Kikuchi Shigetomo


Kikuchi Clan

Kikuchi Shigetomo

Higo Province

Lifespan:  Hōtoku 1 (1449) to 10/29 of Meiō 2 (1493)

Other Names:  Fujikikumaru (childhood), Jūrō (common)

Rank:  Twenty-first head of Kikuchi clan

Title:  Governor of Higo, Junior Fourth Rank (Lower), Junior Third Rank (honorary)

Clan:  Higo-Kikuchi

Bakufu:  Muromachi

Father:  Kikuchi Tamekuni

Siblings:  Shigetomo, Takekuni, Taketeru

Children:  Takeyuki, Mera Shigefusa

Kikuchi Shigetomo served as the twenty-first head of the Kikuchi clan of Higo Province.

In 1449, Shigetomo was born as the lineal heir of Kikuchi Tamekuni, the twentieth head of the Kikuchi clan and a shugo daimyō of Higo ad Chikugo provinces.

He received one of the characters from the name of Kikuchi Takeshige, the head of the clan during its period of peak prosperity in the late Kamakura and early Nanbokuchō periods, adopting the name of Shigetomo.  This character was also adopted in the names of other family members including Kikuchi Shigeyasu (the father of Kikuchi Masataka) and his younger brother, Shigenobu and Shigemoto (father and son), and Uto Shigemitsu (the son of Uto Tamemitsu).

According to one theory, Shigetomo’s younger brother, Kikuchi Takekuni, forcibly took over Toyofuku Castle from Shigetomo’s father, Tamekuni, during Tamekuni’s later years.  Shigetomo then took back the castle from Takekuni.  As the Kikuchi clan began to decline from the era of Shigetomo’s father, Shigetomo inherited the headship of the clan in 1466.  After the outbreak of the Ōnin-Bunmei War the next year, Shigetomo ostensibly joined the Eastern Army but in fact plotted to expand his power into Chikugo Province and beyond.  Apart from the power-struggle underlying the war, Shigetomo had his own territorial ambitions but these ended in failure.  Later, he focused his attention on governing the shrines and temples, inviting a monk named Keian Genju for studies.  Shigetomo excelled in renga, or linked-verse poetry, and held an event for members of the gōzoku, or wealthy families, of Higo.

In 1485, Shigetomo allied with Aso Koretoshi and Aso Koreie to fight against the allied forces of Sagara Tametsugu and Aso Korenori.  The battle ended in a defeat for the Kikuchi and their allies.  This is known as the Battle of Makadobaru.

On 10/29 of Meiō 2 (1493), Shigetomo died at the age of forty-five.  He was succeeded by his lineal heir, Kikuchi Takeyuki.

On 11/10 of Taishō 6 (1917), Shigetomo was conferred the honorary title of Junior Third Rank.