Kyūshū.  Accordingly, their rights to landholdings were recognized under Konishi Yukinaga who was appointed by Hideyoshi as the lord of southern Higo Province.  Yukinaga himself was an ardent follower of the Christian faith, having been influenced by Jesuit missionaries from Portugal who resided in the area at this time.  The clans, however, acting under the leadership of Shiki Shigetsune, refused demands by Yukinaga to support the construction of Uto Castle.  In 1589, led by Amakusa Tanemoto (a retainer of Amakusa Hisatane), Ōyano Tanemoto, Kōtsuura Tanenao, and Sumoto Chikataka, the clans joined forces to form the Amakusa kokujin ikki, an alliance to protect the rights to their landholdings, and rebelled against Hideyoshi.  After an invasion by Yukinaga with support of Katō Kiyomasa, the clans of Amakusa faced either surrender or decimation.  Yukinaga took possession of the territory with a rice yield of over 10,000 koku.