Higuchi Kanetoyo


Higuchi Clan


Echigo Province

Lifespan:  15xx to 9/12 of Keichō 7 (1602)

Rank:  bushō

Clan:  Higuchi (original surname: Nakahara)

Lord:  Nagao Masakage → Uesugi Kagekatsu

Father:  Higuchi Kanemura

Wives:  [Formal]  Fuji (daughter of Naoe Chikatsuna); [Second] Ranko (daughter of Ozaki Shigetoshi) 

Children:  Naoe Kanetsugu, Ōkuni Saneyori, Hidekane, Kita (wife of Suda Mitsutane), daughter (wife of Irobe Mitsunaga), daughter (wife of Sasai Yasunobu)

Higuchi Kanetoyo served as a bushō from the Sengoku to early Edo period.  He was a retainer of the Ueda-Nagao family and, later, the Uesugi clan.  He used the informal title of Iyo-no-kami.  Kanetoyo was the father of Naoe Kanetsugu, the chief retainer of the Yonezawa domain.

Kanetoyo was born as the son of Higuchi Kanemura.  The Higuchi clan were descendants of Higuchi Kanemitsu, a retainer of Minamoto no Yoshinaka, a bushō from the Shinano-Genji in the late Heian period.

There is a theory that the Higuchi served as officials to manage coal-burning.  In that case, there are arguments that the status of this position would not have permitted Kanetoyo to have two wives.  However, the existence of two wives supports the theory that the Higuchi family served as chief retainers.

Initially, Kanetoyo served Nagao Masakage, the head of the Ueda-Nagao family.  He was likely the chief retainer or of a similar status.  After the death of Masakage, Kanetoyo served Nagao Akikage (later known as Uesgui Kagekatsu), the adopted son of Uesugi Kenshin, the daimyō of Echigo Province.  The death of Kenshin n 1578 gave rise to a succession dispute in the Uesugi clan known as the Otate Conflict.  During this event, Kanetoyo supported Kagekatsu and, in 1581, became the commander of Arato Castle.  His fief was increased by 100 koku.  During the Tenshō era (1573 to 1593), he became the lord of Nōmine Castle.

Later, in connection with the transfer of the Uesugi clan to Aizu, Kanetoyo entered Yonezawa Castle where his son, Naoe Kanetsugu, became the lord.  As the head of the chief retainers for Uesugi Kagekatsu, Kanetsugu was always accompanying his lord at Aizu-Wakamatsu Castle or performing services in Kyōto or Ōsaka so he was almost never present at the castle.  Therefore, during this period, Kanetoyo served as the de facto chamberlain of the castle and engaged in activities such as providing updates on developments of the Mogami clan.

In 1602, he died and his third son, Higuchi Hidekane, inherited the family.