Harada Chikatane


Harada Clan


Chikuzen Province

Lifespan:  Tenbun 13 (1544) to 4/1 of Tenshō 2 (1574)

Rank:  bushō

Titles:  Junior Fifth Rank (Lower), Governor of Shimōsa, Minister of Security

Clan:  Harada

Lord:  Mōri Motonari

Father:  Harada Takatane

Mother:  Daughter of Ōuchi Yoshitaka

Siblings:  Tanekado, Kusano Shizunaga (Harada Taneyoshi), Shigetane, Chikatane

Wife:  Daughter of Akizuki Fumitane

Children:  Hidetane (under one theory, he was the son of Tanekado)

Harada Chikatane served as a bushō during the Sengoku period.

The Harada clan originated from the Mikasa District of Chikuzen Province in northern Kyūshū as lineal descendants of the Ōkura clan.  Chikatane was the fourth son of Harada Takatane.  He carried the Court-awarded titles of Junior Fifth Rank (Lower), Governor of Shimōsa, and Minister of Security.  He was commonly known as Gorōzaemon.

In 1557, based on a scheme by Motoki Dōtetsu, Chikatane’s older brothers (Tanekado and Shigetane) were framed for plotting a rebellion and killed at the Nanrin Temple in Kishi whereupon Chikatane inherited the Harada family.

In the autumn of 1565, Chikatane joined a rebellion by Tachibana Akitoshi but fled in the wake of Akitoshi’s loss.  There is a theory that, after being attacked, Chikatane sought refuge on Mount Kōra.  A servant of Usuki Akisumi named Yoshino Hachirō enticed a cherished child of Chikatane named Shibukawa Jūrō to kill Chikatane, but this story may have been in reference to another individual named Chikatane of the Harada clan of Mount Hōshu.

In 1568, after Akitoshi rebelled again, Harada Takatane (Chikatane’s father) attacked Kōshidake Castle in Chikuzen, taking advantage of the absence of Usuki Akisumi while he was away in an effort to subdue Akitoshi.  Chikatane himself joined the Mōri forces who rushed to support Akitoshi and fought against the Ōtomo forces, but was unsuccessful and fled in defeat toward Takasuyama Castle.  He joined a unit commanded by Harada Chikahide to intercept Ōtomo forces coming in pursuit in a clash known as the First Battle of Iki-no-Matsubara.  Chikatane’s eldest son, Harada Hidetane, was killed in action in this conflict.

Thereafter, clashes between the Harada and Usuki clans continued.  On 1/28 of 1572, while the successor chamberlain named Usuki Shigeuji visited the Byōdō Temple, he was attacked and forced to kill himself in an event known as the Second Battle of Ikeda-kawahara.

On 4/1 of 1574, Ōtomo Yoshishige (Sōrin) sent a messenger to Takasuyama Castle to protest the Battle of Ikeda-kawahara, demanding the head of Chikatane’s father (Takatane).  Realizing there was no prospect of victory, Chikatane scrambled to the castle watchtower and, after calling for the messenger from the Ōtomo, committed seppuku while demanding them to give his head to the Ōtomo.  More than ten other rebels immediately followed by killing themselves.  In the preceding year, Chikatane had surrendered to Ryūzōji Takanobu, so this relationship may have been a factor in his decision to take his own life.