Lifespan: 1/30 of Tenbun 15 (1546) to 3/24 of Kanei 6 (1629)
Title: Assistant Vice Minister of Education, Vice Minister of Education
Lord: Ichijō Kanesada → Saionji Kinhiro
Father: Doi Kiyoharu
Mother: Daughter of Saionji Sanemitsu
Siblings: Harukiyo, Hisakiyo, Kiyoyoshi
Doi Kiyoyoshi served as a bushō from the Sengoku to early Edo periods. As one of the Fifteen Generals of the Saionji, Kiyoyoshi served as lord of Ōmori Castle in Iyo Province. He was the brother-in-law of Doi Sōzan, the chief retainer of the Tosa-Ichijō clan. In the Edo period, a biography of Kiyoyoshi was written by a family member named Doi Suiya.
In 1546, Kiyoyoshi was born as the son of Doi Kiyoharu in Mima in the Uwa District of Iyo Province of Shikoku.
On 10/6 of Eiroku 3 (1560), in an attack by the Ōtomo clan, Kiyoyoshi’s father, Kiyoharu, and his grandfather, Doi Kiyomune, were both killed in action at Seki Castle in Yoshida near Mima. This resulted in the demise of the family, so, at the age of fifteen, Kiyoyoshi became a servant of the Tosa-Ichiijō clan. Around this time, he spent time with Watanabe Noritada, a retainer of the Saionji who became the lord of Kagomori Castle in the Kitauwa District. Owing to many contributions, Kiyoyoshi was allowed to return to Mima and became the lord of Ōmori Castle governing the three villages comprising Mima and a fief of approximately 2,000 koku.
After separating from the Ichijō clan, Kiyoyoshi affiliated with the Saionji clan, and helped to ward-off invasions by the Ōtomo, the Ichijō, and the Chōsokabe. He served with a reinforcement army to the Mōri clan, acquiring notoriety as he fought in numerous battles across the Chūgoku Region. Having originated from Iyo in Shikoku, this was unusual for the time. Kiyoyoshi equipped those under his command with arquebuses, and although he led a small army of 300 soldiers, his contingent wielded overwhelming force. According to his biography, in 1581, Kiyoyoshi’s army intercepted a much larger contingent of Chōsokabe forces at Okamoto Castle in the Uwa District, and by means of novel tactics, succeeded in killing Hisatake Chikanobu, the chief retainer of Chōsokabe Motochika.
In 1587, during the Invasion of Shikoku by the Toyotomi army, Kiyoyoshi received official recognition of his rights to his territory from Kobayakawa Takakage, but accompanying the transfer of the Kobayakawa clan to Kyūshū, he lost power. The Uwa District in Iyo was allocated to Toda Katsutaka. A subsequent land survey conducted by Asano Nagamasa triggered an uprising by local landowners, so, upon request of Katsutaka, Kiyoyoshi assisted with pacifying the rioters. Katsutaka suspected that, in the background, the Saionji clan (who were the former lords) had instigated the uprising so he murdered Saionji Kinhiro and others. Katsutaka proceeded to solicit the service of former retainers of the Saionji, whereupon Hokezu Sakinobu (who, similar to Kiyoyoshi, had served as a senior retainer of the Saionji) accepted a fief of 200 koku. Kiyoyoshi was offered a fief of 1,000 koku but refused. Thereafter, Kiyoyoshi received an invitation to serve Tōdō Takatora, but refused this offer as well and instead lived a secluded life.
On 3/24 of Kanei 6 (1629), Kiyoyoshi died at the age of eighty-four. In 1661, thirty-three years after his death, descendants of the Doi family and former retainers petitioned for and received during the Kanbun era (1661 to 1673) the designation of Kiyoyoshi as a deity from the Yoshida family of the office of divinities in Kyōto, whereupon he was worshiped at the Kiyoyoshi Shrine. Kiyoyoshi continues to be cherished by locals to this day. For approximately 200 years, the Myōkaku Temple on Mount Hōju in Hazame in Mima served as the ancestral temple of the Doi family, but, in 1803, descendants of Kiyoyoshi and Doi Yohei rebuilt the Ryūsen Temple on Mount Ushikawa in Doi-Nakamura and moved the shrine to its present location.
The oldest book regarding Japanese agriculture
In the first month of 1564, Kiyoyoshi called an agricultural expert and former bushi named Matsuura Sōan to his castle and then created a compilation based on reports from Sōan along with questions and answers. The story that Kiyoyoshi placed importance on agriculture is noted to the present day while the locals of Mima have continued to earnestly venerate him at the Kiyoyoshi Shrine.
Based on its contents, however, the biography of Kiyoyoshi appears to contain embellishments made by his descendants in the Edo period raising issues with respect to its authenticity as a historical record. This includes the existence of Matsuura Sōan and Kiyoyoshi’s service in the Chūgoku Region, calling for a reexamination of the materials that describe his life.