Kōno Michinao (Danjō-shōhitsu)

河野通直 (弾正少弼)

Kōno Clan

Kōno Michinao (Danjō-shōhitsu)

Iyo Province

Lifespan:  Meiō 9 (1500) to 8/26 of Genki 3 (1572)

Other Names:  Tarō (childhood)

Rank:  sengoku daimyō

Title:  Deputy Inspector (Danjō-shōhitsu)

Clan:  Kōno

Father:  Kōno Michinobu (Gyōbu-tayū)

Siblings:  Michinobu, Michiuji

Adopted Children:  Michimasa, Hitotsuyanagi Mobutaka, Michinobu (Sakyō-no-taifu), daughter (wife of Murakami Michiyasu), daughter (wife of Kutsuna 通恭)

Kōno Michinao (Danjō-shōhitsu) served as a sengoku daimyō and head of the Kōno clan of Iyo Province.

Kōno Michinao (Danjō-shōhitsu) who is the subject of this profile is a different individual from Kōno Michinao (Iyo-no-kami).  Danjō-shōhitsu was the father of Iyo-no-kami’s adoptive father, Kōno Michinobu (Sakyō-no-taifu).

Michinao was born as the eldest son and designated heir of Kōno Michinobu (Gyōbu-tayū).  In 1519, upon the death of his father, Michinao inherited the headship of the clan.  In 1540, Michinao joined the shōbanshū, a retinue to the shōgun of the Muromachi bakufu with responsibility to prepare for events and receive guests.  Michinao did not have a natural heir so he sought to welcome Murakami Michiyasu, his son-in-law and a highly capable leader of the navy, to become his successor.  Owing to opposition from his retainers and quarreling with Kōno Michimasa (the grandson of Kōno Michiharu), the head of the Yoshū family (an illegitimate branch of the Kōno), he and Michiyasu moved from Yuzuki Castle to Kurushima Castle.  Thereafter, he transferred the headship of the clan to Kōno Harumichi (Michimasa’s son) and lost his power.  After the early death of Harumichi, Michinao returned to his role as the head of the clan.  Moreover, at the end of the Tenbun era (1532 to 1555), Michinao came into conflict with Michimasa’s younger brother, Kōno Michinobu (Sakyō-no-taifu) and, in the end, he appeared to have also been forsaken by Murakami Michiyasu and lost his position.

Recent research established that Michinao quarreled with Michiyasu over the position as head of the clan, and there is a strong likelihood that Kōno Michimasa, who formerly served as the head of the Yoshū family, and his younger brother, Kōno Michinobu (Sakyō-no-taifu), were the natural sons of Michinao.

This event, known as the Kurushima Disturbance, was not only a family succession struggle, but also drew-in the Ōuchi, the Ōtomo, the Ichijō, the Amago, and the Aki-Takeda clans, among others.  As a consequence, contests for power across the Setouchi region were viewed as originating from a conflict within the Kōno family in regard to their diplomatic policies.