Saionji Kinhiro


Saionji Clan

Sengoku Daimyō

Iyo Province

Lifespan:  Tenbun 6 (1537) to 12/11 of Tenshō 15 (1588)

Rank:  sengoku daimyō; lord of Kurose Castle

Clan:  Iyo-Saionji

Lord:  Chōsokabe Motochika → Kobayakawa Takakage

Father:  Saionji Kinnobu

Adoptive Father:  Saionji Sanemitsu

Siblings:  Kimitsugu, Kinhiro, Nobuhisa, Kurose Kinyoshi

Wife: [Formal] Nishihime (daughter of Saionji Sanemitsu)

Saionji Kinhiro served as a bushō during the Sengoku and Azuchi-Momoyama periods.  Kinhiro was the eighth head of the Iyo-Saionji clan and a sengoku daimyō in Iyo Province in Shikoku.  He was lord of Kurose Castle and a member of a group known as the Fifteen Samurai of Saionji comprised of Kinhiro and his retainers who all served as lords of subordinate castles across southern Iyo.

Born in 1537, Kinhiro was the son of Saionji Kinnobu.  He first served as a monk at the Kishi Temple in Matsuyama.  In 1556, Saionji Kintaka, the natural son and designated heir to Saionji Sanemitsu, the head of the clan, died in battle.  In 1565, Kinhiro became the adopted heir to Sanemitsu, returned to secular life, and wed Sanemitsu’s daughter, Nishihime.  Later that year, he attacked Ichijō Kanesada, a sengoku daimyō and noble located in neighboring Tosa Province.

In 1568, Kinhiro joined with the Mōri and Kōno clans to attack the Ichijō again, who were supported by the Utsunomiya and Tsuno clans, and achieved victory in the Battle of Tosakatōge.

In 1572, he attacked the Ichijō again, but suffered a major defeat in a counterattack by Ichijō Kanesada and Ōtomo Yoshishige, a sengoku daimyō from Bungo Province in northeastern Kyūshū.

In 1584, Kinhiro surrendered in the wake of a ferocious attack by Chōsokabe Motochika, a powerful sengoku daimyō from Tosa Province.  In 1585, he surrendered again, this time to Kobayakawa Takakage who served under the command of Toyotomi Hideyoshi in a campaign to pacify Shikoku.  Thereafter, Kinhiro was left only with Kurose Castle, serving under Takakage in the Pacification of Kyūshū from 1586.  In 1587, Kinhiro was murdered at the residence of Toda Katsutaka, a retainer of Hideyoshi who had been appointed as the lord of the Uwa District.  This may have been part of a broader plan by the Toyotomi administration to wipe out the former rulers of southern Iyo.  At the time of his demise, Kinhiro was fifty-one years old.  He did not have either natural or adopted sons, so, upon this event, the Saionji family in its role as a daimyō came to an abrupt end.