Revolt of Tamanoura Osamu
The Revolt of Tamanoura Osamu occurred in Eishō 4 (1507) and was comprised of a series of rebellious acts by Tamanoura Osamu against his lord, the Uku clan, also known as the Gotō or Goshima clan based on Uku Island in the Matsuura District of Hizen Province.
Uku Satoru (Owari-no-kami), the eighth-generation lord of Goshima had an illegitimate son, but no lineal heir and did not desire for the illegitimate son to become his successor. He then adopted Matsukumamaru from the Ano family. Some of his retainers were dissatisfied with the decision but reluctantly received Matsukumamaru. Matsukumamaru changed his name to Uku Masaru and succeeded Satoru as the tenth lord of Goshima. Owing to his disciplined approach to governance, resistance to his rule from the among the retainers receded. In fact, Masaru was regarded as a benevolent lord owing to his accomplishments.
The Tamanoura family originated from Tamanoura Tadasu, the son of Uku Dai, the third head of the Uku clan. In the absence of a natural successor to Uku Satoru, it was not unusual to consider that the successor could come from the Tamanoura family which had blood ties to the main branch of the Uku family. The Tamanoura family acquired influence through their engagement in the fishing industry, trade, salt, and other enterprises, even exceeding the prominence of the main branch of the Uku family. The head of the Tamanoura family likely felt that Osamu would be suitable as the successor to Satoru.
The reasons for the revolt by Osamu are uncertain but surmised to be closely related to the foregoing circumstances.
Course of events
In 1502, Uku Satoru (Jirō-Saburō) was the fifteen-generation lord of Goshima. At this time, the Tamanoura surpassed the Uku family. As an appeasement policy, Satoru’s daughter was wed to Tamanoura Kunō, establishing marital ties between the families. In this same year, members of the Uku family already detected a revolt by Tamanoura Osamu but could not stop it in advance.
On 7/2 of Eishō 4 (1507), Uku Satoru (Jirō-Saburō) died. His lineal heir, Tamanoura Kakomu was nineteen years old. On 12/24, Osamu launched his long-awaited revolt. Kakomu cursed that it was an unpardonable act for a younger brother-in-law and ordered his regent, Ōkubo Hyūga Ietsugu, to counterattack. Ietsugu stormed the residence of Ishida Kenmotsu, a co-conspirator in the revolt, killing him. A commander in the Uku family named Ishida Jinkichi killed Yoshida Geki in the environs of the Kamiōtsu-Gosha Shrine. The next day, however, Osamu and his supporters surrounded and then commenced an assault against Kakomu at Tatsunokuchi Castle. In the course of this battle, the Tamanoura forces gained the upper hand so it was only a matter of time until the fall of the castle.
On the verge of losing the castle, Kakomu summoned Ietsugu and said: “Regretfully it appears the end is near. Quickly take my son, Saburō, and wife, Ōguro, and flee from the castle to Hirado where you can rely upon my father-in-law, Hirosada, for help. Once Saburō matures, you can aim to take back this land and revive the Uku family to avenge my foes.” The individual he referred to was Matsura Hizen-no-kami Hirosada, the lord of Hirado Castle whose daughter earlier wed Kakomu. Ietsugu insisted that he desired to remain with his lord to the end, but Kakomu did not permit him to do so whereupon Ietsugu, accompanied by Kakomu’s tearful wife and three-year-old son, Saburō, a wet nurse, and a Shintō priest named Hirata Shōemon, escaped under cover of darkness and hid in the mountains.
Kakomu, together with eight retainers, also fled the castle to Sakiyama, Abunze, and Kuroshima. In the end, on 12/26, those in his party stabbed one another to take their own lives. Under another theory, they committed seppuku.
Meanwhile, the party led by Ietsugu hid themselves under the shadow of a large boulder. Ietsugu prayed to the boulder and succeeded in escaping the search for rebels. This boulder remains sacred to the present day. The party proceeded from the location of this boulder to the coastline at Tenjinzaki and came across the fishing boat of Yasōemon and his son. The party then headed toward Ojika Island to the north of Nakadōri Island because the father of the wet nurse was an abbot at a temple there. After managing to arrive despite the rough seas in the middle of winter, the party rested for several days at the temple where her father resided and then landed in Hirado.
Hirosada requested his adopted son, Matsura Okinobu, to assist his daughter (Ōguro) and grandson (Saburō). This was based on an unwritten creed of bushi to avenge the archenemies of one’s father and the breach by Tamanoura Osamu of the covenant among the Matsura group by attempting to usurp his lord.
On 6/15 of Eishō 12 (1515), Hirosada died and Okinobu became the twenty-fourth head of the Matsura clan. Some of the retainers argued: “We should eliminate lord Saburō so the Matsura can take over all of Goshima.” Okinobu rejected the idea, responding: “Saburō is my nephew. Wouldn’t the act of killing the young man go against the dying wishes of my father?”
Demise of Tamanoura Osamu and revival of the clan
The fifteen-year period from Eishō 4 (1507) to Eishō 18 (1521) is known as the Period of Darkness for Goshima and there are no records during this time. Consequently, there are no written accounts describing the nature of the governance of Goshima by Tamanoura Osamu. Local legends, however, provide a glimpse into how this may have been.
After prevailing, Osamu did not advance to Fukue and instead, as an expression of his authority, built an expansive residence on a hill overlooking his base of operations in Daihō-Sasami. Ōkubo Ietsugu went underground in the Ōkubo township on Uku Island where he had a fief, and while maintaining contact with Hirosada and Kakomu, waited while Saburō matured. The retainers left wandering pledged in a document sealed in blood to revive their lord’s family and awaiting the right opportunity.
In 1521, Naru Shūsaburō provided secret intelligence through collusion as follows: “Tamanoura Osamu decimated the Uku family and took control of Goshima but he remains in his residence to contend with rebels among residents in his territory so now is a good opportunity.” Ietsugu quickly crossed to Hirado to meet Matsura Okinobu and gathered troops to back Saburō. He pleaded for support from Okinobu to avenge his lord and revive the Uku family. Okinobu willingly obliged and appointed Ōno Gengorō Sadahisa as the commander-in-chief, along with Itoya Kunai (an Event Host) and Ōta Gengoemon (an Inspector) and a corps of 100 commanders and soldiers, in addition to lending 30 naval vessels and had all of them assemble at Uku Island. Saburō, accompanied by Ietsugu, entered Uku Island and, while calling together former retainers, changed his childhood name to Jirō-Saburō (drawn from his descendants) and further changed his real name to Morisada. The character “mori” was from the founder of the Uku family, Taira no Iemori, and the character “sada” from Matsura Hirosada.
On 4/1 of Eishō 18 (1521), Uku Jirō-Saburō Morisada led 235 soldiers to depart from Uku Island. On Hisaka Island in the Tamanoura Straits, the contingent was divided into two battalions.
After landing at the western harbor of Kishiku, one battalion headed toward Daihō by road while Morisada led the other battalion by sea route toward Daihō. Former retainers converged with the battalion marching on the road, swelling their ranks. Both battalions approached Daihō under cover of darkness, conducting attacks as they proceeded. Meanwhile, a total of forty-eight bushi in the Tamanoura township who were dissatisfied with Tamanoura Osamu joined these forces.
The Tamanoura-Daihō forces leveraged their knowledge of the local topography to fiercely resist, but, in the end, fled in defeat. Tamanoura Osamu, together with fourteen close associates, escaped to Mimiraku and onward to Saga Island but gave-up to an incessant pursuit by Morisada and finally took his own life.
Osamu’s wife was the younger sister of Kakomu (Morisada’s father). After learning that Osamu took his own life, she followed and did the same at Mimiraku. In an effort to come to her aid, Ietsugu and his son were surrounded by Osamu’s forces and lost their lives while on the verge of reviving their lord’s family. The fourteen members of the party accompanying Osamu were beheaded on the beach in Tanna with their heads left on public display. His remains were interred at the Ono Shrine at the base of Tōmedake in Saga.
To the present day, at the Saihō Temple in the town of Tamanoura, Morisada is revered under the name of “Tamanna-sama” and worshiped every year on the anniversary of his death.